Hoos Ready Safety Tip of the Month

Hoos Ready is an organization focusing on promoting and campaigning for emergency preparedness along the grounds of the University of Virginia, among students, faculty, and staff in order to build a better prepared community. By spreading this level of safety preparedness, this University can take a stand, start the trend, and always be prepared for any crisis or urgent situation.

Hoos Ready is a special status organization at the University of Virginia.

On the 11th of each month, Hoos Ready distributes its Safety Tip of the Month. Those tips are below:

Cyber Security – Are You Protected?

October 11, 2009 — It's Cyber Security Month and the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Hoos Ready remind you to take care of your "cyber self" as well as your physical self. Make sure you:

•    Set up and maintain your electronic devices in a secure manner
•    Protect yourself from identity theft
•    Avoid using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing
•    Don’t fall for phishing scams
•    Use discretion on social networking sites

For more information visit:
•    Information Security at U.Va.
•    Who’s Watching? Charlottesville
•    Stay Safe Online

September Safety Tip: Preparation Is Key to Being Ready for an Emergency Latest in a monthly series from Hoos Ready and the Office for Emergency Preparedness.

September 11, 2009 — Why is the emergency preparedness mantra at U.Va. and across the nation "Get a Kit – Make a Plan – Be Informed." Each of these elements prepares you to act quickly and decisively should an emergency arise. Here are some important actions to keep in mind:

    •    If you discover an emergency situation, call 911. Remain calm and use common sense.
    •    Depending on the situation, evacuate or shelter-in-place. Evacuate immediately upon request of authorities, upon hearing an alarm, or when remaining inside is dangerous or life-threatening; stay inside and move to an interior room if exiting the building is dangerous.
    •    Make one phone call to let someone know you're OK and be brief; do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
    •    Protect yourself. Do not jeopardize your life or the lives of others by attempting to save personal or University property.
    •    Assist others, but do not exceed your training or knowledge when attempting to render first aid.
    •    Follow instructions from authorities. Do not cross official police barriers without authorization.
    •    Limit travel; keep the roads free for emergency vehicles.

September is Emergency Preparedness Month, so think about other ways you can get engaged. Check out these local emergency-related clubs:

    •    Hoos Ready
    •    Medical Reserve Corps
    •    Amateur Radio
    •    Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue Group
    •    Community Emergency Response Team

Not up for a long-term engagement? How about three hours? Help University and local emergency responders test their skills in Operation Move! Hoos, a regional emergency training event, scheduled for Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. until noon at Scott Stadium. Click here for more details and to register. Participating in this exercise satisfies a Fraternal Organization Agreement safety requirement.

For information, contact U.Va.'s Office of Emergency Preparedness: 434-982-0565 or uvaoep@virginia.edu.

August Safety Tip of the Month: Too Hot to HandleAug. 11, 2009 — When the body can no longer cool itself by sweating, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can occur and even result in death. Several factors leading to these conditions include: high temperature and humidity; direct sun or heat; limited air movement, and physical exertion.  Know the signs:

Heat Exhaustion
•    Fatigue, thirst and heavy sweating
•     Headache, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
•     Cramps, nausea and vomiting 

Heat Stroke
•    Dry, hot skin with no sweating
•    Mental confusion or losing consciousness
•    Seizures or convulsions
To Prevent Heat Stress:
•    Block out direct sun or other heat sources
•    Use cooling fans or air-conditioning; rest regularly
•    Drink lots of water; about 1 cup every 15 minutes
•    Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothes
•     Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, or heavy meals

For more tips on coping with the heat, visit here. Also, get more information from the U.Va.'s Office of Emergency Preparedness by calling 434-982-0565 or e-mailing uvaoep@virginia.edu.

July Safety Tip of the Month: Travelers, Listen UpJuly 11, 2009 — Keep these safety tips in mind when traveling:

•    Pack essential items. Water, first aid kit, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, and important documents or information you may need.

•    Let family and friends know your itinerary. Make sure they know where you will be staying and how to reach you.

•    Make a plan. Find out what the disaster safety procedures are where you are staying. Identify how you would get out of the building in case you need to evacuate. Also, locate safe places inside should you need to take cover during a disaster, such as an earthquake or tornado.

•    Know the area before you travel. Learn about the area you are visiting. Find out what disasters may occur in the place where you are traveling.

