To All Faculty, Staff and Students:

We recently witnessed a powerful display of nature that left many in the community without their personal property and adequate shelter. While the damage was extensive in some areas, we are all very thankful there was no loss of life in the Iowa City and University of Iowa community.

Unfortunately, it is very early in the storm season and we could possibly see more violent weather come our way. It is imperative that we all educate ourselves and take the necessary precautions to enhance not only our own safety, but also that of others. In the days and weeks ahead, I will be working with others on campus to examine how we might improve our warning systems.

It is vital to understand that there is no way to insure that everyone will receive notification of extreme weather conditions in a timely manner. The best safety plan in any situation includes shared responsibility. Here are some things to keep in mind even as we attempt to improve our disaster preparedness:

*If you hear a siren or otherwise know a tornado warning is in effect, immediately take shelter. Do not be tempted to go outside and check conditions for yourself.

*According to the Johnson County Emergency Management Director, outdoor sirens are intended primarily for people who are working, walking or driving outside so that they know to seek shelter immediately, preferably somewhere inside a building.

*It is recommended to seek shelter in rooms and corridors in the innermost part of a building at the lowest level. Stay clear of windows, corridors with windows, or large free- standing expanses. (Examples are auditoriums and cafeterias). Remember, there is no guaranteed safe place during a tornado. However, it is important to seek shelter in the best location to help minimize your exposure.

*During tornado season, if you are working indoors or at home, bear in mind that local radio and television stations are your best system of tornado warnings. Those stations will interrupt regular programming to broadcast much needed weather information along with instructions to seek shelter.

*Be mindful of workmates, family or friends who may be hearing impaired and unable to hear an alarm or of those who may not be aware of tornado warnings because they are sleeping, watching cable TV, a DVD or listening to music.

*Keep informed on current weather conditions. The National Weather Service provides a website where you can simply enter your city and state or zip code and receive a 5 day forecast along with other detailed weather related information. The website is located at:

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ifps/MapClick.php?CityName=Iowa+City&state=IA&site=DVN

*We encourage people in areas where they have a problem hearing outside sirens to invest in a weather radio or just an ordinary inexpensive portable radio and keep it on when severe weather conditions exist.

*Review the tornado section of the U of I Critical Incident Management Plan (CIMP) for general information:

http://www.uiowa.edu/~our/opmanual/v/16.htm

For additional information on tornadoes, you can visit the following website:

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/index.html#Safety

*During the tornado season if you are hosting or managing a group of people, we encourage you to add checking the forecast to your preparation list and to announce emergency procedures at the start of your meetings.

*If you know of others in the building, please inform them if you are aware of severe weather warnings; spread the word.

*NEVER pull a fire alarm during a tornado warning as people will exit the building and expose themselves to severe weather.

As the University continues to explore new methods and technologies to alert the public to emergency situations, we all need to be vigilant and look for opportunities to enhance our own safety as well as others in the UI and Iowa City community.

Chuck Green
Assistant Vice President and Director
University of Iowa Public Safety Department