Tornado

The most important thing to remember when a tornado warning occurs is to remain calm.

Remember these terms and know the difference:

  • A Tornado Watch simply means conditions are right for tornadoes to develop.
  • A Tornado Warning means an actual tornado has been sighted.

We will issue a "Take Shelter Alert" ONLY when there is a Tornado Warning issued by the private weather-monitoring company, AccuWeather, rather than the entire city or county. AccuWeather gives tornado information for the main campus and Tennessee-Miller Coliseum only. This service has reduced the number of false alarms and the need for people to go to their safe place unnecessarily.

"In Case of Tornado" Printable

Recommended Tornado Shelter Locations

While the locations listed below meet the recommended criteria for tornado areas of refuge according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's guidelines, MTSU does not guarantee the safety of any building occupant in the event of a tornado.

Use the search box to more easily find your building.

Building Shelter Location
114 East Lytle Street
Lytle House
Interior Bathroom Space or Move to Middle Tennessee Building
1417 East Main Annex/Soils Lab Ground Floor Interior Corridors
211 College Heights Interior Bathrooms
Alumni House Basement
Alumni Memorial Gym Basement Corridor, Room 115
Alumni Office Alumni House Basement
(Use Inside Bathroom as a last resort only. Protect head and eyes from broken window glass.)
Art Barn Annex Central Corridor
Baseball Clubhouse and Indoor Training Facility
Interior Bathrooms
Bayer-Travis Maintenance Complex Shop Bathroom Areas or Interior Offices
Beasley Hall Ground Floor Corridor
Black House, 1417 East Main St. University Police
Blue Warehouse (Distribution Services) Telecommunications Bldg, ground floor away from windows
Boutwell Dramatic Arts FIRST FLOOR BDA
The first-floor classrooms on the north end of hallway should move into hallway and move toward north end and work back.

The first-floor classrooms on the south end should go into the Studio Theatre (Room 101).

SECOND FLOOR BDA

The people in the north end of the second floor on the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic side should proceed south, collecting clients, parents, siblings, staff and all, go down south-side stairs and into Dressing Room 106.

The people in Classrooms 214, 216 and 218 should go down south-side stairs and go into Studio Theatre (Room 101).

THIRD FLOOR BDA

The labs and offices and classrooms 305, 307 and 309 should go down north-side stairs to first-floor corridor.

The others on third floor south side should go down stairs to Studio Theatre (Room 101).

Business and Aerospace Building All floors, interior east and west hallways directly outside of classroom and office doors. Keep away from glass in lobby areas. Groups in the State Farm Lecture Hall (S102) may remain inside the room.
Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building Both floors: Nursing Center area: 109-113

North end classes: Hallway outside classrooms and restrooms

Center for Historic Preservation Basement
Central Services Building (Day Care Center)
Bathrooms
Central Utility Plant/Chilling Plant Ground Floor Shop Area
Central Utility Plant/GOGENeration Plant
Ground Floor Shop Area
Cope Administration Building Basement
Corlew Hall Ground Floor Backside Corridors
Cummings Hall Ground Floor Corridors
Cyber Cafe' @ Woodmore Bathrooms and Serving Area
Deere Hall Interior Quad Bathrooms
Distribution Services (Blue Warehouse) Telecommunications Bldg, ground floor away from windows
Education Building 3rd floor restroom and interior offices
Ground floor south corridor (between closed fire doors)

