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Emergency Procedures

Evacuation Procedures

Evacuation Policy: SDSU policy requires immediate evacuation when any fire alarm sounds within a building. All faculty, staff, students and any other individuals within the building must promptly evacuate the building using the nearest designated exit routes.

Building Evacuation

  • Building wardens and area wardens are responsible to ensure all people in their building are aware of exit routes and location of their building emergency assembly area.
  • Personnel may briefly delay evacuating if they need time to shut down electrical and other equipment, especially any that involve flame, explosive vapor or hazardous materials.
  • All building occupants will follow instructions relevant to public safety issued by the building warden or fire and police personnel.
  • After exiting the building, occupants are to go directly to their designated Emergency Assembly Area (EAA) and follow guidance provided by the building warden (or designated safety representative) and emergency responders.
  • Do not re-enter the building until authorized fire or police department personnel give the “All Clear” instruction.

General Evacuation Procedures: If you hear the fire alarm or are instructed to leave the building:

  • Immediately obey evacuation alarms and orders. Tell others to evacuate.
  • No one may remain inside a building when an evacuation is in progress.
  • Classes in session must evacuate.
  • If involved with hazardous research or doing a dangerous procedure, immediately shut down operations that could create additional hazards if left unattended. Notify the building warden and evacuate as soon as possible.
  • If immediately shutting down hazardous research would cause additional risks or hazards, notify the building warden and emergency personnel of location and hazards.
  • When you evacuate, take keys, coat, medication, purse and any other critical personal items with you to the EAA. REMEMBER, IN CASE OF A FIRE, IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOT DELAY EVACUATION.
  • Close doors as rooms are vacated.
  • Assist those who need help, but do not put yourself at risk attempting to rescue trapped or injured victims.
  • Note location of trapped and injured victims and notify your building warden or emergency responders.
  • Walk calmly but quickly to the nearest emergency exit.
  • Use stairways only. Do not use elevators.
  • Keep to the right side of corridors and stairwells as you exit.
  • Proceed directly to your designated EAA. Stay away from the immediate area near the building you evacuated.
  • Remain in EAA until accountability is taken and instructions are given.
  • Do not re-enter the building until authorized fire or police department personnel give the “All Clear” instruction.

Campus Evacuation

  • An emergency requiring the evacuation of the campus is likely to be part of a larger evacuation. It is important to follow evacuation instructions.

When evacuating in a vehicle the primary egress routes for those leaving the campus in a vehicle are:

  • Medary Ave, north to the Hwy 14 bypass or south to the City of Brookings.
  • 11th Street East to 22nd Ave and then north to the Hwy 14 bypass or south to the City of Brookings.
  • 8th Street west to Medary or east to 20th Ave. and then south to 6th Street.

Emergency Action Guide Flip Chart

Please note: This resource is not designed to be a comprehensive plan, but a reference for responding to an incident. Click on a topic for the information specific to that incident. Sept. 2017 (Update 2023) is the latest update to the Emergency Action Guide Flip Chart.

Information in this section outlines some protective measures that you may be able to use should an armed person with unknown intent or an active shooter puts your life in danger.

Call 9-911 or 111 from an on-campus phone or 911 from an off-campus location.  

  • Tell the dispatcher what you have seen or heard. Remember to include number, location, description, clothing worn and activity of the armed person(s), and the type of weapon(s) if you can tell.

If it is safe to leave the building or area do so immediately and find a safe place to wait. Put your mobile devices on silent. 

If you do not believe it is safe to leave, shelter-in-place, which means to immediately seek shelter and remain there during an emergency rather than evacuate. Shelter-in-place should only be used when evacuation is not safe.

The following recommendations should be considered when ordered to shelter-in-place:

  • A room that locks from the inside or can be barricaded.
  • Avoid sheltering in rooms with interior windows that would allow you to be seen from another room or hallway. Exterior windows can be an escape route if in the same building as the threat.

If you can only find a room that cannot be locked:

  • Use whatever is available to block the door. Jam chairs, podiums, tables and cabinets against the door.
  • Check to see if any windows can be used to make an emergency exit.
  • Turn out the lights, remain quiet and hide under tables and chairs.

If a shooter enters your room:

  • If you can safely run from the room and away from the shooter, do so.
  • If there is no escape route, you will have to assess the situation and make a difficult decision:
  • Lie as still as possible beneath the tables and chairs; or,
  • With anything you can use as weapons, physically attack the shooter until you can make an escape or the shooter is unable to continue the attack.

