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Northwest Missouri State University


Emergency Weather and Weather Related Emergency Procedures

General Safety Procedures

The following guidelines apply to weather-related emergency conditions on campus. Please review these procedures frequently and identify appropriate protected areas within reasonable proximity to your working, living, and classroom areas so that you may move quickly to safety should circumstances appear threatening or a warning be issued.

Faculty members should review these guidelines with their classes at the beginning of each trimester. Remember, these procedures are not to be confused with the normal procedures used to evacuate a building because of smoke, fire or other possible emergency situations.

Severe Storm or Tornado Watch

A thunderstorm or tornado watch is issued whenever weather conditions exist that could produce a severe storm in this area. A severe thunderstorm warning is issued when a storm is observed moving toward the area. In case of a severe thunderstorm watch/warning or a tornado watch:

  • Sirens will not sound.
  • Be alert to the possibility of high winds or hail. Should a storm develop, move away from windows exposed to the impact of high winds, debris, or hail into a protected area of hallway or an interior windowless room until the danger is past.

Tornado Warning

A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted and is moving toward the Maryville area. In case of tornado warning:

  • Sirens/audible internal building alarms will sound, and text messaging will be activated.
  • Move immediately to protected areas and remain there until the all-clear is issued by, local radio stations, National Weather Service Radio System, police, or other official sources of information.
  • Interior-protected areas usually recommended by the U.S. Weather Service include: basements (especially those under reinforced concrete structures) or, if a basement is not available, the lowest level of a building, in an interior hallway or a room without windows or other exposed glass. In cases where there has been no prior warning, the warning has not provided sufficient time, or disable individuals are within the area move to an adequately protected area, moving into an interior hallway, windowless room, under/behind heavy furniture may be of less risk than moving to lower levels.
  • If you are out-of-doors when a tornado warning is sounded, take cover in a protected area if possible. If a protected area is not accessible, lie in a ditch or depression away from trees and power lines and cover your head with your hands.

Lightning Safety

 

If you are out-of-doors, during a thunderstorm, and have no time to reach a safe building or automobile, take shelter in a low area away from natural conductors of electricity (such as tall trees, power lines, open water, fences, etc.). If you feel your hair stand on end-indicating that lightning is about to strike-drop to your knees and bend forward putting your hands on the ground in a four-point stance. DO NOT lie flat on the ground.

These safety tips are to be observed when lightning threatens:

  • Stay away from open doors and windows, fireplaces, radiators, stoves, metal pipes, sinks, and plug-in electrical appliances or tools.
  • Do not use the telephone during the storm-lightning may strike telephone lines outside.
  • Do not work on fences, telephone or power lines, pipe lines, or structural steel fabrications.
  • Do not use metal objects such as surveyor's rods or shovels.
  • Do not handle flammable materials in open containers.
  • Stop tractors and open-air vehicles, especially when pulling metal equipment, and dismount.
  • Stay in your automobile, truck or pickup. They offer good lightning protection.
  • Get out of and away from any body of water.
  • Seek shelter in buildings.
  • When there is not shelter, avoid the highest object in the area. If only isolated trees are nearby, your best protection is to crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from isolated trees as the trees are high.
  • Avoid hill tops, open spaces, wire fences, metal poles, exposed sheds, and any electrically conductive elevated objects.

If you are driving a vehicle, proceed to the nearest sheltered area and wait in your car for the storm to pass. If a tornado is sighted or if a tornado warning has been sounded, leave the vehicle and lie down in a ditch or depression between the approaching tornado and your vehicle. If the funnel is more than a mile away, you may drive at a right angle away from the funnel.

Winter Weather

Extreme cold temperatures are a big danger during winter months in Missouri.  Prolonged exposure to the cold can cause frostbite, hypothermia, or in extreme cases, death.

Severe winter weather can strand you in your home or your apartment.  It is a good idea to keep some extra supplies around during the winter season and follow some simple precautions.

  • Keep ahead of advancing winter weather by listening to NOAA Weather Radio.
  • An ice storm can cause utility failure so it is a good idea to have ready and check battery powered equipment before the storm arrives.
  • Check your food and stock an extra supply.  Include food that requires no cooking in case of power failure.
  • Make sure pets and animals have shelter and a water supply.
  • Be careful when using alternate heating sources.
  • Dress for the conditions when outdoors.  Wear several layers of light-weight, warm clothing.
  • Pace yourself when shoveling snow.  Heart attacks are a major cause of death during, and after winter storms.

Traveling can become quite challenging in inclement weather and even dangerous at times.  Before you get into your car, follow these tips:

  • Get your car winterized.
  • Check the air in your tires and make sure they are properly inflated.
  • Make sure you keep your gas tank near full.
  • Carry a winter storm kit in your car.  It should include:
    • Flashlight
    • Extra clothes
    • Blankets
    • Sand
    • High calorie, non-perishable food items
    • Check road conditions via the Missouri State Highway Patrol
    • Plan your travel
    • Don’t travel if the weather turns severe

Weather Damage, Hazards, or Injury

As soon as it is safe to do, report injuries and hazards to the University Police Department at 660.562.1254. Be prepared to give your location and provide information on extent of injuries.