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Floods may be caused by domestic water systems within buildings, rivers and/or streams overflowing their banks, or overflowing storm water systems. Certain floods may require the evacuation of buildings.

Immediate Action

Floods may result from natural events such as rainfall or sudden snow melt, also from broken water pipes. Depending on the extent of the flooding, parts of buildings, individual buildings, parts of campus, or the entire campus may be affected.

Interior Flooding

In the event of interior flooding (from a broken water line), the following actions are recommended:

  • Call the University Police Department at (970) 351-2245 to report the building and room number.  University Police will contact Facilities Management.
  • A designated University or law enforcement officer will direct students to safe areas should an evacuation be necessary.
  • Shut off all electrical equipment ONLY IF YOU CAN DO SO WITHOUT STANDING IN WATER.
  • If possible, secure any vital equipment or records and other important documents.
  • Facilities Management personnel will coordinate repair & recovery.

Exterior Flooding

For floods caused by rivers, streams, storm water systems overflowing, or snow melting:

  • Call the University Police Department at (970) 351-2245 to report flooding situations.
  • University Police or Environmental Health and Safety will manage protective measures when flood damage is present.
  • All students, faculty, and staff should avoid entering “standing” water or pooled water for their safety and the safety of others.
  • University Police will keep individuals informed of possible flood situations.
  • Campus occupants should be prepared to evacuate if advised to do so by University Police.

The responding Environmental Health & Safety or Facilities Management personnel will make decisions regarding control and access to buildings/areas affected by floods, and issuing or not issuing all clear for safe building/area re-entry and continued occupancy.

A Flash Flood Watch means that flash flooding is possible in or near the watch area.

A Flash Flood Warning means that flooding is occurring in the area or will be very soon.

Heat Exposure

Many people are exposed to heat on some jobs, outdoors or in hot indoor environments. Operations involving high air temperatures, radiant heat sources, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities have a high potential for causing heat-related illness.

Heat Related Illness

Heat-related illnesses can be prevented. Important ways to reduce heat exposure and the risk of heat-related illness may include; being in a cool environment (such as air conditioning and ventilation), be sure to take proper rest cycles, and drink water often.  It’s important to know and look out for symptoms of heat-related illnesses in yourself and others during hot weather or activities.

Heat Related Symptoms & First Aid

Heat stroke

The most serious form of heat-related illness, happens when the body becomes unable to regulate its core temperature. Sweating stops and the body can no longer rid itself of excess heat. Signs include confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that may result in death! Call 911 immediately.

  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin
  • Very high body temperature
first Aid:
  • Call 911

While waiting for help:

  • Place worker in shady, cool area
  • Loosen clothing, remove outer clothing
  • Fan air on worker; cold packs in armpits
  • Wet worker with cool water; apply ice packs, cool compresses, or ice if available
  • Provide fluids (preferably water) as soon as possible
  • Stay with worker until help arrives

Heat exhaustion

The body's response to loss of water and salt from heavy sweating. Signs include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, thirst, and heavy sweating.

  • Cool, moist skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Weakness
  • Thirst
  • Irritability
  • Fast heart beat
  • Have worker sit or lie down in a cool, shady area
  • Give worker plenty of water or other cool beverages to drink
  • Cool worker with cold compresses/ice packs
  • Take to clinic or emergency room for medical evaluation or treatment if signs or symptoms worsen or do not improve within 60 minutes.
  • Do not return to work that day

Heat cramps

Are caused by the loss of body salts and fluid during sweating. Low salt levels in muscles cause painful cramps. Tired muscles—those used for performing activities are usually the ones most affected by cramps. Cramps may occur during or after activities.

  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain
  • Usually in abdomen, arms, or legs
  • Have worker rest in shady, cool area
  • Worker should drink water or other cool beverages
  • Wait a few hours before allowing worker to return to strenuous work
  • Have worker seek medical attention if cramps don't go away

Heat rash

Also known as prickly heat, is skin irritation caused by sweat that does not evaporate from the skin. Heat rash is the most common problem in hot environments.

  • Clusters of red bumps on skin
  • Often appears on neck, upper chest, folds of skin
  • Try to work in a cooler, less humid environment when possible
  • Keep the affected area dry

* Remember, if you are not a medical professional; use this information as a guide only to help individuals in need.

Severe Thunderstorms

A severe thunderstorm can produce a tornado, winds of at least 58 mph, and or hail at least ¾” in diameter.

During a Thunderstorm


  • Stay indoors. Do not exit buildings. Locate an interior room.
  • Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building. Corners or building support columns are best. Avoid the middle of interior walls.
  • Stay away from all windows and large glass objects.
  • Remain inside until storm has passed or you are cleared to leave.


  • Move away from trees, walls, and power lines.
  • In an open area, seek the lowest possible ground (i.e., ditch or small trench). Lie flat in a ditch or low-lying if it’s the only area available. Never enter an open trench where a cave in or flooding may be possible.
  • Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them. They may be live.
  • Remain in position until noise and high winds have stopped.