When exiting the building or area, do not be mistaken as a dangerous threat:

  • Keep your hands fully visible to the police at all times.
  • Follow the officers’ instructions and let them approach you. Do not reach or grab for an officer.
  • Expect to be escorted to and detained at an assembly area. For your safety, stay put until police identify and release you.

Information will be sent out using the university’s Emergency Notification System as it becomes available.

A bomb threat could consist of any of the following:

  • An actual threat that a bomb has been placed.
  • A suspicious package has been located.

Immediately upon receipt of a bomb threat get someone near you to call the police. Dial 9-911 or 111 from an on-campus phone or 911 from an off-campus location.


  • Get a pen and paper for notes, if possible.
  • Do not hang up.
  • If your phone has caller ID, write down the caller’s number.  
  • Remain calm, be polite and attempt to get information from the caller and assess the validity of the threat.
  • Attempt to keep the caller on the phone as long as possible.
  • Ask questions, such as:
    • What is your name?
    • When is the bomb going to explode?
    • Where is the bomb?
    • What does it look like?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • What will cause it to explode?
    • Is the bomb yours?
    • Why was it placed here?
    • What is your address?
    • Where are you calling from?

Make notes about the following:

  • Exact time you received the call and words used by the caller.
  • What you remember about the caller’s voice.     
  • Did the voice sound familiar?
  • Were there any background noises?
  • Assess the caller’s voice, accent, slang and speaking style.
  • Note unusual speech characteristics.
  • Describe the type of language used.

Written Bomb Threat Message

  • Avoid handling the message and its container to preserve fingerprints or other clues to identify the writer.
  • Keep the message for police investigation.

Civil disturbance is a term typically used by law enforcement to describe one or more forms of disturbance caused by a group of people, often in the form of protests, illegal parades or sit-ins, as well as riots, sabotage and other crimes.

Most university demonstrations such as marches, meetings, pickets and rallies will be peaceful and non-obstructive.  A student demonstration should not be disrupted unless one or more of the following conditions exist as a result of the demonstration: 

  • Interference with the normal operations of the university.
  • Prevention of access to offices, buildings or other university facilities. 
  • Threat of physical harm to persons or damage to campus facilities. 

If you suspect that a civil disturbance may occur, call the University Police Department at 605-688-5117.

If you see a civil disturbance:

  • Call 911 and give the dispatcher the exact location and details about the disturbance.
  • Avoid becoming involved or otherwise inciting the disturbance by your actions.
  • Log off computers and secure all sensitive information if the disturbance is in your work area.
  • Stay away from any windows or glass doors between you and the disturbance.

Class order and discipline is the responsibility of the instructor. Classroom disruption is the excessive and unreasonable interference with classroom instruction. If a disruptive student is encountered, the instructor should:

  • Remain calm.
  • Don't ignore the behavior.
  • Tell the person to stop.
  • If the behavior persists:
    • Instruct the person to leave the classroom.
    • Inform the university leadership of the incident.
    • Meet with the student outside the class setting to set behavioral limits and assign consequences to future similar behavior.

If the person refuses to leave or if behavior becomes threatening:

  • Dismiss the class, leave and report the incident to the university leadership - it is important to document the incident.
  • Consider referring the student to Student Judicial Affairs.
  • Strongly consider discussing the student’s behavior with the university Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT).

In the event of a serious illness or injury immediately call the University Police Department at 605-688-5117 or 111 (from an on campus phone) or if residing off campus, call 911.

Reporting a fire:

  • Yell, FIRE – FIRE – FIRE while going to and activating a nearby fire alarm pull station.
  • Evacuate the building immediately, close doors and windows and perform laboratory emergency shut-down procedures (only if procedures can be safely completed).
  • When you are safe, dial 9-911 or 111 from an on-campus phone, 911 from an off-campus location, and report the exact location(s) of the fire to the dispatcher.  
  • Go to your designated emergency assembly area or gathering point.
  • Do not re-enter the building until authorized fire or police department personnel give the “All Clear” instruction.

Fire Safety Rules:

Plan fire escape routes.

  • Know where all exits are located in the building and plan two escape routes.
  • Practice your escape plan.

Do not use the elevators.

Feel the door handle

  • If the door handle is hot, do not open it. Go to a window and call for help.
  • If the handle is not hot, open cautiously checking for smoke or fire before going out.

