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Skip Navigation LinksKCC Home > About > Campus Info > Emergency Preparedness


WINTER PREPARDENESS 

Winter in New York State is a time of unsurpassed beauty. It also is a time when winter storms and sub-zero temperatures pose a threat to disrupt our daily normal lives.

Now is the time to prepare your home and car to safely enjoy the winter season. Have your home heating system checked by a professional. If you heat by wood, clean your fireplace or stove now.  Have your chimney checked for any buildup of creosote and then cleaned to lessen the risk of fire.

Make sure your car is tuned and your exhaust system is working properly.  Also check your snowblower and other snow removal equipment and have a supply of sand or kitty litter on hand to provide traction on walkways.                 

WINTER WEATHER TERMS

As the winter weather season approaches, do you know what the various weather warnings and advisories mean?

Winter Storm Watch
Issued for the possibility of severe life-threatening winter weather conditions including: heavy snow, heavy ice and/or near blizzard conditions. Forecasters are typically 50 percent confident that severe winter weather will materialize when a watch is issued.

Blizzard Watch
Issued for the possibility of blizzard conditions. Forecasters are typically 50 percent confident that blizzard conditions will materialize when a blizzard watch is issued.

Lake Effect Snow Watch
Issued for the potential for heavy lake effect snow.

Wind Chill Watch
Issued for the potential of wind chills of -25F or less, which can cause rapid frostbite and increase the risk of hypothermia.

Winter Storm Warning
Issued for a combination of heavy snow and/or ice, of which, at least one exceeds or meets warning criteria. Winter weather is expected to cause life-threatening public impact for a combination of winter hazards including heavy snow, ice, near blizzard conditions, blowing and drifting snow and/or dangerous wind chills.

Heavy Snow Warning
Issued when 7 inches or more of snow is expected in 12 hours or less, or 9 inches or more is expected in 24 hours or less. Heavy Snow Warnings are issued when there is a high degree of confidence that the entire event will be snow.

Ice Storm Warning
Issued for a ½ inch or more of ice accumulation which causes damage to power lines and trees. Ice Storm Warnings are issued when there is a high degree of confidence that the entire event is expected to be ice.

Blizzard Warning
Issued when blizzard conditions are imminent or expected in the next 12 to 24 hours. Blizzard conditions include sustained or frequent gusts =/> 35 mph AND considerable falling, blowing and drifting of snow reducing visibilities frequently 1/4 mile.

Lake Effect Snow Warning
Issued for 7 inches or more of lake effect snow.

Wind Chill Warning
Issued when the wind chill is expected to be -25F or less. Frostbite can occur in less than 10 minutes.

Winter Weather Advisory
Issued for a hazardous combination of snow, and ice of which neither meets or exceeds warning criteria. Issued for winter weather that will cause significant inconveniences or could be life-threatening if the proper precautions are not taken.

Snow Advisory
Issued when an average of 4 to 6 inches of snow is expected in 12 hours or less. Snow advisories are issued when there is a high degree of confidence that the entire event will be snow.

Freezing Rain Advisory
Any accumulation of freezing rain that can make roads slippery. Freezing rain advisories will only be issued when there is a high degree of confidence that the entire event will be freezing rain only.

Snow and Blowing Snow Advisory
Sustained wind or frequent gusts of 25 to 34 mph accompanied by falling and blowing snow, occasionally reducing visibility to a 1/4 mile or less for three hours or more.

Blowing Snow Advisory
Widespread or localized blowing snow reducing visibilities to a 1/4 or less with winds less than 35 mph.

Lake Effect Snow Advisory
Issued for an average of 4 to 6 inches of lake effect snow.

Wind Chill Advisory
Issued for wind chills of -15F to -24F. Frostbite can occur in less than 30 minutes.

HOME SAFETY

Family Disaster Plan

Families should be prepared for all hazards that affect their area and themselves. 

Follow these basic steps to develop a family disaster plan:

  1. Learn your community's warning signals.
  2. Meet with your family to create a plan. Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school). Choose an out-of-area friend as your family check-in contact for everyone to call if the family becomes separated.
  3. Implement your plan. Post emergency telephone numbers by the phones. Install safety features in your house such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Inspect your home for potential hazards and correct them. Have your family learn basic safety and first aid measures. Make sure everyone knows how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency medical services phone number. Have disaster supplies on hand.

HOME EMERGENCY SUPPLIES

Winter has arrived and this is the time for you to stockpile the following supplies in the event a winter storm or power outage prevents you from leaving your home.

  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • Emergency non-perishable foods that do not require refrigeration
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Bottled water
  • One week supply of essential medicines
  • Extra blankets and sleeping bags
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Emergency heating equipment, used properly

 

WINTERIZE YOUR HOME

Take the time now to get your home ready for the winter season by following these tips:

  1. Have your heating system checked by a professional annually. This will ensure that your system is working safely and efficiently which, in turn, will save you money. If you heat by wood, clean your fireplace or stove. Have your chimney flue checked for any buildup of creosote and then cleaned to lessen the risk of fire.
  2. Make sure your home is properly insulated. If necessary, insulate walls and attic. This will help you to conserve energy and reduce your home's power demands for heat.
  3. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out.
  4. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside. This will provide an extra layer of insulation, keeping more cold air out.
  5. Inspect and flush your water heater.
  6. Clean gutters. Leaves and other debris will hamper drainage.
  7. Replace batteries of smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors. If you did not do it when you set the clocks back, do it now.
  8. To keep pipes from freezing:
    • Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers
    • Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture
    • Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing
    • Know how to shut off water valves


STAYING WARM INDOORS

If your heat goes out during a winter storm, you can keep warm by closing off rooms you do not need.

  1. Use only safe sources of alternative heat such as a fireplace, small well-vented wood or coal stove or portable space heaters. Always follow manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Dress in layers of lightweight clothing and wear a cap.
  3. Eat well-balanced meals.

Losing your heat when winter's winds are howling is not pleasant. However, by following these simple tips, you will weather the storm more comfortably.

