Severe weather

Severe Weather Watch: Conditions are favorable for severe weather.
Severe Weather Warning: Severe weather is occurring and on course or has been sighted nearby; shelter-in-place should be taken immediately.

General guidelines

  • Monitor Emergency Alert Systems (radio, text alerts, HCC website, National Weather Service).
  • Closings or other restrictions of travel can be monitored through the HCC website, radio and television, and emergency text alerts.
  • Review shelter-in-place procedures.
  • Bring all persons inside buildings.
  • Close windows and blinds.
  • Review shelter/evacuation procedures and location of safe areas.
  • Review “duck & cover” procedures. (Crouch down on elbows and knees with hands over the back of the head.)

 

Flooding

  • Move vehicles and equipment to higher ground away from flood prone areas.
  • When advised, evacuate to designated safe areas.
  • Be aware of road conditions during periods of heavy rainfall.
  • Hazardous travel conditions can exist in the area even when HCC facilities are not exposed to flooding.
  • Avoid going near flooded areas in which the water depth is unknown.
  • Turn utilities off until emergency officials advise it is safe to turn them on.
  • Do not attempt to drive on flooded streets.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water if you come in contact with floodwaters.

 

Heat advisory

Heat can create serious health problems.

The best defense against heat-related illness is prevention:

  • Stay cool
  • Drink plenty of fluids but avoid drinks with alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar.
  • Start drinking fluids before going out into the heat.
  • Wear cool clothing.
  • Monitor outdoor activities.

 

Heat Illness: Symptoms of heat illness include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, nausea, weak but rapid pulse, and headaches. People with these symptoms should find shade, drink water slowly and make sure there is good ventilation.

Heat Stroke: If fluids are not replaced soon enough, heat stroke can follow causing extremely high body temperature, red and dry skin, rapid pulse, confusion, brain damage, loss of consciousness and death. To help a person showing severe symptoms, get the victim into shade, call for emergency medical services and start cooling the person immediately with cool water or by fanning.

 

Hurricane

  • Remove items from near windows.
  • Secure loose objects that may be thrown by high winds.
  • Turn off water/electricity at main controls and unplug appliances.
  • Move vehicles and equipment to higher ground away from flood prone areas.
  • When advised, evacuate to designated safe areas.
  • Be familiar with area evacuation zones and evacuation routes.
  • Stay indoors during high winds. Stay away from and do not open windows, and keep away from exterior walls and doors.

 

Severe thunderstorm warning

  • Move all staff and students indoors.
  • Be prepared to shelter-in-place.
  • Follow lab safety guidelines (for applicable lab personnel).
  • Do not touch downed power lines or any objects that are in contact with downed lines.
  • Look out for broken glass and exposed nails.
  • Use extreme caution when entering damaged structures.

 

Severe weather warning - lab safety

  • Immediately end all experiments in progress and halt the use of chemicals, radiological or biohazard agents.
  • Radioactive, chemical and biological hazards should be stored in a secure compartment and/or sealed.
  • The following should be protected with adequate shielding:
    • Solvents in flammable cabinets
    • Corrosives in acid/base cabinets
    • Radioactive materials in their shipping container with adequate shielding
    • Biologicals in incubators
    • Dry chemicals with wooden or metal doors
  • Hazardous materials should not be left on countertops, open shelves or floors.
  • Shut off gas (for applicable lab personnel).
  • Small breakables should be emptied and stored.
  • Shelve and secure all glassware, microscopes, etc.
  • Protect all equipment in areas with windows from hazards associated with broken glass, driven rain and wind. Leave all floor and counter space clear of equipment, papers, and chemicals.

 

Tornado warning

  • Move students and staff to safe area.
  • Shelter-in-place – see shelter-in-place section.
  • Do not allow evacuation by vehicles.
  • Ensure all persons are in “duck & cover” positions under desks or tables.
  • Follow lab safety guidelines (for applicable lab personnel).
  • Remain in safe area until warning expires or until emergency personnel have issued “all clear” signal. Do not touch downed power lines or any objects that are in contact with downed lines.
  • Look out for broken glass and exposed nails.
  • Use extreme caution when entering damaged structures.

 

Winter storm (snow/ice/wind)

  • Be aware of slip and fall hazards associated with wet floors and icy surfaces.
  • Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing, mittens, a hat and a face cover when outdoors.
  • Stay dry.
  • Be extra cautious in the wind. A strong wind, even in only moderately cold weather, can cause a wind chill far below freezing.
  • At the first signs of possible frostbite, redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin.
  • Watch for hypothermia symptoms: confusion, drowsiness, slurred speech, a drop in blood pressure, shallow breathing and a pinkish tint to the skin.
  • Anyone with hypothermia symptoms is in immediate danger and should receive medical help right away.