The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Are You Prepared in the Event of a Disaster?

Editor’s note: You may have missed this article when we published it in September 2017. It’s been updated here with additional resources and related content.

The start of the fall semester is already a busy time for colleges and universities around the country, but throw in the mix an unforeseen circumstance, like a natural disaster, and it can wreak havoc on a campus community. And while there is never a sure-fire way to completely prepare for the unknown, what you can do is have a plan in place.

Preparation Is Key
According to the Ready Campaign, September is national preparedness month. The campaign focuses on planning, and this year’s theme is “Prepared, Not Scared.” Topics covered on the campaign’s website include active shooter situations, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, power outages, severe weather events and pandemics. The website offers several ready-to-use “shareable” resources and provides dozens of instructional videos on a wide range of disaster and preparedness topics. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also has a great website — Prepare My Family for a Disaster.

And don’t forget that CUPA-HR has higher ed-specific resources (including how-tos, policies, forms and templates) in the Crisis Management toolkit in the Knowledge Center.

Take Care of You
The effect of traumatic stress from a disaster situation can take its toll. Understanding what you’re feeling and taking positive steps to cope with the disaster are essential. Managing your responses and taking the needed steps to resume your regular activities can take some time. Mental health professionals advise that reactions to the disaster (ex. shock, feeling powerless, difficulty making decisions, etc.) will decrease as time passes, making it easier for affected individuals to get back to their daily routines. So what can you do? Some suggestions are to talk about it; ask for help; spend time with family; get plenty of rest and exercise; and once it feels comfortable, go about your daily routine.

Bottom line: Empower yourself to take control, and be prepared for any disaster you may encounter.



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