Campus Emergencies

Any emergency should be promptly reported to Campus Police. Alert Campus Police about the nature and location of the emergency and follow instructions provided.

Should a campus emergency exist, Campus Police will activate the Emergency Response Team. The college has a comprehensive emergency response plan that is activated any time an emergency occurs that will require emergency response team oversight to the college's response.

About the Emergency Response Team

The College’s Emergency Response Team assures appropriate response to any campus emergency. This team is made up of members of campus police, facilities management, student services and other vital staff and meets regularly to plan campus emergency response, to conduct table-top and live drills to prepare for a variety of campus emergencies, assess and evaluate emergency plans and capabilities, and to debrief after any campus emergency. The Emergency Response Team also works with town police, fire and ambulance personnel to coordinate response efforts and to conduct joint drills.

Emergency Notifications and Evacuation Plans

A triangle containing the words MHC Alert

Emergency Notification System

Allows the College to effectively communicate emergency information to a large number of people at virtually the same time.
Mount Holyoke College's Field Gates. Photo by Michael Malyszko

Mount Holyoke College Evacuation Plan

A plan to ensure the safe and orderly evacuation of buildings on the Mount Hoyoke College campus during emergency situations.
Two students walking through the gate at Smith College

Smith College Evacuation Plan

A plan is to ensure the safe and orderly evacuation of buildings on the Smith College campus during emergency situations.

Evacuation Procedures

Emergency procedures are posted in each building and provided to new employees at orientation. All residential buildings have two evacuation drills each semester.

Fire Alarm: Building Evacuation

Every person in the building, including staff, faculty, students, visitors, and contractors where the fire alarm is sounding or when directed to do so by emergency officials, regardless of known or suspected cause, is required to evacuate immediately. Persons evacuating must leave via the closest exit. Any equipment that could cause a fire should be turned off before exiting if it can be done quickly and safely. Exits are posted throughout each building.

Elevators: Elevators cannot be used by any person as a means of emergency evacuation. Elevators in most buildings are pre-set to return automatically to the bottom floor. Use of an elevator can result in opening on the fire floor, exposure to life-threatening levels of fire or gases, and being trapped in a malfunctioning elevator.

Evacuation for the Mobility and Visually Impaired: Persons with mobility impairment may be allowed to "defend in place" and not be required to evacuate if they are:

  1. Located above or below the level of building exit, and
  2. Physically cannot exit without assistance.

Definition of Mobility Impaired: Persons who use a wheelchair, crutches, canes, walkers, etc. Persons who are able to walk should exit if possible, but need to decide if they can safely descend the stairs. Those with emphysema, asthma, heart disease, and arthritis, depending on the situation, may also follow the guidelines for defending in place.

Visually Impaired: Persons who are visually impaired should, with the assistance of others, evacuate the building using the stairs, if they are familiar with their immediate surroundings and frequently traveled routes. If visually impaired persons are unfamiliar with the emergency evacuation route and assistance is not available, they should defend in place. To assist visually impaired persons:

  • Announce the type of emergency.
  • Offer your arm for guidance.
  • Tell the person where you are going, obstacles you encounter.
  • When you reach safety, ask if further help is needed.

Hearing Impaired: To alert people with hearing limitations:

  • Turn lights on/off to gain the person's attention, or
  • Indicate directions with gestures, or
  • Write a note with evacuation directions.
  • Personal Emergency Plans (PEPs) for Persons with Disabilities

Although the process of developing a Personal Emergency Plan is optional for students and staff, the College encourages proactive planning on the part of the entire college community for emergency conditions. Individuals with disabilities may require additional assistance with alerting, evacuating, and sheltering in the event of an emergency.
The College offers the opportunity, through a confidential process, to develop a PEP that could include such strategies as storing extra equipment or medications, providing Campus Police with your class and personal schedule, specific evacuation procedures, sheltering procedures, volunteer rescue assistants, and designating means of communication in the event of an emergency.

Although not required, faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to identify their concerns about evacuation in case of an emergency, and to develop a PEP that is effective for them.

Even without a PEP in place, having a cell phone on you at all times and programming the Campus Police phone number into your phone can allow you to alert Campus Police if an emergency occurs and you have concerns about evacuating.
Students wishing to create a PEP for themselves, or those with questions about evacuations can contact Campus Police.

