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Tornado Emergency Procedures

General Information
In the wake of the destructive storm of 1997, Wayne State University administrative departments have revised tornado preparedness procedures. The Emergency Team will stay in close touch with the University Fire Marshall and other committees and individuals involved in revising tornado preparedness procedures.

Tornado Watch
A tornado watch is an alert that weather conditions are such that a tornado could develop in the area. A tornado watch alert provides the time to individually plan what action should be taken in the event that a tornado warning is sounded. The Detroit siren does not sound for a tornado watch.

Tornado Watch Procedures
When a tornado watch is declared for Wayne County, Emergency Team staff will notify Emergency Team members in the library that a tornado watch exists. Emergency Team members and staff will continue to monitor carefully for a tornado warning. If the tornado watch is upgraded to a tornado warning, follow procedures below. Tuning radios to 950AM, WWJ will give team members up to the minute weather reports. Websites are not recommended, as they are not updated frequently enough.

Tornado Warning
A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted in the area and all persons should take cover immediately. The Detroit siren will sound a 3-5 minute blast for a tornado warning.

Tornado Warning Procedures - Building Specific

David Adamany Undergraduate Library
The Access Desk and the SASS staff will be kept aware of severe weather alerts by WeatherAlert radios, which announce National Weather Service severe weather warnings. There is no emergency phone tree in place to notify all buildings of impending inclement weather.

In the event of a tornado warning, Access Desk Emergency Team members or staff should use the following procedures:
  • Access Desk staff will use the PA system to make the following announcement:
    "A tornado warning has been issued for Wayne County. This means that a tornado has been sighted in the area. Take cover. Move away from windows. Use the central stairway to move to the first floor where staff will direct you to safe areas. Handicapped persons may use the elevators to come to the first floor. For your safety, do not exit the building at this time." (Repeat every 10 minutes until warning ends.)
  • Emergency Team members and assistants on the 2nd and 3rd floors should circulate on their floors and be sure patrons are aware of the warning, then should proceed to the first floor.
  • Emergency Team members and assistants on first floor direct patrons to the following safe first floor locations:
    • Interior hallways: behind the Access Desk, hallway leading to the Student Lounge, or hallway between the 24-hour area and the librarians' offices.
    • Restrooms.
    • Under sturdy tables: in the Extended Study Area, near the Reference Desk.
    • Avoid directing patrons to areas with windows or to large rooms where roof may be more likely to collapse (Auditorium, Atrium).
    • Instruct patrons to get in a sitting position on floor, and to "duck, cover, and hold."
    • At the end of the warning, Access Desk staff use the PA system to announce the end of the threat.

Arthur Neef Law Library
Under development.

Oakland Center Library
Part of Oakland Center plan.

Purdy/Kresge Library
In the event of a tornado warning, Circulation Desk Emergency Team members or staff should use the following procedures:
  • Circulation Desk staff will use the PA system to make the following announcement:
    "A tornado warning has been issued for Wayne County. This means that a tornado has been sighted in the area. Take cover. Move away from windows. Move to the basement or central stairway on each floor where staff will direct you to safe areas. Handicapped persons may use the elevators to go to the basement. For your safety, do not exit the building at this time." (Repeat every 10 minutes until warning ends.)
  • Emergency Team members or their designees on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors should circulate on their floors, be sure patrons are aware of the warning, and direct them to the first floor.
  • Team members will also proceed to the 1st floor when all patrons have left the upper floors.
  • Emergency Team members and assistants on first floor direct patrons to the following safe locations:
    • Interior rooms: 127 and Electronic Reserves, Room 131.
    • Basement stacks area
  • Avoid directing patrons to areas with windows or to large rooms where roof may be more likely to collapse (e.g. Kresge auditorium).
  • Instruct patrons to get in a sitting position on floor, and to "duck, cover, and hold."
  • At the end of the warning, Circulation Desk staff will use the PA system to announce the end of the threat.

Science and Engineering Library
In the event of a tornado warning, staff should use the following procedures:
  • Circulation Desk staff will use the PA system to make the following announcement:
    "A tornado warning has been issued for Wayne County. This means that a tornado has been sighted in the area. Take cover. Move away from windows. Move to the basement or central stairway on each floor where staff will direct you to safe areas. Handicapped persons may use the elevators to go to the basement. For your safety, do not exit the building at this time." (Repeat every 10 minutes until warning ends.)
  • Emergency Team members and assistants should circulate on their floors, be sure patrons are aware of the warning, and direct them to the first floor.
  • Team members will also proceed to the 1st floor when all patrons have left the upper floors.
  • Emergency Team members and assistants on first floor direct patrons to the following safe locations:
    • restrooms
  • Suggested shelter areas are:
    • basement
    • interior corridors
    • under heavy tables or desks
  • Avoid directing patrons to areas with windows or to large rooms where roof may be more likely to collapse.
  • Instruct patrons to get in a sitting position on floor, and to "duck, cover, and hold."
  • At the end of the warning, Circulation Desk staff will use the PA system to announce the end of the threat.

Shiffman Medical Library and Pharmacy/Health Sciences LRC
Under development.