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Catastrophic Weather Events

Alyssa Keehan, Esq., CPCU, ARM
October 2020
Points to consider when developing your institution’s catastrophic weather plans

The start of the semester is a good time for your K-12 school, college, or university to evaluate its 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. Effectively coordinate activities among organizations with a management response role and provide early warning and clear instructions through your plan. A good plan also lets you provide continued assessment of actual and potential consequences and maintain continuity of business operations during and immediately after the crisis.
  • Divide specific weather events into two categories — those for which you may have advance notice (such as hurricanes) and those that could happen at any time (such as earthquakes). Determine what weather conditions are likeliest to pose a risk for your campus.
  • Conduct annual tabletop exercises. This prepares staff members and identifies problems or gaps within 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.

Even if your institution is not affected by a weather-related catastrophe, you may be asked to provide shelter for surrounding communities. Refer to United Educators’ (UE’s) Is Your Campus Prepared to Lend Assistance After a Disaster?


More From UE

A Guide to Creating and Improving a Campus Crisis Communication Plan

Crisis Response Planning: A Guide for Conducting Tabletop Exercises

Additional Resources

National Weather Service: A Guide to Developing a Severe Weather Emergency Plan for Schools

University of Miami: Hurricane Information for Students and Parents

University of San Francisco: Campus Emergency Procedures

Tufts University: Natural Disaster Office of Emergency Management

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