Tornado Watch/Warning Policy

Tornado Watch Procedure

When the National Weather Service has declared a tornado watch, the weather conditions are considered favorable for tornados to form in and near the watch area.

  • Identify a staff member or volunteer to monitor conditions.
  • While other church activities continue, the appointed person should:
    • Listen for radio updates.
    • Listen for tornado sirens.
    • Watch for these tornado warning signs: a dark, often greenish sky; large hail; low-lying clouds; and/or a loud roar similar to a freight train.
  • If conditions shift to that of a tornado warning, the appointed person shall notify everyone in the building.

Tornado Warning Procedure

When there is a tornado warning, a tornado has been sighted by the public, local law enforcement, or a Doppler radar indicated an area of rotation that could develop, or has developed, into a tornado. Most likely, the community tornado sirens will be activated.

  • If you are out in the open:
    • Attempt to reach shelter, such as a building. If unable to escape or find shelter, lie flat in a ditch or depression, avoiding areas subject to rapid water accumulation or flooding in heavy rains.
    • Do not shelter in vehicles, low-lying areas that could flood, or by outside walls or windows.
  • If you are inside or can reach the church building:
    • Remain in the building. Stay away from exterior walls and windows.
    • All individuals should move to shelter areas or shelter in place, depending on the warning issued.
    • Designated shelter area is the lower level of the building away from windows. The sanctuary and the café have too many windows to be considered a safe shelter location.
    • Person(s) monitoring the radio should continue to monitor for the expiration or continuation of the warning.
    • Nursery staff will assist all children.
    • Provide assistance to persons with disabilities.
    • Get under or behind heavy furniture if possible.
    • Turn back to windows and sit if possible, otherwise remain standing.
    • REMAIN IN THE SHELTER UNTIL THE TORNADO WARNING IS OVER. Church leaders will monitor the radio, TV, or weather monitor to determine when the tornado warning is over.

Tornado Post-Event Procedure

Take these actions after a tornado has touched down on the BC3 building or property and cleared:

  1. Gather in the evacuation assembly point. Gather into family units, or group yourself with the people who were with you prior to the tornado.
  2. DO NOT re-enter the building until it has been declared safe by trained personnel such as the fire department.
  3. Wait for an all-clear signal from an official church representative before leaving the premises. We need to account for every member and visitor that we can.