With the severe weather season underway, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) urges the community to have a family plan in place to seek protection at home or in a personal shelter, as its facilities cannot serve as public storm shelters. “The facilities we have on campus were not designed to serve as public storm shelters,” said Mark Wall, Director of Safety. “NEO has a plan in place to safeguard our students, faculty, and staff, but we cannot ensure the safety and protection of the public.”
With more than 2000 students enrolled at NEO, capacity and access are two major factors in discouraging the public from seeking shelter on campus. “We strongly advise against getting in a vehicle and driving to campus,” said Wall. “If a storm occurs outside of normal business hours, there is the risk that our professional and classroom buildings would be closed, and the added risk that our designated shelters could be at capacity with students and employees.”
According to the City of Miami’s Public Shelter Statement, individuals are exposed to a greater risk when traveling to a public shelter than when sheltering in place. While residential safe rooms or personal storm shelters provide the best protection from tornados and high winds, “shelter in place” is the next best option. Residents should seek protection in an interior room or hallway on the lowest level possible. To guard against injuries from flying debris, it is recommended to cover up using items such as a mattress, blankets, or pillows. For a complete guide to preparing for severe weather, visit www.miamiokla.net. The college’s evacuation procedures for students and employees is available online HERE.