Disaster Preparation: Expect the unexpected, say college officials

FILE- In this March 20, 2015, file photo, a person walks in view of Old Main on the Penn State University campus during a snowstorm in State College, Pa. For college administrators, extreme weather is yet another hazard to prepare and practice for on a list that includes infectious disease outbreaks, active shooters and technological outages. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(AP) For college administrators, extreme weather is yet another hazard to prepare and practice for. That list of concerns includes infectious disease outbreaks, active shooters and technological outages.

Higher education leaders say they rely on experience and expertise to think beyond the basics of food and shelter to the special challenges of academia. That’s whether under threat of a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, wildfire or winter storm. And it includes keeping students and parents informed, accounting for international and other students not easily evacuated and continuing instruction and research.

Officials monitor weather reports around the clock. Gyms and other large spaces become designated shelters with stockpiles of food, water and cots, and generators are in place to power critical services. Alerts and information are tweeted, emailed, broadcast and texted when needed.

 

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