Police Department

Emergency Weather Warnings

Chicagoland weather sometimes brings extreme conditions that can turn dangerous. These hot and humid days tend to bring out the worst in Mother Nature when those inevitable cold fronts move in and the weather conditions become unstable and even violent.

Lewis University’s Campus Police Department wishes to remind everyone of the proper precautions and procedures to be taken in the threat of severe weather. The department’s Severe Weather Plan is designed to try to give the campus as much warning as possible in the event of the approach of severe weather.

  • A “Watch” indicates conditions that could develop into and/or produce a severe thunderstorm or tornado. This does not mean that such conditions have been detected for our area, but that severe weather could develop rapidly and everyone should be prepared to move to areas of safety.

  • A “Warning” means that severe weather (severe thunderstorm or tornado) is imminent and all in the path of the storm should seek shelter immediately. A Severe Weather Warning Siren has been installed on the Lewis University Romeoville Campus to enable the Emergency Management Agency to give us timely warnings. In most cases, it is merely a matter of minutes after the siren sounds that the severe weather arrives. Therefore, it is very important that whenever the siren is heard, everyone should take cover immediately and remain there until the “All Clear” has been issued or the danger has passed.

  • Evacuation/Refuge plans have been posted in all campus buildings and classrooms. Please familiarize yourselves with these plans and know where to go in the event of severe weather.

  • The Severe Storms Forecast Center of the National Weather Service has issued the following guidelines for seeking shelter in the event of a severe weather warning; whether it be a tornado or severe thunderstorm. These guidelines have been adapted for the Lewis campus.

What to Do

In office or administrative buildings: Move to the lowest floor in the center of the building -- away from glass. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.

In academic buildings: Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like auditoriums.

In a house with no basement, a residence hall, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.

In the Student Recreation and Fitness Center: Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom or locker room, storage room or other enclosed area, on the main floor, away from windows and doors. Avoid large open areas such as the fieldhouse or the gymnasium.

In the chapel or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but in an orderly fashion to a hallway, away from windows or an interior bathroom (in the Fine Arts Center). Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.

In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.

In a car or truck: Vehicles are an extremely dangerous place to be in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. [It is safer to get the car out of mud later if necessary than to cause a crash.] Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from any cars (which may roll over on you). Lie flat and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.

In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.


Please be alert to changing weather conditions and follow the guidelines listed by the National Weather Service and when the siren is heard…Take cover!

Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact James Montanari, Chief of Police at extension 5224 or at montanja@lewisu.edu