 

PROTECTING WATER PIPES

To prevent the mess and aggravation of frozen water pipes, protect your home, apartment or business by following the simple steps below.

Before Cold Weather

  1. Locate and insulate pipes most susceptible to freezing, typically those near outer walls, in crawl spaces or in the attic.
  2. Wrap pipes with heat tape (UL approved).
  3. Seal any leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located.
  4. Disconnect garden hoses and shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.

When It's Cold

  1. Let hot and cold water trickle at night from a faucet on an outside wall.
  2. Open cabinet doors to allow more heat to get to un-insulated pipes under a sink or appliance near an outer wall.
  3. Make sure heat is left on and set no lower than 55 degrees.
  4. If you plan to be away: (1) Have someone check your house daily to make sure the heat is still on to prevent freezing, or (2) drain and shut off the water system (except indoor sprinkler systems).

If Pipes Freeze

  1. Make sure you and your family knows how to shut off the water, in case pipes burst. Stopping the water flow minimize the damage to your home. Call a plumber and contact your insurance agent.
  2. Never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch.
  3. Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.

 

IF THE LIGHTS GO OUT

If you lose electrical service during the winter, follow these tips:

  1. Call your utility first to determine area repair schedules. Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate power has been restored.  
  2. To help prevent freezing pipes, turn on faucets slightly. Running water will not freeze as quickly.
  3. Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning:
    • DO NOT operate generators indoors; the motor emits deadly carbon monoxide gas.
    • DO NOT use charcoal to cook indoors. It, too, can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide gas.
    • DO NOT use your gas oven to heat your home -- prolonged use of an open oven in a closed house can create carbon monoxide gas.
    • Make sure fuel space heaters are used with proper ventilation.
  4. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help reduce food spoilage.

 

GENERATOR SAFETY

Electric generators can provide you with piece of mind and convenience when you are faced with a temporary loss of electric service.

You to follow these safety guidelines when operating a generator:

  1. Before installing a generator, be sure to properly disconnect from your utility electrical service. If possible, have your generator installed by a qualified electrician.
  2. Run generators outside, downwind of structures. NEVER run a generator indoors. Deadly carbon monoxide gas from the generator's exhaust can spread throughout enclosed spaces. Install a carbon monoxide detector.
  3. Fuel spilled on a hot generator can cause an explosion. If your generator has a detachable fuel tank remove it before refilling. If this is not possible, shut off the generator and let it cool before refilling.
  4. Do not exceed the rated capacity of your generator. Most of the small, home-use portable generators produce from 350 to 12,000 watts of power. Overloading your generator can damage it, the appliances connected to it, and may cause a fire. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Keep children away from generators at all times.

 

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent, deadly killer claiming about 1,000 lives each year in the United States. Such common items as automotive exhaust, home heating systems and obstructed chimneys can produce the colorless, odorless gas.

The gas can also be produced by poorly vented generators, kerosene heaters, gas grills and other items used for cooking and heating when used improperly during the winter months.

  1. NEVER run generators indoors. Open a window slightly when using a kerosene heater.
  2. NEVER use charcoal to cook indoors.
  3. NEVER use a gas oven to heat your home.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include sleepiness, headaches and dizziness.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, ventilate the area and get to a hospital.

 

FIRE SAFETY

Wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and heaters can add a cozy glow, but make sure you are using them safely.

  1. Always keep a screen around an open flame.
  2. Never use gasoline to start your fireplace.
  3. Never burn charcoal indoors.
  4. Do not close the damper when ashes are hot.
  5. When using alternative heat sources such as a fireplace, woodstove, etc. always make sure you have proper ventilation. Keep curtains, towels and potholders away from hot surfaces.
  6. Have your chimney checked before the season for creosote buildup -- and then clean it.
  7. Have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors ... and make sure they work! Establish a well-planned escape route with the entire family.

KEROSENE HEATERS

If you use kerosene heaters to supplement your regular heating fuel, or as an emergency source of heat, follow these safety tips:

  1. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Use only the correct fuel for your unit.
  3. Refuel outdoors ONLY and only when the unit is cool.
  4. Keep the heater at least three feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.
  5. When using the heater, use fire safeguards and ventilate properly.

Remember, the fire hazard is greatly increased in the winter because alternate heating sources often are used without following proper safety precautions.

CLEARING YOUR ROOF

As the snow and ice continues to build up, homeowners should think about safety before trying to clear the snow from their roof.

Here are some safety tips:

  1. When possible, use long-handled snow rakes or poles.
  2. If you must use a ladder, make certain that the base is securely anchored. Ask a friend, neighbor or adult family member to hold the ladder while you climb.
  3. Know where the snow is going to fall before clearing the area.
  4. Make certain not to contact electrical wires.
  5. If possible, do not attempt to clear the roof alone.
  6. If you are afraid of heights or think the job is too big for you, HIRE HELP.

Clearing roofs is a dangerous task. However, if you think safety, and work safely, you will get the job done.

 

SAFETY FIRST FOR KIDS

Hey, kids! Winter can be a fun-filled time when enjoying outdoor activities such as skiing, skating and sledding. However, before going out, follow these safety tips:

  1. The best way to stay safe in a snowstorm is to stay inside. Long periods of exposure to severe cold increase the risk of frostbite or hypothermia.
  2. If you go out to play after the storm, dress in many layers of clothing and wear a hat and mittens. Many layers of thin clothing are warmer than a single layer of thick clothing. One of the best ways to stay warm is to wear a hat; most body heat is lost through the top of the head.
  3. Come inside often for warm-up breaks.
  4. If you start to shiver a lot or get very tired, or if your nose, fingers, toes or earlobes start to feel numb of turn very pale, come inside right away and tell an adult. These are signs of hypothermia and frostbite. If you experience these symptoms, you will need immediate attention to prevent further risk.

Remember these tips when you go out to play.

 

NEIGHBOR HELPING NEIGHBOR

If someone you know is elderly or dependent on life-sustaining or health-related equipment such as a ventilator, respirator or oxygen concentrator, you should make plans now to ensure their needs are met during severe winter weather and possible power outages.

