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    August 2019

    Catastrophic Weather Events

    Hazardous weather is an increasing occurrence. In 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued 124 disaster declarations.

    The start of the semester is a good time for educational institutions to evaluate their plans for responding to natural disasters. Consider these points when developing your catastrophic weather plans:

    • Adopt an all-hazards planning approach for any possible weather-related catastrophe. Geary W. Sikich of Logical Management Systems Corp. says this allows you to provide:
      • Effective coordination of activities among organizations with a management response role
      • Early warning and clear instructions to all concerned
      • Continued assessment of actual and potential consequences
      • Continuity of business operations during and immediately after the crisis
    • Specific weather events may be divided into two categories: those for which you may have advance notice (wildfires and hurricanes) and those that could happen at any time (floods, earthquakes, or tornadoes). Determine what weather conditions are most likely to pose a risk for your school or campus.
    • Conduct annual tabletop exercises to prepare staff members for an emergency and identify problems or gaps within your policies and procedures.
    • Apprise students of all emergency policies and procedures in advance of a weather event. Post procedures in residence halls and on your website, being sure to cover these topics during orientation.

    For examples of weather-related policies and procedures, please refer to the following:

    Even if your school or campus is not affected by a weather-related catastrophe, you may be asked to provide shelter for surrounding communities. For more information, please refer to the UE Risk Research Bulletin, “Is Your Campus Prepared to Lend Assistance After a Disaster?”


    Resources

    A Guide to Creating and Improving a Campus Crisis Communication Plan

    Crisis Response Planning: A Guide for Conducting Tabletop Exercises

    A Guide to Developing a Severe Weather Emergency Plan for Schools


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