Foreword: This document is provided as a guideline. It is not a representation of University-wide policy.

South Florida's weather can pose a severe threat to our sensitive computer hardware and data. Frequent summer thunderstorms can cause rain damage, electrical surges and power outages. Powerful hurricanes add the threat of high winds, flooding, and structural damage during hurricane season, which starts June 1 and runs through November 30. Following the recommendations in this document can reduce the loss of costly computer equipment and data during inclement weather.

Standard Best Practices - These precautions should be followed year-round.

Backup Data Files - Your data files represent many hours of work and this effort should be protected against loss. If you have access to a network File Server, you may have been instructed to store your data files on your network drive. Data files that have been stored on the File Server network drive should be backed up regularly (usually nightly) by the Network Administrator. Please confirm with your network administrator that procedures in place are sufficient to protect your data files. If a file is lost, it may be restored. If you don’t have access to a file server or network, some form of scheduled desktop data backup should be performed. There are several inexpensive options such as CD/DVDs, Consumer/Commercial Online Backup Solutions, or USB/Firewire/eSATA portable hard drives. Please speak with your local administrator before implementing a local back up solution like external hard drives. Copies of backups should be stored in an alternate, secure location in the event your primary storage location sustains extensive damage.

UPS - Due to the frequency of summer electrical storms, protecting computer equipment with an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) that provides both over and under voltage protection is recommended. These devices contain a battery that will provide electrical current for a short period (usually 4-15 minutes) to a computer even when the power is out. Some UPS devices can be configured to signal a computer to initiate an orderly shutdown if the power goes out, even if the user is not available to shut down the computer. These devices have become more affordable and can be configured as an option when purchasing a computer.

Hurricane Preparation - These steps should be completed before employees are dismissed from work due to a threatening hurricane. Your department head has a copy of the University Disaster Recovery Plan. Please follow the guidelines in the plan in addition to the steps listed below.

Obtain Latest Information - Check the University website at for the latest official University hurricane announcements or call the Hurricane/Emergency hotline number for your campus:

Coral Gables Campus: 305-284-5151
Medical Campus: 305-243-6097
Rosenstiel Campus: 305-361-4888

Backup Data Files - Although backups should be part of regular procedures, a separate full backup of your critical data should be performed before the University is closed in response to a hurricane threat. For users who store data files on a network server, your network administrator should perform the backup. It is crucial at this time that a copy of this backup be moved to a secure location an appropriate distance away in order to avoid the possibility that a hurricane would affect both locations.

Computer Storage - As a last step, your computer should be shut down properly and unplugged from the wall outlet. Do the same for the monitor and all peripherals such as printers, scanners, and speakers. Move the computer and peripherals away from windows and doors towards the center of the room. The equipment should be securely supported at least two feet from the floor and covered with plastic sheeting.

Recovery - These steps should be taken to resume normal computer operation after returning to work.

Initiate Damage Assessment Procedures - Take note of the condition of the computer equipment. If it is visibly damaged or appears to be wet, DO NOT plug the equipment in or turn it on. Call Risk Management at 305-284-3163 in order to initiate equipment recovery procedures.

Verify Electrical Integrity - Computer equipment should not be turned on if electrical power is unstable. Confirm this with your system administrator or supervisor if you are unsure.

Verify Network Service Availability - Central services such as network connectivity, network file servers, or email servers may not be available. Verify the availability of services with your network administrator before proceeding.

Verify Proper Operation - Return the computer to its original location and reattach all peripherals. Plug in all power cords and turn the computer on. Take note of error messages and write them down.

Check UM Website - Updates to the status of major systems will be available at the University website at