With the devastation in Texas and the looming threat of Hurricane Irma hitting the east coast, it serves as an important reminder to be prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, and with the help of Coastal Carolina University’s on-campus emergency management team, it has been made easier for students to receive information on how to prepare for a natural disaster.
Carissa Medeiros, director of emergency management, urged all students to have a plan in place for any type of natural disaster that may occur, not just hurricanes and tropical storms. She stressed the importance of not waiting for disaster to strike to get a hurricane kit ready
The Office of Emergency Management helps students during times of natural disasters and provides them with information on how to evacuate if need be and also supplies students with emergency kits.
If students have any questions about how to evacuate, where to get a supply kit or would like to review hurricane guidelines, there is a emergency management section of CCU’s website.
When Hurricane Matthew hit the Grand Strand last year, new policies were put into place by CCU, according to Medeiros.
“The president, provost and vice president made the policy decision to close campus and residence halls when the governor released a hurricane evacuation for Horry County,” said Medeiros. “The university also had to prepare the campus facilities and grounds for possible flooding and high winds.”
Jane Rowe, recent CCU graduate, was a senior during Hurricane Matthew and was happy with how they handled the situation.
“[During Hurricane Matthew] Coastal made it a point to make sure all of the students and faculty was [sic] safe,” said Rowe. “Classes were cancelled and students were kept up to date with the status of returning to classes through emails. Coastal was prepared and no classes were affected.”
For the students who have nowhere to go if an evacuation order is issued, CCU will transport them to a safe location in the region.
“Last year, we evacuated our residential students who didn’t have a place to go to Clemson University for sheltering,” said Medeiros.
Medeiros encourages students to fill out the Personal Evacuation Plan (PEP), regardless of whether they live on campus or commute and to make sure to have an emergency supply bag on hand.
“If you live off-campus and are sheltering-in-place, have enough supplies on-hand to be on your own, possibly without power, for at least 72 hours,” said Mediros. “One gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food and a flashlight with extra batteries are just a few items you should have in your kit.”
A full list of items people should have in their emergency kit can be found at coastal.edu/emergency and students can pick up a free bag by contacting the Emergency Management Office.
Medeiros urges students to attend CCU’s fourth annual PrepareAthon! Day of Action on Sept. 4 to learn more about emergency response readiness.
The event will take place on Prince Lawn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Students will be able to try out different pieces of emergency equipment and food and prizes will be available.