Campus offers safety resources for future

Kinzi Beckham received a phone call from her mother last Tuesday after a tornado hit Forney. It destroyed the entire neighborhood, Diamond Creek subdivision, except for a few houses – including hers. 

“I was in tears because I mean that’s where I live, that’s where my family lives,” the junior strategic communication major said. “It could have been a big disaster for us and it wasn’t.”

Even though Beckham was at school, she said the experience made her think about preparing a plan for future tornadoes. 

“You don’t think about that until you see what really can happen and once you’ve seen it, it really hits you,” Beckham said. “Especially since where we live is such a tornado prone area, I think everyone needs to be cautious and aware of what could happen.”

TCU Offices of Emergency Preparedness and Safety provided resources to help prepare students for emergencies, Jonathan Roark, director of emergency preparedness said. The resources included a pamphlet and “z-card,” a foldout emergency guide. 

The pamphlets contained emergency action tips, shelters, all-hazard sirens information and tornado terminology, he said. It was important to know the terminology, like the difference between a tornado watch and a warning. 

The z-card covered more than tornado safety tips, Roark said, including information from weather emergencies to utility failures.  

The resources were distributed to students through housing, he said. Faculty and staff also received the information. 

They also offered a training, which was open to anyone, on safety and emergency preparedness, Roark said. 

“We’ll talk to groups from one to a thousand,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to us. If you want to know, we’ll take the time to come over and talk to you.”

During a tornado, students should seek shelter in the lowest part of the building, away from windows, Director of Safety Randy Cobb said.  

If students were caught outside in a tornado, they should get to a low lying area and lie down flat, Cobb said. This would help avoid high winds and debris.  

“Chances are the damage and the injuries and the deaths are caused by the debris, not necessarily by the high winds,” he said. 

Debris, piles of wood and homes with blown-out windows were all the tornado left, Beckham  said. The only thing that kept Bekcham’s house safe was a man-made pond.

“I guess the tornado just didn’t go across that little pond,” Beckham said. “If it had, [my house] easily would have been blown away, easily.”

In Case of Emergency:

Campus phone numbers

TCU Police: 817-257-7777

Department of Safety: 817-257-6363

Department of Emergency Preparedness: 817-257-4747

Campus emergency websites