FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 10, 2010
MUW receives DRU approval
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- An extensive process to make Mississippi University for Women’s campus safer from natural and man-made hazards has received approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), pending local adoption and documentation of a final public hearing. This approval qualifies the university for pre-disaster financial assistance to help initiate mitigation actions outlined in the plan.
In 2002, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiated the Disaster Resistant University (DRU) program. Administered by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), this program assists universities and colleges, through state and local governments, to implement a sustained pre-disaster natural hazard mitigation program to reduce the overall risk to students, faculty, staff and facilities and research assets.
In December 2008, MUW composed a DRU planning team, a cross-section of university staff, city government representatives, community organizations, Columbus Air Force Base personnel, Institutions of Higher Learning and MEMA officials. The mission of the team was to identify potential hazards (natural and man-made), critical assets and resources that would minimize vulnerabilities to the university while estimating monetary losses that could incur due to these hazards. FEMA required each plan to identify the following hazards: earthquake, dam failure, drought, flood, hurricane, tornado and wildfire.
The project was done in four phases. Phase 1 was to organize resources; Phase 2 consisted of hazard identification and risk assessment; Phase 3 was developing the mitigation plan while Phase 4 included adoption and implementation.
"I am very pleased with the outcome of this project as it was approved by FEMA without any revisions. That shows the quality of work put forth by the planning team," said Angela Jones, project coordinator and MUW assistant to the vice president for finance and administration. "Once the final public hearing is held, MUW will officially have a comprehensive disaster plan in place."
The public hearing date is tentatively set for some time in January.