Hurricane Preparedness at NSU

Names like Andrew and Katrina are hard to forget, especially because of the big landfalls and wind damages they caused.

Since 1945, the worst hurricanes in history have hit during the months of September and October. For this reason, it is important that the NSU community knows what to do when a hurricane threatens South Florida.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with August and September as the peak months for tropical development. Since tropical systems are a part of living in South Florida, the NSU community created a hurricane watch team (H.W.T). The HWT plays an important role during this season, providing safety procedures for the NSU students and staff.

While NSU hasn’t been impacted by a major storm since 2005, students did get a sense of what to expect, thanks to Tropical Storm Isaac in August.

Della Charles, junior political science major, said that Tropical Storm Isaac was her first big hurricane scare.

“I was afraid at first, but eventually I felt safe. The staff constantly sent out e-mail updates on whether evacuation was necessary and they provided us with lunch and dinner. We were told to stay in the building,” Charles said.

NSU provides a list of storm procedures at www.nova.edu/reslife/safety/hurricane.html.  According the procedures, outlined by the office of residential life and housing, if a hurricane watch is issued, the members of the NSU administrative staff will make sure that students who reside on campus are equipped with all the  necessities during the storm.

In the case of a hurricane warning, President Hanbury will decide if the university residence halls will be evacuated and if the campus will be closed.

Aarika Camp, director of residential life and housing, is in charge of sending e-mails, touching base with people and displaying warning signs on doors. The departments of business services, University Center operation, facility management, public safety, public affairs, information technology and telecommunication, which are part of the Hurricane Watch Team, also help in this area. They also contact major news organization for immediate broadcast notification of updates.

Students should listen to the radio and television stations for information as to when the university will both close and reopen.

Camp said, “In case of an evacuation, students will be sent to the elementary school where shelters are located since there is more capacity. If extra space is needed, students will have to be taken to campuses up north.  It all depends on how strong it is.”

Students living in residence halls are requested to fill out a hurricane contact information form, indicating whether they will remain on campus n university shelter during a storm.

Dave Dawson, executive director of university relations, uses social media to send out notifications via Facebook and Twitter to keep students alert.

Camp said. “We will all get together before, after, and during  the storm, to make sure students are prepared and provided with everything they need.’’

Residential life and housing suggests the following list of emergency items residential students should have on hand during hurricane season:
•    Blankets
•    Clothing-seasonal
•    Medicines/ Prescription Drugs
•    Toiletries/ Hygiene items
•    Flashlight/ Batteries
•    Telephones – Fully charged cell phone with extra battery
•    Cash (with some small bills) as Credit Cards- Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
•    Important documents- in waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
•    Insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, social security card
•    Contact a resident assistant in your area if you experience any water intrusion in your room. If you have any window damage, you are encouraged to contact Public Safety at 954-262-8999
•    If you are feeling depressed, stressed or anxious due to inclement weather please contact the Henderson student counseling center hotline at 954-424-6911

It is also recommended that you save the NSU emergency hotline, 800-256-5065, in your cell phone during hurricane season. The main telephone number of the university (954)262 7300 also serves as a hotline during hurricane.

All information and severe weather alerts are made available to the NSU community via the NSU emergency web page: www.nova.edu/emergency and the hurricane web page: www.nova.edu/hurricane.

With a few small advance preparations and awareness of the hurricane procedures, the NSU community will be fully prepared to weather the storm.

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