When you evacuate, take keys, coat, medication, purse and any other critical personal items with you to the emergency assembly area.


Crawl low to the floor.

  • Thick smoke can make it impossible to see, therefore breathe through your nose or through a shirt.
  • Do not breathe the smoke as toxic chemicals from smoke can be deadly in minutes.

Close the door behind you.

  • You may help keep the fire from spreading.
  • You may protect your possessions from fire and smoke damage.

If you cannot get out, get someone’s attention.

  • Yell and scream.
  • Hang a sheet out of the window and then close the window tightly to hold it in place.
  • Stay low, there is less smoke and poisonous gas close to the floor. Use wet towels to block smoke from entering the room.

When to use a Fire Extinguisher:

  • Use a fire extinguisher when all these questions are answered “yes”. If you’re unsure about whether it’s safe to use a fire extinguisher, and for all other situations, alert others, leave the building, and call 911 from a mobile or neighbor’s phone.  Checklist to help prepare to use a fire extinguisher on a potential small fire. 
    • Have I alerted other in the building that there’s a fire?
    • Has someone called the fire department?
    • Am I physically able to use a fire extinguisher?
    • Is the fire small and contained in a single object (like a pan or a wastebasket)?
    • Am I safe from the fire’s toxic smoke?
    • Do I have a clear escape route?

Using a Fire Extinguisher:

  • Only use a fire extinguisher if you have been trained and are comfortable with your ability to effectively fight the fire. If you decide to use the fire extinguisher, remember to position yourself between the fire and the exit.

Remember PASS.

Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.   

Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side. 

Preventive means to manage confrontations

  • Encourage bystanders to say something when they see someone behaving in a way that is unacceptable.
  • Get regular wellness checks at the doctor to promote physical and mental health.
  • Learn how to find balance in your life and create living and working environments that are healthy and free from violence.
  • Learn and practice strategies to lower your risk for unwanted outcomes when choosing to drink alcohol.
  • Seek help if you are worried about someone or seek help for yourself if you are having any sort of difficulty.
  • Create an environment where people feel comfortable asking for help and supported when they do.
  • Engage in respectful communication free from hostility.
  • Avoid spreading gossip about co-workers and foster an environment of civility.

How to respond to non-violent disputes:

  • Remain calm.
  • Learn how to recognize early signs of aggressive behavior before it escalates and slow down to de-escalate the situation and limit intense emotional reactions such as elevated voices.
  • Keep your body language in check and use neutral language.
  • Set healthy boundaries for effective communication
  • Reach out to Human Resources for support on conflict management.

Be aware:

  • Of your surroundings, exits and residence/office/class escape routes.
  • Of your co-workers, friends, students and peers.   
  • Of the types of violence, warning signs and the resources available.
  • Of the laws, regulations and policies that determine workplace/school issues.
  • Of how you report a threat or concerning behaviors.
  • Of how you refer an employee or student for help.

Remember: naturally occurring or spontaneous events may be triggers for confrontations.

If you or someone you know is being threatened by a confrontational person and are in fear of your safety or well-being, you can contact the University Police Department to report the threatening behavior. University Police Department: Use 9-911 of 111 for emergency assistance. 605-688-5117.

How to respond to a violent person:
  • Get to a secure location as soon as possible
  • Notify the police
  • Provide all the information available to you
  • Do not try to be the mediator!
  • Remain calm


Concerning Behavior: If you are concerned about the behaviors of a member of our community you may assist them by notifying a member of the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT). You can reach a BIT member by contacting a staff member in Student Affairs, the Counseling Center, Residence Life and Housing or Human Resources.


Threatening Behavior: If you are aware of threatening behavior, contact the University Police Department at 9-911/111 or 605-688-5117.

If you smell natural gas or any other fumes or vapors, immediately leave the area and call 9-911 or111from an on-campus phone or 911 from an off-campus location.  

Natural gas or propane can explode when exposed to a flame or sparks, which may result in a dangerous situation on campus. It is important to report any suspected gas leaks immediately.

Tell the dispatcher who you are, where you are and where you smelled the odor.

Provide any information you may know about the odor or any other hazardous materials possibly in the building.

If you are instructed to evacuate:

  • Leave ventilation systems running unless instructed by fire or safety officials to shut them off.
  • Quickly turn off all flame – and spark ­– producing equipment in the area.
  • Leave the area as soon as possible. If you can, help others who require assistance to evacuate. If you are not able to assist, tell rescuers where you last saw them. When possible, use enclosed stairways to exit if you are not on the building entrance level. Go to your emergency assembly area to be checked off the attendance sheet.
  • Do not go back inside the building until it is declared safe by fire and safety officials.