•    Pay attention to the local forecast. Travel and weather web sites can help you avoid storm seasons, severe heat and other regional challenges that could impact your safety.

•    Have emergency numbers ready. Make a list of numbers of emergency responders (e.g. police, fire). Also, if you are in a disaster, remember to register on the Safe and Well Web site on www.redcross.org so family and friends can find you and know you're OK.

 If traveling internationally, register with the U.S. Department of State for travel information, warnings, and alerts at www.travel.state.gov. For students travelling abroad, visit here.

For more emergency preparedness information, contact U.Va.'s Office of Emergency Preparedness, 434-982-0565 or uvaoep@virginia.edu.

News Flash: Lightning Kills! June 11, 2009 — More than 400 people are struck by lightning every year in the US; between 55 and 60 people are killed and hundreds suffer permanent disabilities and injuries.

All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous, so pay attention to these important facts:

Don't be fooled by blue skies. Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from any rainfall. Many deaths occur ahead of storms or after storms have seemingly passed. If you are outside and hear thunder, you are in danger.

Picnic shelters, dugouts, sheds and other partially open or small structures are NOT safe. A safe building is one that is fully enclosed with a roof, walls and floor, such as a home, school, office building or a shopping center.

Phone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the U.S. Avoid corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.

Lightning can travel through the plumbing system, so avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes or do laundry.

Stay inside until 30 minutes after you last hear thunder.

For more helpful tips visit www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov or contact the U.Va. Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or uvaoep@virginia.edu.

May Safety Tip of the Month: We Want You...To Stop the Flu
May 11, 2009 — Illnesses like the flu and colds are caused by viruses and usually spread from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You can help prevent the spread of germs, seasonal flu, and pandemic flu.

Help stop the spread of germs:

1.     Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw it away.

2.     Clean your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

3.     Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth – germs from surfaces like desks or doorknobs enter your system this way.

4.     Stay home and rest when you are sick or have flu symptoms – staying away from others may keep them from getting sick.

5.     Practice other good health habits to stay healthy all year long.
Get more information from the U.Va.'s Office of Emergency Preparedness, 434-982-0565 or uvaoep@virginia.edu.

March Safety Tip of the Month: Twister … It's Not a GameMarch 11, 2009 — Last year, 39 tornadoes struck Virginia. Would you know what to do?

1. Know the Lingo

• Tornado Watch: Conditions are right for tornado formation; remain alert to weather conditions.

• Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted; take shelter immediately.

2. Find a Safe Space

• Sturdy buildings. Go to the basement and stay away from windows. If there is no basement, move to a small, windowless interior room such as a closet, bathroom or interior hall on the lowest level of the building. Face an interior wall, crouch low to the ground, and protect your head by covering it with your arms.

• Open buildings, outdoors, vehicles, mobile homes or trailers. Find shelter inside the nearest sturdy building. If there is no time to go anywhere else, seek shelter right where you are. Stay low against a strong wall, or lie down flat in a ditch or depression. Protect your head by covering it with your arms.

March 17 is Tornado Preparedness Day in Virginia. Practice your tornado safety during the statewide tornado drill.

For information, contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or uvaoep@virginia.edu.

Tip of the Month — Can You Hear me Now?
Accurate information about impending or actual threats or emergencies can literally mean the difference between life and death.

At the University, you may hear of a dangerous situation in several ways.

•    Fire alarm
•    Siren
•    U.Va. Alerts (text message and alternate email notification)
•    University email
•    LCD screens
•    Public address system announcements (where available)

The University of Virginia home page will provide official information on any emergency affecting Grounds. Other sources to help you keep informed are:

•    Community emergency website
•    Local television and radio stations

Take steps now to be sure you can stay informed. Have a battery-operated or crank radio ready to use, and a crank mobile phone charger so you can keep in touch with your loved ones.

A closing thought: When all else fails, there's always amateur radio. If you are a licensed amateur radio (ham) operator, we'd like to know who you are. If you're interested in becoming licensed, we'd like to know that, too. Contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or e-mail us at uvaoep@virginia.edu.

For information on emergency communication, visit www.virginia.edu/emergency.

Tip of the Month — January 11, 2009Power Outages: Don’t be in the Dark

Power outages are usually associated with snow, ice and heavy winds, but they can occur at anytime. The largest blackout in this country’s history impacted 50 million people in August 2003.

