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Severe Weather

Reporting an Emergency
Call the following numbers to report crimes in progress, life-threatening situations, personal injuries, traffic accidents, or suspicious activities:

NIH Bethesda (Main) Campus
From an office phone: 911
From a cell phone: 301-496-9911

Off-Campus in Bethesda/Rockville Area
From an office phone: 9-911
From a cell phone: 911

Note: Be sure to alert the building security guards of all incidents.

Tornados

Tornado Watch indicates that conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado.
Tornado Warning indicates that a tornado has been seen or appears on weather radar.

  1. Predetermine a safe location in which to take cover, prior to a tornado.
  2. If you have prior warning, get inside a stairwell or on the lowest floor in the building, preferably in a basement. If you cannot get to a stairwell, protect yourself by taking cover under a desk, sturdy table, or other type of furniture. Hold on to whatever you are under.
  3. If you cannot find cover, crouch inside a closet or against a sturdy interior wall and face out, bringing your knees and hands up to protect yourself.
  4. Stay away (and face away) from windows. Stay away from anything that can shatter or fall on you.
  5. Do not leave cover until the tornado has passed and you have heard an announcement (or have been directed by the floor team coordinator) that it is safe.
  6. After a major tornado, evacuate the office building, if directed by the floor team coordinator or the emergency voice paging system.
  7. Keep calm. Walk. Do not run. Watch for falling debris or electrical wires when leaving the office building.
  8. Proceed to the designated assembly area, as directed by the floor team coordinator or the emergency voice paging system.
  9. If qualified, render first aid. If not qualified, assist those rendering first aid.
  10. Report any missing persons to the floor team coordinator, as they will relay information to the incident commander.
  11. Telephones will be reserved for emergency use only.

Hurricanes

Hurricane Watch indicates that there is a threat of a hurricane within 36 hours or less.
Hurricane Warning indicates that hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours or less.

  1. In the event of a hurricane watch, back up all critical data on media that you can take with you (e.g., thumb drive).
  2. If the hurricane watch is upgraded to a warning, make sure your backup media is secure and ready to be taken to an off-site location.
  3. Turn off your computers, monitors, printers, speakers, etc.
  4. Move equipment away from windows or areas prone to water/wind damage.
  5. Place equipment, manuals, and other media in plastic bags, if possible.
  6. Store equipment in the highest available area.
  7. Turn off all unnecessary electrical equipment.
  8. Tune into local radio or television stations for information.
  9. Telephones will be reserved for emergency use only, not to report power outages.

Winter Storms

Winter Storm Watch indicates that a severe winter storm may affect your area.
Winter Storm Warning indicates that a severe winter storm is occurring or will occur in your area.

  1. If possible, check the Office of Personnel Management website for the government’s operating status in your area.
  2. Check the NIAID website for information on area operating status.
  3. Check local (county/city/state) websites for road conditions and closures in your area.
  4. Tune into local news for current information on storm conditions.

Last Updated February 05, 2014

Last Reviewed February 05, 2014