Defend in Place: Unless the fire or other hazard is life threatening to a mobility-impaired person, or the person is on the ground floor (exit level of the building), then it may be advisable for that person to remain in her or his currently occupied room. If the individual decides to defend in place, he or she must immediately:

  • Notify others evacuating that you are remaining in your room and ask them to contact campus police with that information immediately upon exiting the building.
  • If a phone is available, call Campus Police to inform them that you are defending in place, and your exact location.
  • Close the door to prevent smoke entry, and, if necessary, put towels or any other available fabric at the crack at bottom of the door.
  • If possible, move to a window with a brightly colored cloth to wave to the fire department. Do not break the window unless absolutely necessary. (Breaking the window could allow smoke to enter the room from the floor below or injure a person below).

Assembly: Once outside the building, all occupants should proceed to the designated assembly areas for a roll call. Each organization is responsible for determining the assembly areas for all buildings that their participants and staff may be using, especially the housing areas. These areas should be at least 25 feet away from the building and should leave access for emergency personnel to enter the building. The building liaison and/or faculty/instructor will take the roll call and report back to the emergency coordinator. The roll call is an important function as town emergency personnel responding to the incident need to determine if anyone is missing and may be in the building. If employees are missing, do not re-enter the building! Notify emergency response personnel and/or the emergency coordinator and inform them of the missing employee's name and last known location. Re-entry into the area will be made only after clearance is given by the emergency coordinator or his or her designee.

Each building should keep a list of people who live or have offices in the building. Examples include mod lists, residence hall lists, and staff rosters. Because the college is a public place, all people in the building may not be on a roster. The evacuated groups should be polled by the building liaison as to who may be left in the building.

Campus-Wide Evacuation

Evacuation of all or part of the campus will be announced by the Campus Police or appropriate agency.

All persons (students and staff and their visitors) are to vacate immediately the area of campus in question and relocate to another part of the campus grounds or off campus as directed.

Emergency Procedures

Active Threat Procedures

Secure Immediate Area

  • Lock and barricade doors
  • Turn off lights
  • Close blinds
  • Block windows
  • Turn off radios and computer monitors
  • Keep occupants calm, quiet, and out of sight
  • Keep yourself out of sight and take adequate cover/protection i.e concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets (cover may protect you from bullets)

Silence cell phones

  • Place signs in exterior windows to identify the location of injured persons

Un-Securing An Area

  • Consider risks before un-securing rooms
  • Remember, the shooter will not stop until they are engaged by an outside force.
  • Attempts to rescue people should only be accomplished without further endangering the the persons inside a secured area.
  • Consider the safety of masses vs. the safety of a few
  • If doubt exists for the safety of the individuals inside the room, the area should remain secured
  • Keep occupants calm, quiet, and out of sight

Contacting Authorities

  • Contact Campus Police immediately at the numbers to the right. 

What To Report

  • Your specific location - building name and office/room number
  • Number of people at your specific location
  • Injuries - number injured, types of injuries
  • Assailant(s) - location, number of suspects, race/gender, clothing description, physical features, type of weapon(s) (long gun or hand gun), backpack, shooters identity if known, separate explosions from gunfire, etc.

Police Response

  • Objective is to immediately engage assailant(s)
  • Evacuate victims
  • Facilitate follow up medical care, interviews, counseling
  • Investigation

Aircraft Crash

There is a limiited potential for an aircraft crash onto campus due to the proximity of several airfields. The following procedures should be followed should an aircraft crash on the campus.

Crash into campus Building(s)

  • Immediately take cover under tables or desks and remain clear of all windows to protect from falling or flying debris until mass movement stops.
  • Activate the nearest fire alarm pull station and evacuate the building quickly, following the established routes and procedures, if possible. Consider the potential fire and explosion to be increasing if fire or explosion did not occur on impact.
  • If you have a cell phone, call Campus Police to report the situation.
  • Assemble at the pre-designated assembly point, if it is safe to do so, or proceed to an alternate assembly point as directed by the Campus Police or other responding emergency personnel.
  • Wait at the safe assembly point until otherwise directed by the Campus Police or other responding emergency personnel.
  • If required, a campus-wide evacuation will be conducted when it is safe to do so without complicating the emergency response.

If You Become Trapped

  • Alert emergency search and rescue crews or anyone within shouting distance of your location.
  • If a campus telephone is available attempt to call Campus Police and report your location.
  • If a window is accessible, place an article of clothing or other signal in the window to alert rescuers to your location. Whistle, shout, use any object at hand to pound on a wall or door to make noise at regular intervals to alert rescuers to your location.
  • Stay low, near the floor. During a fire the air nearest the floor will contain the least smoke, contaminants and heat.
  • If you are injured, tend to your wounds.
  • Remember, the first priority during any emergency is life safety. Help is on the way.

