Tornado Safety

To see specific shelter locations for your building, please click Campus Floorplans​

Tornado/Severe Weather Information/Instructions.

Tornado Watch: Conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop.

Tornado Warning: Tornado has been seen in the area.

Signal: Weather Warnings issued VIA Isabella County Emergency Management, sirens from the radio towers at Grounds South or at J. J. Murray at Broadway and Mission (off campus) will sound.

Tornado Safety Brochure

Tornado Danger Signs

  • Bad Thunderstorms - thunder, lightning, hard rain, strong winds.
  • Hail - bullets of ice from a dark, cloudy sky.
  • Roaring Noise - like ten jet planes or a hundred railroad trains.
  • Funnel - a dark spinning "rope" or column from the sky to the ground.

Telephone Alert Procedures (in order) in the event of a Tornado Watch.

  • The CMU Police Department may notify the Front Desk with the following message.
  • "This is to advise you that a Tornado Watch is in effect from now until (TIME). Please follow the procedures assigned to your building/department."
  • The Residence Hall Front Desks will then notify RHDs, RAs and other desks as needed and inform them of the Watch.


  • Tune radios to local radio stations for weather information.


  • Post Tornado Watch signs in the office so they are conspicuous to visitors and others who might not be present at the time of the calls from CMU Police.


  1. Tune desk radios to local radio stations for weather information.
  2. Remove Tornado kit from file and insert date and time in bold letters on posters (Tornado Watch posters only).
  3. Desk staff should notify RHDs and RAs of their respective buildings. These persons are responsible for posting posters on designated exterior doors, bathroom doors, corridor doors, etc.
  4. If the Tornado Watch is extended, be sure to have someone change the time on the posters.
  5. While posters are being distributed, the reception desk personnel shall start securing the desk area. In the event a Tornado Warning is issued, staff should secure the desk, and proceed immediately to a shelter area.
  6. Make sure the Tornado Watch posters are removed at the end of the Tornado Watch period.


It is imperative that RHDs and RAs have an overall knowledge of Residence Life Tornado procedures.

Tornado Watch

  1. Desk shall call the RHDs and RAs on duty to post Tornado Watch posters. If the watch is issued prior to the designated duty time, the reception desk personnel on duty should contact any available RA.
  2. RHDs should assist in the posting of Tornado Watch signs whenever possible. Between these hours, signs should be posted on all exterior doors, wing doors, etc. of each building.
  3. RHDs and RAs should assist the desk receptionist wherever possible in preparing the signs to be posted.
  4. Each RHD/RA contacted in each building will be responsible for preparing and posting signs throughout the building on designated exterior doors, wing doors, etc. of each building.
  5. If the Tornado Watch is extended (in time), the RHD/RA should change the signs to reflect the correct time the watch will be over.
  6. When the watch is over, it is necessary that staff remove the signs immediately. The watch signs will only be effective if they are accurate and posted only when a Tornado Watch is in effect.


The tornado shelters for Campus Halls can be found in Section XIV, Floor Plans/Tornado Shelters.

It may not be possible to move all occupants into this area so it is necessary to be aware of specific things to AVOID if the shelter area cannot be reached. These include:

  • Wide expanse ceilings
  • Areas containing windows, display cases, or other glass
  • Large open areas
  • Areas with a large amount of debris

NOTE: If an area of proper protection cannot be reached, find the lowest point in the area and take cover under the most secure object you can find. Students should use the stairways rather than the elevators; in the event of a power failure, elevators could be stuck between floors.


Central Office

  • Secure the office and proceed to shelter areas immediately.


  • Secure the desk and desk doors and all windows, take portable radio and proceed immediately to a shelter area.

RAs and RHDs

  1. Once you have received notification that a tornado warning is in effect, begin notifying the building occupants by going door to door and advising residents to proceed to the shelter areas. Advise residents of the next best shelter area if the designated area becomes full.
  2. Take flashlights and battery operated radios (if available) to shelter areas. For up to date weather information, tune to local radio stations.
  3. Assist with crowd control.
Weather related links can be found at:

Michigan NOAA Weather Radio Coverage

Weather Underground

Weather Underground Rapid Fire

If you have questions or need further information please contact the Risk Management, Environment Health & Safety Office at (989) 774-7398 or ​