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Student Handbook

Natural Disasters

Hurricanes and Tornadoes


Effective Date Aug 1, 2009

Tornadoes and hurricanes can inflict heavy casualties and damage. It is very difficult to make anything other than routine preparation for tornadoes because of their unpredictability and the lack of reliable warning information. Hurricanes, however, generally allow for sufficient lead-time to take actions that minimize losses and contribute to timely recovery.

Hurricanes

For the purpose of clarification, the following definitions are noted:

Hurricane Season—June 1–November 30

Hurricane Watch/Alert—This is the first warning that a hurricane is a definite threat to a portion of the Florida East Coast. The watch is usually given 36 hours before the storm is expected to hit the coast. Landfall of the hurricane is uncertain and broad geographic areas are alerted. This is the time for preliminary storm preparation.

Hurricane Warning—Normally issued 24 hours before the storm is expected to strike the coast (Space Coast). More accurate landfall is predicted, with narrower geographic boundaries.

Should Florida Tech fall under a Hurricane Watch, students are requested to keep their radio or television tuned to one of the stations listed under Emergency Information Sources for up-to-date information on the hurricane. Additional information can be found under Emergency Phone Numbers and Emergency Notification System.

Before the Storm

  • All electrical equipment (stereos, computers, radios, etc.) should be secured and unplugged.
  • All loose objects should be placed in drawers or lockers. Paper, books, etc., are not be left on top of desks.
  • All windows should be closed tightly and locked, and curtains should be closed. Do not tape or board windows.
  • Valuables should be placed in lockable drawers or lockers and should remain locked throughout the storm. Doors should be locked when occupants are not in the room.
  • Students who own cars should set the emergency brake and put the car in park or reverse gear. All windows should be closed and the car locked.
  • No motor vehicles of any type may be stored inside the apartments. This is a violation of local fire codes and endangers residents in neighboring apartments. Any vehicles found inside apartments will be removed at the owner’s expense.
  • Students should supply their own battery-powered flashlights in case of power failure. Candles or other flame-type lighting should not be used under any circumstance; fire is uncontrollable during a hurricane.
  • Panther Dining Hall will be the center for all food service activity during a hurricane emergency period.
  • The last meal served at Panther Dining will end a minimum of 12 hours before the expected landfall of the storm. Depending on the severity of the storm (category 1 or higher), “survival bags” of snack food and water will be issued during the last meal service.
  • When picking up food and water supplies, students and staff remaining in the area will be identified and asked to state where they intend to stay during the storm. That information will be forwarded to the Office of Security and Safety.
  • In the event of a hurricane, all students are encouraged to contact their parents/legal guardians and Residence Life regarding their evacuation plans and seek shelter out of the predicted strike area.
  • In the event of a hurricane, all students are strongly encouraged to seek appropriate shelter off campus for the duration of the storm and to notify the Residence Life staff before departure. In addition, all students are asked to contact their parents/legal guardians regarding their evacuation plans.
  • Complete a Hurricane Evacuation Plan form with your Resident Assistant or Resident Director.

During the Storm

If the university has not evacuated the campus/closed the residential facilities, it is essential that all residents who have chosen to remain on campus stay indoors throughout the entire hurricane. Residents must not leave their living units unless directed by the Residence Life staff. Depending on the severity of the storm, campus curfews may be in effect during and after the storm.

  • For maximum safety during the peak of the storm, residents should close their doors and remain in the hall. If you are not familiar with a hurricane, there is always a lull in the storm when the eye passes through the area. Once the eye passes through, the storm begins again but with the winds coming from the opposite direction.
  • Remain away from danger areas, such as glass windows. Do not attempt to open doors or windows to see what is happening.
  • Report all accidents, injuries, broken windows and excessive water to your RA.
  • Telephone calls should only be made in case of an emergency.
  • “Hurricane parties” are not allowed. Do not drink alcohol. Everyone needs to think clearly during a hurricane.

Southgate Apartments/Columbia and Harris Village Suites

In addition to the procedures outlined above, the residents of Southgate Apartments and Columbia and Harris Village Suites are alerted to the following procedures:

  • Fill cooking containers with water for drinking purposes and store them in your refrigerator.
  • Fill the bathtub one-half full of water for washing, flushing the toilet, etc., in case the water supply is shut down.
  • Have enough canned food and other non-perishables on hand to last at least three (3) days.

Note: Do not rely on the use of electric can openers.

Evacuation

Evacuation of the campus may be ordered by the Brevard County Emergency Management Division or depending on the severity of the storm, the university may evacuate the campus and close the residential facilities. The campus and/or residential facilities will remain closed until such time as all services have been restored and it has been deemed safe to reopen. There will be no refund of charges or fees for the time the university is closed due to hurricanes, tornados, other natural disasters or acts of God. In the event an evacuation of campus is ordered, the university is NOT a designated shelter and WILL NOT provide shelter to anyone.

The evacuation center for students living on campus is Meadowlane School, 2785 Wingate Blvd., West Melbourne.  This center will be used until capacity is reached. At that time, a secondary facility will be opened and people will be redirected to the alternate facility. If, before the storm, students are concerned for their safety and would prefer to go to the evacuation center, they should do so, but first should notify their RA and parents/legal guardians of their intentions.

Those who own and operate motor vehicles should transport themselves to the evacuation site and offer transportation to others. The university will provide limited shuttle service to the designated shelter as long as it is determined to be safe to provide said transportation. Shuttle schedules will be posted at Panther Dining Hall, the residential facilities and Campus Security.

The university reserves the right to make emergency reassignments and/or restrict access to residence halls/apartments before, during or after any storm. 

Tornado Precautions

Before the storm, develop a plan for you and your family at home, work, school and when outdoors. Keep a map of approaching storm movements by listening to weather bulletins. Have a NOAA weather radio to receive warnings. If planning to be outdoors, listen to latest forecasts and plan accordingly.

Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most deaths and injuries. If you see a dark, often greenish sky, a wall cloud, large hail or hear a loud roar similar to a freight train, take shelter immediately.

If a Tornado Warning is Issued

In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement, interior room or hallway on the lowest floor, and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Stay away from windows. Get out of automobiles. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately. If caught outside or in a vehicle, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression.