The most important thing to remember when a tornado warning occurs is to remain calm.
Remember these terms and know the difference:
- A Tornado Watch simply means conditions are right for tornadoes to develop.
- A Tornado Warning means an actual tornado has been sighted.
We will issue a "Take Shelter Alert" ONLY when there is a Tornado Warning issued by the private weather-monitoring company, AccuWeather, rather than the entire city or county. AccuWeather gives tornado information for the main campus and Tennessee-Miller Coliseum only. This service has reduced the number of false alarms and the need for people to go to their safe place unnecessarily.
Recommended Tornado Shelter Locations
While the locations listed below meet the recommended criteria for tornado areas of refuge according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's guidelines, MTSU does not guarantee the safety of any building occupant in the event of a tornado.
Use the search box to more easily find your building.
|114 East Lytle Street
|Interior Bathroom Space or Move to Middle Tennessee Building|
|1417 East Main Annex/Soils Lab||Ground Floor Interior Corridors|
|211 College Heights||Interior Bathrooms|
|Alumni Memorial Gym||Basement Corridor, Room 115|
|Alumni Office||Alumni House Basement
(Use Inside Bathroom as a last resort only. Protect head and eyes from broken window glass.)
|Art Barn Annex||Central Corridor|
|Baseball Clubhouse and Indoor Training Facility
|Bayer-Travis Maintenance Complex||Shop Bathroom Areas or Interior Offices|
|Beasley Hall||Ground Floor Corridor|
|Black House, 1417 East Main St.||University Police|
|Blue Warehouse (Distribution Services)||Telecommunications Bldg, ground floor away from windows|
|Boutwell Dramatic Arts||FIRST FLOOR BDA
The first-floor classrooms on the north end of hallway should move into hallway and move toward north end and work back.
The first-floor classrooms on the south end should go into the Studio Theatre (Room 101).
SECOND FLOOR BDA
The people in the north end of the second floor on the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic side should proceed south, collecting clients, parents, siblings, staff and all, go down south-side stairs and into Dressing Room 106.
The people in Classrooms 214, 216 and 218 should go down south-side stairs and go into Studio Theatre (Room 101).
THIRD FLOOR BDA
The labs and offices and classrooms 305, 307 and 309 should go down north-side stairs to first-floor corridor.
The others on third floor south side should go down stairs to Studio Theatre (Room 101).
|Business and Aerospace Building||All floors, interior east and west hallways directly outside of classroom and office doors. Keep away from glass in lobby areas. Groups in the State Farm Lecture Hall (S102) may remain inside the room.|
|Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building||Both floors: Nursing Center area: 109-113
North end classes: Hallway outside classrooms and restrooms
|Center for Historic Preservation||Basement|
|Central Services Building (Day Care Center)
|Central Utility Plant/Chilling Plant||Ground Floor Shop Area|
|Central Utility Plant/GOGENeration Plant
||Ground Floor Shop Area|
|Cope Administration Building||Basement|
|Corlew Hall||Ground Floor Backside Corridors|
|Cummings Hall||Ground Floor Corridors|
|Cyber Cafe' @ Woodmore||Bathrooms and Serving Area|
|Deere Hall||Interior Quad Bathrooms|
|Distribution Services (Blue Warehouse)||Telecommunications Bldg, ground floor away from windows|
|Education Building||3rd floor restroom and interior offices
Ground floor south corridor (between closed fire doors)
Overflow - Room 160
|Ellington Human Sciences||Interior Corridors|
|Ezell Hall||Faculty: Interior office space away from windows
Writing Center: To interior rooms of Writing Center
Rock Museum: Go to restrooms
Recording Studio: Go to Studio E; next best would be Studio D.
