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Monday, July 28, 2014

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Hurricane Sandy campus safety updates to be posted on home page

In preparation for severe weather related to Hurricane Sandy making landfall on the East Coast on Monday, Oct. 29, the University is advising all members of the Princeton campus community to consider appropriate preparations and to be sure to watch the University's home page for updates.

Most students are away from campus for fall recess, which runs from Oct. 27 to Nov. 4.

The National Weather Service is predicting tropical storm-force winds and storm conditions may affect New Jersey as part of what the service has characterized as a dangerous hurricane. Heavy wind gusts and flood conditions are possible, and faculty, staff and students are urged to take advantage of available resources to prepare for potential losses in power and accessibility to local roads.

The home page, www.princeton.edu, will be the primary source for general information in the event of an actual emergency, and campus opening and closing information also will be available on the University's weather emergency hotline, (609) 258-SNOW. In the unlikely event that extreme or extended power outages don't make it possible for the University to update the home page, the University will seek to provide basic information via Princeton's Facebook page and Twitter feed.

To prepare for a hurricane, the Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommend these general guidelines:

  • Fill vehicle gas tanks.
  • Stock emergency supplies that can last three to five days, including several clean containers of water, about five gallons for each person; non-perishable food; a first aid kit and manual; and a battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
  • Adjust refrigerators and freezers to their highest settings and keep the doors closed.
  • Clear gutters and downspouts.
  • Fill bathtubs and sinks with water for flushing toilets or cleaning.
  • Stay away from windows.

In addition, in the event of a major storm, all campus community members are asked to reduce electrical demand to a minimum to reduce load on the University's cogeneration plant; to avoid wooded areas; and avoid construction sites, detention basins or other flooded areas.

In the event of a loss of power, residents of apartment-style housing should follow this guidance:

  • Use caution within your residence and on the stairs, as lighting will be minimal.
  • Do not open your refrigerator or freezer; this will keep items cold and frozen.
  • Do not use candles or any other open flame as a light or heat source.
  • Carefully unplug carbon monoxide detectors in your residence and remove the battery if they start beeping (remove the panel located on the back of the unit to access the battery).
  • For residents of Butler Tract, Lawrence, Stanworth and other off-campus University housing, if power fails and then is restored, please allow about two hours for the hot water, cooling and any elevators to be operational. These systems take some time to restart.
  • PROX cards needed for entry do not always work during power failures. In the event that this occurs, the University will arrange for staff to be stationed around campus for assistance. Locations will be specified in updates to emergency announcements posted on the home page.

All residents of University rental housing should check to ensure that their personal property insurance coverage is up to date. Because of the amount of rain forecast, people with basements may experience an ingress of water or flooding. It is advisable that items not be stored in basement areas, and that residents remove and store or secure all portable equipment, lawn furniture and other items that could be damaged in severe weather. Residents are responsible for personal property.

Members of the community may report any flooding, clogged exterior drains or other hazardous conditions to the Facilities Customer Service Center at (609) 258-8000.

The University maintains an Emergency Preparedness website, which can be accessed through the "Emergency Info" link on the home page. In addition to the latest updates, this site includes emergency guidelines for the campus community and various campus emergency quick links.

The University's Office of Human Resources also maintains a weather emergency reference page for employees.

For more information about Hurricane Sandy, the National Weather Service provides weather updates for the central New Jersey region on its Web site, as well as a link to the National Hurricane Center Web site.

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