Crash Near Campus

  • In the event of a major community emergency, the campus may be used as a staging area or command post by emergency responders.
  • Keep campus access roads open and remain clear of the command post and responders.
  • Follow building evacuation plans.
  • Wait at designated assembly points until receiving further instructions from an campus official or emergency responder.

Animal Bites

For any on-campus emergency, contact Campus Police.

  1. Control Bleeding
    If bleeding, apply continuous pressure for 5-10 minutes. If bleeding is not controlled, seek medical assistance immediately (see #4 below).
  2. Cleanse Wound
    Wash all wounds immediately with soap or detergent solution and a high volume of water for at least 5 minutes, 10 minutes if extensive or extremely dirty. Primate bites require special care. Scrub with a solution such as chlorhexidine for 15 minutes under high volume of running water.
  3. Report Bite
    Report bite to your supervisor and to the Campus Police.
  4. Seek Medical Follow-up.
    Students: Go to Health Services. After Hours Care: call the Campus Police.
    Employees: Contact your health care provider.

Bomb Threats

If you receive a bomb threat:

  1. Be calm. Do not panic.
  2. On display-type telephones note the number from where the call is coming.
  3. Note the exact time of the call.
  4. Write down as accurately as possible the statements made.
  5. Listen to the voice to determine the sex, age, accents, lisps, etc. (Note any distinguishing feature.)
  6. Listen for background noises.
  7. Attempt to question the caller and note his/her responses.
    1. Where is the bomb?
    2. When will it go off?
    3. What does it look like?
    4. What kind of bomb is it?
    5. Did you place the bomb?
    6. Why?
    7. What is your name and address?
    8. Take note of the caller's speech - was the caller's speech fast, slow, low, high, slurred, accented; was s/he angry, calm, crying?
    9. What background noises did you hear - traffic? factory noises? television? air traffic? office machinery?
  8. Immediately notify the Campus Police Department.
  9. Notfy your supervisor of the incident.

Evacuation

Should it become necessary to evacuate a building the decision to evacuate generally will be made by consultation of the Campus Police, Fire, and Departments in the building. Occasionally, due to time constraints, the Campus Police may make the decision without consultation.

If your building is evacuated, be sure to follow the directions of emergency personnel on the scene and move to the designated area outside the building and wait for further instructions.

The College will prosecute to the fullest extent possible under law any persons placing any threat to students, faculty, staff, and campus facilities.

Bioterrorism - Anthrax Advisory

How to Identify Suspicious Packages and Letters

Some characteristics of suspicious packages and letters include the following:

  • Excessive postage
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Incorrect titles
  • Title, but no name
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Oily stains, discoloration or odor
  • No return address
  • Excessive weight
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil
  • Excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc.
  • Visual distractions
  • Ticking sound
  • Marked with restrictive endorsements, such as "Personal" or "Confidential"
  • Shows a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address

Suspicious Unopened letter or Package Marked With Threatening Message Such As "Anthrax":

  • Do not shake or empty the contents of any suspicious envelope or package
  • Place the envelope or package in a plastic bag or some other type of container to prevent leakage of contents
  • If you do not have any container, then cover the envelope or package with anything (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, etc.) and do not remove this cover
  • Then leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away)
  • Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face

What to do next…

  • If you are at home, then report the incident to local police
  • If you are at work at Mount Holyoke College, notify the Campus Police at x1-911
  • List all people who were in the room or area when this suspicious letter or package was recognized. Give this list both to the local public health authorities and law enforcement officials for follow-up investigations and advice

How To Handle Anthrax and other Biological Agent Threats

Many facilities in communities around the country have received anthrax threat letters. Most were empty envelopes; some have contained powdery substances. The purpose of these guidelines is to recommend procedures for handling such incidents. Do Not Panic.

Anthrax organisms can cause infection in the skin, gastrointestinal system, or the lungs. To do so, the organism must be rubbed into abraded skin, swallowed, or inhaled as a fine, aerosolized mist. Disease can be prevented after exposure to the anthrax spores by early treatment with the appropriate antibiotics. Anthrax is not spread from one person to another.
For anthrax to be effective as a covert agent, it must be aerosolized into very small particles. This is difficult to do, and requires a great deal of technical skill and special equipment. If these small particles are inhaled, life-threatening lung infection can occur, but prompt recognition and treatment are effective.
Envelope with powder and powder spills onto surface:

Do not try to Clean up the powder. Cover the spilled contents immediately with anything (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, etc.) and do not remove this cover!
Then leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).
Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face.

