Catastrophic Weather Events
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
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
About the Author
Alyssa Keehan, Esq.
CPCU, ARM, Director of Risk Management Research & Consulting
Alyssa oversees the development of UE’s risk management content and consulting initiatives, ensuring reliable and trustworthy guidance for our members. Her areas of expertise include campus sexual misconduct, Title IX, threat assessment, campus security, contracts, and risk transfer. She previously handled UE liability claims and held positions in the fields of education and insurance.
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