Tornado Response Plan
Historically the Shenandoah Valley does not experience large amounts of severe weather. Since 1950 fewer than 10 tornadoes have occurred in Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg. In the interest of trying to insure that anyone who may be on or using the EMU campus be provided with some degree of possible safety, we provide this information.
Guidelines and recommendations
Download the established guidelines and recommended procedures (PDF) in the event of tornado watches and warnings received on campus as determined by the National Weather Service.
Shelter locations on campus
It is important that campus community members understand that EMU does not have onsite tornado “safe rooms” as defined by FEMA. Suggested shelter locations are marked yellow in the fire exit floor plans posted in primary public spaces across campus. View sample fire exit floor plans: Campus Center, second floor and Maplewood dormitory(PDFs).
Remember seconds count! It can take two or three minutes just to evacuate people on upper floors to lower ones. Here in the Shenandoah Valley we would on average, have no greater than a 17-minute lead time for a tornado warning, and that could drop to as low as a five-minute lead time. Given this fact it may not be possible to evacuate everyone into a shelter area within time.
Before or in the event of a tornado warning
- Familiarize yourself with the designated shelter locations in any building frequent.
- When a warning is activated, seek shelter in the lowest portion of the building, at the identified shelter locations. If that is not possible, seek out other shelter away from windows, doors and exterior walls, using an interior room or space if need be.
- Make a quick assessment of the number of people present.
- Try to have some means of communication available to the group i.e. radio, cell phone, etc.
- Establish a shelter area unit leader.
- Monitor storm activity, determine weather conditions, and leave the shelter location only as the crisis subsides.
Download the established guidelines and recommended safety procedures (PDF).
Storm Action Plan
The storm action plan (above) is posted near all HERO mass warning system devices, part of the emergency notification system.
Familiarize yourself with designated shelter locations, marked on the fire exit floor plans that are posted in primary public spaces across campus. When a warning is activated, seek shelter in the lowest portion of the building at the identified shelter locations.