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Inclement Weather Information/Updates

Severe Weather Alert

VSU Community, The National Weather Service in Wakefield has issued a Tornado Watch for our area.  Strong to severe thunderstorms are expected this morning until 1 pm. Widespread damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes are possible. The most likely timeframe will be from  8 am through 1 pm. During the storm you are advised to stay in class and indoors until the hazardous conditions are lifted. It is also recommended that you avoid traveling.

The VSU Emergency Operations Center has been activated and will monitor the situation. Updates will be provided through local media, VSU social media pages, Rave Alert, and the Rave Guardian safety app. In the event of a tornado warning, VSUPD will activate the Rave Alert System to include the emergency sirens to notify the community to shelter in place.  Below are several tips to help us through the storm. Please read this message and remember we are here for you!  

BEFORE THE STORM

You must have a plan for the severe weather. Students and their families should develop their own personal emergency plans in the event the metropolitan Petersburg area is threatened by a storm. These plans at a minimum should address the following:

VSU Police/Campus Emergency Response:  The VSU Police Department will be on campus to respond to all campus emergencies.  In the event the storm negatively impacts police operations, response times may be delayed.  However, the department will work to respond to your needs as quickly as possible to ensure both your safety and well-being. 

University Communication: RAVE ALERT is the University’s official emergency notification system.   Through RAVE ALERT VSU students, employees and staff receive emergency notifications and important announcements via text messaging, recorded voice messages and/or email. RAVE GUARDIAN is a VSU mobile safety app that allows you to immediately contact police in the event of an emergency.    Prior to the storm, be sure that your RAVE information is correct.  RAVE will relay emergency information through phone calls, emails, and text messages using the contact information that you have registered.  If you are not registered with RAVE, please use the following steps set up your account:

Go to https://www.getrave.com/login/vsu

Personal Communications: Designate an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as a family contact. Be prepared to text, tweet, Facebook, or call to let people know your plan before a storm and that you are ok during and after the storm.

Medications:  Make sure all prescription medications are filled.  Contact Student Health Services (804-524-5711) for those medications that need to be refrigerated. 

Food Schedules:  In the event of emergency protocol initiation Jones Dining Hall will offer two meals per day.  If conditions warrant/permit, food will be delivered to the residence halls or MPC (if applicable).

Emergency Work Orders:   Inclement weather can result in damage or unplanned power outages.  Place EMERGENCY requests directly to Facilities Call Center at (804 524-5451).

Supplies: Build or purchase an emergency kit with all the supplies you will need to last 3-5 days. If time allows try to equip yourself with the following:

At minimum have a backpack containing:

·        A flashlight

·        A small radio (with extra batteries); preferably one with a hand-crank

·        A solar powered or hand-cranked cell phone charger

·        Energy bars

·        Water

·        Cash – ATM machines may be down

·        First aid supplies

If time allows (additional items to stock up on in case the storm results in an extended outage):

• Additional Water – one gallon per person per day for at least three to seven days
• Non-Perishable Food – (e.g. crackers, canned tuna, etc. anything not requiring electricity)
• First Aid Kit 
• Fire Extinguisher
• Whistle
• Sanitizer – moist towelettes or liquid
• Multi-Tool / Tool Kit

Protection of Valuables: Purchase rental insurance for and take pictures/ inventory your personal possessions. Pick up all items from the floors and store in drawers and closets.  Bring inside any items you may have on balconies or other open areas. Unplug stereos, TVs, electronic equipment and lamps.

Keep your computer equipment safe:  If storm conditions become a threat to the campus, you should take the necessary steps outlined below to protect your computer equipment and hardware (ex. printer).  You are responsible for ensuring that your computer equipment and hardware are protected. Please be sure that you do your best to protect your equipment so that when you return to campus everything is working properly.

  • Make sure all electronic devices are charged (e.g. cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.)
  • Take laptops/tablets home with you along with important files. You are responsible for the data on your computer.
  • Unplug your desktop computer and equipment (printers, scanners, etc.) from the electrical outlets as well as the data jacks. (Make a note of which data jack you removed the cable from because not all of them are activated.)
  • Move any computer equipment and any hardware away from windows and areas which are prone to possible flooding or leaks.
  • Cover your at-risk computers and other equipment with a heavy duty trash bag.


Protection of Data: Save all important files to the network drives (H:, O:, S: drives).  Data stored on the local drive (C:) is not backed up.  No sensitive data should be stored on a local drive by VSU policy.

Transportation: Keep your car filled with gas and check all fluids and tire pressures (including spare). Know how you will evacuate and the route you will take if an evacuation order is issued. Any student who cannot evacuate on their own will be asked to self-identify to University officials and will be transported to a local University-operated or county shelter.

Shelter:  Storm evacuation shelters are designed for safety, not comfort. Accommodations are extremely basic. Students who choose to stay in a local shelter should be prepared to sleep on the floor of a common area. Food and water will be provided, but we recommend that students bring a sleeping bag, a pillow, snacks and all prescription medications. In the event of residence hall evacuation, we will relocate students to the Multi-Purpose Center.

Computer Systems’ Availability.  In the event of a severe storm and depending upon the severity, certain campus computer systems may NOT be available or have certain limitations.  If the Data Center is up and running, all applications should function as normal as long as the Internet connection is intact.   If the Data Center is impacted, Banner and Blackboard LMS may be impacted.  However, students will still be able to use Trojan Card on campus.  Off campus usage may be limited.  

EVACUATION ORDER

When an evacuation is ordered, it imperative for your safety that you comply. The University will cancel all classes/ events and ask students to leave campus by a specific time and date. The University will provide as much notice as possible in helping students make arrangements so that they can provide for their own safety and welfare. Most students travel to a designated relative or friend’s home within a 250-mile radius of the tri-cities.

• Tell someone outside of the storm area (a relative or friend) where you are going.
• If you live on campus, please register with the staff member at your residence hall front desk.
• Offer a ride and share sheltering options with other students who need transportation.
• Leave as soon as possible. As the temperature drops, icy roads become extremely hazardous.  

• Bring your pre-assembled severe storm kit and protective clothing.

DURING THE STORM

Do not venture outside.  During the storm, a “state of emergency” may be in effect.  As a result, alcoholic beverages or mind altering substances that impair judgment are prohibited. On-campus residents may not use fire exits to go to an adjacent floor, and elevators will be shut off. On-campus students should report all accidents or injuries to your Resident Assistant or the reception desk of your residential college or apartment area.

AFTER THE STORM

In the immediate aftermath of a storm, communications may be severely disrupted. Check the Emergency Preparedness Website atwww.vsu.edu/emergency and official VSU social media sites, or call VSU Police at (804) 524-5411 for the latest information. All students should also immediately attempt to contact family and friends by any available means (telephone, text, email, social media, etc.) and let them know they are okay.

If the University was ordered to evacuate, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RETURN TO CAMPUS until instructed to do so via a RAVE Alert or the Emergency Preparedness Website.

After the storm and the power is back on, wait until there are no blackouts or surges before plugging your equipment back in. Be sure that critical equipment has a surge protector attached.

Talk to your professor about their procedures on how to contact them in case of an emergency. It may vary depending upon your professor. Be sure to store your professors’ emergency contact information in a safe place. Do you have two different email addresses for your professors? Your professors College email and phone may be down.

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