Adverse Weather

The purpose of this information is to remind the Rutgers community of university policy concerning adverse weather conditions and to identify sources through which accurate weather-related information will be disseminated to students, faculty, and staff.

In the event of a delayed opening, class cancellation, or closure of the university, the earliest possible notification will be made. If you are designated as an essential services employee and you are advised that your services are needed, you must report for work if the university or a particular campus is declared as closed for any length of time due to a weather-related emergency. Please note that the term "essential services personnel" only applies when employees (who have been given status of essential services personnel) are informed that their services are required, and there is a delayed opening or closure of the university.

You can find information about Rutgers' operating status by going to Additionally, you can find operating status updates on the following pages:

• Rutgers University—New Brunswick
• Rutgers University—Newark
• Rutgers University—Camden
• Rutgers Biomedical & Health Sciences

If you are a student or not designated as being needed as an essential services employee for purposes of the weather emergency, and the university does not close, your decision regarding travel during inclement weather is a personal one and should be based on your particular circumstances.

Faculty and staff not designated as essential services employees for purposes of weather emergencies, with appropriate approval from your supervisor, may wish to take personal leave rather than commute in adverse weather.

University policy 60.3.16 addresses university operations during inclement weather. This policy can be accessed at the University Policy Library web site at policies.rutgers.eduor

Campus Information Services (CIS) plays a primary role in disseminating Adverse Weather related information to the university community, including the announcement of delayed openings, office closings, and class cancellations. Additional methods are also utilized to disseminate the information, which include e-mail, websites, campus television and local radio/television stations.

Faculty and staff may also be notified of campus status through their departmental telephone chains and are encouraged to review their group's emergency telephone chain and update them as needed.

Please use the information resources listed above and refrain from calling the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) regarding possible cancellations, closures, or delays. Maintaining the ability of the RUPD to receive emergency calls is vital. A large volume of calls can tie up police phone lines at critical times.

We will strive to communicate emergency-related information as broadly as possible and in a timely fashion. Because weather emergencies often occur outside of normal work hours, we ask that you keep a copy of this communication at home; employees are also encouraged to keep an updated list of the home telephone numbers of colleagues both at work and at home.

Weather Related Information

• National Weather Service
NJ Office of Emergency Management
Rutgers Weather Center


An earthquake is a violent moving or shaking of the earth"s crust, generally caused by a release of tectonic stress along fault lines. Earthquakes are impossible to predict and rare in New Jersey, as such most buildings in this State are not designed to withstand a significant quake and may sustain damage creating hazards during and after the event.

Individual and Group Safety Information

The following are important safety considerations in case of an earthquake:

Actions While Indoors: Action While Outdoors:
  • Get under tables or desks (if available), door arch or stairwell and stay away from large windows, shelving systems or tall room partitions.
  • Do not use elevators, in case of after shocks.
  • Implement the "Drop, Cover and Hold" procedure by doing the following:
    • Drop to your knees with back to windows and knees together.
    • Cover your neck by clasping both hands firmly behind your head.
    • Bury your face in your arms, protecting your head.
    • Close your eyes tightly.
  • Hold that position (stay there) until subsequent instructions are given. Instructions will depend upon circumstances and the extent of damage to the building.
  • As soon as possible, move away from windows and out from under the heavy suspended light fixtures.
  • Identify what equipment you should shut down if time permits. Make sure latches on cabinets, process tanks, storage tanks and closets are secured.
  • Keep breakable and heavy objects on lower shelves whenever possible.
  • Report the names and locations of injured persons to the Rutgers University Police Department by dialing 911
  • Be prepared for aftershocks. Earthquakes sometimes occur in a series of tremors, which could last for a period of several days. Aftershocks may last from a few seconds to as long as 5 minutes.
  • Do Not Activatethe building's Fire Alarm, unless there is a fire related event, there is an increase of injury while outdoors due to falling building debris.

