Severe Weather Information


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.


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.



Before an Earthquake

It is important to identify your risk and remove, relocate, or secure anything you can:

  • Fall and hurt someone
  • Fall and block an exit
  • Fall and start a fire
  • Require a lengthy or costly clean-up

During an Earthquake

Drop to the ground; take cover by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture and hold on until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.

Do not run out of the building during the shaking, as objects may be falling off the building and could cause serious injury or death.

After an Earthquake

Safely evacuate.

Do not activate the fire alarm.

Please note that aftershocks could happen. These additional shaking events can be strong enough to do additional damage to already weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the main earthquake.

  • Inspect your area for unnoticed damage that could lead to fires.
  • Check for leaks or electrical, water, and gas line damage to avoid fire or hazardous conditions.
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