The West Virginia University Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging students, faculty and staff to be prepared as the state braces for the impact of Hurricane Isabel, making landfall along the East Coast today (Sept. 18).

While there is no indication at this point the Morgantown area will get hit hard by this storm, its always best to be ready for the worst,said Capt. Bob Roberts, WVU DPS director.

Roberts encourages everyone to have an emergency kit in their home or apartment. It should include a battery-operated radio, flashlight, first-aid kit, non-perishable food items, water and extra batteries.

In case of a power outage, Roberts says candles should not be used.

Candles are the primary cause of fires following a disaster,he said.

Students, faculty and staff should monitor normal channels of communication for University information regarding any weather-related announcements.

Those channels include local radio and television stations, including U-92, WAJR (1440AM), WVAQ (102FM), WBOY -TV (Channel 12) and WDTV (Channel 5); the University Web page www.wvu.edu; and the MIX student Web portalhttp://www.mix.wvu.edu.

The safety of the WVU community is our primary concern,said Roberts.Taking a little time to make sure youre prepared in the event of a disaster is not only smart, it could save your life.

In case of emergency, people can call 9-1-1 from any off campus phone or 9-9-1-1 from any on campus phone. WVU DPS can also be contacted at its 24-hour communication center by dialing 293-COPS.

To report a power outage, call Allegheny Power at 1-800-ALLEGHENY (1-800-255-3443).

The WVU Office of Student Life (293-5611) and the Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (293-4431) are also prepared to offer support to students. For Student Life assistance after hours, call 296-3560.

Gov. Bob Wise today (Sept. 18) declared a state of emergency for all West Virginia counties because of projected heavy rainfall, high winds and potential for tornadoes from Hurricane Isabel.