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Campus Plan for Natural and Man-Made Disasters

NCJ Number
THE POLICE CHIEF Volume: 75 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2008 Pages: 66-71
Vincent Brown
Date Published
February 2008
6 pages
This article explains how the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can help academic institutions at risk for hurricanes and floods to plan for and respond to natural disasters, as well as help all college campuses prepare for made-made emergencies such as terrorist acts and campus shootings.
Through the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, FEMA provides an array of funding for planning projects and mitigation activities, including two grant programs: The Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program and post-disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. States are the conduit through which most FEMA funds flow and set the priorities for allocating funds for mitigation projects. Without a mitigation plan, some smaller academic institutions may be unable to recover from a major disaster. Institutions that have developed a plan and implemented mitigation actions are able to resume operations more quickly. Mitigation activities that some universities have adopted include improved building practices, sound land-use management, and flood insurance that protects financial investment in flood-prone buildings. Academic institutions should ensure that they are included in any grant proposals their communities submit to FEMA. The grants can fund the development of mitigation plans; the retrofitting of structures; the relocation of buildings; and programs that increase disaster awareness among faculty, staff, and students. Although a university can apply directly for such funding, partnering with the community provides another possible funding avenue. Virginia State University (VSU) in Petersburg, VA is presented as a case study of how one academic institution partnered with FEMA to prepare for, respond to, and recover from Hurricane Isabel, which hit the campus on September 18, 2003.