The policy of Francis Marion University is to regard each severe weather threat (such as hurricane, tornado, ice or snow storm) as a potentially hazardous condition, and to take action to minimize the risk to students, faculty and staff and to protect university property. When severe weather threatens, please listen to emergency warnings on local television and radio stations, and take such warnings seriously.
If a decision is made to cancel classes due to severe weather or other emergency situations, local radio and television stations and area daily newspapers are notified immediately. All official decisions will be made by the President and communicated by the Public Affairs Office staff. The university's decision to cancel classes or special events is made independently of decisions made by school districts in Florence and surrounding counties.
The Swampfox Emergency Alert System has been adopted by FMU in order to quickly notify students via SMS text messaging and email in the event there is an imminent campus emergency. Although this system is optional, all students are encouraged to register.
Unless an announcement specifically says Francis Marion University has canceled classes or is closed, students and employees should assume classes will be held as scheduled and that the university is open for business.
The radio and television stations devote much air time to school and work closings whenever bad weather hits or threatens the area. During times of inclement weather, the following media outlets are made aware of FMU's operating status by the Public Affairs Office.
- WCRE (1420 AM & 107.3 FM) Cheraw
- WMHK (89.7 FM) Columbia
- WDAR (105.5 FM) Darlington
- WCMG (94.3 FM) Dillon
- WDSC (800 AM) Dillon
- WEGX (92.9 FM) Dillon
- WBZF (98.5 FM) Florence
- WHLZ (100.5 FM) Florence
- WJMX (970 AM & 103.3 FM) Florence
- WMXT (102.1 FM) Florence
- WOLS (1230 AM) Florence
- WWFN (100.1 FM) Florence
- WYNN (540 AM & 106.3) Florence
- WLGI (90.9 FM) Hemingway
- WPDT (105.1 FM) Lake City
- WJAY (1280 AM) Marion
- WSQN (102.9 FM) Scranton
- WDKD (1310 AM) Sumter
- WDXY (1240 AM) Sumter
- WIBZ (95.5 FM) Sumter
- WICI (94.7 FM) Sumter
- WSIM (93.7 FM) Sumter
- WWKT (99.3 FM) Sumter
- WBTW TV-13 (CBS), Florence, Myrtle Beach
- WMBF News (NBC), Florence, Myrtle Beach
- WPDE TV-15 (ABC), UPN TV-21 Florence, Myrtle Beach
- WIS TV-10 (NBC), Columbia/Florence
- Time Warner Cable - Channel 11, Florence
Newspapers (if deadlines have not passed)
- Morning News, Florence
- The State, Columbia
- The Sun News, Myrtle Beach
What happens when the weather looks bad, but you still have not heard any reports about FMU closing or delaying its schedule? Because of the great number of calls they receive, the radio and television stations usually broadcast information only about closings or delays. If you do not see or hear a report about FMU, you should assume that the university is operating normally. However, students and employees are urged to exercise their best judgment about whether they can safely travel to campus in hazardous weather conditions.
Do not call the university switchboard or campus police for information, because a large volume of incoming calls will tie up telephone lines and hamper efforts to relay accurate information. Prior to a severe weather emergency, the university President, or his designee, will convene the President's Emergency Advisory Staff for preparedness briefings and assignments.
When classes are canceled, the Provost's Office will notify all academic deans. Each dean is responsible for notifying the faculty of his or her school or area of class cancellations. If classes are canceled, the university will remain open, and faculty and staff are expected to report to work unless the Governor of South Carolina closes the institution. If employees are unable to report to work, they should contact their supervisors to make arrangements for taking annual leave or compensatory time. Employees are not expected to risk dangerous traveling conditions to report to work. If the threat of a major storm exists, faculty and staff should unplug all equipment (especially computers) in their areas prior to leaving campus.
If a severe weather warning (such as hurricane) is issued by the National Weather Service, students who reside in the residence halls may be advised to travel home or further inland prior to the onset of adverse weather conditions. Students who live in the residence halls should communicate, as appropriate, with their RA's as to where they will be going and a telephone number, if available, where they may be reached. For residence hall students whose options for travel are limited, the university will maintain space for these students or will assist in the transportation of these students to emergency shelters.
The university is not designated as an emergency shelter by the American Red Cross. However, in the state hurricane plan, FMU is listed as the last supplemental shelter available to the Red Cross in this region and would be activated only if everything else was unavailable.
If an evacuation of the campus is ordered, ALL students, faculty and staff must leave the university, except for emergency operations personnel. In the aftermath of a major storm, movement to and from the campus may be restricted. Employees who must be available to protect university property should be on campus prior to the arrival of the storm.