Overflow - Room 160
Ellington Human Sciences Interior Corridors
Ezell Hall Faculty: Interior office space away from windows
Writing Center: To interior rooms of Writing Center
Rock Museum: Go to restrooms
Recording Studio: Go to Studio E; next best would be Studio D.
Fairview Building Basement
Infant/Toddlers - Interior Room #116
Floyd Stadium Pressbox Area The base of the stair tower inside at the lowest level. Use stairs, not elevators.
Forrest Hall Ground Floor Corridors
Foundation Reception House Basement
Gore Hall Interior Quad Bathrooms
Gracy Hall Interior Quad Bathrooms
Greek Row Houses 1-8 Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms
Greenhouse Go to Vocational Agriculture Building
Hastings Maintenance Complex Shop Bathroom Areas or Interior Offices
Harrison House University Police
Haynes House (East Main) 1. Go to police station across street
or
2. Go to Haynes basement
Haynes-Turner Maintenance Complex Interior Offices or Bathrooms Away From Glass
Health & Wellness Center Restrooms, workroom and interior exam rooms
Holmes Maintenance Complex Interior Corridors
Homer-Pittard Campus School Basement
Honors Building Restrooms
Room 106, on floor in between rows faced away from windows.
Horse Science Center Locker room and restrooms
Horse Science Center Addition Go to Horse Science Center
Horticulture Facility Go to Vocational Agriculture Building
Internal Audit Office Interior Bathrooms or Move to Dyslexia Center
James Union Building Basement corridor; lower dining room, if necessary
Jean Jack Building (airport) Restrooms and Room 106
Jones Hall Central Interior Corridor
Judd Hall Interior Quad Bathrooms
Keathley University Center Basement Area Away From Doors
Kirksey Old Main Basement Corridor
Learning Resources Center Interior Corridors Away From Glass and Room 221
Lyon Hall Basement Area
Lytle House Interior hallway next to the bathroom
Mary Hall Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms
McFarland Health Services Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms
McHenry Hall Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms
Media and Entertainment Building

Interior Corridors in South Wing Away From Atrium. (This is the wing area leading to the loading dock and the wing by the recording studio (but no further on Recording wing than Studio A).

Downstairs restrooms, and rooms with interior walls (the Graphic Lab open area, Rooms 123, 149, 150, 155 (edit bays A-H) and 167 (follow runners' directions).

If necessary, and last resort, the central machine room away from the glass, and very last resort, the central machine room hallway and the east and west corridors in main hallway, along the walls inside brick pillars under the overhang area.

Midgett Building Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms
Miller Coliseum Follow instructions of bldg. personnel
Miller Education Center  

West Building:

For building occupants in the Chinese Music Center and MTSU Police Department Annex Offices, take shelter in Rooms 1300, 1301, and the adjacent corridor. For building occupants in the Jones College of Business, take shelter in Room 1110.

East Building:

For all building occupants in the East side of the building, take shelter in Room 1814.

Miller Lanier Airway Science Peripheral Corridors Away From Hangars
Monohan Hall Basement Area
MT One Stop Ground Floor Interior Offices and Bathrooms
Murphy Center Basement Corridor Areas and Rooms. Follow instructions of bldg personnel

Ticket Office at Gate 1A

(Go to inner office inside Ticket Office; secondary location would be Murphy Center tunnel on Alumni Gym side

Natatorium Dressing Room Areas
Nicks Hall Quad Bathrooms
Observatory Stay Inside
Open Shed Maintenance Complex Move to Haynes-Turner
Parking and Transportation Services
Small interior offices and ERP Room
Peck Hall Interior Corridors and Bathrooms Away From Glass
2nd floor of Peck, interior hallways
President's House Basement
Printing Services Building Go to Tennessee Livestock Center
Project HELP Interior Corridors and Bathrooms
University Police Basement
Recreation Center Locker Rooms
Reynolds Hall Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms
ROTC Annex Move to Forrest Hall
Rutledge Hall Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms
Sam Ingram Building Lower Level (Garden floor)
Saunders Fine Arts Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms
Scarlett Commons Apartments Interior Bathrooms
Scarlett Commons Clubhouse Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms
Schardt Hall Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms
Science Building Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms Away From Glass
Sims Hall Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms
Smith Hall Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms
Sports and Medicine Building Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms
Sports Hall of Fame Move to Murphy Center
Stark Agribusiness and Agriscience Center Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms
Strobel Biology Annex Stay Inside
Student-Athletic Enhancement Center Locker Room in Murphy Center
Student Union Building Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms Away From Glass
Telecommunications Building Ground Floor Spaces Without Windows
Tennessee Center for Child Welfare (Bank of America Building on East Main Street) Primary: Bank of America vault (first-floor)

Secondary: Men's Bathroom and/or vault (second-floor) (the women's bathroom has a window)

Tennessee Center for the Study of Dyslexia
Ground Floor Interior Corridors
Tennessee Livestock Center