If a small hazardous material spill occurs, use an approved spill kit to safely contain materials and isolate the area, if it can be done without the risk of injury or others.  Do not attempt to clean up a large or small spill unless you are fully trained and have the proper equipment, or if you are unsure of the materials.  If the spill or release cannot be controlled by persons in the affected area, immediately leave the area and if the lab occupants feel that it is an emergency that may affect the entire building, pull the fire alarms to evacuate the building.

Once you are in a safe area call, dial 9-911 or 111 from an on-campus phone or 911 from an off-campus phone.  Immediately inform your departmental office and Environmental Health & Safety Office at 688-4264 (M-F 8AM-5PM).

Try to have the following information about the spill or leak:

  • Name of material.
  • Quantity of material released.
  • Time of the incident.
  • Location of the incident.
  • If anyone was injured by, or exposed to the material.
  • If a fire or explosion was involved.
  • Your name, number and current location.

During a Hazardous Materials Emergency

When the fire and safety officials arrive, follow their instructions.

  • If possible, leave the affected area immediately in the direction upwind from the source.
  • If leaving safely is not possible, get indoors immediately and shelter-in-place. Do not leave the safety of shelter to assist others outdoors.
  • Provide Safety Data Sheets to responders.

If instructed to evacuate

  • Do so immediately.
  • If available, monitor local broadcast media for emergency information on:
    • Evacuation routes.
    • Temporary shelters.
    • Procedures to follow.
  • Follow the routes given by the university and other authorities – shortcuts and other routes may not be safe.
  • Carpool with others to minimize traffic congestion.
  • Assist those in need (children, elderly, disabled, persons without transportation).

If outside:

  • Stay upwind, upstream and uphill.
  • Try to go at least one-half mile from the source.
  • Avoid contact with spilled liquids, airborne mists or condensed solid chemical deposits.
  • Avoid inhaling gases, fumes and smoke, covering the nose and mouth with cloth if possible.
  • Avoid contact with exposed individuals until the hazardous material has been identified and interpersonal contact is determined safe.

If in a motor vehicle:

  • Stop and seek shelter indoors.
  • If leaving the vehicle safely is not possible, close the windows and vents and keep the air conditioning and heater fan off.

If indoors, shelter-in-place unless instructed to evacuate:

  • Close and lock all exterior doors and windows.
  • Turn off air conditioners and ventilation systems.
  • Seal off air conditioners.
  • Seal the gap between the doors and the door frames with a wet towel.
  • Seal the gap between the windows and window frames similarly.
  • If gas or vapors enter the building, take shallow breaths through a towel or cloth.
  • Avoid eating or drinking potentially contaminated substances.
  • When the emergency conditions have ended, ventilate the shelter with fresh air.

If exposed to hazardous chemicals:

  • Follow decontamination instructions from local authorities.
  • Authorities may advise to shower thoroughly or to avoid contact with water and follow another procedure.
  • If experiencing symptoms of exposure, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Place contaminated clothing and shoes in tightly sealed containers to avoid contact with other items.
  • Advise others with whom personal contact was made of the exposure so that they can also take precautions or seek medical treatment.

Report ALL Medical Emergencies of students, faculty, staff, visitors and guests to the SDSU Police Department Dispatch:

On-campus phone, dial 9-911or 111,

Off-campus or with a cellular phone dial 911. Be prepared to tell the dispatcher your exact location.

  1. Provide the following information:
    1. Your name and telephone number,
    2. Nature of the illness or injury,
    3. Location of the emergency (Building and Room Number),
    4. The extent of the accident/injury and number of people involved: Is victim conscious, breathing, bleeding, and
    5. Chemical or radioactive materials involved.
  2. If possible, send someone to the building entrance to meet the ambulance personnel.
  3. Only trained personnel should provide first aid or CPR.
    1. First aid is minor care only. DO NOT jeopardize your health or the health of the patient. Wait for professional help if you are not trained in first aid.
  4. Students with minor illnesses or injuries are eligible for care at the Student Health Clinic.
  5. The individual making the call should continue to stay on the phone with the dispatcher and answer as many questions as possible regarding the condition of the injured person so that information can be forwarded to the responding emergency personnel.

