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Natural disasters such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, and winter storms may impact campus at any given time. It is important to recognize the difference between the following weather definitions:

  • Watch – Conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather. Closely monitor the situation.
  • Warning – Severe weather has been observed. Listen closely to instructions provided by officials. 

 In addition to natural hazards, the University of Richmond has the potential for impact from human-caused events such as an active shooter or hazardous materials incident. 


An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long time. An earthquake and its terrible aftereffects is one of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature.

For additional information about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake. visit .

Tornado and High Wind

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, a tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a storm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

For additional information about what to do before, during, and after a tornado, visit

Winter Storms

Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

One of the primary concerns is the winter weather's ability to knock out heat, power and communications services sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region.

The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold.

For additional information about what to do before, during, and after a winter storm, visit


Floods are one of the most common hazards; however, not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such a flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states. If you come across a road covered by water, TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!

For additional information about what to do before, during, and after a flood, visit

Thunderstorms and Lightning

All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States.  Other associated dangers of thunderstorms include tornadoes, strong winds, hail and flash flooding.

For additional information about what to do before, during, and after a thunderstorm, visit


A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. A hurricane can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes and mircrobursts. Additionally, hurricanes can cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall. Floods and flying debris from the excessive winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these weather events.

For additional information about what to do before, during, and after a hurricane, visit

Active Shooter/Dangerous Person

The University of Richmond works hard to protect you and campus, but sometimes bad people do bad things. Their motivations are different and the warning signs may vary, but the devastating effects are the same. Unfortunately you need to be prepared for the worst. Know that in an incident like this, victims are generally chosen randomly, the event is unpredictable and may evolve quickly. The first responders on scene are not there to evacuate or tend to the injured. They are well trained and are there to stop the suspect.  Your actions can make a difference for your safety and survival. Be aware and be prepared. Your survival may depend on whether or not you have a plan. The plan doesn’t have to be complicated. There are three things you could do:  Run.  Hide.  Fight.

Using the Emergency Notification System, the University, whenever possible, will notify the campus community of the location or area of the active shooter/dangerous person. Individuals should use the information provided by the University to determine the appropriate course of action and/or direction to run. 

For additional information about surviving an active shooter/dangerous person situation check out the Run, Hide, Fight video.


Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.

University-specific Fire Safety Information from the Office of Risk Management and Safety Services.

For additional information about fires and fire prevention as well as and what to do before, during, and after, visit

Hazardous Materials Incident

Hazardous materials in various forms can cause death, serious injury, long-lasting health effects and damage to buildings, homes and other property. Many products containing hazardous chemicals are used and stored in homes routinely. These products are also shipped daily on the nation's highways, railroads, waterways and pipelines.

Chemical manufacturers are one source of hazardous materials, but there are many others, including service stations, hospitals and hazardous materials waste sites.  Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons and radioactive materials.

Material Safety Data Sheets:

For additional information about what to do before, during, and after a hazardous materials incident, visit

Dave McCoy
AVP Public Safety, Chief of Police
(804) 289-8718

Brittany Schaal
Director, Emergency Management
(804) 289-8855

UR Emergency Hotline
(804) 289-8760, (866) 386-0403

UR Police, emergency
(804) 289-8911 (911 on campus)

UR Police, non-emergency
(804) 289-8715

UR Switchboard
(804) 289-8000