  1. Help them stock a home disaster kit including a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, bottled water, non-perishable foods, essential medicines, and extra blankets or sleeping bags.
  2. Check on them after a storm or power outage. Register them as a special needs customer with their utility so they will become a priority customer. Notify others who could provide help such as neighbors, relatives, nearby friends and local emergency responders such as the fire department.
  3. Have a list of emergency numbers readily available.
  4. Have a standby generator or an alternative source of power available. Be aware of the safety rules for its use.

PROTECTING PETS

Winter is a time we should pay close attention to the safety of our pets. Here are some safety tips to follow:

  1. Ingesting anti-freeze can be fatal for your dog or cat. It has a sweet taste and even a tiny amount can cause severe kidney damage and even death. If you spill some, soak it up immediately. (Clay kitty litter works well. Discard the litter once the anti-freeze has been absorbed.)
  2. Pets that live outdoors should be fed a bit more in the winter because they need the extra calories to stay warm. They also should have fresh water put out a couple of times a day, or consider a special bowl that prevents the water from freezing.
  3. If your pet goes outdoors, be aware of the temperature. Pets can get frostbite very easily on the ears, tail and paws.
  4. When walking your dog, check the paws to make sure that ice is not building up between the toes and that salt from the roads is not irritating the skin.
  5. If your dog is a swimmer, keep it on a leash around open water or unstable ice. Hypothermia can set in quickly and the dog may be unable to get out of the water.
  6. Before you start your car, you should honk the horn to make sure that a cat has not decided to nap in a warm spot under the hood of the vehicle.
  7. If decorating for the holidays, keep ornaments out of the reach of your pets. Remember that poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and other plants can be toxic if ingested.

SAFETY ON THE ROAD

When winter storms strike, do not drive unless necessary.

  1. If you must travel, make sure you car is stocked with survival gear like blankets, a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, extra warm clothing, set of tire chains, battery booster cables, quick energy foods and brightly-colored cloth to use as a distress flag.
  2. Keep your gas tank full to prevent gasoline freeze-up.
  3. If you have a cell phone or two-way radio available for your use, keep the battery charged and keep it with you whenever traveling. If you should become stranded, you will be able to call for help, advising rescuers of your location.
  4. Make sure someone knows your travel plans.

WINTERIZE YOUR VEHICLE

Preparing your vehicle for the winter season now will help ensure your vehicle is in good working order when you need it most.

  1. Have a mechanic check the following items on your vehicle:
    • Battery
    • Wipers and windshield washer fluid
    • Antifreeze
    • Ignition system
    • Thermostat
    • Lights
    • Exhaust system
    • Flashing hazard lights
    • Heater
    • Brakes
    • Defroster
    • Oil level
  2. Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. You may also want to carry a set of tire chains in your vehicle for heavy snow conditions.
  3. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal and maintain at least a half tank of gas throughout the winter season.
  4. Finally, plan long trips carefully. Listen to the local media report or call law enforcement agencies for the latest road conditions.

DRIVE SAFELY

The leading cause of death and injuries during winter storms is transportation accidents.

  1. Before getting behind the wheel this winter season, every driver could learn a lesson from our school bus drivers. It is elementary, but we have to keep our vehicles clear of ice and snow. Good vision is a key to good driving.
  2. Plan your stops and keep more distance between cars. Be extra alert. Remember, snowdrifts can hide smaller children. Moreover, always match your speed to the road and weather conditions.

TRAPPED IN A CAR

What would you do if a blizzard trapped you on the road?

Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Stay in your car and wait for help to find you.
  2. Run your engine for short periods of time to stay warm. Keep your down-wind window open and make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow.
  3. Turn on the dome light at night when you are running the engine to signal rescuers.
  4. Hang a brightly colored piece of cloth or piece of clothing from your car.
  5. Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

 

OUTDOOR SAFETY

Dress for the Season

Winter has arrived make sure you to dress for the season.

  1. Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air between the layers acts as an insulator. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill.
  2. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded.
  3. Always wear a hat or cap on your head since half of your body heat could be lost through an uncovered head.
  4. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
  5. Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other.

PHYSICAL EXERTION

Winter storm conditions and cold waves are the deadliest types of weather.

Cold temperatures put an extra strain on your heart. Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car, increase the risk of a heart attack.

To avoid problems, remember these tips:

  1. Stay warm, dress warm and SLOW DOWN when working outdoors.
  2. Take frequent rests to avoid over exertion.
  3. If you feel chest pain -- STOP and seek help immediately.

WINTER SPORTS SAFETY

There is an abundance of sports activities during the winter season. From skiing and snowboarding to ice climbing, hiking and other outdoor pursuits, parents and children should follow the safety rules of the sport.

  1. Most importantly, use the proper equipment and check to make sure everything is in proper working condition. A well-fitting ANSI/SNELL certified helmet will assure a safer, more enjoyable wintertime experience whether you are skiing, sledding, snowboarding or skating.
  2. Dress in multiple, lightweight layers to stay warm and dry while enjoying the outdoors. Check the weather forecast but be prepared for anything.
  3. If you are heading into the backcountry, never travel alone. Let someone know your route and estimated time of return.
  4. Skiers and snowboarders should go on runs that are appropriate for their ability. Stay in control at all times and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects. Obey all posted signs and warnings.
  5. No matter what sport you participate in, always focus 100 percent of your attention on the activity and the terrain you are on. Moreover, rest when you are tired.

SAFE SLEDDING

Winter is a fun time for children, but it also may be dangerous. Parents should be aware of some simple safety tips for their children when they go sledding or tobogganing:

  1. Children should never use streets or roads for sledding unless they are blocked off from traffic.
  2. Children should sled only during daytime hours.
  3. Do not sled on icy hills. Sledding hills should be only snow covered.
  4. Avoid sledding over snow bumps or anything that may cause the sled to become airborne.
  5. Never sled alone. An adult should always accompany small children.
  6. Children should stay out of the paths of other sledders. In addition, if the slopes become busy, they should move off them quickly.

