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Emergency Preparedness

The University has in place a number of safety plans to address weather emergencies and security alerts. In the event of an actual emergency, go to the DHFS Emergency Information page for specific information.

Weather Emergencies

How to prepare:
  • Obtain a flashlight and extra batteries (candles are not permitted)
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items, water and snacks.
  • Review emergency evacuation and shelter in place procedures located in the Residence Hall manual.
  • Stock up on necessary medicines and medical supplies.
  • Obtain a supply of cash.
  • Charge your cell phone.
What to expect during the weather event:
  • High winds may cause windows to break, flying debris, etc. Stay indoors and take shelter away from windows. Go to the lowest level of the building, if possible. Report broken windows to your area desk.
  • Heavy rain may penetrate window casings? Move or unplug and cover with plastic any electronic equipment that is near the window.
  • Flooding - Residence hall buildings and campus streets may experience flooding and Waller Creek may overrun it banks as result of a heavy rain. Report any flooding inside of your building to the area desk.
  • Power Outage - Remain calm; do not use candles for lighting.
  • Limited food service options will be available should severe weather prevent staff from reporting to work or if a power outage occurs. (Dining Services has stocked up on water and easy-to-prepare foods for this purpose)
  • Campus and residence hall programs and events may be cancelled.
  • If a prolonged power outage occurs, residents needing to keep medications refrigerated may request ice from dining services for this purpose.
  • During the weather event updated information about residence hall dining services, and program and events will be available on the DHFS Website. In event of a power outage, information will be available at the area desk.
Housing Family Members from Evacuated Areas

The University residence halls will open their doors to family members of residents who live in areas most impacted by adverse weather conditions. Other accommodations will need to be made for family pets.

  • Family members will stay with the host resident. Family members should supply their own bedding materials.
  • The host resident must register family members at the residence hall desk.
  • Limited supplies of mattresses are available from the Kinsolving, Jester West and San Jacinto Desk.
  • The host resident is responsible for escorting their family members in the building, to bathrooms, etc.
  • Keys and access will not be provided to family members.
  • Opposite-sex family members may stay with the host resident during this time. Existing same-sex policies apply to guests who are not immediate family members
  • Patience is the key to accommodating and helping out our friends and neighbors.

In the event of an emergency, the fire alarm and intercom system will be used to advise residents of appropriate measures to take. The University, in conjunction with the City of Austin and County resources, will also implement an Emergency Operations Center to respond to the situation.

Tornado and Related Emergencies (Dangerous Storms & Floods)

It is important that residents turn on their radios and monitor weather conditions when inclement weather arises. If there are no lightning strikes, residents may also turn on their TVs. There are two types of alerts connected to tornadoes:

  • Tornado Watch means conditions are right for a tornado to form. Residents should continue to monitor the weather for further developments and be prepared to take cover.
  • Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been spotted on the ground. Residents should take immediate action to take cover.
Shelter in Place - Tornado

When emergency conditions do not warrant or allow evacuation, the safest method to protect individuals is to take shelter inside their residence hall and await further instructions.

If a Tornado Warning is issued, residents will shelter in place and adhere to the following:

  • Exit their room, lock and close the door (In Jester, evacuate to floors 5 or below)
  • Take cover in an interior corridor, away from windows and glass
  • Evacuate large lounge areas and large rooms with unsupported spans (no supports)
  • Cover their heads to protect against flying debris if a tornado hits
  • Remain quiet and listen for further instructions from staff
  • Residence Hall personnel will provide directions to a safe location
  • Avoid windows and areas with glass
  • If available, take a radio or television to the room to track emergency status
  • Keep telephone lines free for emergency responders, do not call 911 for information

Residents should remain on their assigned floors until the Hall Coordinator or emergency personnel give an "all clear" signal.

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