What to do next:

  • If you are at home, then report the incident to local police
  • If you are at work report the incident to the Campus Police at x1-911
  • Remove heavily contaminated clothing as soon as possible and place in a plastic bag, or some other container that can be sealed. This clothing bag should be given to the emergency responders for proper handling
  • Shower with soap and water as soon as possible. Do Not Use Bleach or Other Disinfectant on Your Skin
  • If possible, list all people who were in the room or area, especially those who had actual contact with the powder. Give this list both to the local public health authorities so that proper instructions can be given for medical follow-up, and to law enforcement officials for further investigation

Question of Room Contamination by Aerosolization:

For example: small device triggered, warning that air-handling system is contaminated, or warning that a biological agent released in a public space:

  • Turn off local fans or ventilation units in the area
  • Leave the area immediately
  • Close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away)

What to do next:

  • If you are at home, then dial "911" to report the incident to local police and the local FBI field office.
  • If you are at work, then dial x1-911 to report the incident to the Campus Police Department and the local FBI field office, and notify your supervisor.
  • Shut down the air handling system in the building, if possible,
  • If possible, list all people who were in the room or area. Give this list to both the local public health authorities so that proper instructions can be given for medical follow-up, and to law enforcement officials for further investigation.

See the Centers for Disease Control web site on Emergency Preparedness for more Anthrax information.

Also see the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Emergency Preparedness and Response web site.

Information taken from a CDC Health Advisory distributed via Health Alert Network on October 12, 2001.

Disturbances

Campus

  1. Get a description of the person(s) causing the disturbance.
  2. Gather key details of what happened.
  3. Call the Campus Police department then give your name, telephone number, location and the nature of the disturbance.

Actions Faculty Can Take for Classroom Disturbances

  1. Direct the disruptive person(s) to leave the classroom.
  2. If the person(s) does not leave, have the situation reported to the Campus Police Department giving the name of the caller, telephone number, location, and nature of the disturbance.
  3. If the safety of the others is threatened, dismiss the class.

Earthquakes

While very rare in this area, earthquakes are one of the most potentially damaging emergencies the campus will face. The potential coexistence of other disasters with earthquakes, such as fires, natural gas line ruptures, power outages, and ground failures add to the potential for catastrophic damage to campus and the surrounding area. Organizations are expected to be self-sufficient up to 3 days following a major earthquake, without government agency or utility company response. In the event of an earthquake

If Inside:

  1. Take cover under a desk or table and hold on. If your cover moves, move with it. Brace in a doorway if cover is not available -- be cautious of swinging doors and people traffic. Avoid outside or high-use doorways.
  2. Stay away from windows and objects that could fall.
  3. If in a theater or lecture hall, stay in your seat or get under it, if possible. Protect your head with your arms.
  4. When shaking stops, move cautiously outside. Be careful of falling building materials or uneven ground. When outside, move away from the building.
  5. Proceed to a designated assembly point, or if unsafe, an alternate assembly point. Remain for further instruction.
  6. Instructors and supervisors: Notify the Campus Police of anyone unaccounted for from your area.
  7. Notify the Campus Police  if there are any injuries or any damage to a building.

Do NOT go back into the buildings until notified.

If Outside:

  1. Move away from buildings, overhead lines, poles, or other objects that could fall or move abruptly (vehicles & equipment).
  2. Get low to the ground and protect your head with your arms.
  3. Do NOTstand on or take shelter under covered walkways.

Always:

  1. Proceed to the designated assembly area and WAIT.
  2. Be prepared for after-shocks.
  3. If you suspect gas, electrical or other problems, notify campus officials.

In Case of Major Disaster:

  1. The Campus Emergency Response System will be initiated.
  2. Wait at your designated assembly point until you receive further instructions or until you are scheduled to report for a pre-designated responsibility.
  3. Follow instructions from college and emergency officials.

Fire

Fire and the associated dangers of smoke, structural damage, or toxic releases can pose serious threats of injury and death to students, employees, visitors, and emergency response personnel. In order to control a fire and minimize its damage, the following steps should be taken immediately: 

  • Leave the area at once.
  • Pull the fire alarm on your way out.
  • Alert other people in the area and instruct them to leave the building.
  • Close, but do not lock, all doors and windows if you can safely and quickly do so to help contain the fire.
  • Stay as low as possible to avoid smoke and heat.
  • Evacuate the building calmly, but quickly, following evacuation and assembly procedures posted in the building.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Go directly to the designated assembly area and await additional instructions. Report anyone who is missing and who was in your classroom or area when the evacuation began to emergency responders.
  • Call Campus Police from a safe location via campus phones. 
  • Remain at the assembly area until you are instructed how to proceed by the Campus Police or Fire Department official.