Blackouts can knock out traffic lights, shut down airports, disable telephone systems and bring electronic transactions to a halt.

As you continue to prepare for winter weather in Virginia, pay special attention to preparation and response for power outages. U.Va. Alerts text messages will not be sent for winter weather events.

  • Prepare your electronic equipment before a power disruption by backing up computer files and unplugging equipment.
  • Update your emergency supply kit, making sure extra batteries and battery- operated flashlights and radios are included
  • Be smart when the power is out. Use flashlights, not candles. Operate your generator according to the manufacturer's instructions. And listen to the radio to stay informed.
  •  Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Inoperable traffic signals may create hazardous conditions and traffic congestion.

For information, contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or www.communityemergency.org.

Tip of the Month – December 11, 2008

Winter Isn't For Sissies, So Get Ready

Snow. Subfreezing temperatures. Strong winds. Ice. Rain storms. Winter weather in Virginia can knock out heat, power and communications services, sometimes for days at a time. Follow these tips to get ready now.

For information, contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or www.communityemergency.org.


Tip of the Month – November 11, 2008

Fire Safety

In 2007, fire killed more people in the United States than in all natural disasters combined, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. You can take these simple steps to increase your fire safety:

  • Plan and Practice: Have a fire escape plan so you know how to get out and where to go. Practice your plan.
  • Detect: Have a smoke detector on each level of the building where you live and one in each sleeping area. Conduct a test on a monthly basis.
  • Extinguish (if trained): Have a fire extinguisher in each kitchen area and one on each level of your living area. Know how to use the extinguisher.
  • Keep Clear: Know where all your exits are located and keep these areas clear.
  • Keep Away: Keep combustibles away from all heating sources (e.g., stoves, fireplaces, furnaces, hot water heaters, etc.).

For more, see the U.Va. Office of Environmental Health & Safety and Housing Division.


Tip of the Month – October 11, 2008

 October's Tip of the Month, from Hoos Ready and U.Va.'s Office of Emergency Preparedness:

Cyber Security

It’s Cyber Security Month and the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Hoos Ready remind you to take care of your cyber self as well as your physical self. Make sure you:

For more information visit:

Tip of the Month – September 11, 2008

September's Tip of the Month, from Hoos Ready and U.Va.'s Office of Emergency Preparedness:

Personal Safety

Emergency preparedness isn't only about big events like tornadoes, hurricanes or wildfires. Everyone in our community can take steps to avoid personal incidents such as accidents, injuries and crimes.

You can help yourself and others by being alert to your surroundings and actions of other people. Always call 911 for help if your safety is threatened.

Your vigilant attention to what's going on around you enhances the security and safety of Grounds, while preserving its openness and accessibility. Consider these tips:

Residence Hall Safety

  • Never allow strangers to follow you into the building. If strangers are observed in the residence hall, notify University Police immediately.
  • Never prop open outer doors or leave room doors open.
  • Secure doors and windows prior to leaving.
  • Call 911 if you see someone in the building who does not belong.

Grounds Safety

  • Be aware of your surroundings. 
  • Avoid isolated areas. 
  • Avoid walking alone at night. Use the Safe Ride service or walk with friends.
  •  Use the lighted pathway system.
  • Tell a friend where you are going and when you will return.
  • Notify police immediately of suspicious or criminal activity.

If You Must Walk Alone...

  • Stay alert. Keep your mind on your surroundings.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, find a secure area in a building and call for help. 
  • Use the Blue Light Phones located throughout the Grounds.
  • Know the Grounds. Find out what buildings are open late where you can summon help if needed.
  • Vary your route and schedule.
  • Avoid walking or jogging at night, but if you can't, wear reflective clothing.
  • Headphones impair your ability to notice surroundings. Use them only when you feel secure.

If you have questions about safety at the University, please contact the U.Va. Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit or contact Officer Becky Campbell at 434-924-8845 or crc7u@virginia.edu.

Tip of the Month – August 11, 2008

Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. If you are a new or returning student, faculty or staff member, everyone can take actions now to minimize the impact of an emergency situation. Take the following steps to prepare for an emergency:

Right now, you can:

Learn more during the Emergency Preparedness Month outreach activities in September!

