Weather Safety

Cold / Inclement Weather

In bitterly cold weather, it is important to stay warm. Hypothermia begins when your body temperature drops just two or three degrees and can occur after just 30 minutes of exposure. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, slurred speech, then loss of coordination and confusion. This is a condition worse than frostbite and should be treated as soon as it becomes noticeable.

Frostnip, the least severe form of frostbite, affects areas that are exposed to the cold such as cheeks, nose, ears, fingers, and toes, leaving them red and numb or tingly. Frostnip can be treated at home by immersing the chilled body parts in warm (not hot) water or use washcloths soaked in warm water, for 20 to 30 minutes until all sensation returns. Call your doctor if sensation does not return or there are signs of frostbite. One sign of frostbite is when flesh becomes red and very painful as it thaws.

  • If you must be outdoors, limit your exposure to 30 minutes each time.
  • Be careful when warming body areas numb from the cold—the numbness may prevent the person from realizing he or she is being burned.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages as these can interfere with blood circulation and actually slow down the warming process.
  • Do drink warm beverages—ones that contain sugar may be especially helpful.
  • Wear several light layers of clothing; when you go outdoors, cover all exposed skin and, if possible, wear mittens instead of gloves. Wear two pairs of socks: the first pair should be of silk or a synthetic fiber that does not hold moisture; the second pair should be of wool.
  • Beware of black ice on streets and sidewalks. Practically invisible, it can develop on dry pavement when condensation freezes in shaded areas.
  • Candles are not permitted on campus. If you use them at home, never leave lit candles unattended.
  • To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t use a gas-powered heater, or use a charcoal or gas grill indoors, and make sure the garage door is open before warming up your car.
  • If you have pets, bring them indoors or provide shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to unfrozen water.

More winter weather tips to help you survive the cold weather.

Severe Weather

You are responsible for finding shelter in the event of a tornado or other severe weather event. Building maps are located at entrances showing the designated “safe area.”

If you do not locate the map, go to the ground floor and enter an interior (windowless) room or hallway. It is too risky to go to another building once the sirens have sounded.

  • Shut off equipment that might be affected by a temporary loss of electricity.
  • Close hallway doors as you leave to shield the corridors from flying debris.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Use telephones for emergency calls only.
  • Stay calm and alert.
  • Dial 918-293-5000 to report injuries and emergencies caused by the storm.
  • There will not be an all clear signal from the alert sirens. Additional blasts indicate a new or renewed alert.
  • Report locations of trapped persons, making note of persons with injuries and/or disabilities.

Tornado Tips

  • In the event of tornadoes, basements generally offer the best protection. Otherwise go into an interior room (bathroom/shower) or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside when possible.
  • Get under a piece of sturdy furniture, such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it.
  • Avoid large open rooms, if possible.
  • Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands.
  • Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris and flying objects in case the roof and ceiling fail.
  • Faculty, staff and/or students should remain at your chosen “safe area” location until advised that it is safe to return to their regular work or study area or to leave the building until the tornado or severe weather has passed.
  • Remember, there is no “all clear” siren activation. Weather, especially a severe storm, is unpredictable or the storm may have several lines of developing storms and as each approaching threat reaches the city, another siren notification may be sounded.

Persons with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities who are mobility impaired must also make plans. If a power outage occurs during severe weather, elevators may not work. Go to a small interior room or closet (or a landing in an interior stairwell); stay away from windows and exterior walls. Tell someone where you will be going and take a cell phone, if possible.