If Trapped:

  • Alert emergency responders of your location by whistling, shouting or using an object to beat on walls or floor in a rhythmic manner.
  • If a telephone is available, call Campus Police to advise them of your location; you may also place an article of clothing or other device to use as a signal in a window, if a window is available.
  • Stuff material in door cracks to minimize smoke and try to stay low, near the floor, where heat, smoke, and contaminants may be less.
  • If you are injured, tend to injuries.

Do NOT try to fight a fire; leave any building and report to a safe meeting area away from the buildings.

Flood

If you encounter high water, do the following:

  • Move to higher ground.
  • Do not get under tall trees during rainstorms, lightning may strike.
  • Avoid fast flowing water, even in your vehicle.
  • Do not walk in flooded areas (water depth is not always obvious).
  • Avoid contact with, and do not use electrical devices.
  • Be especially careful with high water at night, as darkness may hide other hazards.
  • Contact Campus Police to advise them of the water issues.

Hazardous Materials

If you are involved with or observe a hazardous material (biological, chemical, radiological, fuel, or oil) spill, incident, or release for which assistance is needed: 

  • If the incident is indoors, leave the space and close all doors in order to isolate the area if it is safe to do so.
  • If the incident is outdoors, move upwind of the area and warn people to stay away from the material.
  • From a safe area call the Campus Police from a cell phone.
  • Be prepared to provide the following information regarding the spill or release:
    • Name of the material
    • Quantity of material
    • Time of the incident
    • Location of the incident
    • If anyone is injured or exposed to material
    • If a fire or explosion is involved
    • Your name, phone number, and location
  • Do not enter the space in an attempt to rescue a person on control the release until it is evaluated by emergency responders.
  • Arrange for someone to meet the emergency responders, and follow instructions provided by the emergency responders.
  • Anyone who may have been contaminated should immediately flush the area. The affected area of the skin should be washed for 15 minutes. Call the Capus Police for medical evaluation and assistance.
  • Evacuate, if necessary. Remain in a safe designated area until released by emergency responders.
  • Present the Material Safety Data Sheet or name of the material involved to emergency responders if this information is available.
  • Do not attempt to clean up a spill or release unless you are trained to do so and have the proper equipment.

If you are notified of a hazardous materials incident, follow the instructions provided by the emergency service officials:

  • Clear the area immediately if instructed to do so by the emergency providers, providing assistance to those with special needs.
  • When evacuating, move crosswind, never directly with or against the wind.
  • Remain in a safe designated area until released by emergency responders.
  • If you observe what you believe to be an unauthorized release of any pollutants to the environment, call the Campus Police immediately.

Certain releases are classified as Incidental Releases and can be cleaned up by trained personnel in the area. Incidental Releases do not spread rapidly, do not endanger people or property and do not endanger the environment.

Medical Emergencies

Call Campus Police immediately for any medical emergency on campus.

All officers are trained First Responders and receive annual medical and CPR training.  Officers can provide critical care while the ambulance is responding to campus. In addition, the Department is fortunate to work with student Emergency Medical Technician teams on each of our campuses who can augment our care for individuals suffering from medical emergencies, both urgent and more routine.

What to do if someone is injured or becomes ill:

  • Stay calm.
  • Call Campus Police and explain the type of emergency, the location of the victim and the condition of the victim. Let the dispatcher know of any safety hazards - chemical spill, fire, fumes, etc.
  • Be sure to tell the dispatcher if the person is unconscious, is not breathing, is bleeding profusely, or has chest pain. These all cause the dispatcher to summon an ambulance immediately.
  • Do not hang up unless told to do so by the dispatcher.
  • Do not move the victim unless there is danger of further injury if s/he is not moved.
  • Do not give victim anything to eat or drink.

If you have a medical condition that might require special knowledge by our staff, please contact Campus Police to discuss your situation. See also our Assistance Program for Students with Disabilities for more details.

