Tornado season arrives, be ready

April 27, 2009 | UToday
By Jim Winkler

April has arrived and so has northwest Ohio’s tornado season.

For Gary Jankowski, associate vice president for safety and health, preparation is key to staying safe during severe weather, and he is asking UT faculty, staff and students to review basic severe weather rules.

“The key is to be prepared at all times,” Jankowski said. “When a tornado threatens, knowing what to do could save your life.”

Jankowski said employees and students should always be aware of rapidly deteriorating weather conditions. The National Weather Service (NWS) will issue a tornado watch, by affected county, if weather conditions are prime for tornados, and a tornado warning if a tornado has been sighted in the county. If a tornado warning is issued, sirens will sound. In a tornado warning, seek safety immediately.

When the sirens go off, classes are immediately suspended and all students and faculty must go to the nearest tornado safe waiting area, according to Dr. Rosemary Haggett, Main Campus provost and vice president for academic affairs. Classes should not resume until the warning has expired.

UT’s outdoor tornado warning sirens are tested the first Friday of every month at noon. The sirens are activated for one minute followed by a verbal announcement indicating it is a test.

“This is a time when we review our preparations and make sure everything is ready for severe weather,” said William Logie, vice president for human resources and campus safety. “Testing the sirens helps us make sure things will work when we need it and also serves as a reminder that severe weather, including tornados, can occur in Toledo, and faculty, staff and students should be prepared.”

The best thing to do in a tornado is find underground shelter such as a basement or designated tornado safe waiting area. If an underground shelter is not available, a small interior room or hallway on the building’s lowest floor is the second-best option.

Tornado safe waiting signs are posted in Main, Scott Park and Health Science campus buildings.

To see the list of tornado safe waiting locations for Main and Scott Park campus buildings, go to

“Persons in Dowling Hall on Health Science Campus should take refuge in either the basement of the Health Education Building or the basement of UT Medical Center, as Dowling Hall has glass at the west end of the basement,” Jankowski said.

Health Science Campus employees and students can read more about what to do during severe weather at

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