A small group should be able to assemble in the restrooms and stay away from any doors and windows. A larger group should take shelter:

  • In the restrooms
  • Inside the concrete-walled hallway at the east end of the building
  • In the stairwells but away from the door and any glass
  • Along the north hallway inside the front entrances but in between and facing away from all doors and windows
Tennis Shelter Move to Murphy Center
Todd Hall Basement Corridors and Bathrooms, Rooms 116, 117, 117a, 115 and the Art Studio
Tom H. Jackson Building Basement
Tucker Theatre

The people should split down the middle in the center section. All those on the left side of the auditorium (including balcony) should come down the left two aisles, go up the stairs, cross up right stage and go through the door into the Green Room. (Balcony people should come down the back left-side stairs.) They should continue down the south hallway and fill up that hallway moving back toward Green Room. They should use Green Room, if necessary.

The people on the right side of the auditorium (including balcony) should come down the right two aisles, go up the stairs, cross toward up left stage and go through the doors into the hallway. (Balcony people should come down the back right-side stairs.) Once into the hallway, people should move toward to north end of hallway and begin back-filling the area. Dressing Room 112 will also be an overflow area.

Vocational Agriculture Interior Bathrooms
Voorhies Industrial Studies
Voorhies Industrial Studies - Ground Floor East wing: Room 116, interior corridors and restrooms

Ground Floor Center: Interior corridors and restrooms

Ground Floor West wing: Room 171

2nd Floor VIS: Go to Ground Floor safe places

Walker Library Interior Corridors Away From Glass and Bathrooms
Wansley House (Audit House) Interior Hallway
Warehouse Maintenance Complex Interior Offices and Bathrooms
Wiser-Patten Science Hall Room 102, basement corridor and restrooms, Lab 111 (at either end away from the two windows)
Womack Lane Apartments Bathrooms
Wellness Center Interior restrooms and workroom
Wood-Stegall Center Interior Hallways
Wright Music Building Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms

 

Tornado Preparation

When appropriate, the following information and guidelines will be shared via email with the University community in anticipation of a severe weather forecast.

  1. According to weather forecasts, conditions may be right tomorrow (or later today) for tornado activity in our area. Therefore, this bulletin is an early notification so that you can make preparations here and at home.
  2. Some common directives include:
    • Stay away from windows and other loose or breakable objects that could become flying debris.
    • Stay near interior walls.
    • Keep one or more flashlights in your office and make sure they work.
    • In the event of a tornado, do NOT pull a fire alarm.
  3. View the Recommended Tornado Shelter Locations table above for a listing of all the buildings on campus and the suggested safest area in each building. In most cases, those areas will be the lowest possible floor of your building. If you have a question or your building is not listed, call University Police at 898-2424.
  4. If you work in a small house or a structure that would not seem as secure as others, you and your staff may want to consider moving to another building tomorrow, if time and space are available. Once a storm is approaching, however, stay where you are.
  5. Supervisors / Faculty: Review with your class or staff which is the best way to reach the Recommended Tornado Shelter Location in your building. Emphasize the importance of remaining calm.
  6. Directors / Supervisors: Take 5 minutes with your people today to:
    • Review the do's and don'ts of a tornado
    • Check your supply of flashlights/batteries, radios and other equipment that may be useful.
    • Remind everyone of the safest area in your building.
    • AND IMPORTANTLY … discuss your policy with your staff about leaving campus during a severe storm or tornado to check on a situation at home or elsewhere.
    • (If you prepare today for possible severe weather tomorrow, this may lessen your need to leave campus if a severe storm or tornado strikes.)
    • LEAVING CAMPUS: Anyone who wishes to leave campus during a tornado warning, should first check with his or her supervisor. It must be understood that people who leave campus are taking either annual leave or unpaid leave—and are responsible for themselves.
  7. Check your school: If you have children in school, call your school today and make sure you know its policy about releasing children and/or running buses during severe weather. Make sure you carry your school's phone number.
  8. Check at home: If you have pets, babysitters/children or elderly family members at home, make sure accommodations are made for them and that you have discussed a plan of action in the event of a severe storm or tornado tomorrow. Make sure everyone at home has your cell phone number.
  9. Check your day-care center: If you have children in a day-care facility, make sure you understand the center's policy in the event of severe weather. Make sure you exchange phone information.
  10. Faculty: Please plan ahead for assignments/classroom work in case your class is interrupted tomorrow by a tornado warning or, in extreme circumstances, the university should be closed. The closing of the university is issued from the President's Office.
  11. PLEASE COVER ALL YOUR BASES TODAY SO THAT YOU, YOUR WORK ASSOCIATES AND YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ARE WELL INFORMED AND SUFFICIENTLY PREPARED.

