Northeastern State University says students and faculty should feel safer when it comes to severe weather.
The National Weather Service is recognizing the campus for being "Storm Ready"
NSU's storm shelter is in the basement of the University Center building but the reason why the university is now recognized as "Storm Ready" has to do with so much more than that room.
Northeastern State University is the 11th university in Oklahoma to be recognized by the National Weather Service as "Storm Ready"
"We get so excited about safety. We want people to practice this," said NSU Emergency Manager Andi Smith.
The storm shelter has been on campus for years and is the only public shelter in Tahlequah.
But to be recognized as "Storm Ready," NSU had to meet certain guidelines, like developing a formal hazardous weather plan and having an alert system.
"How that works is as soon as a tornado warning has been issued, and I mean it has been officially issued, it's me, sitting in my office and I send out that alert," said Smith.
"Storm Ready is more about planning and making sure that plan is communicated," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Ed Calianese.
He said the Storm Ready program started in Tulsa in 1999 and is now used nationwide.
And he said it's an important step for NSU.
"It indicates that their emergency management and their administrative staff is proactive," said Calianese.
NSU Emergency Manager Andi Smith works closely with the city and county emergency management teams so they're all prepared to work together when severe weather comes through.
"I don't know if it's just an Oklahoma thing but I think that we're very strong on working together, making sure the job gets done and that each of us succeed to the fullest extent," Smith said.
Smith said she's applying for both the Broken Arrow and Muskogee campuses to become "Storm Ready."