Tip of the Month – July 11, 2008

The dramatic weather patterns across the country this summer remind us of the devastation that can be caused by natural events. Wildfires sparked by lightning, torrential rains, tornadoes, extreme heat and drought are reported in the news almost daily. These reports emphasize that nature is unpredictable.

While we cannot always predict when an event may occur, it is likely that each community will be impacted at some time. One rapid outcome of many of these scenarios is flooding. While flooding is not a common occurrence, Charlottesville and surrounding counties have experienced flooding in the past. Typically this area is most prone to flash flooding — particularly after experiencing extraordinarily dry periods when the ground is unable to absorb heavy rains.

Following are several things you should know to help mitigate the potential damage of flooding.

Know What to Expect

  • Know your area's flood risk — if unsure, call your local Red Cross chapter, emergency management office, or planning and zoning department.
  • If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
  • Listen to local radio or TV stations for flood information.
  • Understand the difference between flash flood and flood watches and warnings:

A flood can take form several hours to several days to develop

  1. A flood WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
  2. A flood WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.

Flash floods can take from only a few minutes to a few hours to develop

  1. A flash flood WATCH means flash flooding is possible in your area.
  2. A flash flood WARNING means a flash flood is occurring or will occur very soon. Once flooding has started, here are some things to do to keep your family safe:
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
  • If local authorities instruct you to do so, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
  • If told to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
  • If the waters start to rise inside your house before you have evacuated, retreat to the second floor, the attic, or if necessary, the roof.
  • Floodwaters may carry raw sewage, chemical waste and other disease-spreading substances. If you've come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
  • Avoid walking through floodwaters. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Don't drive through a flooded area. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and take a different route. A car can be carried away by just two feet of flood water.
  • Electric current passes easily through water, so stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.
  • Animals lose their homes in floods, too. Be aware that even domesticated animals may be confused and unpredictable in a flood situation.

Tip of the Month – June 11, 2008


June 1st was the beginning of hurricane season, which will last until November.  As June approached, the first named hurricane of 2008 was reported and dubbed Arthur. Although it did not materialize into a significant storm, forecasters have predicted an active season in 2008. The nation has a new understanding of the devastation a hurricane can cause after watching coastal areas in the south deal with Katrina and Rita. Over the last few years Virginia has seen the effects of Floyd, Isabel and Gaston.These storms remind us that inland areas can be hit with significant winds and damaging rains, resulting in loss of power and flooding. Many do not think about preparing in advance. Instead, they rationalize that preparation can begin once the storm appears to be headed in their direction.  
In truth, preparing ahead for a hurricane season can also prepare you for other emergencies. Start to build your kit today, and, if you are prepared, share this information with your family, neighbors and friends. Remember, we cannot count on others for our response; Emergency Preparedness is everybody’s job!
Create a basic supply kit, make sure you have a communications plan, and store items your family will need if there is no power or deliveries to the area are delayed.  Look at the recommended checklists and find out more about hurricanes and emergency preparedness by visiting these two sites:

Tip of the Month – May 11, 2008

Last month we asked everyone to create an emergency communications plan. This tip builds on that plan by introducing ICE, which stands for In Case of Emergency.

Summer is here and many will be travelling. With travel opportunities come the reality that you and your family may be separated. If you or a family member is involved in an accident, it may be important to be contacted rapidly. This is especially true if healthcare workers need a medical history to aid in treatment. By including numbers on your cell phone designating ICE Dr., ICE Mom or ICE Dad, family or your designated emergency contact can be located more readily.

Visit http://www.ice4safety.com to learn more about this important resource.


Tip of the Month – April 11, 2008

You and your family may not be together when a disaster strikes. It is important to create a communications plan.

  • Identify an out-of-state contact – (it may be easier to make a long distance telephone call than a local call).
  • Verify the out-of-state contact is willing and able to receive information and communicate among separated family members.
  • Create and carry on your person a list of all important family contact information including home phones, business phones, cell phones, e-mail addresses.
  • Be sure every member of the family has a prepaid phone calling card and/or coins to use to call the emergency contact.
  • Be patient. Phone lines may be down or take longer to answer.
  • If you have a family member at a college or university, expect to receive the most current information from that institution’s Web site. List the Web site in your contacts and visit it for the latest information.
  • During an event:
    Once you have reached your emergency contact, stay off the phone except to report an emergency.
    If an emergency notification is broadcast, follow all instructions.

    For more information see