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This Policy is designed to assist Suffolk University in responding to tornadoes and maintaining services when those events occur that may prevent employees or students from entering or leaving the University for an extended period of time.

What to Do During a Tornado

If indoors

  • Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible
  • Put on sturdy shoes
  • Do not open windows

If outdoors with no shelter

  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter
  • If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park
  • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries

If trapped under debris

  • Do not light a match
  • Do not move about or kick up dust
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust

What to Do After a Tornado

  • After the tornado passes, check for injuries and administer first aid if necessary and if qualified. DO NOT move victims unless absolutely necessary
  • Report injuries and damage to the Suffolk University Police Department via 8111 or 617-573-8111. If not possible to call, then notify in person if safe to do so
  • Upon notification by emergency personnel, evacuate a damaged building to your designated assembly site. DO NOT use the elevators. Bring emergency supplies, warm clothing and purses/wallets with you; close all doors behind you
  • Replace telephone handsets that have been shaken off. DO NOT use telephones except to report fires or medical emergencies
  • DO NOT use matches, lighters or other open flames
  • Assist persons with disabilities
  • Notify emergency personnel as soon as possible of the location of anyone unable to evacuate the building
  • DO NOT return to an evacuated building unless directed to do so by emergency personnel
  • DO NOT enter a parking structure until you are told it is safe by emergency personnel
  • Access for updated information as it becomes available
  • If outdoors, watch for downed power lines and possible falling debris
  • Do not enter damaged buildings. Return only when campus officials deem the building(s) to be safe
  • The Suffolk University Police Department will control access to affected areas, and in conjunction with Risk Management, will make evaluations to determine if further actions are warranted


Reviewed by
Incident Support Team10/7/2015
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