9:57 A.M. OCT. 29 UPDATE: University opens emergency operations center in preparation for Hurricane Sandy
Continued updates for campus hurricane-safety response to be posted on home page. The next scheduled update will be posted around 2 p.m. Monday.
This update to a previous announcement about Princeton's campus safety related to Hurricane Sandy contains new information about the University's emergency operations center.
Because of severe weather related to Hurricane Sandy, Princeton University is closed today, except for critical and essential staff. All campus events are canceled today. This includes exhibitions, concerts, lectures, seminars and other activities. Members of the campus community and patrons should check the University home page for updates.
Students who remain on campus are advised to contact their families and friends to inform them of their whereabouts and provide them with alternative phone numbers where they can be reached. Most students are away from campus for fall recess, which ends Nov. 4.
A decision about whether to keep campus closed Tuesday will be made this afternoon.
The University has opened an emergency operations center on campus to coordinate emergency response efforts. The center, which will remain in continuous operation throughout the storm, is staffed by representatives from the Department of Public Safety, Facilities, Dining Services, University Services, Office of Information Technology (OIT), Office of Environmental Health and Safety, University Health Services, Campus Life, Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, and Office of Human Resources, among others.
The University is coordinating its efforts with a joint emergency operations center for Princeton Borough and Princeton Township.
McCosh Health Center will be staffed around the clock to handle emergencies, and staff there are coordinating their preparations with the local hospital and Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad.
Arrangements for continued meal and other limited services have been made for the estimated 1,200 undergraduate students on campus for sports teams, campus research, and other functions. All dining operations at Frist Campus Center and Rockefeller College will remain open. Campus cafes at Chancellor Green, Woodrow Wilson School, Frick, EQuad, Genomics and Cafe 701 will be closed.
Critical and essential employees will continue to receive guidance from their supervisors about reporting to work. The Office of Human Resources defines critical and essential staff as "Critical/essential services employees (who) hold positions that are necessary to keeping the basic services of the University operating and support the safety, health and welfare of the University community. Examples include snow removal, dining services, security and power plant, or the academic mission of the University, such as library, research laboratories and computer services."
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 provide basic information via Princeton's Facebook page and Twitter feed.
The University's Office of Human Resources also maintains a weather emergency reference page for employees.
In preparation for Hurricane Sandy making landfall, 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.
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.
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.
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.