During a Thunderstorm with Lightning and/or Hail


Most people struck by lightning are not in the rain.  Lightning can strike 5 to 10 miles in advance of the storm.  The following is a guideline that can be used during a lightning event:

  • Get inside a building or inside a vehicle (not convertible) immediately.

If outside with no time to reach a safe building or an automobile, follow these guidelines:

  • Do not stand underneath a natural lightning rod as a tall isolated tree in an open area.
  • In an open area, do not be the tallest object.
  • Get out of and away from open water.
  • Get off or away from motorcycles, bicycles, golf carts, scooters, etc.).
  • Stay away from wire fences, metal pipes, rails, downed power lines, and other metallic paths which could carry the electrical current to you from some distance away
  • If you are in a level field during an active thunderstorm and cannot get to shelter DO NOT LIE FLAT ON THE GROUND.  Minimize your risk to lightning by dropping to a crouching position with your feet on the ground and close together.


  •  Seek protective shelter immediately.
  •  Remain indoors or under protective shelter until hail has stopped.

Watch vs. Warning

Severe Thunderstorm Watch - A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms. A severe thunderstorm a thunderstorm that produces 3/4 inch hail or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour. Watches are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours, and are normally issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review severe thunderstorm safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning - A Severe Thunderstorm Warming is issued when either a severe thunderstorm is indicated by radar or a spotter reports a thunderstorm producing hail 3/4 inch or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour. People in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. Severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little or no advance warning. Lightning frequency is not a criteria for issuing a severe thunderstorm warning. They are usually issued for a duration of one hour. They can be issued without a Severe Thunderstorm Watch being already in effect.

Severe Winter Weather

Severe Weather Notifications

If the university issues a weather-related alert or closure, a message from the UNC Emergency Alert system will be activated.  Details will also be posted on UNC’s home page.  For campus closure information

Campus Closure or Cancellations

If the campus will be closed due to severe weather conditions a recorded message should be available at (970)351-4100 and a message will be delivered from the UNC Emergency Alert System, messages will also be posted on Emergency Message Page.

Campus closure or cancellation will also be broadcasted on local media stations.

Television stations: Channels 2, 4, 7, 9 & 31

Radio Stations: KUNC 91.5FM, KFKA 1310AM, KTRR 102.5 (TRI 102), KOA 850 AM

Snow Removal

Crews begin moving snow at 5 a.m. or earlier, with the goal of having a lot of the snow cleared from campus streets, sidewalks, and steps before classes begin.

Who to Call

If you have a concern about an unsafe condition or snow removal in a specific area, call one of the numbers below:

  • Facilities Management Service Center at (970) 351-2446
  • University Police Department at (970) 351-2245

Need a jump-start?

The University of Northern Colorado Parking Services Department offers a jump-start for vehicle batteries for employees, students, and visitors parked on UNC campus.  This service is offered on an as-available basis from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.  Call (970) 351-1971.

Tornado / High Winds


Tornadoes and windstorms can occur in Colorado.  Tornadoes are generally caused by the intense local thunderstorms and are common between April and September.

Tornado Staging Area maps for all campus facilities can be viewed on Ursa under the Safety Tab.  Know where you can take shelter before a storm occurs. 

During a Tornado

If a tornado warning is issued, the campus emergency alert system will be activated. If an alert message is received, the following information can be used as a guide:

If you are indoors:

  • All individuals should proceed to a designated Tornado Staging Area.
  • Do not use the general building fire alarm to signal a tornado alert.
  • Keep calm.
  • Avoid auditoriums, gymnasiums (large open spaces) and window areas.
  • Take a cell phone and radio to the shelter if you have one (to check weather updates).  Bring along water bottles, coats, snacks or any food you have available.
  • Do not call University Police unless there is an emergency.
  • University Police will send Emergency Alert messages to update the situation or inform the campus community when its all-clear.

If you are outdoors:

  • Do not leave campus in your vehicle or on foot during a tornado warning.
  • Move into the nearest building.
  • Avoid downed electric power lines, utility poles and trees.
  • If no shelter locations are available, lay face down flat on the ground, in the nearest depression such as a ditch, culvert, excavation or ravine, away from objects like vehicles and trees.  Protect your head.

After a Tornado

If a tornado occurs the following should be used as a guide:

  • Check yourself and those around you for injuries.
  • If safe to do so, evacuate the building.  Do not re-enter until declared safe by authorities.  When evacuating, move a safe distance away from the building.
  • Call University Police at 911 or (970) 351-2245 to report injuries, utility concerns or building damage.
  • Avoid downed power lines or trees.

Watch vs. Warning

Tornado Watch – A Tornado Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Watches are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours, and are normally issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review tornado safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

Tornado Warning – A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado is indicated by radar or sighted by spotters. People in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. Warnings can be issued without a Tornado Watch being already in effect. They are usually issued for a duration of around 30 minutes.