Campus Services in action against the cold temps

By Jan Gleason | Emory Report | Jan. 6, 2014

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Data image from the National Weather Service.

As temperatures continue their deep dives into the low digits, "we're not out of the woods yet but everything is coming along as expected," said Todd Kerzie, Emory Campus Services associate vice president for facilities management.

Kerzie gave an update on Emory University's Campus Services Division's preparations against this extreme cold snap, one created by a polar blast into Georgia making it colder in Atlanta than in Anchorage, Alaska, according to the National Weather Service.

"The Emory campus and much of the East Coast has been put on a natural gas curtailment by gas companies," Kerzie had noted. "Campus Services has been expecting this and is scheduled to receive fuel oil deliveries starting at midnight (Monday, Jan. 6)." The fuel deliveries will ensure the continued supply of steam for building heat and hot water, and students, faculty and staff will not notice a difference in the fuel switch.

"We had two fuel oil deliveries this morning and as a result we have four of six central boilers burning fuel oil verses natural gas and keeping up with the demand. We were just informed the natural gas fuel curtailment has been extended to 10 a.m. on Thursday. Our scheduled fuel deliveries will allow us to continue our steam plant operations," Kerzie said.

Reviewing response to the extreme cold on Monday night, Jan. 6, Kerzie said, "As expected, we had several HVAC (heating) units trip off because of the freezing temps, which need resetting. Again, this is something we expect and just something we have to deal with as they happen. Our mechanics and technicians are responding.

"We had a couple smaller buildings reported not having water, which we are also responding to but no reports of ruptured lines. At this time, it appears to be isolated freezing of the pipes but we should know something more definitive later today. All in all, I say we are in good shape given the extreme freezing temps over the last 24 – 48 hours. We will continue to troubleshoot as problems are reported."

He also noted "there are plenty of dedicated employees identified as key and essential personnel ready to be called in should the conditions worsen or warrant a more deliberate emergency response."

Additional help for night time emergencies

In addition to Campus Services' normal night time Emergency Response Team, known as "Night One," more mechanics are on hand throughout the evening to respond to any emergencies or disruption in utility services. "For this particular weather event, we began coordinating and collaborating with Emory Healthcare and the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) late last week and final preparations were made on Sunday," Kerzie said.

Roads, parking decks monitored for ice

Roads and Grounds personnel arrived on campus at 1 a.m. on Monday to apply de-icing materials to campus roads, while Emory Police monitored road conditions with the goal of keeping the main shuttle route through campus and to Emory Healthcare free of snow and ice, he said. Parking and Transportation closely monitors all parking decks to ensure the entrance and exits are clear from snow or ice.