By Brian Litterer
ESU’s updated Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the third week in October.
ESU updated its HMP in order to be pre-emptive towards potential accidents and disasters that could affect the ESU campus and community.
Creating and employing an HMP reduces the possibility of disruption, damage and loss of life, while also permitting ESU to recover quicker from natural or man-made disasters.
Students, staff and community members gathered to discuss what potential disasters were most likely to affect ESU and how these issues may be remedied to minimize any damage.
“I haven’t looked at the plan, but I remember there was a semester when a lot of students got some sort of stomach virus. ESU handled it well,” said Yasmin Escarfullery, an ESU senior.
“They took steps and made changes to the dining halls, even without confirmation that the cause was the food from ESU,” continued Escarfullery. “They were consistent with updates and safety measures. I applaud the fact that the administration didn’t hesitate to get involved.”
ESU’S HMP follows a six-step planning process that entailed creating a planning team, evaluating potential risks, evaluating capabilities, forming a strategy, deciding the plan maintenance process and gaining HMP approval.
The updated HMP classifies 12 man-made and natural disasters that have the potential to disrupt ESU life.
The most dangerous threats to ESU are winter storms, transportation accidents, weather anomalies and disruptions within utilities.
After two brutal winters, some ESU students hope that the updated HMP will add a fluidity to the problem-solving when faced with a natural disruption like snow at ESU.
“I just want to see the school improve making the roads and paths safer for its students,” said Laura Zimmerman, an ESU Senior.
Having a FEMA-approved HMP means that ESU may apply for some post and pre-disaster mitigation funding like generators, structural retrofits to pre-existing buildings and storm water management projects.
The updated HMP finds that there are 23 main actions that will reduce any damages by these accidents.
These actions include campus-wide emergency plans and training, on-call snow and ice removal contracts to tend to the busiest parts of campus first and a generator inside Koehler Fieldhouse.
This updated HMP is now instated to provide a safer campus for the ESU community, while reducing and eliminating loss of life and other dangerous events.
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