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Severe Weather

New York City is vulnerable to many different weather related hazards, and SJU Department of Public Safety continuously monitors weather conditions that may affect our community. We maintain direct contact with the NYC  Emergency Management as well as the New York City Police and Fire Departments.

Staying safe means staying informed. Remember to use these easy ways to learn instantly about closings and other emergencies on and around campus. Sign up for Emergency Alerts via up-to-the-minute text and voice messages. Also use the St. John’s Web site, campus “e-boards,” public address system, and emergency phone numbers — all parts of our Emergency Response Plan to help keep you informed and safe in emergencies. The following is a preparedness guide to some of the severe weather hazards that may occur;


Preparing for the storm:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • All furniture, including beds, should be pulled away from the windows whenever possible. Electronic devices should be kept off the floor, preferably in a closet. All electrical items should be unplugged, except refrigerators.
  • Since the floors can get wet, all articles such as shoes, rugs, clothes, bags, suitcases, etc., should be placed off the floor on closet shelves or in dresser drawers.
  • All loose objects should be placed in drawers or closets. Papers, books, etc., should not be left on the tops of desks or dressers.
  • Valuables should be placed in closets or dresser drawers. All doors should be locked when the occupants are not in the room or apartment.
  • Make sure all windows are closed tightly. Do not open or “crack” windows in attempt to “equalize” or “balance” pressure within the room or building. Opening windows does not help with pressure. This only creates additional forces inside the building which can lead to structural damage. Open all blinds (regardless of style) and curtains. This is to permit as much light as possible to enter the room in the event of a power loss and to minimize damage should window breakage occur. Do not tape windows or modify or cover windows in any manner without permission from Residence Life Staff.
  • Any student who owns a car should see that the emergency brake is set. If you have an automatic, make sure the car is in park. If you have a manual (stick-shift), you should put the car in reverse gear. All windows should be closed and the car locked. All cars must remain in assigned parking areas. Make sure you have a full tank of gas.
  • Each student should provide their own flashlight in case of power failure. Do not use candles under any circumstances; fire is uncontrollable during a hurricane.
  • Students should provide themselves with necessary food items for a three-day period. Items that do not require cooking or refrigeration are usually best.

During the storm:

  • Stay indoors during the entire storm.
  • Contact SJU Public Safety 718 990-5252 if any health or safety condition exists.
  • Students should remain away from danger areas, such as the glass windows and doors in the lobby areas of the halls, or the living rooms of suites.
  • Students should not attempt to open windows or doors to see what is happening outside...
  • Cell phone calls should be made only in case of emergency.

After the storm:

  • Report all accidents, injuries, broken windows or excessive water to the Resident Assistant, Residence Director, or Public Safety.
  • Whenever possible food service facilities will be open. Students are encouraged to provide for their own food requirements for the initial period of the emergency, usually three days



Hot and humid summer weather can cause heat illness and even death. More Americans die from heat waves than all other natural disasters combined. The following is a guide to prevent heat illness:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.

Heat Illness

Heat illness occurs when the body cannot cool down. The most serious forms of heat illness are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises quickly, and can rapidly lead to death. Keeping cool can be hard work for the body. This extra stress on the body can also worsen other health conditions such as heart and lung disease.

Warning signs of heat illness include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Light headedness, feeling faint
  • Headache
  • Decreased energy
  • Loss of appetite, nausea

If you or someone you know has warning signs of heat illness, get to a cool place, remove extra clothes, and drink lots of water

Symptoms of heat illness include:

  • Hot, dry skin OR cold, clammy skin
  • Confusion, hallucinations, disorientation
  • Unconscious or unresponsive
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness

Call 911 or SJU Public Safety 718 990-5252 immediately if you or someone you know has these symptoms of heat illness.



Though generally associated with the central United States, tornadoes occasionally occur in New York City. Such events can occur with little or no warning. NYC experienced tornados as recently as 2012.

What to Do if a Tornado Strikes:

  • Go to your basement or the lowest point of the building that you are in. If an underground shelter is not available, move to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Get out of automobiles.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; leave it immediately for safe shelter.
  • If you cannot find shelter, take cover in a ditch or other recessed area and cover your head with your hands. Do NOT take cover under an overpass or bridge.
  • Be aware of flying debris.
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs, such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.

After the Tornado:

  • Watch out for fallen power lines and stay away from damaged areas.
  • If you are injured, or need assistance, call 911 or SJU Public Safety 718 990-5252
  • Help injured or trapped persons; give first aid when appropriate.
  • Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • If you smell gas, do not turn on any appliances or switches. This includes using phones, flashlights, or a cell phone.



Regardless of their severity, all thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes.

  • The safest place to be during a thunderstorm is indoors. Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent.
  • Remember the 30/30 Rule. If you see lightning, count the seconds before you hear thunder. If it's less than 30 seconds, take cover. Once indoors, wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before venturing back out.


  • Do not use the telephone or any electrical appliance connected to the buildings building's electrical wiring.
  • Do not use showers, sinks, or any object, machine, or device connected to the building's plumbing system. If lightning strikes the building, the current will likely flow through either the electrical wiring or the water pipes, and you could receive a fatal shock.
  • Automobiles can also protect you from a lightning strike because the current will flow through the car's metal frame. If you are in a car, do not touch any exposed metal connected to the car.
  • Remember, indoors means indoors. Structures like bus shelters or any small non-metal structures do not provide sufficient lightning protection.


  • Stay away from tall, isolated objects like trees, flagpoles or posts, and avoid large open areas like fields or parking lots where you are the highest object. Stay clear of downed power lines.
  • Stay away from lakes, ponds, railroad tracks, and fences, which could carry current from a distant lightning strike.
  • If there is no shelter, crouch down, grab your ankles and bend forward, so that your head is not the highest part of your body and your head does not touch the ground. Do not lie flat on the ground.
  • If lightning is about to strike you or something extremely close, you may experience a tingling feeling on your skin and/or your hair may stand on end. If this occurs, quickly assume the position described above. Even if you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, do not panic. You will likely find sufficient shelter.