Environmental Health & Safety

Tornado Plan

March 2012

Emergency - Call Amherst College Police 

(413) 542-2111 

(Ambulance, Fire, Haz-Mat, Police)


A tornado is defined as a violent rotating column of air extending to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more.

Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Tornadoes may occur with little or no advanced warning.  Amherst College has the capability of announcing severe weather alerts over the AC Alert system.

  1. If indoors, go to the lowest level of the building. Interior hallways or rooms are
  2. preferable, away from glass windows.
  3. If outdoors and away from buildings, go to the nearest ditch or depression, away from power lines, buildings, and trees. Do not stay in a car or attempt to outrun the tornado.
  4. After the tornado has passed, evaluate the situation; and if emergency help is needed, call 413-542-2111. Be aware of dangerous structural conditions. Report damaged facilities to Amherst College Police. NOTE: Gas leaks and power failures create special hazards. Do not light a match or smoke.
  5. Notify emergency personnel of persons with disabilities who are in the building and cannot evacuate. Do not use elevators in case of fire.
  6. Once outside, move to a clear area at least 150 yards away from the affected building.
  7. Keep streets and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel. Do not return to evacuated building unless directed to do so by the Amherst College Police.