Environmental Health and Safety
Wood Co. and BGSU Tornado Alert & Warning Systems
Peak tornado season is April – July but tornados can occur in any month of the year. Tornados often occur with little or no warning. Therefore, you may only have a short time to decide, on actions to take to avoid serious injury or death. Even though difficult to predict, precautions can be taken to minimize the danger. One of the most important things you can do is to be aware that a danger is present. Most of the injuries and deaths that occur during a tornado disaster happen to people who are unaware or uninformed. For this reason it’s crucial that you understand the Wood County and Bowling Green State University tornado warning system.
Wood County Tornado Sirens
- The Wood County Communications center activates the tornado warning system when a funnel cloud or touchdown has been seen. Spotters look for these events when a tornado watch (weather conditions are favorable for a tornado) has been issued.
- Wood County is divided into North, Central (including Bowling Green) and Southern Zones; the Wood County Communications center can activate tornado sirens in one or more of these zones.
- Wood County also activates tornado sirens as a test on the first Saturday of each month at approximately 10:00am.
BGSU Tornado Sirens
- BGSU’s tornado warning devices on the Bowling Green campus are part of the Central Zone as described above.
- There are 4 outdoor sirens and 24 interior tornado warning systems on the main campus; Administration Building, Carillon Dining Center, Centennial Hall, Conklin North and West, Cottages 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7, Eppler Complex, Falcon Heights, Founders, Harshman Quadrangle, Kohl Hall, Oaks Dining Center, Offenhauer Towers, Olscamp Hall, Perry Field House, Psychology, Sebo Center, Stroh Center, and Wolfe Center for the Arts. Interior sirens have the ability to broadcast voice instructions, and are activated by a radio signal from the Wood County Communications Center.
- In certain situations, building occupants may not be able to hear the sirens. This is uncommon but has been known to occur. Weather radios are recommended in situations where building occupants cannot hear the sirens. NOAA Weather Radios are available from a variety of sources. Environmental Health & Safety can provide information on programming your weather radio if needed.
Tornado Safety Information
- Tornado instructions and tornado shelter locations are posted in each building. Replacing these and other safety and health posters is an ongoing activity. The University attempts to keep shelter locations current as room uses change, as remodeling occurs, and as building occupants call to point out discrepancies.
- Tornado safety information is available on the Environmental Health and Safety web site at http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/envhs/page14240.html. Contents include tornado safety information, a PowerPoint tornado safety tutorial, and an article on tornadoes and storms in Northwest Ohio.
- Each year, in March, The State of Ohio holds a statewide tornado drill and tests its Emergency Alert System. Schools, businesses and households are encouraged to practice their emergency plans and tornado drills during this time. Early notification concerning the statewide drill is sent to the University community via Campus Update. This notice is an opportunity to ask BGSU employees and students to listen for the tornado siren, and to promote the above-mentioned tornado safety information. Those who cannot hear the siren are asked to consider purchasing a weather radio.
- Other alerting methods are available. We recommend you take advantage of as many of them as possible. No one warning method is perfect and no one warning method can be guaranteed never to fail. By taking a systematic approach and getting information from more than one source, you are much more likely to receive the warning. We suggest subscribing to one or more of the free mobile text and email alerts that are available. Subscribing to AlertBG is another way to stay informed of emergency situations on campus. Signing up is simple and can be done at the MyBGSU site.