Parents, if you are sledding with your children, follow these rules yourselves.

 

SAFE SKATING

Winter is a fun time for children, but it also may be dangerous. Parents should be aware of some simple safety tips for their children when they go ice-skating:

  1. If possible, skate at areas that have been approved and posted for ice-skating.
  2. Never skate alone. Always have at least two people present.
  3. Children should never be allowed to skate on a pond unsupervised.
  4. Remember ice thickness is never consistent on lakes and ponds. Water currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets are always suspect for thin ice.
  5. Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas that signify thinner ice.
  6. Never skate after dark.

HYPOTHERMIA

Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, especially in children and the elderly.

Watch for these symptoms:

  1. Inability to concentrate
  2. Poor coordination
  3. Slurred speech
  4. Drowsiness
  5. Exhaustion
  6. Uncontrollable shivering, followed by a sudden lack of shivering

If the person's body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, get emergency medical assistance immediately!

Remove wet clothing, wrap the victim in warm blankets and give warm, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids until help arrives.

 

FROSTBITE

People working or playing outdoors during the winter can develop frostbite and not even know it.

There is no pain associated with the early stages of frostbite, so learn to watch for these danger signs:

  1. First, the skin may feel numb and become flushed. Then it turns white or grayish-yellow. Frostbitten skin feels cold to the touch.
  2. If frostbite is suspected, move the victim to a warm area. Cover the affected area with something warm and dry. Never rub it!
  3. Then get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible.

SNOW BLOWER SAFETY

Do you have a snow blower? Did you know that most snow blower injuries happen because the operator did not read the operating instructions?

You to read your owner's manual and follow these tips:

  1. Never leave your snow blower running and unattended.
  2. Make sure the discharge chute is not aimed at passing motorists or pedestrians.
  3. Never put your hands into the discharge chute or augers to clear stuck snow and ice.
  4. Never add fuel when the engine is running and hot.

Make sure you know how to turn the machine off quickly.

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Ventilation Problems

If smoke or odors come from the ventilation system, immediately notify the Department of Public Safety at x7777. If necessary, cease all operations and vacate the area.

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Psychological Crisis

A psychological crisis exists when an individual is threatening harm to himself/herself or to others, or is out of touch with reality due to a severe drug reaction or a psychotic break. Hallucinations, uncontrollable behavior, or complete withdrawal may manifest a psychotic break.

  1. To report a psychological crisis call the Department of Public Safety at x7777 and tell the officer the following:
    • Your name
    • Your location
    • The nature and location of the incident
    • Clearly state that you need immediate assistance
  2. If it is safe to do so, stay on the line until an officer arrives.
  3. Never try to deal with a potentially dangerous situation by yourself. Report any suicide attempt to the Department of Public Safety so that the proper procedures may be followed in order to ensure the safety of the victim.

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Power Failure

  1. If you are in an area where power has failed, call the Department of Public Safety at x7777, providing the officer with your name, location and department. Describe the nature of the problem and any additional locations that are without power.
  2. If the power failure occurs during daylight hours, open blinds and doors to maximize available outside light.
  3. Kingsborough Community College is equipped with emergency lighting. If the lights are out, proceed cautiously to an area that has emergency lights.
  4. If you are trapped in an elevator, remain calm and use the emergency telephone or call button.
  5. Should an electrical or mechanical systems failure occur, it may become necessary to evacuate the facility.
  6. The Department of Public Safety personnel will advise you when to evacuate the building. After evacuating any campus building please stand a minmum of 100 feet from the building's entrance.
  7. Assist persons with disabilities in exiting the building.

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Hurricane Preparedness

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, the general term for all circulating weather systems (counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere) over tropical waters. Tropical cyclones are classified as follows:

  • Tropical Depression -- An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph (33 knots) or less.  
  • Tropical Storm -- An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph (34-63 knots).  
  • Hurricane -- An intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher. In the western Pacific, hurricanes are called "typhoons," and similar storms in the Indian Ocean are called "cyclones."  

Hurricanes are products of the tropical ocean and atmosphere. Powered by heat from the sea, they are steered by the easterly trade winds and the temperate westerlies as well as by their own ferocious energy. Around their core, winds grow with great velocity, generating violent seas. Moving ashore, they sweep the ocean inward while spawning tornadoes and producing torrential rains and floods.

Each year on average, ten tropical storms (of which six become hurricanes) develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean. However, about five hurricanes strike the United States coastline every three years. Of these five, two will be major hurricanes (category 3 or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale).

Source: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, NOAA, National Weather Service  

Hurricane Scale

All Hurricanes are dangerous, but some are more so than others. The way storm surge, wind and other factors combine determines the destructive power of a hurricane.

To make comparisons easier and to make the predicted hazards of approaching hurricanes clearer to emergency forces, hurricane forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration use a disaster-potential scale which assigns storms to five categories. This can be used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast with a hurricane Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

Category

Definition

Effects

One

Winds 74-95 mph

No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage.

Two

Winds 96-110 mph

Some roofing material, door, and window damage to buildings. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.

Three

Winds 111-130 mph

Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 feet above sea level (ASL) may be flooded inland 8 miles or more.

Four

Winds 131-155 mph

More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrains continuously lower than 10 feet ASL may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas inland as far as 6 miles.

Five

Winds greater than 155 mph

Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 feet ASL and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5 to 10 miles of the shoreline may be required.

Source: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, NOAA, National Weather Service


"Hurricane Watch"

In preparing for the hurricane season, the first step is understanding the warnings that are issued by the National Weather Service:

A hurricane WATCH means that hurricane conditions MAY threaten an area within 24-36 hours. When a hurricane WATCH is issued, everyone in that area should listen for further advisories and be prepared to act promptly.

