Hurricanes are generally forecasted several days before the storm moves into the area. Emergency planning for a hurricane starts well in advance of the storm. The following guidelines have been developed for Weill Cornell Medical College. These hurricane preparation steps serve as a guide to everyone at the College who may be impacted by a hurricane or the subsequent leaks, flooding, and damaged caused by these storms.
Students, Faculty, and Staff
It is important that precautions are taken to prepare areas for the potential effects of a strong storm or hurricane. Hurricane force winds and rain may produce local leaks and flooding that can cause significant damage to equipment, files, and other critical resources. These critical resources are concentrated in college laboratories, clinics, and service areas. Make preparations to secure and protect these systems. The following steps will help prepare college areas for the effects of a hurricane.
- Move items off floors and away from windows. Relocating these items will help to protect against damage from leaks and flooding.
- Ensure all windows are closed and secured. Remove all materials from on or near windowsills. Do no place any hazardous materials or sensitive equipment near windows.
- Secure and back-up all critical data and information sources to protect against loss.
- Turn off and unplug all non-essential equipment and electronics. Many computers and pieces of equipment are plugged into emergency power outlets. If a power failure occurs, this non-essential equipment will be a draw on emergency power systems.
- Cover valuable equipment and computers with plastic to prevent water damage. The potential for leaks will be greatly increased during a storm. Draping plastic over computers and equipment can help to prevent losses.
- Secure all hazardous materials including waste containers. This includes all biological, chemical, and radiological materials, and compressed gases. Store all chemicals in cabinets, closets, or secure areas; provide secondary containment as necessary. DO NOT leave chemical containers out where they may be damaged or broken by the hurricane’s effects.
- Ensure sufficient quantities of laboratory support materials are on hand (e.g. CO2 cylinders, nitrogen). Replace these items as needed as soon as possible, in sufficient quantity to last 2-3 days. If possible, top-off liquid nitrogen Dewars and storage containers.
- Review critical freezer storage to ensure they are on emergency power.
- Clear Chemical Hoods of experiments, open chemicals, and all volatile materials. In the event of a power outage, ventilation for chemical hoods may be impacted.
- Review and reschedule upcoming laboratory work. Safety systems such as chemical hoods, biological safety cabinets, and general room ventilation may be adversely impacted by power disruptions. Try to conclude any planned experiments well in advance of the hurricane’s arrival, and do not start any new work until the storm has fully passed and any damages are assessed and repaired.
Anyone staying on campus during the hurricane is advised to have some food and water on hand in case access to food is disrupted due to the storm. Ensure an adequate supply of sanitary water by filling large plastic water containers or a bathtub prior to the onset of the storm.
During the storm there is a likelihood for flying debris, power outages and other hazards. During the height of a storm, it is best to take refuge in corridors or other windowless rooms. Remain indoors until the storm has concluded and the city or other local agencies have deemed it safe to go out.
NYC Hurricane Preparedness Guide
NYC Sever Weather Site
FEMA Hurricane Preparedness Site