University Disaster Planning – Protecting What Matters Most
When disaster strikes, chaos can ensue making it difficult to concentrate on what needs to be done to recover. As an entrusted leader of your higher education organization, you know that it is your first responsibility to keep your faculty, staff, and students safe. You also know that you are responsible for securing your facility and the assets within. Included below are some steps you can take to help you prepare for the unexpected, as well as respond to the aftermath.
University disaster planning is key. According to FEMA reports, approximately 100 people are killed each year by tornadoes. Ensure that your faculty and staff are aware of what to do in any situation, be it fire, earthquake, tornado or other disasters by considering the following:
- Be sure to review emergency management plans on a regular basis and conduct frequent drills so staff and students know what to do and where to go.
- Have shelters and exits properly marked?
- Have a plan in place for any sensitive items that must be taken out of the building in the event of an emergency.
- Make sure that your emergency management teams have access to weather radios that can receive special weather warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Evacuate / Shelter-in-Place
Be aware of the types of emergencies/hazards that can potentially affect your campus. Should an evacuation be necessary, have the below tactics in place:
- Alert systems (i.e. email, phone or other out-going communications) should be in working order to quickly spread important messages about evacuations, building closures or other specific information that is critical to personal safety.
- Students, faculty, and staff need to know where to go and what is expected of them during an emergency situation. Plan for several different meeting places to accommodate different circumstances.
- Faculty members should have rosters or checklists of students and have a system in place to make sure each person is accounted for.
- When creating disaster plans, include lists of emergency contacts for faculty, staff, and students, so these individuals may be contacted in a timely manner if they are needed.
FEMA estimates that nearly $3 billion claims for flood damage are filed each year. Ensuring you have the proper insurance coverage on hand to take care of your campus restoration will only further help to “boost” recovery efforts. In addition, knowing how local policies and legislation affect your community’s ability to prepare, respond, and recover from a disaster can only help.
If your institution suffers a loss from fire, flood or other natural disasters, it’s also very important you know who to engage to secure, protect, and restore your property(s). This will relieve a huge burden of stress from your shoulders post-event knowing that you have a trusted and experienced partner to help restore normalcy so everyone can get on with the business of living and learning. Consider these three steps to assist you in finding a reputable restoration company.
Focusing efforts now on preparation, communication, evacuation and response actions will help keep your campus population safe, responsible and effective should the unexpected disaster occur.