When a hurricane WATCH is issued, people in the affected area should:

  • Frequently listen to your radio, television or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins on the progress of the storm.
  • Fuel and service family vehicles. Service stations may be unable to pump fuel because of flooding or loss of electrical service.
  • Moor small craft or move to safe shelter.
  • Inspect and secure mobile home tie downs.
  • Tape, board or shutter all window and door openings. Wedge sliding glass doors to prevent lifting from their tracks.
  • Check for batteries, flashlights and battery-operated radios.
  • Check on your supply of canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications.
  • Secure or bring inside lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects, such as garbage cans and garden tools that could become a projectile in high winds.
  • Have on hand an extra supply of cash.

"Hurricane Warning"

In preparing for the hurricane season, the first step is understanding the warnings that are issued by the National Weather Service:

A hurricane WARNING is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in a specified coastal area in 24 hours or less. Hurricane conditions include winds of 74 miles an hour (64 knots) and/or dangerously high tides and waves.

Actions for protection of life and property should begin immediately when the warning is issued, including:

  • Frequently listen to your radio, television or NOAA Weather Radio for official bulletins on the progress of the storm.
  • Complete preparation activities such as putting up storm shutters, storing loose objects, etc. Move valuables to upper floors.
  • Store drinking water in clean jugs, bottles and cooking utensils. The water system in your town could become contaminated or damaged by the storm.
  • Check your battery-powered equipment. Your radio may be your only link with the outside world. Emergency cooking facilities and flashlights will be essential if utility services are interrupted.
  • Follow instructions issued by local authorities. Leave IMMEDIATELY if told to do so.
  • Leave low-lying areas that may be swept by high tides or storm waves.
  • If you plan to leave your home, leave early (if possible, in daylight) to avoid the last-minute rush that could leave you stranded. Stay with friends or relatives, at a low-rise inland hotel/motel, or go to a predestinated public shelter outside a flood zone.
  • In any case, leave mobile homes for more substantial shelter.
  • Notify neighbors and a family member outside of the warned area of your evacuation plans.
  • Put food and water out for a pet if you cannot take it with you. Public health regulations do not allow pets in public shelters, nor do most hotels/motels allow them.

 

TERMS TO KNOW

By international agreement, tropical cyclone is the general term for all cyclone circulations originating over tropical waters, classified by form and intensity as follows:

  • Tropical disturbance: A moving area of thunderstorms in the Tropics that maintains its identity for 24 hours or more. A common phenomenon in the tropics.
  • Tropical depression: Rotary circulation at surface, highest constant wind speed 38 miles per hour (33 knots).
  • Tropical storm: Distinct rotary circulation, constant wind speed ranges 39-73 miles per hour (34-63 knots).
  • Hurricane: Pronounced rotary circulation, constant wind speed of 74 miles per hours (64 knots) or more.
  • Small craft cautionary statements. When a tropical cyclone threatens a coastal area, small craft operators are advised to remain in port or not to venture into the open sea.
  • Gale Warnings may be issued when winds of 39-54 miles an hour (34-47 knots) are expected.
  • Storm Warnings may be issued when winds of 55-73 miles an hour (48-63 knots) are expected. If a hurricane is expected to strike a coastal area, gale or storm warnings will not usually precede hurricane warnings.
  • A Hurricane Watch is issued for a coastal area when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.
  • A Hurricane Warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in a specified coastal area in 24 hours or less. Hurricane conditions include winds of 74 miles an hour (64 knots) and/or dangerously high tides and waves. Actions for protection of life and property should begin immediately when the warning is issued.
  • Flash Flood Watch means a flash flood is possible in the area; stay alert. Flash Flood Warning means a flash flood is imminent; take immediate action.
  • Tornadoes spawned by hurricanes sometimes produce severe damage and casualties. If a tornado is reported in your area, a warning will be issued.

Source: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, NOAA, National Weather Service  

BE PREPARED

In preparing for the hurricane season, make plans for action:

  • Know the hurricane risks in your area. Learn the storm surge history and elevation of your area.
  • Learn safe routes inland.
  • Learn the location of official shelters.
  • Ensure that enough non-perishable food and water supplies are on hand.
  • Have at least a one week supply of medications on hand.
  • Obtain and store materials, such as plywood, necessary to properly secure your home.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood.
  • Review your insurance policy.
  • Determine where to move your boat in an emergency.
  • Make plans now on what to do with your pets should you be required to evacuate your residence. Public health regulations do not allow pets in public shelters, nor do most hotels/motels allow them.

Individuals with special needs or others requiring more information should contact their County Emergency Management Office.

Family Emergency Supplies

Have these items in your residence ready to use in the event of an emergency:

  • Flashlights with extra batteries. Keep flashlights with extra, fresh batteries and keep them beside your bed and in several other locations. Do not use matches.
  • Portable radio with extra batteries. Most telephones will be out of order or limited to emergency use. The radio, including NOAA Weather Radio, will be the best source of emergency information.
  • First aid kit / first aid skills. Keep your first-aid kit well stocked and in a central location. Take basic first-aid and CPR courses. Keep your skills current.
  • Fire extinguisher. Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires and should be easily accessible. Teach all family members how to use it.
  • Food. Store a three-day supply of food for each person. Items such as canned or dehydrated food, powdered milk and canned juices can be rotated into your daily diet and replenished on a regular basis. Include food for infants or the elderly, snack foods and items such as a non-electric can opener, cooking utensils, paper/plastic plates and plastic utensils.
  • Water. Store a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store in air-tight containers and replace them every six months. Keep a disinfectant, such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach, to purify water, if necessary.
  • Extra blankets and clothing may be required to keep warm. Sturdy shoes protect feet from broken glass and debris.
  • Alternate cooking source. Store barbecue, charcoal, starter and matches in case utilities are out of service. Do not use these methods of cooking within a confined area.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members. Have at least a one week supply of medications and foods for infants and those on special diets.
  • Tools. Have a crescent or pipe wrench to turn off gas and water if necessary and know the location of the shut-off valves.
  • Important documents should be stored in a waterproof container. Examples: insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. Also, checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards.

