7. Severe Weather
- The Office of Public Safety has a NOAA Weather radio in its main office. This radio is dual powered working on both batteries and/or the buildings electrical service. This radio will be activated by the National Weather Service to announce any watches or warnings. The Office of Public Safety will monitor this radio for any emergency announcements and notify the campus community of any warnings. Additionally, any campus personnel who becomes aware of a severe weather warning will immediately notify the Office of Public Safety. The Office of Public Safety will immediately notify campus personnel by activating the campus emergency sirens. This procedure is addressed in Attachment L of this document. This may be followed up with additional communication by word of mouth, telephone, email/text message, or public address announcement. This notification will advise building occupants of the type of warning (thunderstorm, tornado or flood) and to implement the emergency action plan for severe weather.
- Once occupants have become aware of a severe thunderstorm warning, they should take no steps other than to ensure they are prepared if conditions deteriorate.
- A Tornado Warning is identified by the sounding of the emergency sirens for one minute followed by fifteen (15) minutes of silence for the campus community, a weather radio alert tone broadcast by the National Weather Service, or notification by a local media outlet. Although the sirens may not be heard throughout all of campus, communication methods listed will be utilized. A Tornado Warning indicates that a tornado has been confirmed by Doppler radar within Vigo County by the National Weather Service and all campus personnel must take immediate action.
- Once occupants have been notified of a tornado warning, they should take cover to the lowest level of the building. In most buildings the safest area is the basement. If a basement is not available, occupants should move to the central portion of the building on the lowest floor possible away from outside walls and glass. Large unsupported roof structures, as typically found in auditoriums and gymnasiums, should be avoided. Personnel should anticipate the tornado warning will extend for a significant period of time, perhaps thirty (30) minutes or longer. A battery operated radio tuned to any local AM or FM radio station will provide current weather information. Personnel should not leave shelter until a period of at least ten (10) minutes has elapsed without any further alerts, or the emergency notification system announces an "all clear."
- Classroom instructors are expected to interrupt class activity and advise the students to move to the safest area available. Should the allotted class time expire during the warning, the instructor should encourage the students to remain in the safe area until the all clear is given.
- Persons with disabilities should be provided assistance, if requested, on the same basis as described in the fire evacuation procedure.
The advisability of moving a disabled person from one floor to another as previously discussed applies equally to a tornado warning. It is recommended that persons in wheelchairs be assisted to the safest area on the same floor. The decision to remain with a disabled person would be the option for any individual providing assistance.
Elevators should not be used to move disabled persons during a tornado warning as the potential for electrical malfunction is considered to be too high to warrant the risk.