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F&M closed for non-essential staff during Hurricane Sandy

Continued updates for campus hurricane-safety response to be posted on home page

Because of severe weather expected from Hurricane Sandy, Franklin & Marshall College will be closed except for critical and essential staff Monday, Oct. 29. An update will be provided regarding operations for Tuesday as campus conditions are assessed during the storm.

All classes and scheduled activities have been cancelled and all administrative buildings will be closed in an effort to ensure the safety and security of individuals on campus. Faculty, staff and students who do not have critical functions on campus are strongly encouraged to avoid traveling to the area.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Lancaster County remains under a High Wind Warning, with conditions expected to worsen throughout the day and evening Monday. The latest forecast predicts the storm will reach its peak Monday night. Forecasts predict heavy rain, sustained tropical-storm force winds and significant inland flooding, which could make many roads impassable. The "high wind warning" is in effect from 8 a.m. Monday through noon Tuesday, with gusts up to 65 mph expected.

College officials are monitoring the progress of Hurricane Sandy and taking precautionary measures that include stocking dining hall food supplies, ensuring auxiliary power generators and pumps are operational, and developing contingency plans in the event of a power outage or emergency situation.

The College will provide meal service for all students with an F&M ID in the dining hall from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, regardless of whether students have a meal contract. All residential facilities on the core campus have auxiliary power in event of power failure, though this power should be conserved for heating and lighting. Students who require emergency health services Monday are being instructed to call the Department of Public Safety at 717-291-3939.

Members of the College community are asked not to call the Department of Public Safety for information about the storm, as it's important to use emergency phone lines only for emergencies. Members of the staff of the Dean of the College will be assigned to be a ready resource for students in the College Houses throughout the storm.

The F&M home page, www.fandm.edu, will continue to be the primary source for general information during the storm, and campus opening and closing information also will be available on the College's Emergency Weather Line at 717-291-4003. In the unlikely event that extreme or extended power outages make it impossible for the College to update the home page, the College will continue to provide basic information via F&M's Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Campus community members also can receive text messages from the F&M Emergency Alert system. To sign up, visit http://www.fandm.edu/emergencyalert.

Closures and cancellations

Members of campus should be advised of the following campus closures:

  • All dining facilities with the exception of D-Hall will be closed, including Steinman College Center, Zebi and Pandini's (any student may eat in D-Hall from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a College ID)
  • All classes and labs have been cancelled for Monday, Oct. 29.
  • All campus libraries will be closed during this time.
  • All administrative buildings are closed, including athletics facilities (Mayser Gymnasium, the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center and the facilities at College Square).
  • Coaches of F&M's sports teams will cancel all practices scheduled for Oct. 29.

Critical and essential employees will receive guidance from their supervisors about reporting to work. For the purposes of this storm, Human Resources has designated essential personnel as supporting the following areas: Facilities and Operations and Public Safety.

Individual precautions urged

F&M is engaged in extensive contingency planning, but the College also is strongly urging all members of the community to take individual precautions during the storm.

Faculty in science departments have been encouraged to assess which systems should be intentionally powered down to prevent damage in the event of a power failure. To preserve power for critical systems, many technology services may not be available, including research computing.

All members of the community are encouraged to stay away from windows, avoid walking around campus unnecessarily, charge electronics, and unplug electronic devices, including computers and televisions to guard against any power outages that could damage that equipment.

Faculty, students and staff who have unsecured bikes on campus also should make efforts to lock their bikes in a bike rack, and if possible, in an area with a shelter or overhang.

All core campus residential buildings have auxiliary power, but other residential buildings do not. In the event of a loss of power, students should follow this guidance:

  • Use caution within your residence and on the stairs, as lighting will be minimal.
  • Do not open your refrigerator or freezer; this will keep items cold and frozen.
  • Do not use candles or any other open flame as a light or heat source.
  • Carefully unplug carbon monoxide detectors in your residence and remove the battery if they start beeping (remove the panel located on the back of the unit to access the battery).
  • If power fails and then is restored, please allow about two hours for the hot water, cooling and any elevators to be operational. These systems take some time to restart.
  • FOBs will not work in the event of a power outage for buildings without auxiliary power. In the event this occurs, the College will assess the need to arrange for staff to be stationed around campus for assistance. Locations will be specified in updates to emergency announcements posted on the home page.

F&M maintains an Emergency Preparation Guidelines website at www.fandm.edu/prepare. The University's Office of Human Resources also maintains a weather emergencies page for employees.

More information about Hurricane Sandy is available on the National Hurricane Center website.