Family Response Plan

Prepare a plan for your family and loved ones in advance of hazardous weather. You should:

  • Contact your local National Weather Service office or Emergency Management office to learn what types of disasters could occur and how you should respond.
  • Learn the warning signals and evacuation plans of your community.
  • Know the Emergency Alert System radio and television stations in your area that will carry official information. Also, monitor NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts, if possible.
  • Discuss with family members what they should do in the event of a disaster, such as a hurricane or severe storm. Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as a fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
  • Designate an out-of-area friend or relative whom separated family members should call to report their whereabouts. Make certain all family members have the phone number.
  • Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Check your home and property for potential hazards to see what actions need to be taken to ensure your safety and to protect your belongings.
  • Check your insurance coverage. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Inventory household items with photographs.
  • Install safety features in your residence such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
  • Know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
  • Know where the designated shelters are within your community and how to get to them.
  • Determine if your family has any special needs and develop a plan for meeting those needs. For example: If you have a family member on a life-support system, does your electric utility know about it?
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones.
  • Teach all family members, including children, how and when to call 911 or your local EMS phone number.

WEATHERING THE STORM

As a major hurricane, or weather event, approaches, it is vitally important to listen to weather advisories and to be prepared to take action.

Modern weather forecasting provides the opportunity to prepare for a major hurricane days in advance. During this time it is important to: check home emergency supply kits for flashlights (avoid using candles which can be a fire hazard), portable radio and TV, cell phone chargers (especially ones that can be used in an auto to recharge cell phones), extra batteries; adequate food and water for each family members for at least three to five days; get cash (ATM machines can lose power during and after a storm); make arrangements for pets; secure yard items; put up window protection; prepare to evacuate early if instructed to do so.

Follow these tips as the hurricane / coastal storm approaches:

  1. If you are traveling, find safe shelter immediately.
  2. If you are at home or at work:
    • Only stay in a home if you have NOT been ordered to leave. Stay inside a well constructed building.
    • In structures, such as a home, examine the building and plan in advance what you will do if winds become strong. Strong winds can produce deadly missiles and structural failure.
    • Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and open only when necessary.
    • Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities.
    • Turn off propane tanks.
    • Unplug major appliances.
    • Fill large containers with water.
  3. If winds become strong:
    • Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered. Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway.
    • Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
    • If you are in a two-story house, go to an interior first-floor room, such as a bathroom or closet.
    • If you are in a multiple-story building and away from the water, go to the first or second floors and take refuge in the halls or other interior rooms away from the windows.
    • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
    • Remain indoors during the hurricane. Do not be fooled by the "eye" or the lull that occurs as the storm center moves overhead. The other side of the hurricane "eye" has winds that will rapidly increase and will come from the opposite direction.

EVACUATION

If an EVACUATION is ordered by local government officials:

  • If instructed to leave - do so! The temptation to "tough it out" can put lives at risk - yours and the personnel who may be sent on an otherwise avoidable rescue mission.
  • Follow the instructions and advice of local government officials. If you are advised to evacuate, do so promptly. If you are advised to go to a certain location, go there. Do not go anywhere else.
  • If certain travel routes are advised, use those routes rather than trying to find short cuts. If you are told to shut off water, gas or electrical service to your home before leaving, do so. Also, find out from the broadcast reports where emergency housing and feeding stations are located, in case you need to use them.
  • Leave as soon as officials instruct that you do to avoid being marooned on flooded highways.
  • Make certain you have enough fuel for your car.
  • As you travel, keep listening to the radio for additional instructions.
  • Watch for washed-out roads, earth slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires and falling or fallen objects.
  • Watch out for areas where rivers or streams may flood suddenly.

Do not try to cross a stream or pool of water unless you are certain that the water will not be over your knees, or above the middle of the wheels of your car, all the way across. Sometimes the water will hide a bridge or part of a road that has been washed out. If you do decide it is safe to cross, put your car in low gear and drive very slowly to avoid splashing water into your engine and causing it to stop. Also, remember that your brakes may not work well after the car has been in deep water. Try them out a few times when you reach the other side.

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Handling Suspicious Mail

Recommendations of the FBI, U.S. Postal Service, and the Centers for Disease Control for identifying and handling suspicious mail and dealing with powder spills from letters and packages are listed below. Although any threatened use of a biological agent must be treated seriously, experience has demonstrated that most threats are likely to be hoaxes. Disease can be prevented after exposure to anthrax spores by early treatment with the appropriate antibiotics. Anthrax is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person.

1. How to Identify Suspicious Packages and Letters

Notify the Department of Public Safety at x7777 if you receive a suspicious letter or package. Some characteristics of suspicious packages and letters include the following:

  • Excessive postage
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Incorrect titles
  • Title, but no name
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Oily stains, discoloration or odor
  • No return address
  • Excessive weight
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil
  • Excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc.
  • Visual distractions
  • Ticking sound
  • Marked with restrictive endorsements, such as "Personal" or "Confidential"
  • Shows a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address

2. How to Handle Suspicious Unopened Letters or Packages

  • Notify the Department of Public Safety at x7777. The Department of Public Safety will notify NYPD via 911.
  • Do not shake or empty the contents of any suspicious envelope or package.
  • Do not pass the letter or package to others to look at.
  • Place the envelope or package in a plastic bag or some other type of container to prevent leakage of contents.
  • If you do not have any container, cover the envelope or package with anything (e.g., clothing, paper, trashcan, etc.) and do not remove the cover.
  • Notify co-workers and students in the immediate area. If possible, try to avoid contact with others.
  • Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).
  • Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face. Do Not Use Bleach or Other Disinfectant on Your Skin.
  • List all people who were in the room or area when the suspicious letter or package was recognized. Give this list to The Department of Public Safety, law enforcement officials and public health officials for follow-up investigations and advice.

