What can I do in advance of an emergency?
As a research "best practice," provide all new members of your research group with the document SOM overview of safety issues associated with research areas. Consider posting a hard copy in your lab or clinical research area.
Sign up for SOM Alerts at the web site for UVA Alerts. This will allow you to receive text messages and e-mails concerning emergency events and can notify you if the University has been shut down. We recommend that you sign up for SMS messages on your mobile devices and for e-mail notifications on your UVA and personal e-mail addresses. (The duplication will overcome outages in cell phone systems, internet, or campus network. Also, SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, whereas e-mails will contain more detailed information.)
Become familiar with accessing the UVA emergency site (linked from the top of the UVA home page).
Create a local phone chain and make sure everyone in your group understands their responsibilities and the need to act cautiously if conditions warrant. Each department has an emergency plan that is updated periodically; make sure the contact information for your group is up to date.
Consider having your freezers monitored centrally. Facilities Management monitors hundreds of devices across the University, and notifies owners if failure conditions (e.g., temperature rise above a specific threshold) are met. Monitoring of a single unit requires a one-time investment of ~$1,500 and a monthly fee of ~$7. Contact: W. David Reed (982-4650; firstname.lastname@example.org).