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Statement from Mary Beth Koza, executive director of Environment, Health and Safety at UNC-Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a $1.05 billion research enterprise and takes the responsibility of preparing research labs for emergency situations very seriously. The initial design of University lab spaces addresses the likelihood of multiple emergency scenarios or incidents and includes measures like back-up power sources and having a list of critical equipment for each lab. Emergency planning for campus research labs is an integrated part of the University’s emergency planning and communication efforts. During Hurricane Florence, remote monitoring systems and on-site support personnel will both carefully monitor critical research samples and research animals.

In advance of Hurricane Florence, UNC-Chapel Hill has taken steps including, but not limited to, the following, to prepare research labs and facilities.

  • Shared a Laboratory Emergency Preparedness Checklist with every registered research lab
  • Encouraged all laboratories to shut down in the same manor that they would during a winter break. This includes adjusting, delaying or modifying research plans and securing all sensitive samples and research instruments.
  • Asked any laboratory with experiments that must maintain operations to register and define the work that must be accomplished.
  • Asked all labs to verify that their freezers are plugged into the back-up power source.
  • Deployed sand bags to all areas that are prone to flooding.
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