Tornado FAQs

What is the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning?

A Tornado Watch simply means conditions are right for tornadoes to develop. A Tornado Warning means an actual tornado has been sighted. We will issue a "Take Shelter Alert" ONLY when there is a Tornado Warning issued by AccuWeather for the immediate campus area.

Should we use elevators during a tornado warning?

As a general rule, no. However, if it is necessary to help someone such as a wheelchair-bound individual to reach a place of safety in a timely fashion, use the elevator. But people should not crowd into an elevator when stairs are available—in case of a power outage.

What should we do if there is a person with disabilities who needs assistance?

By all means, the professor and classmates should heed the Good Samaritan concept and help that person reach a place of safety, whether it requires lending a hand or arm or carrying him or her. If necessary, use an elevator to get that person to the recommended tornado shelter location in the building.

How will I know that it's OK to go back to my office or classroom?

If you receive a text alert or email or have a weather alert radio or access to a TV or radio and you hear that the warning has ended. If you do not have access to those things, wait 20 minutes then use your cell or nearest office phone to call MTSU University Police at 2424 to find out if there is an "all clear."; You may need to call several times because many people may be trying to call.

Are we allowed to go home during a tornado warning?

First, you need to check with your supervisor. In addition, if you leave campus, you do so with the understanding that you are taking personal leave—and thus, you are responsible for your own safety once off campus.

Does this plan pertain to night classes?

Yes. For those who attend night classes or weekend events on campus, please access the Recommended Tornado Shelter Locations table above to find out where you should go for shelter in any particular building.

What should we do when we have groups in our building from off campus and they are being chaperoned by MTSU students or other staff?

Whether it's CUSTOMS, Girls State, TSSAA or any other organized event on campus, organizers should become acquainted with the Recommended Tornado Shelter Locations in all buildings that will be used.

If there is a tornado warning ANYWHERE in Rutherford County, is that also a tornado warning for MTSU?

No. MTSU now uses AccuWeather, a private weather-monitoring company that gives tornado information for the main campus and Tennessee-Miller Coliseum only. This service has reduced the number of false alarms and the need for people to go to their safe place unnecessarily.

What should we do if the designated Recommended Tornado Shelter Location in our building is not large enough for all the people who happen to be in that building at a given time?

Use your best judgment. Once the Recommended Tornado Shelter Location is full, look for the next best shelter area away from windows and potential flying objects. Always look for interior walls and areas surrounded by steel infrastructure, such as a bathroom. (It would be wise to scout out those alternative areas right now.)

Should we heed the tornado siren?

Yes. If you are outside, you should enter the nearest building. If you are a Building Runner and you are able to hear the siren and the voice announcing "Tornado, Seek Shelter" you should take action. Afterwards, if you hear the tornado siren enunciate an "All Clear" you may send people back to their offices and classrooms.

What if we cannot hear the tornado siren?

ou will receive a "Take Shelter Alert" via email, and you should take action. As far as an "All Clear" as a rule of thumb, wait 20 minutes, then call University Police (2424) to make sure it is safe to return to offices and classrooms. If you have a weather radio in your office, you can take your cues from that regarding a warning and an all-clear. (If you have a TV in your office, you may want to have it on during a day of severe weather.)

Should I ever call 911?

Yes, if someone in your area is injured. If you call 911 on a campus phone, you will reach MTSU University Police. You will also reach MTSU University Police by dialing 898-2424 on either a campus or cell phone. If you call 911 on your cell phone, you will likely reach the City Police Department.

Would it be OK to lock our office door during a tornado drill or actual alert?

Yes.

Do the shuttles continue to run during a tornado warning?

No.

 

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