Faculty and staff must complete a First Report of Injury Form for all incidents of job-related illness and injury. Please visit the Office of Human Resources website at InsideState for the form and instructions.

A person suffering a psychological crisis may display pre-violent behavior before acting out. These behaviors can vary greatly depending on an individual’s personality, resolve for destruction or even their level of intoxication. Whether the signs are obvious to a stranger or only detectable because of a level of intimacy shared with a person in crisis, anytime you encounter behavior that you believe will imminently lead to violence toward oneself or others call 9-911 or 111 or 911 immediately.

If you are with a person who appears solely intent on self-destruction, remain with him/her only if you believe it is safe to do so. While keeping an eye on him/her, call 9-911 or 111 from an on-campus phone or 911 from off campus and describe the behavior to the dispatcher. If at any time you feel threatened, you should leave the person alone and go to a place where you can safely call emergency responders. Stay on the phone until the dispatcher ends the call.

What to Do

If you suspect that a student, faculty or staff may be at risk, it may be helpful to do the following:

  • Believe or trust your suspicions that the person may be self-destructive.
  • Communicate your concern for the well-being of the person. Be an active listener and show your support.
  • Be direct. Talk openly and freely and ask direct questions about the individual’s intentions. Try to determine if the person has a plan for suicide (how, when, where). The more detailed the plan, the greater the risk.
  • Get professional help. Encourage the individual to seek help from a counselor, minister or someone else who can help with the problems. If the person resists, you may have to get the necessary help for him/her.
  • Contact your supervisor or department head with your concerns, as appropriate.
  • They should make their own counseling appointments, if possible. You can assist this process by offering him/her immediate use of your phone.

What Not to Do

  • Do not allow yourself to be sworn to secrecy by the at-risk individual.
  • Do not leave the person alone if you believe the risk for suicide is immediate and there is no threat for your safety.
  • Do not act shocked at what he/she tells you.
  • Do not debate whether suicide is right or wrong.

Concerning Behavior – If you are concerned about the behaviors of a member of our community, you may assist them by notifying a member of the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT). You can reach a BIT member by contacting a staff member in Student Affairs, the Counseling Center, Residence Life and Housing or Human Resources.

Threatening Behavior – If you are aware of threatening behavior, contact the University Police Department at 9-911/111 or 688-5117.

Resources to call:

  • SDSU Police Department nonemergency number: 605-688-5117
  • Counseling Center: 605-688-6146
  • Human Resources: 605-688-4128
  • Office of Student Affairs: 605-688-4493
  • Resident Assistants for students living on campus

Suspicious Letters or Packages


Letters and packages can be made into lethal weapons using hazardous biological, chemical, energetic or incendiary materials. Below are some typical characteristics that should make you suspicious that a letter or package could be dangerous:

  • Powdery residue or material on the outside.
  • Arrives unexpectedly or comes from someone unfamiliar to you.
  • Sent with excessive postage.
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses, has incorrect titles or uses only titles with no names or has misspellings of common names.
  • Envelope is sealed with tape.
  • Addressed to someone who is no longer at that location or is otherwise outdated.
  • No return address given or uses a non-verifiable address.
  • Unusual weight for the size of the letter or package. Also, could be lopsided or uneven shaped.
  • Package wrapped with an excessive amount of tape.
  • Displays delivery restrictions such as “Personal for” or “Confidential.”
  • Protruding wires.
  • Strange odor, oily stains, discolorations, or crystallization on the envelope, box or wrapping.

If you find or have received a suspicious package or letter:

  • STOP. Don’t handle.
  • Isolate it immediately.
  • Don’t open, smell or taste.
  • Maintain a safe distance from the item.
  • Wash your hands
  • Activate your emergency plan.
  • Notify a supervisor
  • Use a landline phone* to immediately call police:
  • On campus 111 or 9-911
  • 605-688-5117
  • Off-campus 911

*Remember, it is important to stay on the line with the dispatcher.


All thunderstorms produce lightening and are dangerous.  Other hazards associated with thunderstorms include tornadoes, strong winds, hail, and flash flooding.


