Weather Siren

What to do when you hear Western’s Emergency Weather Siren or receive a message from Alert WesternU:

If you hear the campus siren - seek shelter immediately!

If you are in the open:

  • Attempt to reach a protective area, such as a sturdy building with a basement.
  • If there is not time to escape to a suitable protective area, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms.
  • Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado. Avoid areas subject to rapid water accumulation or flooding in heavy rains.

If you are in a class/office:

  • Proceed to a lower level hallway or basement of the building.
  • Stay away from windows, doors and exterior walls.
  • Flying glass and debris is extremely dangerous. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.

Campus protective areas:

Protective areas from a tornado may be sought in buildings of substantial masonry construction; most University facilities have spaces that may be used as protective areas. These protective areas can usually be found in interior spaces or hallways away from exterior walls and windows.   

The lowest level of the building should be used, avoiding spaces with windows; close any doors between your refuge area and adjacent windowed areas to limit flying debris.  

Buildings of frame construction and those with broad, flat roofs or large open interior spaces (such as auditoriums, cafeterias, or gymnasiums) should not be used or considered as protective areas. Once the siren sounds, if it is too late to proceed to a remote protective area, seek protection in adjacent service space where you are (such as corridors, underground tunnels, or showers) which are reasonably safe. 

After the tornado: 

  • Carefully render aid to anyone who is injured.  
  • Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity!
  • Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. 
  • Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby.  
  • Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from local radio, emergency crews, and local officials. Western's siren will announce all clear when the storm has passed.   

It is important to act immediately:

Ontario averages 13 tornadoes per season. Most tornadoes occur in June, July and August and they frequently develop in mid-afternoon to early evening.  Remember severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes.  

Campus Safety and Emergency Services monitor weather conditions through alerts directly from Environment Canada and will activate the siren when a tornado warning is issued for the immediate area.

Also, check Western’s weather page whenever you are unsure as to weather conditions on campus and any related impact on operations.