Hazardous Weather Conditions
The classification of hazardous weather conditions is dependent upon a host of factors (exact weather incident, time of day, time of year, etc…). In general, hazardous weather conditions can be broken down in terms of severity and probable emergency actions, as follows:
Level 1—those that impact transportation across campus (along roads for personnel coming to or leaving campus by car, or along pathways for personnel walking to their class/working location). Incident types in this category include moderate snowfall or light freezing rain, and typical emergency actions may include activation of the Facilities Management emergency snow removal plan, as well as communication by Human Resources as to the hazardous conditions.
Level 2—those that involve significant impacts to vehicular/foot transportation, or conditions that threaten building safety. Incident types in this category include heavy snow, accumulations of freezing rain, electrical storms, heavy wind, and tornado watches (indications of favorable weather conditions that could produce a tornado), and typical emergency actions may include college closure and event cancellation (in addition to the other Level 1 actions).
Level 3—those that involve imminently threatening impacts to transportation and building safety. Incident types in this category include tornado warnings (indications that a tornado has been seen or picked up by radar) and sustained ice storms with related power outages. Typical emergency actions include orders to shelter in place using the outdoor warning sirens and reverse 911 system (in addition to the other Level 1/2 actions).
Aside from the general classification of hazardous weather conditions from above, there are some other general issues to keep in mind, as follows:
- All employees and students should review local TV/radio stations, phone/cell messages, and the Hamilton website for specific details related to the College during weather related events. Use common sense when evaluating hazardous weather conditions and your own well-being, and report any other relevant information to Campus Safety (ext 4000) who monitors this information as well.
- Personnel traveling to/leaving campus by car during hazardous weather conditions should demonstrate extreme caution and exhibit safe driving habits. Drive defensively and give pedestrians the right of way. If you are immobilized in a roadway due to the weather conditions or from an accident, be mindful that it’s often more safe to stay inside the vehicle than to try to exit it.
- Personnel traveling around campus by foot or other non-vehicular means should consider alternative practices (where practical and not otherwise precluded), to avoid exposing themselves to the hazardous weather conditions.
- Strictly adhere to directions from emergency communications channels. If an order to shelter in place is given, consider the following:
- If indoors, stay away from glass windows, shelving and other heavy equipment, and seek refuge within doorways or under desks/tables.
- If outdoors, move quickly away from utility poles that may be energized, and take refuge within the nearest building (as possible).
While it is unlikely that building evacuations (as traditionally defined) would occur following or during hazardous weather conditions that are less than Level 2 in severity, it is critical for all employees/students to stay informed as such an event unfolds. College officials will disseminate the critical information as it becomes necessary and available to safeguard the greater College community.