3. What to Do if Powder Spills Out of an Envelope

  • Immediately notify the Department of Public Safety at x7777 so they can notify Buildings ang Grounds to turn off local fans or ventilation units in the area.  The Department of Public Safety will also notify NYPD via 911.
  • Do not try to clean up the powder. Cover the spilled contents immediately with anything (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, etc.) and do not remove the cover.
  • Advise co-workers and students in the immediate area. If possible, try to avoid contact with others.
  • Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).
  • Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face. Do Not Use Bleach or Other Disinfectant on Your Skin.
  • Remove heavily contaminated clothing as soon as possible and place in a plastic bag, or some other container that can be sealed. This clothing bag should be given to the emergency responders for proper handling.
  • Shower with soap and water as soon as possible. Do Not Use Bleach or Other Disinfectant on Your Skin.
  • If possible, list all people who were in the room or area, especially those who had actual contact with the powder. Give this list to both the local public health authorities so that proper instructions can be given for medical follow-up, and to law enforcement officials for further investigation.

4. What to Do if a Room is Contaminated by Aerosolization

Anthrax or other biological agents can also be delivered in an aerosol form. In order to be effective it must be aerosolized into very small particles. This is difficult to do, and requires a great deal of technical skill and special equipment. The following steps should be taken if informed that an unknown substance has been released in this manner:

  • Immediately notify the Department of Public Safety at x7777 so they can notify Buildings and Grounds to turn off local fans or ventilation units in the area. The Department of Public Safety will also notify NYPD via 911.
  • Advise co-workers and students in the immediate area. If possible, try to avoid contact with others.
  • Leave the area immediately.
  • Close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).
  • If possible, list all people who were in the room or area. Give this list to both the local public health authorities so that proper instructions can be given for medical follow-up, and to law enforcement officials for further investigation.

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Gas Leak

  1. Cease all operations and notify the Department of Public Safety at x7777. Department of Public Safety will contact Buildings and Grounds and outside emergency response agencies if necessary.
  2. Exit the area immediately.
  3. To avoid sparks, leave all electrical equipment, i.e. lights, computers, appliances, etc., as is. Electrical arcing can trigger an explosion. 

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Flooding or Plumbing Failure

  1. Stop all use of electric equipment.
  2. Call Buildings and Grounds at x5124 and the Department of Public Safety at x7777.
  3. Evacuate the area if necessary.

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Extreme Heat Preparedness

TERMS TO KNOW

HEAT WAVE: More than 48 hours of high heat (90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) and high humidity (80% relative humidity or higher) are expected.

HEAT INDEX: A number in degrees Fahrenheit that tells how hot it really feels when relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.

 

HEAT HEALTH HAZARDS

HEAT CRAMPS: Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms caused by heavy exertion. Signals are abdominal and leg muscle pain. Loss of water and salt from sweating causes cramping. Relief can be firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massages to relieve cramping.

HEAT EXHAUSTION: This condition is less dangerous than heat stroke. It usually occurs when people exercise too heavily or work in warm, humid places where body fluids are lost. Signals include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness and exhaustion. If symptoms occur, get the victim out of sun, and apply cool, wet cloths.

HEAT STROKE: This condition is also known as sunstroke, which can be life threatening. Body temperature can rise and cause brain damage; death may result if not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse, and shallow breathing. Relief for lowering body temperature can be with a cold bath or sponge.

SUNBURN: Redness and pain; in severe cases, swelling of skin, blisters, fever, and headaches. Sunburn hampers heat dissipation. Ointments can be a relief for pain in mild cases. A physician should see serious cases.

 

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

  • Slow down on strenuous activity and exercise, especially during the sun’s peak hours – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Exercise should be done in the early morning between 4 a.m. to 7a.m.
  • Eat less protein and more fruits and vegetables. Protein produces and increases metabolic heat, which causes water loss. Eat small meals, but eat more often. Do not eat salty foods.
  • If possible, stay out of the sun and stay in air-conditioning. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. The sun will also heat the inner core of your body, resulting in dehydration. If you must go outdoors, when in the sun wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head.
  • Dress appropriately. When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing that will cover as much skin as possible. Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects the heat and sunlight and helps maintain normal body temperature. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn and over-warming effects of sunlight on your body.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine. Even in the warmest weather, staying indoors, out of the sunshine, is safer than long periods of exposure to the sun.
  • If your home is not air-conditioned, go to a public building with air conditioning each day for several hours. Air-conditioned locations are the safest places during extreme heat because electric fans do not cool the air. Fan do help sweat evaporate, which gives a cooling effect.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water (at least 2-4 glasses of water per hour during extreme heat), even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
  • Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician. Salt causes the body to retain fluids, resulting in swelling. Salt affects areas of your body that help you sweat, which would keep you cool. Persons on salt-restrictive diets should check with a physician before increasing salt intake.
  • Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car or vehicle during periods of intense summer heat. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach over 140 degrees Fahrenheit quickly. Exposure to such high temperatures can kill within a matter of minutes.
  • Make a special effort to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are elderly, have young children or have special needs.


 

PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE AWARE

Elderly persons and small children are mostly affected.

  • Persons with weight or alcohol problems are very susceptible to heat reactions.
  • Persons on certain medications or drugs.

Monitor those at high risk. Infants and children up to four years of age are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures. They rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.

People who are 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently, and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature. People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.

Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications for conditions such as depression, insomnia or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.

Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children need much more frequent watching.

 

ENERGY CONSERVATION AND POWER OUTAGES

Power outages are more likely to occur during warm weather, when utility usage is at its peak. To avoid putting a strain on the power grid, residents are urged to conserve energy to help prevent power disruptions.

  • Set your air conditioner thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.
  • Only use the air conditioner when you are home. If you want to cool your home before you return, set a timer to have it switch on no more than a half-hour before you arrive.
  • Turn non-essential appliances off.

Only use appliances that have heavy electrical loads early in the morning or very late at night.

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Evacuating Disabled Persons

Techniques for evacuating disabled persons vary with the nature of the disability. If a person with a disability cannot evacuate, they should follow signs to an emergency rescue area a good distance away from the hazard. From this location any person can contact the Department of Public Safety via a 2-way intercom system.

