Emergency Procedures: Tornadoes

When a tornado warning has been issued, you may have very little time to prepare. How you respond now is critical.

If a tornado warning is issued for Arapahoe County, the President or his designee will issue a warning by telephone to take cover immediately.  All Platt College employees will help in making the announcement throughout the building.

  1. Persons should move quickly and calmly to designated areas, as directed. 
  2. Faculty, staff or students in proximity to persons with disabilities should proceed to help those individuals to move quickly and calmly to designated areas.
  3. Persons should remain in safe locations until an administrator gives the “all clear” signal.

If a tornado occurs, the administrative team will convene and will call 911.

On Campus Tornado Shelter Locations

  • Upstairs in the building: the back stairwell, additional space in the upstairs restrooms
  • Downstairs in the building: the downstairs restrooms, the nursing offices, additional space in the conference room, back stairwell
  • Stay away from all windows and doors.  Stay out of large open areas.   

Facts about Tornadoes

Tornadoes are always visible from a great distance.

  • False: They can be hidden in heavy rainfall.

Tornadoes cause houses to explode from changes in air pressure.

  • False: Homes are damaged by strong winds, not air pressure changes.

By opening the windows, you can balance the pressure inside and outside your home so a tornado will not do damage.

  • False: The force of a tornado can rip through a structure, whether the windows are open or not. You should not open the windows when a tornado threatens. That could actually make the situation worse.

The best place to be during a tornado is generally in the southwest corner of the basement.

  • False: This used to be a safety rule based on the idea that debris would usually not be deposited there, but this has now been rethought. The new rule is to move to a protected interior room on the lowest floor of the building, as far as possible from exterior walls and windows.

Tornadoes can not cross water.

  • False: Tornadoes that form on land can cross bodies of water such as rivers and lakes. Tornadoes, especially the more violent ones, can also travel up and down hillsides. Thinking that your location is protected by a river or ridge could be dangerously wrong.

A tornado is always accompanied or preceded by a funnel cloud.

  • False: Especially in the early stages, a tornado can cause damage on the ground even though a visible funnel cloud is not present. Likewise, if you see a funnel cloud but it does not appear to be "touching down," a tornadic circulation could still be in contact with the ground.

Downward bulging clouds mean tornadoes are on the way.

  • False: Not necessarily! It could be the case, especially with those that show evidence of a rotating motion. But many of these clouds are not associated with tornadoes and may be harmless.