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Severe weather: Be prepared and aware

By Kim Urquhart | Emory Report | Jan. 31, 2013

CEPAR signage

Severe Weather Refuge signs identify safe havens on campus.

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia is Feb. 4-8, and the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) is taking the opportunity to remind the community about severe weather safety measures at Emory.

"The tornados and severe weather that occurred here in Georgia on Jan. 30, 2013 are a stark reminder of why it is important to be prepared," says Sam Shartar, CEPAR senior administrator. "It is important that you know what to do and where to go to seek shelter before warnings are issued for dangerous weather."

The University uses a private service to monitor weather, which can pinpoint severe weather headed for Emory and Oxford campuses.

The Emergency Notification System will alert students, staff, faculty and visitors of an emergency affecting the Emory community. The alert includes outdoor sirens, emergency text messages, and email notifications. An announcement will also be posted on Emory's homepage at www.emory.edu/emergency and at the twitter feed @EMORY_CEPAR.

If a tornado or dangerous winds warning is issued for any Emory campus, community members should take immediate action.

In the event of severe weather, locate the closest Severe Weather Safe Refuge designated area by following the building evacuation map or Emory's interactive map.  Look for signs posted across campus that identify at rooms or hallways designated as an area of safe refuge.

CEPAR offers the following safety tips for tornado warnings or dangerous winds:

  • If you are indoors, move to a Severe Weather Refuge location on campus, or the lowest level of a building, in an interior room or hallway, away from windows.
  • If you are outside, seek shelter immediately on the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building away from windows.
  • If no shelter is available, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Flying debris causes most fatalities and injuries associated with a tornado.
  • If you are in a vehicle, which offers little protection, go to the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building, away from windows or lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.

Other considerations include being aware of falling debris and power line hazards; and consider texting — not calling — parents and friends. Texting uses less bandwidth, stays reliable for a longer period of time and eases the overload on communications networks.

Weather conditions change rapidly; monitor your local television and/or radio station for the most updated weather conditions including the "all clear" indicating the tornado or severe weather has passed the area. The University will also use the Twitter account @Emory_CEPAR to send an update to the community when the threat of severe weather has passed.

For more information, visit www.emergency.emory.edu.

Weather-related campus closures

In the event of inclement weather, such as snow or icy conditions, the University might deem it necessary to close or delay opening. School closure decisions will be made by 5:30 a.m.  

Call the University's Weather Information Line at 404-727-1234, tune to your local radio and TV channel, or log on to the Emory homepage at www.emory.edu for campus closure announcements.