Inclement Weather Procedures

Despite the fact that this December has been mild, the Office of Emergency Management would like to remind faculty, staff, and students of the College’s inclement weather procedures. If the College is going to be closed, a text alert will be sent to cell phones registered with NOVA Alert, a notice will be posted on the home page of the College’s website, and major local media outlets will broadcast the closing information.  If the College closes early due to inclement weather, an email will be sent out to all faculty, staff, and students with the closing time.

In the Fall of 2013, the College adopted a new closing procedure for faculty and staff.  If the College closes early due to inclement weather, faculty, staff, and students will be provided with specific times they can leave.  This will help to ensure a safe and orderly departure from building and campuses.  An example of a message you may see is as follows:

NOVA classes and activities will end for students at X:XX p.m. due to inclement weather. Faculty and administrative offices will close at X:XX p.m.

For more details on the College’s inclement weather procedures as well as a listing of the media outlets that will carry the College’s closing and delay information, please go to the Office of Emergency Management’s website.  As a reminder, we ask that you do not contact Police Dispatch or the Office of Emergency Management for closing updates.

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Earthquake Drill October 15th at 10:15

October 15th at 10:15 AM, NOVA will participate in The Great SouthEast ShakeOut Regional Earthquake Drill.

What do I do?

An announcement will be made at 10:15 AM using the intercom telephone system to start the Earthquake Drill.  Once the announcement is made, you should DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON!  

The Timeline will be as follows:

10:15   An announcement will be made that the Drill is starting. “This is the start of the Regional Earthquake Drill, please drop, cover, and hold on!”  At this time, you should drop to the ground, take cover under a table or sturdy desk, and hold on to it until the shaking stops.

10:20   An announcement will be made that the Earthquake Drill is over.  “The Earthquake Drill is over, please evacuate your building.”  At this time, evacuate the building and report to your assembly point.  *Persons with disabilities should seek assistance in evacuations.      

10:35   No announcement will be made, but the Drill has officially concluded.  You should re-enter your building and go back to your office or continue class as scheduled.

Note* Mobility challenged individuals are encouraged to do the following:

  • If you are in a wheelchair: Lock your wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops and always protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, book, or whatever may be available.
  • Practice your individual emergency evacuation plan during the evacuation phase of this Drill.
  • Relocate to an Area of Assistance (if you are on a floor that does not exit directly outdoors) and wait there until the Drill is complete.
  • Please refer to the Emergency Action Plan for more information.
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Fire Prevention Month

Most home fires occur in the kitchen while cooking and are the leading cause of injuries from fire. Common causes of fires at night are carelessly discarded cigarettes, sparks from fireplaces without spark screens or glass doors, and heating appliances left too close to furniture or other combustibles. These fires can be particularly dangerous because they may smolder for a long period before being discovered by sleeping residents.

Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy. More information can be found at



·     Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

·     Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.

·     Do not cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.

·     Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet around the stove.

·     Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.



·     If you smoke, smoke outside. Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the home. Put your cigarettes out in a can filled with sand.

·     Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.

·     Check for cigarette butts. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast. Don’t put ashtrays on them. Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.

·     Be alert – don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.

Electrical and Appliance Safety

·     Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.

·     Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

·     If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.

·     Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.

·     Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Portable Space Heaters

·     Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.

·     Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

·     Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.

·     Check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community.

·     Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.


Fireplaces and Woodstoves

·     Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.

·     Never burn trash, paper, or green wood.

·     Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.

·     Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

·     Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container outside the home.



·     Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.

·     Store matches and lighters out of children’s reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.

·     Teach children not to pick up matches or lighters they may find. Instead, they should tell an adult immediately.

·     Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.

·     Check under beds and in closets for burned matches, evidence your child may be playing with fire.

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Family Earthquake Drill

Many Virginians remember where they were and how they reacted on August 23, 2011, when an historic 5.8 earthquake centered in Louisa County.  Although we do not experience earthquakes often in Virginia, that day is a reminder that we need to be prepared and know what to do.  October is Earthquake Preparedness Month.  If the ground starts shaking, what do you do?  Drop, Cover and Hold On!  Earthquakes happen without warning, and the shaking may be so severe that you cannot run or crawl.  DROP to the ground.  Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

It is important to know where you should go for protection when your home starts to shake.  By planning and practicing what to do before an earthquake occurs, you can condition yourself and your family to react correctly and spontaneously when the first jolt or shaking is felt.  An earthquake drill can teach your family what to do in an earthquake.

  • Each family member should know safe spots in each room.
  • Safe spots: The best places to be are under heavy pieces of furniture, such as a desk or sturdy table; under supported archways; and against inside walls.
  • Danger spots: Stay away from windows, hanging objects, mirrors, fireplaces, and tall unsecured pieces of furniture.
  • Reinforce this knowledge by physically placing yourself in the safe locations. This is especially important for children.
  • In the days or weeks after this exercise, hold surprise drills.
  • Be prepared to deal with what you may experience after an earthquake — both physically and emotionally.

For more information about earthquake emergency procedures at NOVA, please visit For additional earthquake preparedness tips, visit or

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National Preparedness Month – Save Money by Being Prepared

Why should I spend money for something that may not happen? This is a common question people ask because being prepared does require spending money. When you consider the cost of not being prepared, you can find the small investment to purchase basic emergency supplies may save you in the long run.

Virginia’s Chesterfield County compiled a great infographic (below) that compares some of the costs of being prepared – and not.


With September being National Preparedness Month, use this time to consider items you and your family may need to remain safe—whether it be severe weather or a prolonged emergency event that may require you to shelter in place.

If you need assistance stocking your own emergency supply kit, here are two resources that will help you get started:



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