  1. Always ask a disabled person how you can help before giving emergency evacuation assistance. Ask how they can best be assisted or moved, and if there are any special considerations or items that need to come with them.
  2. For persons with mobility impairments, it may be necessary to help clear the exit route of debris, if possible.
  3. For persons with a visual disability, give verbal instructions while assisting in an evacuation. Do not grasp a visually impaired person's arm. Ask if he or she would like to hold your arm as you exit, especially in crowds or debris covered areas.
  4. For persons with auditory disabilities, get the attention of the person by touch or eye contact. Gestures and pointing are helpful, but be prepared to write a brief statement if that person does not seem to understand.
  5. Do not use elevators unless authorized by FDNY personnel.
  6. Do not attempt a rescue evacuation unless you had rescue training or the person is in immediate danger and cannot wait for professional assistance.

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Elevator Failure

  1. Elevators have mechanical safety brakes that will operate even during power failures.
  2. Use the emergency telephone located in the front of the elevator cab to call the Department of Public Safety.
  3. Inform the officer if medical emergency exists.
  4. Remain calm and try to keep other occupants calm.

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Bomb Threats

Bombings or threats of bombing are now harsh realities in today's world. While most bomb threats turn out to be hoaxes and most suspicious packages are harmless, it is important that all threats and suspicious objects be treated seriously. Time is of the essence when a bomb threat is received and we must be ready to react quickly and efficiently to minimize the risk of injury to students, staff, faculty and visitors. These guidelines are designed to help the college community prepare for the potential threat of explosive-related violence.


1. Telephone Threat Response - A calm response to a bomb threat caller could result in obtaining additional information. This is especially true if the caller wishes to avoid injuries or deaths. If told that the building is occupied or cannot be evacuated in time, the bomber may be willing to give more specific information on the bomb's location, components, or method of initiation. When a bomb threat is called in:

  • Keep the caller on the line as long as possible. Do not interrupt except to ask the caller to speak louder, slower or to repeat the message.
  • Record pertinent information on a Bomb Threat Checklist. Do not hang up until the caller hangs up.
  • If the caller does not indicate the location of the bomb or time of possible detonation, ask him/her for this information.
  • Inform the caller that the building is occupied and the detonation of a bomb can result in death or serious injury to many innocent people.
  • Pay particular attention to background noises, such as motors running, music playing, vehicle traffic and any other noise which may give a clue as to the location of the caller.
  • Listen closely to the voice (male or female), the mood of the caller (calm, excited, despondent, etc.), accents or speech impediments.
  • Report the threat to the Department of Public Safety at x7777 immediately after the caller hangs up. Public Safety will then implement its bomb threat response procedure.
  • Remain available in the event that law enforcement personnel want to interview you.


2. Written Threat Response - While written threats are usually associated with generalized threats and extortion attempts, a written warning of a specific device may occasionally be received.

  • Save all materials including the envelope.
  • Once the message is recognized as a threat, further unnecessary handling should be avoided in order to maintain evidence.
  • Report the threat to the Department of Public Safety at x7777. Public Safety will then implement its bomb threat response procedure.
  • Remain available in the event that law enforcement personnel want to interview you.


3. Letter and Package Bombs - While the likelihood of receiving a bomb through the mail is remote, letter or package bombs represent an alternate delivery method if the motive of the attack is to inflict injury on a specific individual. Bombs can be constructed to look like almost anything and can be placed or delivered in a number of ways. Its appearance is limited only by the imagination of the sender. However, the following characteristics may help you in identifying a suspicious letter or package:

  • Feel & Balance - Letters feel rigid, appear uneven or lopsided or are bulkier than normal. Sponginess or undue pressure can be felt through the package. Contents of the parcel may make a "sloshing" sound.
  • Place of Origin - Check the delivery postmark to see if the place of origin is familiar.
  • Foreign Packages - If the item is from another country ask yourself if it is expected. Look for foreign writing, addresses and postage.
  • Unusual Addressing or Delivery Instructions - There are unusually restrictive endorsements such as "Personal," "Private" and "Confidential" or has no return address.
  • Packaging - Packaging wrapped in string are automatically suspicious, as modern packaging materials have eliminated the need for twine or string.
  • Postage - Excess postage on small packages or letters indicate that the object was not weighed by the Post Office. No postage or non-cancelled postage should also be a warning.
  • Writing - Handwritten notes such as "Fragile," "Rush" or "Prize Enclosed," a foreign style of writing (not normally received), misspelling of common names, places or titles and mail addressed to generic or incorrect titles should be treated with caution.
  • Odor - The mail or package emits the smell of marzipan or almonds or any other peculiar odor.
  • Appearance - Leaks, stains, protruding wires, string, tape or tinfoil are present.
  • Sound - Any package that emits a buzzing, ticking or other unusual noise should be treated with caution.
  • Telephone Calls - Any packages or letters arriving before or after a phone call from an unknown person asking if the item was received is suspect.

4. If a Suspicious Package is Found

  • Under no circumstances should anyone move, jar, touch, tamper or interfere with the object or anything attached to it.
  • Report the location and an accurate description of the object to the Department of Public Safety at x7777.
  • All personnel should refrain from using portable radios to report a suspicious object as they can sometimes cause the premature detonation of an explosive device.
  • If possible, open all doors and windows in the area where the object is found to minimize primary damage caused by the blast and secondary damage caused by fragmentation.


5. Bomb Threat Evacuations

  • If it is determined that an evacuation is necessary, bomb threat evacuations at Kingsborough Community College will follow a procedure similar to the one used for fire evacuations.
  • Take personal belongings such as purses, briefcases, knapsacks and shopping bags with you so they are not confused with suspicious packages by those conducting a bomb search.
  • Know your escape route in advance. Also be prepared to use an alternate exit in case your primary route is obstructed. Pay attention to all alarms and public address system announcements.
  • Follow instructions given by Fire Wardens, Searchers, Public Safety, NYPD and FDNY personnel.
  • Never use an elevator to evacuate unless directed to do so by the Fire Department.
  • Once outside, move well away from the building, especially away from windows. 

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Kingsborough Community College
2001 Oriental Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11235-2398 | (718)-368-5000
Kingsborough is CUNY