Please also visit our student EMS websites:

Poison

These procedures are taken from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

  • Stay calm.
  • Call the Campus Police immediately.
    • Mount Holyoke
      • from campus phone: x1911
      • from cell phone: (413) 538-2304
    • Smith
      • from campus phone: x800
      • from cell phone:  (413) 585-2490
  • Try to provide information about what material may have caused the poisoning. Have the container or data sheet available for emergency responders.
  • While officers respond quickly on campus, someone in the area can call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 for further instructions.

Before dealing with an emergency, you can download the webPOISONCONTROL (r) from the App Store or Google play.

Power Outages

If there is a power failure, you should do the following:

  • Call Campus Police  and give your name, telephone number, location, and nature of the outage.
  • Some residential buildings have generators to provide emergency power for a short period of time. Emergency power usually covers areas of egress and fire alarm systems.
  • A Campus Police officer will respond and the Dispatcher will notify appropriate college officials.
  • Representatives of the Facilities Management Department will verify the failure and its cause.
  • In cases where power failures will effect classes, residence halls, or other college activities for extended periods, the College emergency response team will be notified to mitigate the outage.
  • Caution: even in a power outage, candles or other items with a flame, are still not permitted as they are unsafe.
  • You will be advised of areas you can go that may have power for meal service, potentially charging critical devices, etc.
  • Do not use an elevator during power outages.
    • If you are trapped in an elevator, campus elevators have emergency phones that connect directly to Campus Police. Facilities and fire personnel will respond to assist.
  • There may be buildings designated for residents to move to for an extended outage that may be unaffected or have generation.
  • If you are advised to evacuate, lock your room and your valuables and take your key with you. Exit quickly but calmly.

Plan before a power failure:

  • Always backup your academic files frequently so they can be retrieved if your battery dies (or crashes or is stolen). 
  • Keep a flashlight with your, or in your room.
  • Invest in a portable charge for your phone; that may extend its life in the event of an extended outage. Reducing the brightness of your phone and using it only for necessary communication will also extend the life of the battery.
  • Bring a spare battery for your laptop.
  • Plug your laptop and other electronics (phone charger, TV) into a surge protector to protect devices from voltage spikes.

Tornado

Tornadoes usually occur in the spring and summer; they are formed by severe thunderstorms. Considered nature's most violent, erratic storm, they consist of whirling winds of up to 300 miles per hour. Tornadoes can sweep through an area, causing serious damage and destruction, and then change direction and strike again. In addition to injuries and structural damage, electrical shorts and gas leaks, etc., may create fires or other hazards. 

Tornado Watch

A tornado watch occurs when weather conditions are considered favorable for creating a tornado - for example, during a severe thunderstorm.

When a tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service a notification will be issued by the college's emergency notification system with information about the watch and any precautions recommended.

  • Any time a tornado watch is issued, keep an eye to the sky and pay attention to sources of weather information. Even thunderstorms not yielding tornadoes can produce dangerous wind and lightning.

Sample Tornado Watch Notification

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for the Western Massachusetts Area (or Hampshire County) until (time). followed by any recommendations.

Tornado Warning

A tornado warning occurs when a tornado funnel has been sighted or identified by radar in the area. Take shelter immediately. Remember that tornadoes can form and move quickly; therefore, there may not be adequate time to issue a warning. If severe thunderstorms occur, be alert to the fact that a thunderstorm could trigger a tornado, and be prepared.

When a tornado warning is issued by the National Weather Service, a community notification will be issued which will include instructions, generally to move indoors and to a lower level in a building away from windows.

Faculty members/supervisory personnel should:

  • Direct occupants to proceed in a quick and orderly manner to the nearest designated shelter area in the building.
  • Instruct occupants not to leave the building.
  • Turn off all lights and electronic equipment in the room.
  • Provide assistance to persons with disabilities.
  • Accompany occupants to the lower levels of the building away from windows.

Occupants should:

  • Proceed to the lowest level in the building away from windows.
  • Move quickly but in an orderly manner so that all may arrive safely.
  • Take a seat in the shelter area.
  • Residence hall residents will follow the specific residence hall guidelines for a tornado warning.
  • Persons with a weather alert radio will monitor for an "all clear."

Areas and Places to Avoid During a Tornado

  • All outside walls, elevators, and windows of buildings.
  • Any low-lying area that could flood.
  • Vehicles---do not use for shelter.
  • Building areas with a large roof span.

Remain sheltered until the tornado warning is over. Campus officials will advise when it is safe to resume normal activities.

Sample Tornado Warning Notification

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for the Western Massachusetts Area (or Hampshire County) until (time). Seek shelter now inside a sturdy structure and stay away from windows.