Dayton Campus Emergency Action Plan

Severe Weather and Sheltering

Introduction

This Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is intended to assist Wright State University employees, students, and visitors in preparing for and responding to severe weather and any need to seek shelter due to severe weather while at the University.

Scope

Severe weather includes hail, thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, high winds, and other weather systems that have the potential to create safety hazards or cause property damage.

Preparation

  • Have an emergency kit in your dorm, office, and/or car. 
  • Know where shelters are in all of the buildings you frequent on campus.
  • Consider downloading a free NOAA weather radio app on your smartphone.
  • Be familiar with the outdoor tornado siren. It’s tested the first Monday of each month at noon.
  • Familiarize yourself with the building annunciator system messages.
  • Students with disabilities should refer to the “Students with Disabilities Emergency Plan” available from the Office of Disability Services.

Notification

Notification of approaching severe weather may occur by one or more of the following:

  • Emergency Alert System (EAS) on local television
  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • internal building notification system (tornado warnings only)
  • outdoor tornado sirens (tornado warnings only)
  • University staff responsible for outdoor events

Terminology

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

Atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms, producing at least 1 inch diameter hail and/or 50 knot (58 mph) or greater wind speeds.        

Tornado Warning

A severe thunderstorm has developed and has either produced a tornado or radar has indicated intense low level rotation in the presence of atmospheric conditions conducive to tornado development.

Tornado Watch

Atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornados.

Lightning Safety

When you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike; go inside or to a safe place immediately.  There are 2 safe places to be during lightning, in a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up. All outdoor activities should be delayed when lightning is within 10 miles of campus.  

If no safe place is nearby, the following actions may reduce your risk:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges, or peaks
  • Never lie flat on the ground
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)

Wait a minimum of 30 minutes from the last observed lightning or thunder before resuming outdoor activities.

If someone is struck by lightning, they do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to assist. Provide first aid immediately if you are qualified to do so, and call University police at 937-775-2111 for emergency assistance.

Training

Emergency Management hosts National Weather Service Storm Spotter training annually.  Look for email announcements to sign up. Participate in the annual state wide tornado drill held in early March. 

Shelter Areas

Tornado shelters have been identified for most buildings on campus.  Visit http://www.wright.edu/emergency-management/tornado-safety#tab=tornado-shelter-maps to view the tornado shelter map for your building. 

Using tornado shelters is different than sheltering-in-place.  Tornado shelters are intended to provide safety during a tornado.  Sheltering-in-place is used when it is prudent to stay in your current location, such as during a hazardous materials spill or an active shooter situation.  Read those specific EAP’s for additional information on those hazards. 

Criteria for a tornado shelter:

  • Lowest level of the building (basements are preferred)
  • Most interior space of the building
  • No skylights or windows
  • Publically accessible space that remains unlocked at all times