Western activates weather siren for first time
By Communications Staff
September 12, 2013
Western activated its weather siren for the first time on Wednesday, Sept. 11, when Environment Canada issued a tornado warning for the campus and surrounding area. Shortly after the siren sounded a severe thunderstorm hit campus including heavy rain, lightning, high winds and hail.
No injuries or major damage were reported.
Western’s weather siren is in place to warn those outdoors on campus that severe weather, such as a tornado, is imminent and shelter should be taken immediately.
“This was its first use outside a test,” said Keith Marnoch, Western’s media and community relations director. “While we were pleased people heard the siren, and, more importantly, reacted to it, we have identified some areas where we can enhance its effectiveness. In the end, we want to get people to safe places in severe weather and do that in the most efficient way possible.
“The basic message is this: If you hear the siren, seek shelter.”
In addition to the siren, notifications of severe weather to people indoors will occur through announcements via Western’s web page, building public address systems and public media. The siren is not intended to be audible in most buildings. Western’s social media outlets also allowed the university to spread the message.
“Social media proved very agile, in terms of helping us get the message out quickly,” Marnoch said. He encouraged members of the Western community to follow @WesternU on Twitter, perhaps the most effective of the platforms yesterday.
On campus, protective areas from a tornado may be sought in buildings of substantial masonry construction. Most university facilities have interior spaces or hallways away from exterior walls and windows that may be used as shelter. More information on Western’s emergency siren and seeking shelter is available at Western’s weather page.
When severe weather has passed, the weather siren is activated to indicate with a different tone to indicate ‘all clear.’
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Off-Campus Advertising Sales:
Chris Amyot, Campus Ad