Students, Government, and Industry Unite to Educate the Public about Tornado Safe Rooms
Manhattan, Kansas, is known as a college town and is home to Kansas State University (KSU). As a college town, there is a symbiotic relationship between the university and the city. One such example of this relationship is the current united effort in educating the public about tornado safe rooms.
Manhattan is located in Riley County, the recipient of a FEMA Project Impact grant. Project Impact is a program that makes funds available for the mitigation of natural hazards; in other words, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." One way Riley County and Project Impact is making use of these funds is through increasing public awareness of tornado safe rooms. Currently, information is available to the public in FEMA P-320, Taking Shelter from the Storm, which includes construction documents, floor plans and details in 2-dimensional form.
To help facilitate translation of the 2-dimensional information into 3-dimensional comprehension, Riley County Project Impact has teamed up with the KSU student chapter of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) in the Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science. This teamwork includes building a scale model house containing a tornado safe room as well as a static display of the floor plans and details referencing back to the house. In addition, a stand-alone scale model of a concrete masonry safe room is being constructed. The completion date and first public viewing is due to occur at the annual Kansas State University Open House, scheduled for March 30th to April 1st, 2000. After the Open House, Riley County Project Impact will set up the display at various locations throughout the county for public access and viewing.
Similar to Riley County Project Impact and the student chapter of AGC, FEMA and the KSU student chapter of Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI) in the Department of Architectural Engineering and Construction Science have teamed up to build a scale model of a house containing a tornado safe room. This model will be used by FEMA during public awareness events. The Kansas Masonry Industries Council, recognizing the importance of public awareness, has also contributed by providing resources to the students for the construction of the model.
Through this cooperative effort of community, government and industry, the public can be informed of the preventive measures that can be taken to survive a tornado.