Severe Weather Awareness at Georgia Tech

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Jennifer Mattingly
Emergency Preparedness Project Coordinator, Office of Emergency Preparedness

Nearly two years ago a tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta - just a few short miles from Georgia Tech’s campus. Severe weather threatens all of us, which is why preparation is critical. Georgia Tech recently participated in the statewide Severe Weather Awareness Week to help communicate this message and highlight the upcoming severe weather season in Georgia. Part of this preparedness message includes recommending that students and their families have a plan in place for communicating with each other during emergencies, encouraging individuals to assemble a disaster supply kit, and being aware of approaching storms systems and what actions should be taken. It is important to know where your safe areas are when you are in a building or in your home in case of a tornado warning. Always seek shelter in the lowest level possible, in the most interior room without any windows.

Georgia Tech alerts the campus community when there is a Tornado Warning. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for the Georgia Tech Emergency Notification System (GTENS) at to receive emergency alerts on their cell phones via voicemail and text message. Georgia Tech also has an outdoor siren warning system to alert students who are travelling between classes. This past year the Institute also implemented the System to Create and Relay Emergency Action Messages (SCREAM). SCREAM sends emergency alerts to classrooms through computers and projectors that are connected to the campus network. Another tool for personal preparedness is the NOAA Weather Radio, which sounds an alarm when the National Weather Service issues a weather alert for the Fulton County area. NOAA Weather Radios typically cost about $30 and can be purchased at most major retailers.

"The best thing to do to protect yourself is to have a plan of action before a threatening tornado or other weather event develops," says Georgia Tech Emergency Preparedness Director Andy Altizer. “Know what to do and where to go if there is a tornado warning,” Altizer continues. He also warns, “Don’t depend on us to have enough time to alert you to sudden weather changes. If there is a chance of severe weather, pay attention and be prepared to take action.”

Severe Weather can occur anytime so it is important that individuals remain diligent in their preparedness efforts. For more emergency preparedness information, visit


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