Infant/Toddlers - Interior Room #116
|Floyd Stadium Pressbox Area||The base of the stair tower inside at the lowest level. Use stairs, not elevators.|
|Forrest Hall||Ground Floor Corridors|
|Foundation Reception House||Basement|
|Gore Hall||Interior Quad Bathrooms|
|Gracy Hall||Interior Quad Bathrooms|
|Greek Row Houses 1-8||Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Greenhouse||Go to Vocational Agriculture Building|
|Hastings Maintenance Complex||Shop Bathroom Areas or Interior Offices|
|Harrison House||University Police|
|Haynes House (East Main)||1. Go to police station across street
2. Go to Haynes basement
|Haynes-Turner Maintenance Complex||Interior Offices or Bathrooms Away From Glass|
|Health & Wellness Center||Restrooms, workroom and interior exam rooms|
|Holmes Maintenance Complex||Interior Corridors|
|Homer-Pittard Campus School||Basement|
Room 106, on floor in between rows faced away from windows.
|Horse Science Center||Locker room and restrooms|
|Horse Science Center Addition||Go to Horse Science Center|
|Horticulture Facility||Go to Vocational Agriculture Building|
|Internal Audit Office||Interior Bathrooms or Move to Dyslexia Center|
|James Union Building||Basement corridor; lower dining room, if necessary|
|Jean Jack Building (airport)||Restrooms and Room 106|
|Jones Hall||Central Interior Corridor|
|Judd Hall||Interior Quad Bathrooms|
|Keathley University Center||Basement Area Away From Doors|
|Kirksey Old Main||Basement Corridor|
|Learning Resources Center||Interior Corridors Away From Glass and Room 221|
|Lyon Hall||Basement Area|
|Lytle House||Interior hallway next to the bathroom|
|Mary Hall||Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms|
|McFarland Health Services||Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms|
|McHenry Hall||Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Media and Entertainment Building||
Interior Corridors in South Wing Away From Atrium. (This is the wing area leading to the loading dock and the wing by the recording studio (but no further on Recording wing than Studio A).
Downstairs restrooms, and rooms with interior walls (the Graphic Lab open area, Rooms 123, 149, 150, 155 (edit bays A-H) and 167 (follow runners' directions).
If necessary, and last resort, the central machine room away from the glass, and very last resort, the central machine room hallway and the east and west corridors in main hallway, along the walls inside brick pillars under the overhang area.
|Midgett Building||Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Miller Coliseum||Follow instructions of bldg. personnel|
|Miller Education Center||
For building occupants in the Chinese Music Center and MTSU Police Department Annex Offices, take shelter in Rooms 1300, 1301, and the adjacent corridor. For building occupants in the Jones College of Business, take shelter in Room 1110.
For all building occupants in the East side of the building, take shelter in Room 1814.
|Miller Lanier Airway Science||Peripheral Corridors Away From Hangars|
|Monohan Hall||Basement Area|
|MT One Stop||Ground Floor Interior Offices and Bathrooms|
|Murphy Center||Basement Corridor Areas and Rooms. Follow instructions of bldg personnel
Ticket Office at Gate 1A
(Go to inner office inside Ticket Office; secondary location would be Murphy Center tunnel on Alumni Gym side
|Natatorium||Dressing Room Areas|
|Nicks Hall||Quad Bathrooms|
|Open Shed Maintenance Complex||Move to Haynes-Turner|
|Parking and Transportation Services
||Small interior offices and ERP Room|
|Peck Hall||Interior Corridors and Bathrooms Away From Glass
2nd floor of Peck, interior hallways
|Printing Services Building||Go to Tennessee Livestock Center|
|Project HELP||Interior Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Recreation Center||Locker Rooms|
|Reynolds Hall||Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms|
|ROTC Annex||Move to Forrest Hall|
|Rutledge Hall||Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Sam Ingram Building||Lower Level (Garden floor)|
|Saunders Fine Arts||Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Scarlett Commons Apartments||Interior Bathrooms|
|Scarlett Commons Clubhouse||Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Schardt Hall||Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Science Building||Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms Away From Glass|
|Sims Hall||Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Smith Hall||Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Sports and Medicine Building||Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Sports Hall of Fame||Move to Murphy Center|
|Stark Agribusiness and Agriscience Center||Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms|
|Strobel Biology Annex||Stay Inside|
|Student-Athletic Enhancement Center||Locker Room in Murphy Center|
|Student Union Building||Ground Floor Interior Corridors and Bathrooms Away From Glass|
|Telecommunications Building||Ground Floor Spaces Without Windows|
|Tennessee Center for Child Welfare (Bank of America Building on East Main Street)||Primary: Bank of America vault (first-floor)
Secondary: Men's Bathroom and/or vault (second-floor) (the women's bathroom has a window)
|Tennessee Center for the Study of Dyslexia
||Ground Floor Interior Corridors|
|Tennessee Livestock Center||
A small group should be able to assemble in the restrooms and stay away from any doors and windows. A larger group should take shelter:
|Tennis Shelter||Move to Murphy Center|
|Todd Hall||Basement Corridors and Bathrooms, Rooms 116, 117, 117a, 115 and the Art Studio|
|Tom H. Jackson Building||Basement|
The people should split down the middle in the center section. All those on the left side of the auditorium (including balcony) should come down the left two aisles, go up the stairs, cross up right stage and go through the door into the Green Room. (Balcony people should come down the back left-side stairs.) They should continue down the south hallway and fill up that hallway moving back toward Green Room. They should use Green Room, if necessary.
