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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Tornado Safety

Tornado Sirens

Three tornado warning sirens are installed on the Wooster campus. In cooperation with the Wooster Township Fire Department and the Wayne County Justice Center Communications, these sirens will be TESTED the first Monday of EACH month at noon. The test will be a steady wail for a 15 second duration. Besides the monthly test, the sirens will be activated only when a tornado WARNING has been issued by the National Weather Service for the Wooster and Wooster Township area, when a funnel cloud sighting in the area is confirmed by public safety personnel or Skywarn Trained spotter, or instructed by a television meteorologist. In any of these situations, the siren will be a continuous wail for approximately three minutes. Upon hearing the sirens in these conditions, persons should seek immediate shelter, preferably a basement or lower level, away from walls and glass, and remain there until the threat is over. The sirens will not be activated for tornado watches or severe thunderstorm warnings.


The very word strikes fear in many people. While a tornado is perhaps nature’s most destructive storm, deaths and injuries can be prevented. By following Tornado Safety Rules, lives can be saved and injuries prevented.

To help the public prepare for tornado situations, the National Weather Service has adopted a WATCH and WARNING program.

This means that conditions are favorable for tornado development. This is the time to prepare. You should keep alert by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, or the commercial media for the latest weather information.

This means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar. People in the affected county of the storm should take immediate cover inside designated shelter areas. During a tornado warning, the warning sirens sound for 3 minutes.

Move to designated shelter areas or interior hallways; the lowest level is usually best. Stay away from windows and out of auditoriums, gymnasiums, or other structures with large free-span roofs. Seek shelter under heavy furniture as protection from falling objects.

VEHICLES: Do not try to outrun a tornado. If possible and safe, drive in a perpendicular direction away from the path of the tornado. Park your vehicle and take shelter in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head.

Tornado Myths

MYTH: Areas near rivers, lakes and mountains are safe from tornadoes.
FACT: No place is safe from tornadoes. They can cross rivers, travel up mountains, and roar through valleys.
MYTH: Low pressure with a tornado causes buildings to “explode” as the tornado passes overhead.
FACT: Violent winds and debris slamming into buildings cause most damage.
MYTH: Windows should be opened before a tornado to equalize pressure and minimize damage.
FACT: An open window allows damaging winds to enter the structure. Leave the windows alone; immediately go to a safe place.
FACT: Tornados cause an average of 70 fatalities and 1,500 injuries each year.
FACT: Tornados produce wind speeds in excess of 250 mph.
FACT: Tornados can be one mile wide and stay on the ground over 50 miles.

More Tornado Information

National Weather Service

National Severe Storm Laboratory

The Red Cross Get local alerts via your SMS Cellphone.

  • Simply text any zip code to 888777 and receive real-time alerts and advisories directly from your local police department and other local agencies. There is no charge for registering, but standard text messaging rates associated with your mobile phone service will apply. You can opt out at anytime by texting “STOP” to 888777.