Campus event to help community prepare for potential disaster
By Tinsley Hastings
University of Mississippi
As November approaches, the beginning of another tornado season threatens the South. On Wednesday, an interactive campus disaster preparedness event will help University of Mississippi students and employees prepare for the worst.
ReadyCampus, a Federal Emergency Management Agency-sponsored event, is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Ole Miss Student Union plaza. The event is designed to educate students, faculty and staff through interactive and informational booths as well as a disaster response vehicle.
“This is a campuswide preparedness event, and ReadyCampus is a keystone program for FEMA,” said Barbra Russo, the university’s emergency management coordinator. “They are excited we are hosting it for the first time at Ole Miss.”
Booth sponsors include the American Red Cross, National Weather Service Memphis, Oxford Police Department, Oxford Emergency Management, University of Mississippi Medical Center Emergency Management, Mississippi Department of Homeland Security, and the UM Emergency Management Services and Clinical-Disaster Research Center.
Stefan E. Schulenberg, UM professor of psychology and director of the Clinical-Disaster Research Center, conducted the most recent disaster preparedness survey this past spring.
“It is through this kind of preparation that we can help people and communities to be empowered when adversity occurs on a large scale,” Schulenberg said. “We know from the data we’ve collected that many students at UM are not prepared for the wide range of disasters that may occur.”
Unknown to many UM students, Oxford is near the New Madrid earthquake fault. To promote earthquake awareness, the Great American ShakeOut Drill will occur the following day (Oct. 20) at 10:20 a.m.
The drill, occurring at universities, businesses and schools across the nation that day, will prepare students how to protect themselves and others, survive and recover rapidly.
“We are hoping to change the awareness by educating, motivating, and inspiring our students, as well as our faculty and staff,” Schulenberg said. “Disaster preparedness is something that we can do together as a means of building a stronger, more resilient community.”
For more information follow #ReadyRebs on social media or visit https://www.ready.gov/campus.
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