Facts about Thunderstorms

  • They may occur singly, in clusters, or in lines
  • Some of the most severe occur when a single thunderstorm affects once location for an extended period of time
  • Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period of 30 minutes to an hour
  • Warm, humid conditions are highly favorable for thunderstorms development
  • Approximately 10% of thunderstorms are classified as “sever” – one that produces hail at least three-quarters of an inch in diameter, has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher, or produces a tornado

Facts about Lightning

  • Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles from any rainfall
  • "Heat lightning" is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away to be heard
  • Most deaths from lightning occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon or evening
  • The chances of a person being struck by lightning are estimated at 1 in 3,000
  • Lightning victims carry no electrical charge and should be helped immediately

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms. A severe thunderstorm is a thunderstorm that produces 3/4 inch hail or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour. Watches are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours, and are normally issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review severe thunderstorm safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when either a severe thunderstorm is indicated by radar or a spotter reports a thunderstorm producing hail 3/4 inch or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour. People in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. Severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little or no advance warning. Lightning frequency is not a criteria for issuing a severe thunderstorm warning. They are usually issued for a duration of one hour. They can be issued without a Severe Thunderstorm Watch being already in effect.

During a Thunderstorm

  • Get inside a home, building, or hardtop vehicle. Although injuries may occur if a vehicle is struck, a person is much safer inside the vehicle than outside it.
  • Avoid showering or bathing as metal bathroom plumbing and fixtures can conduct electricity causing shock or electrocution
  • Cordless and cellular phones are safe to use - on the other hand, use a corded phone only for emergencies
  • Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers, stereos, televisions and air conditioners - power surges can cause serious damage
  • Use a battery-operated radio for weather updates

If Outdoors

  • Avoid objects that can act as a lightning rod
  • Seek shelter in a low lying area such as a ravine or valley
  • Be alert to the possibility of flash floods
  • If on open water, get to shore and find shelter immediately
  • Remember that when hair stands on end (anywhere on the body) it is an indication that lightning is about to strike - when this happens, squat down while minimizing contact with the ground
  • Do not lie flat on the ground

Tornado Watch: The National Weather Service issues a tornado watch when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Watches are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours, and are normally issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. When a tornado watch is issued, persons in the watch area should:

  • Monitor local commercial media for tornado emergency information, updates and instructions.
  • Look for approaching storm.
  • Look and listen for the following danger signs:
      • Dark, often greenish sky (large hail)
      • A large, dark, low-lying cloud – particularly if rotating.
      • A loud, rumbling roar similar to a freight train.

Tornado Warning:  The National Weather Service issues a tornado warning when a tornado is indicated by radar or sighted by spotters. People in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. Warnings can be issued without a tornado watch being already in effect. They are usually issued for a duration of around 30 minutes. The City of Brookings sirens are activated when a tornado is sighted nearby. When a tornado warning is issued or the sirens sound, persons should seek shelter immediately.

Tornado Safety

If the warning occurs during the daytime hours, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.:

  • Employees and students in the open are to seek shelter in the nearest permanent building, going directly to the basement, if possible, or to central corridors away from windows and exterior doors.
  • Employees and students in campus buildings are to move out of the exterior rooms and into central corridors or the basement, if possible. Stay away from the corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Get under a sturdy table and cover your neck and head with your arms.
  • Do not open doors or windows.
  • Orderly movement is essential. Do not panic.
  • Do not call the police department for information. Listen to the radio for announcements.

If the warning occurs after class hours or during the evening:

  • Anyone in the open should seek shelter in the nearest building. Most of the main campus buildings are open until 10 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Persons in outside rooms should move away from windows into the corridor or to the basement, if possible.

Residence hall students:

  • Residence hall directors will alert all students in the hall, unlock entrance doors and doors to the basement and turn on lights.
  • Students are advised to move from their rooms into the central corridors or to basements.
  • If possible, have a flashlight and portable radio tuned to a local radio station.

Residents of State Court:

  • Residents of State Court are to go to the basement of Pierson Hall. Pierson Hall personnel will have entrance doors unlocked.

Residents of State Village:

  • Residents of State Village are to go to the basement of Binnewies Hall. Hall personnel will have the exterior doors unlocked.

If in a vehicle:

  • Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy building. If there is no nearby building still get out – remaining inside a vehicle during a tornado is extremely dangerous.
  • Outrunning a tornado is advisable only if in a rural and uncongested location – never try to outrun a tornado from an urban or congested location.

If outside with no available shelter:

  • Lie flat in a ditch or depression covering the head with hands and arms – beware of potential flooding.
  • Do not get under a bridge or overpass – it is safer in a low flat location.
  • Watch out for flying debris in the funnel – any object as small as a piece of straw can become fatal when traveling at several hundred miles per hour.