What to do in the event of a tornado



  • Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes. Listen to local radio and TV stations for further updates.
  • Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or radar indicates rotation in the clouds. TAKE SHELTER!

Civil Defense Sirens:

  • Sirens are designed for persons who are outdoors.
  • Persons indoors are expected to be aware of the weather and to listen to media for further information.
  • If the siren has sounded and stopped, it should not be construed as an all-clear. Wait for the media to issue the all-clear.


  • Tone For Three (3) Minutes - Severe weather. Seek shelter immediately.
  • Alternating high/low tones - Firefighter notification. No immediate danger to general public.
    • Siren Activation:
      • Sirens will be activated for imminent emergencies that require citizens to seek immediate shelter.
      • Sirens will not be activated for severe thunderstorm warnings.
      • Sirens will be activated for tornado warnings affecting the Vermillion or Wakonda areas.
      • Sirens will be activated by spotter request if they feel the situation is dangerous to the general public.
      • Sirens will be activated when The National Weather Service or The Office of Emergency Management provides direct information of immediate danger.
      • There will not be an all-clear sounded once the danger has passed.
  • Listen to KVHT Radio 106.3 for current updates and situation reports.

If a Tornado Warning is Issued:

  • If inside, go to a safe place in the building - normally basement areas, interior hallways, and locations away from windows.
  • If outside, go to the basement of a nearby sturdy building. Take shelter in a ditch, creek or other depression if close.
  • If in a motor vehicle, get out immediately and head for safety. Vehicles are not safe in tornadoes. Do not take shelter under a bridge or bypass structure.

Tornado Shelter Procedures:

  • If you are off campus and in Vermillion, the following locations have been identified as shelter locations.
    • Vermillion Fire & EMS Station - 820 North Dakota Street
    • National Guard Armory - 603 Princeton Street

After a Tornado:

  • Remain in safe areas away from broken glass and other sharp debris, and away from power lines, puddles containing power lines, and emergency traffic areas.
  • While waiting for emergency personnel to arrive, render aid to those injured.
  • Keep everyone out of damaged parts of buildings.
  • Ensure nobody is using matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby.

On-Campus Housing

  • When a tornado is sighted in the Vermillion area, the city alarm will sound a solid tone for three (3) to five (5) minutes, alerting the public to the emergency.
  • All room doors should be closed.
  • Stay away from all windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • When the danger has passed, an all-clear signal will be announced by hall staff.
  • Failure to comply with emergency evacuation procedures will be documented and students will be subject to sanctions.
  • SHELTERS: All residents will go to the lowest level possible of the building. You must leave your room when the tornado siren sounds. Staff will check rooms for violators. Students are discouraged from leaving the building area during a tornado warning.

Please contact University Police if you need further assistance

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Article ID: 8773
Fri 10/27/23 10:27 AM
Fri 10/27/23 12:48 PM
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