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Hurricane Preparedness

Terms Defined:

A Tropical Storm WATCH is issued by the National Weather Service if the storm conditions are possible within 36 hours. T.S. conditions include sustained winds are between 39 MPH and 73 MPH. A Tropical Storm WARNING is issued if the storm is expected within 24 hours.

A Hurricane WATCH will be issued by the National Weather Service if sustained winds of 74 MPH or greater are possible within 36 hours. A Hurricane WARNING will be issued if these conditions are expected within 24 hours.

Some things we do:

In the event a Hurricane Watch is issued for our area, the Public Safety Staff will immediately activate our Emergency Operations Plan. At the time of this writing, the PS Staff is checking the campus for things like clogged or blocked drains, access to shelters, etc. We want to make sure we are prepared before we need to be prepared.

What you can do to help yourself:

In the event a Hurricane Watch is issued, each of you should have prepared yourself for the possibility of evacuation. You may never need to evacuate, but you do not want to wait to be prepared.

Some things you will need for your own personal disaster supply kit include:

  • Water--have at least 1 gallon per day for 3-7 days.
  • Food--non-parishable food such as canned food, water-proof packaged food, etc. (Frozen food is not non-parishable.)
  • Clothing and blankets--pack enough for 3-7 days. Don't overpack! Have a make-do amount of clothing. If you have to go to a shelter, you want to be comfortable, not overburdened. Have sturdy shoes and clothing that offers some level of protection from the elements. Think practical and functional not fashion! You won't care what you look like if you have to wear uncomfortable clothing for several days.
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items--baby wipes are excellent. You won't need curling irons, blow dryers or electric razors. You may not have electricity for a while. Women and men have different personal needs, so keep this in mind as you prepare.
  • Medication--if you require daily medications, include at least a weeks worth. Have a copy of your prescription with you.
  • First aid kit--it never hurts to have your own personal supplies. Again, pack light!
  • Flashlight AND Batteries!
  • Keys--Have a spare set tucked away
  • Important documents--stored in a waterproof container (ziploc bags or the like are excellent for this). Don't forget your medical records, bank account numbers, social security cards, passport or visa. Don't forget your identification. In the event of a full evacuation, you won't be able to return until you are identified.
  • Cell phone--Make sure your phone is charged. Do not waste battery life during the storm. If the power goes out, you may not be able to recharge it for a while.
  • Fill your fuel tank--if the power goes out, gas pumps don't work.
  • Cash (small bills) and credit cards--ATMs don't work without power and banks may not be open.

Have everything together and ready to grab and go. DON'T WAIT UNTIL YOU'RE LEAVING TO GET READY! You are less likely to panic or forget something if you plan ahead.

Emergency Notification Systems:

If a Hurricane Watch is issued, Public Safety will activate the AlertNow System. Listen carefully to the prerecorded message. We will send out updates as needed throughout the course of the crises. Keep your family informed of any significant changes.

If a tornado is reported (and threatening our community) the siren will be sounded. If you hear the siren, take cover immediately. Locate the shelter nearest to you and know where you should go if there is a threat. If you cannot safely go to a shelter, an inner hallway or windowless room or even a closet is an option. Even getting under a sturdy desk or table may save your life. Stay away from open-spanned buildings (such as the upper level of Bern's or the gymnasium) which are more prone to collapse. Avoid rooms having large expanses of glass.

Other Important Information:

If the campus is closed, and you choose to leave or are forced to evacuate, tell your family where you're going, who you're going to be with, and when you will be back in touch with them. Don't overload the telephone systems, but do let your folks know you are safe. This is particularly important for those of you who are far from home. Not only does this help ease the minds of those you care for, but also makes sure valuable time and efforts are not wasted trying to find you when you are already someplace safe. Believe me, when disaster strikes, nothing is worse to a family member than not knowing what has happened to their loved ones.

If you have to go into a shelter, unplug electrical appliances including computers and peripheral equipment. Lock your doors!. Secure any valuables, but don't plan on bringing bulky items with you. Have you registered your expensive property with Operation ID? Your property will be safer left in your room than in a crowded shelter where you may not be able to keep track of everything as easily as you think.

Final Thoughts:

I remind every member of the MU community a copy of the Emergency Operations Summary is located on the MU website. Hard copies of the plan are available in our office. Take a moment to review the "Severe Weather Conditions" entry. The more comprehensive Emergency Operations Manual is also available. Please familiarize yourself with this information before you need it.

Those who live in the residence halls should speak with the Residence Life Staff to discuss additional specifics about your hall.

Some other information you may find useful is found on the following websites:

Red Cross Disaster Preparedness: http://columbus.redcross.org/guide.html

Hurricane Preparedness: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/action.shtml

Tornado Survival Tips: http://www.farmersalmanac.com/weather/a/tornado_survival_tips

Thank you for helping us help you!

 

 

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