The people on the right side of the auditorium (including balcony) should come down the right two aisles, go up the stairs, cross toward up left stage and go through the doors into the hallway. (Balcony people should come down the back right-side stairs.) Once into the hallway, people should move toward to north end of hallway and begin back-filling the area. Dressing Room 112 will also be an overflow area.
|Vocational Agriculture||Interior Bathrooms|
|Voorhies Industrial Studies
Voorhies Industrial Studies - Ground Floor East wing: Room 116, interior corridors and restrooms
Ground Floor Center: Interior corridors and restrooms
Ground Floor West wing: Room 171
2nd Floor VIS: Go to Ground Floor safe places
|Walker Library||Interior Corridors Away From Glass and Bathrooms|
|Wansley House (Audit House)||Interior Hallway|
|Warehouse Maintenance Complex||Interior Offices and Bathrooms|
|Wiser-Patten Science Hall||Room 102, basement corridor and restrooms, Lab 111 (at either end away from the two windows)|
|Womack Lane Apartments||Bathrooms|
|Wellness Center||Interior restrooms and workroom|
|Wood-Stegall Center||Interior Hallways|
|Wright Music Building||Ground Floor Corridors and Bathrooms|
When appropriate, the following information and guidelines will be shared via email with the University community in anticipation of a severe weather forecast.
- According to weather forecasts, conditions may be right tomorrow (or later today) for tornado activity in our area. Therefore, this bulletin is an early notification so that you can make preparations here and at home.
- Some common directives include:
- Stay away from windows and other loose or breakable objects that could become flying debris.
- Stay near interior walls.
- Keep one or more flashlights in your office and make sure they work.
- In the event of a tornado, do NOT pull a fire alarm.
- View the Recommended Tornado Shelter Locations table above for a listing of all the buildings on campus and the suggested safest area in each building. In most cases, those areas will be the lowest possible floor of your building. If you have a question or your building is not listed, call University Police at 898-2424.
- If you work in a small house or a structure that would not seem as secure as others, you and your staff may want to consider moving to another building tomorrow, if time and space are available. Once a storm is approaching, however, stay where you are.
- Supervisors / Faculty: Review with your class or staff which is the best way to reach the Recommended Tornado Shelter Location in your building. Emphasize the importance of remaining calm.
- Directors / Supervisors: Take 5 minutes with your people today to:
- Review the do's and don'ts of a tornado
- Check your supply of flashlights/batteries, radios and other equipment that may be useful.
- Remind everyone of the safest area in your building.
- AND IMPORTANTLY … discuss your policy with your staff about leaving campus during a severe storm or tornado to check on a situation at home or elsewhere.
- (If you prepare today for possible severe weather tomorrow, this may lessen your need to leave campus if a severe storm or tornado strikes.)
- LEAVING CAMPUS: Anyone who wishes to leave campus during a tornado warning, should first check with his or her supervisor. It must be understood that people who leave campus are taking either annual leave or unpaid leave—and are responsible for themselves.
- Check your school: If you have children in school, call your school today and make sure you know its policy about releasing children and/or running buses during severe weather. Make sure you carry your school's phone number.
- Check at home: If you have pets, babysitters/children or elderly family members at home, make sure accommodations are made for them and that you have discussed a plan of action in the event of a severe storm or tornado tomorrow. Make sure everyone at home has your cell phone number.