Walk away from buildings, trees, power line poles and exposed wires. Implement the "Drop, Cover and Hold" procedure

  • Drop to your knees with back to windows and knees together.
  • Cover your neck by clasping both hands firmly behind your head.
  • Bury your face in your arms, protecting your head.
  • Close your eyes tightly.
  • Cover your ears and as much skin as possible
• Hold that position (stay in the open) until subsequent instructions are given or until the earthquake is over. Don"t go near anything where there is a danger of falling debris.

• Report the names and locations of injured persons to the Rutgers University Police Department by dialing 911

• Be prepared for aftershocks. Earthquakes sometimes occur in a series of tremors, which could last for a period of several days.

• Aftershocks may last from a few seconds to as long as 5 minutes.


Sheltering in Place

An emergency situation such as a hazardous materials release outside of building, major storm, terrorism incident, etc. may require that university personnel take shelter in their facility:

  • Identify safe areas within the facility (preferably interior, windowless rooms) in which to take shelter when the threat is occurring outside of the building and the safest place is inside of the building. Ideally this occurs well before the need, i.e. do this today.
  • DO NOT use basement areas during a hazardous materials release incident due to the potential hazards that are often located in basement areas.
  • In the event of hazardous materials incidents requiring sheltering in place, close exterior windows and turn off heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  • Establish a "duty desk" for the facility to monitor communications, handle requests from building occupants, coordinate the distribution and use of resources, etc.

Departments that wish to stock emergency equipment and supplies for use in emergency sheltering situations in their facilities should consider the items listed below. In planning for such a situation remember that very few emergencies requiring sheltering would last more than 24 hours.

  • Bottled water, one gallon per person per day (replace every 6 months)
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • AM/FM radio with extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Duct tape
  • pen and paper
  • whistle
  • garbage bags
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Disinfectant and household chlorine bleach
  • Non-perishable food in cans or sealed metal or plastic containers (replace every 6 months) and utensils/paper plates, etc.
  • Plastic buckets with tight lids (for use as emergency toilet)

If you are caught outdoors in a severe thunderstorm or when lightning threatens:

  1. Immediately seek shelter in a substantial building.
  2. Avoid contact with metal fences, metal bleachers, or metallic structures.
  3. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Use phones ONLY in an emergency.
  4. Do not take a bath or shower during a thunderstorm.
  5. Wait 30 minutes or more after hearing the last thunder before leaving the safe location

If Caught outdoors and No Shelter Is Nearby:

 If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

Once you have taken shelter indoors, you should monitor a weather radio, commercial radio/television station, internet or other weather service provider. Even when a specific storm cell has passed beyond the area, conditions may still be right for high winds, lightning, and other hazardous weather conditions. In an emergency dial 911.

New Brunswick/Piscataway Campuses utilizes Lighting Detection Systems to detect and announce the proximity of lighting. The Lighting Detection System covers the large recreation and athletic fields, stadium and the golf course on the Busch and Livingston Campuses. The system will activate an audible horn alarm to announce the proximity of lighting. All activities on the fieldsSHALLbe suspended and everyone must locate appropriate cover until the storm has passed.

Utility Outages

In many instances, utility outages will be for a short duration of time. Emergency lighting and alarm systems will operate for a period of time to safely guide your way out of a building. Status of utility interruptions can be found at:

In the event of a longer outage, additional information will be provided using established communication mechanisms, as the circumstances dictate. The following instructions may be given during a utility outage:

Power Outage Water Failure Gas Leak Sewage/Drainage Failure
  • Disconnect all equipment that could be damaged by a power surge when electricity is restored.
  • Turn off lights, appliances, window air conditioners, and other energy users to reduce power requirements for restoration.
  • Notify your supervisor and call Facilities Maintenance.
  • Do not light candles or use other types of flames for lighting.
  • Notify your supervisor and call Facilities Maintenance.
  • Discontinue any work with hazardous materials in areas where the emergency shower and/or eyewash stations are disabled due to water failure.
  • Turn off all water-cooled operations.
  • Evacuate the area immediately. Dial 911.
  • DO NOT turn electrical devices on or off; and DO NOT plug or unplug any device, as this may create a spark.
  • Notify your supervisor and call Facilities Maintenance.
  • Notify your supervisor and call Facilities Maintenance on your campus.
  • If backup is large, evacuate the area.