FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 27, 2010
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Mock disaster drill at MUW Sept. 1
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women will serve as the site for a county-wide disaster exercise on Wednesday, Sept. 1, which will commence with the sounding of the campus weather sirens about 8:15 a.m.
The mock disaster drill will involve local, state and MUW emergency responders and some MUW nursing students and faculty.
Dr. Deborah Miranda, assistant professor of nursing, said, “There will be a significant number of Columbus-Lowndes County agencies testing their emergency response systems with this disaster exercise. It is vital for community agencies to periodically perform such tests in order to identify opportunities to improve system procedures. The overall purpose is to preserve and protect the lives and well-being of the citizens of our community.”
One of those agencies involved is the Columbus Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency.
Its director Cindy Lawrence said “Collaboration with all agencies is very important because we must all work together for one common goal to protect the lives and property of our citizens. It is necessary to upgrade our plans and make sure all agencies understand their role in a disaster.”
Miranda said the MUW students involved in the exercise will walk away with many valuable lessons including the ability to describe a variety of characteristics of disasters, how community health nurses participate in disasters, the ability to discern what factors contribute to a community’s potential for experiencing a disaster, identifying agencies that must respond during a disaster and victim triage and tagging categories.
“A number of years ago our students regularly participated in disaster exercises such as this. However, it became exceedingly expensive to continue that practice,” she said. “The anniversary of Katrina is upon us, tornadoes and straight line winds are no strangers to those of us in North Mississippi. Our campus houses so many precious young lives that it is now recognized by our administrative leaders that we cannot afford not to prepare to mitigate disasters by participating in periodic disaster drills.”
MUW Police Chief Kennedy Meaders added "It is great that first responders and the university can come together for the safety of the community and the university. Having this disaster drill gives everyone the opportunity to see where we are in our crisis response. When we make mistakes, lives are put in jeopardy. If we are going to make mistakes, this drill will be the time to make them and make improvements on our crisis response."
Parking and traffic in the area in front of Cochran and Welty will be very limited between 8 a.m. and noon. There will be no access to campus at the front gate on College Street nor Third Avenue South and 11th Street South. During the drill, Serenade Drive will be re-routed for one-way southbound traffic for vehicles entering campus at Fourth Avenue South and 11 Street South.
MUW’s emergency procedures can be found at http://www.muw.edu/publicsafety/codeblue/emergency_preparedness.php.