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Volcano safety measures to follow

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Dear UAA community:

As Mt. Redoubt is showing signs of a potential eruption, we want to remind everyone of the appropriate safety precautions and the information resources available for the most up to date information. The Alaska Volcano Observatory reports the following:

"Intermittent volcanic seismicity continues to be recorded at Redoubt. Volcanic unrest continues at Redoubt. Seismicity currently remains above background and the possibility of an eruption exists. AVO continues to monitor the volcano 24/7." The watch alert is level orange.

UAA is open and operating today. In the event of changing conditions, updates will be made via e-mail and the UAA Web site.

UAA's emergency management office reminds everyone that should volcanic ash fall, your ability to get cash from an ATM may be disrupted. Warnings on bank and credit union web pages are stating that ATMs could be shut off to protect them from damaage and institution servers could be affected as well. Many branches report they plan to maintain regular business hours inside their buildings, but driving to and from businesses may be restricted to emergencies.

To prepare for heavy ash fall, update your home disaster kit with fresh water and food, medications, dust masks, battery-operated radio, duct tape for sheltering-in place, cash and other items listed on sites such as the U.S. Geological Survey's volcano hazard Web site.

Also note that Facilities M/O is not providing masks, bags or air filters for the UAA community. The air filters they have will be used for University-owned vehicles only.

Should the Redoubt eruption level change to red and the ash cloud is expected to impact Anchorage and the surrounding communities, UAA Facilities will shut down building air supply to prevent ash from moving through the ventilation system. Before leaving the office, please wrap or drape your electronic equipment with plastic bags after turning the equipment off. Plastic bags are available under the liners of most trash cans and barrels on campus. Please reuse the bags rather than discarding them. Should you need any additional plastic bags, please call Custodial at (907) 786-4762 or (907) 786- 6980. Fleet maintenance also has filter material for vehicle air filters (907) 786-6986.

The Office of Emergency Management issued the following safety precautions:

If Anchorage is affected by an eruption the following basic health and safety
measures should be followed.

1. Remain indoors during heavy ash-fall periods;
2. Wear an N95 face mask when outdoors to reduce inhalation of ash particles. These dust masks can be purchased at most hardware stores;
3. As an alternative to a face mask, a wet cloth or bandana placed over the mouth and nose can help reduce exposure;
4. Contact lens wearers are advised to switch to eye glasses to reduce eye irritation from ash exposure;
5. Wear goggles for eye protection;
6. Wear long-sleeved shirts and gloves to protect skin; avoid bare skin contact with ash as much as possible.

Up-to-date information sources:

NOAA Forecast Office
Alaska Volcano Observatory, Mt. Redoubt

Municipal Department of Health and Human Services, Air Quality

Emergency Alert System

MOA Office of Emergency Management

Anchorage Emergency Conditions Information Line: (907) 343-4701

Again, UAA is open and operating a normal schedule today, Feb. 2. Please watch the Web site, your e-mail box, or call the UAA switchboard at (907) 786-1800 for campus closure information or status.

Sincerely,

Campus Response Team

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