- Check your day-care center: If you have children in a day-care facility, make sure you understand the center's policy in the event of severe weather. Make sure you exchange phone information.
- Faculty: Please plan ahead for assignments/classroom work in case your class is interrupted tomorrow by a tornado warning or, in extreme circumstances, the university should be closed. The closing of the university is issued from the President's Office.
- PLEASE COVER ALL YOUR BASES TODAY SO THAT YOU, YOUR WORK ASSOCIATES AND YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ARE WELL INFORMED AND SUFFICIENTLY PREPARED.
What is the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning?
A Tornado Watch simply means conditions are right for tornadoes to develop. A Tornado Warning means an actual tornado has been sighted. We will issue a "Take Shelter Alert" ONLY when there is a Tornado Warning issued by AccuWeather for the immediate campus area.
Should we use elevators during a tornado warning?
As a general rule, no. However, if it is necessary to help someone such as a wheelchair-bound individual to reach a place of safety in a timely fashion, use the elevator. But people should not crowd into an elevator when stairs are available—in case of a power outage.
What should we do if there is a person with disabilities who needs assistance?
By all means, the professor and classmates should heed the Good Samaritan concept and help that person reach a place of safety, whether it requires lending a hand or arm or carrying him or her. If necessary, use an elevator to get that person to the recommended tornado shelter location in the building.
How will I know that it's OK to go back to my office or classroom?
If you receive a text alert or email or have a weather alert radio or access to a TV or radio and you hear that the warning has ended. If you do not have access to those things, wait 20 minutes then use your cell or nearest office phone to call MTSU University Police at 2424 to find out if there is an "all clear."; You may need to call several times because many people may be trying to call.
Are we allowed to go home during a tornado warning?
First, you need to check with your supervisor. In addition, if you leave campus, you do so with the understanding that you are taking personal leave—and thus, you are responsible for your own safety once off campus.
Does this plan pertain to night classes?
Yes. For those who attend night classes or weekend events on campus, please access the Recommended Tornado Shelter Locations table above to find out where you should go for shelter in any particular building.
What should we do when we have groups in our building from off campus and they are being chaperoned by MTSU students or other staff?
Whether it's CUSTOMS, Girls State, TSSAA or any other organized event on campus, organizers should become acquainted with the Recommended Tornado Shelter Locations in all buildings that will be used.
If there is a tornado warning ANYWHERE in Rutherford County, is that also a tornado warning for MTSU?
No. MTSU now uses AccuWeather, a private weather-monitoring company that gives tornado information for the main campus and Tennessee-Miller Coliseum only. This service has reduced the number of false alarms and the need for people to go to their safe place unnecessarily.
What should we do if the designated Recommended Tornado Shelter Location in our building is not large enough for all the people who happen to be in that building at a given time?
Use your best judgment. Once the Recommended Tornado Shelter Location is full, look for the next best shelter area away from windows and potential flying objects. Always look for interior walls and areas surrounded by steel infrastructure, such as a bathroom. (It would be wise to scout out those alternative areas right now.)
Should we heed the tornado siren?
Yes. If you are outside, you should enter the nearest building. If you are a Building Runner and you are able to hear the siren and the voice announcing "Tornado, Seek Shelter" you should take action. Afterwards, if you hear the tornado siren enunciate an "All Clear" you may send people back to their offices and classrooms.
What if we cannot hear the tornado siren?
ou will receive a "Take Shelter Alert" via email, and you should take action. As far as an "All Clear" as a rule of thumb, wait 20 minutes, then call University Police (2424) to make sure it is safe to return to offices and classrooms. If you have a weather radio in your office, you can take your cues from that regarding a warning and an all-clear. (If you have a TV in your office, you may want to have it on during a day of severe weather.)
Should I ever call 911?
Yes, if someone in your area is injured. If you call 911 on a campus phone, you will reach MTSU University Police. You will also reach MTSU University Police by dialing 898-2424 on either a campus or cell phone. If you call 911 on your cell phone, you will likely reach the City Police Department.
Would it be OK to lock our office door during a tornado drill or actual alert?
Do the shuttles continue to run during a tornado warning?