Tornado Safety Information

GENERAL INFORMATION

During tornado season, we want to provide timely severe weather safety information that we hope will be carefully reviewed by everyone. We cannot overstate the importance of knowing how to respond to a tornado or other severe weather.

A Tornado is destructive when it descends to earth, where its path may vary from 50 yards to one mile in width. Wind speed inside a tornado can reach up to 300 mph. Its forward speed will average 25 to 40 miles per hour. The following instructions for different areas and situations should be studied:

If you are in the open:

  • Attempt to reach a protective area, such as a sturdy building with a basement.
  • If there is not time to escape of find suitable protective area, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of you head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado. Avoid areas subject to rapid water accumulation or flooding in heavy rains.

If you are in class:

  • The instructor will dismiss the class immediately, after advising Students to proceed to a lower level, hallway, or basement of the building of to the nearest substantially constructed building if the facility being used for the class is not suitable as a protective area.

If you are attending a university function:

  • The function will be terminated at once, and the participants will be advised promptly to seek a protective area on the ground floor away from glass or in the basement of the building.

Buildings with broad, flat roofs or large open interior spaces (such as auditoriums, cafeterias, or gymnasiums) should not be used or considered as protective areas. Many such areas, however, have adjacent service spaces (such as corridors, walk-in coolers, or showers) which may be reasonably safe.


TORNADO SIRENS
The city of Ada maintains a citywide outdoor warning siren network that is used to signal imminent danger from tornadoes. It is a familiar sound, as it is tested every Wednesday at 1PM, unless there is a threat of severe weather in the area.

A steady siren sound means DANGER. Take shelter immediately in the nearest suitable protective area. Protective areas should be identified in advance. Once the sirens sound, it is too late to seek protection at a remote location.

An “all clear” signal will NOT be given via the siren system. It is urged that reliance be placed on the broadcast media for this and other status and forecast information.


WEATHER ADVISORIES
The National Weather Service broadcast continuous weather status and fore-cast information; this information is updated hourly. In addition, the NWS will broadcast special alert tones and messages for tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, and similar impending weather emergencies.

Special radio receivers are available for purchase to monitor and receive the special alert warnings. Those persons or offices requiring current, official weather information or desiring to take advantage of the alert warning service should check with a radio equipment dealer for further information.

It is recommended that all persons maintain a battery-operated AM and/or FM radio and take that radio with them should it become necessary to seek a protective area from a tornado or other severe storm.

Persons in protective areas should not rely on visual observations of local conditions as reliable indicators of the true status of the weather, since hail and tornadoes have been known to occur under apparently clear-sky conditions.

Local AM/FM Radio Stations which may carry local weather advisories (and forward all-clear information):

KADA, 99.3 FM & 1230 AM
KYKC 100.1 FM
KTLS, 106.5 FM
KKFC, 105.5 FM


CAMPUS PROTECTIVE AREAS
Protective areas from a tornado may be sought in buildings of substantial masonry construction; most University facilities have spaces that may be used as protective areas. These protective areas can usually be found in interior spaces or hallways away from exterior walls and windows.

Once the sirens sound, it is too late to proceed to a remote protective area. Occupants should stay alert to developing severe weather and have identified a suitable protective area beforehand.

The lowest level of the building should be used, avoiding spaces with glass surfaces on any outside wall; doors can usually be arranged to augment protection.

Buildings of frame construction and those with broad, flat roofs or large open interior spaces should not be used or considered as protective areas. Many such areas, however, have adjacent service spaces which are reasonably safe.

Building-Specific Refuge Areas:
(Open to ECU Faculty, Staff, and Students)

  • Administration Building: First floor hallway
  • Education Building: Basement floor
  • Fentem Hall: Basement
  • Linscheid Library Annex: Break room of first floor
  • Linscheid Library: West wall of second floor
  • Norris Field Stadium: East side of dressing room

Building-Specific Refuge Areas: (Open to Public)

  • Horace Mann: First floor hallways
  • Memorial Student Union: Ballroom
  • Science Hall: Basement Floor

REMEMBER:— Once the sirens sound, it is too late to proceed to a
remote protective area!
Residents/occupants should stay alert to developing
severe weather and have identified an immediately accessible protective
area beforehand.

Pets - Unfortunately, taking pets into building-specific refuge areas is strongly
discouraged because it limits the space available for citizens seeking shelter.
If it is unavoidable, pets should be in an airline approved carrier at all
times while inside the building. Pet owners are responsible and required to
remain and care for their pets at all times.


AFTER THE TORNADO…
Keep with your group/family together and wait for emergency personnel to
arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured.

Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still
be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and
other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings;
they could collapse at any time.

Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel
tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions
form local radio, emergency crews, and local officials.


Local National Weather Service forecast information is available at www.srh.noaa.gov/oun.