FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2009
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
MUW begins disaster planning effort
COLUMBUS, Miss. - Efforts are under way at Mississippi University for Women to make the campus safer from natural and man-made hazards.
The Disaster Resistant University (DRU) Planning Team is in the process of identifying, ranking and profiling risks that could affect the university. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires each plan to identify the following hazards: earthquake, dam failure, drought, flood, hurricane, tornado and wildfire.
“In identifying hazards, we have to look at the historical review of hazards that have occurred on campus as well as those that could happen and cause the greatest amount of destruction and potential loss of life while estimating monetary losses,” said Angela Jones, project coordinator and MUW assistant to the vice president for finance and administration.
She added, “The ultimate goal is a safer campus. This is an in-depth process that will be done in phases and will include public input. The mayor and board of supervisors are aware of this project and will be updated as it progresses. Once the plan is completed, it will be monitored and updated.”
The DRU Planning Team is composed of a cross-section of university staff, city government representatives, community organizations, Columbus Air Force Base personnel, IHL and MEMA officials and Affiliated FM, the university’s property insurance carrier. The team provides guidance and advice in order to complete the plan and will continue to provide communication to ensure continuing mitigation work into the future.
Nora Miller, project chair and MUW vice president for finance and administration, said, MUW looks forward to the development of this plan which is a collaborative effort. This process also will help us identify future mitigation efforts for the university to pursue.”
In 2002, the United States Department of Homeland Security initiated the program. Administered by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the DRU Program assists universities and colleges to implement a sustained pre-disaster hazard mitigation program to reduce risk to students, faculty, staff, facilities and research assets.
Last year, the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Office of Risk Management, entered into a contract with MEMA to produce hazard mitigation plans on all campuses. Funding is provided through a grant to IHL by MEMA.