College of Charleston Hurricane and Tropical Storm Preparedness by LiamMessam


									                                        College of Charleston
                           Hurricane and Tropical Storm Preparedness Plan

Date Issued:                         9/21/07
Reviewed/Revised:                    9/21/07

College of Charleston coordinates responses to severe weather incidents such as hurricanes
and tropical storms, because these incidents pose genuine risks to the health, safety and well-
being of the College community.

Students, parents and all personnel are advised to monitor the College’s emergency web page
(, call the weather line at 843-725-7246 and/or stay tuned to local
media outlets for accurate information on the College’s schedule of operations, if hazardous
conditions are expected to occur.

Every reasonable effort will be made for decisions to cancel classes, close the campus or
evacuate the campus to be announced no later than 5:00 PM on the night prior to such action(s)
being taken. The purpose of this is to make proper and timely notification to students, faculty,
staff, families and other College of Charleston constituents via the media and other available
communication methods.

Should a decision to cancel classes, close the campus or evacuate the campus be made during
normal business hours, the President’s Office will notify the Executive Vice Presidents and
Senior Vice Presidents. The Division of Marketing and Communications will be responsible for
notifying all faculty, staff and students via mass e-mail and other available communications
methods. The Divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs will be responsible for providing
detailed instructions to students.

Hazardous Weather Condition Alert: As in any hazardous condition, the President may
dismiss/cancel all classes, close the campus, and/or have all essential personnel stand
by/prepare for emergency conditions depending on the anticipated severity of the storm

Hazardous Weather Condition Evacuation: The State Emergency Management Division or
Charleston County Emergency Management may declare an evacuation. In this situation,
classes will be cancelled and the campus will be closed. All appropriate personnel as
determined by the Division of Student Affairs will assist in the evacuation of students and
personnel to shelters, if necessary.

Employees identified as “essential personnel” will be classified into one of three groups:
Group 1:     Employees required to remain on campus during the storm;
Group 2:     Employees required to report to campus immediately after the storm passes;
Group 3:     Employees who may be required to report to an off-site or satellite location to
             provide essential services to the College. 1

Hurricane:                  A storm in which sustained winds of >74 mph exists.
Hurricane Season:           June 1 through November 30.
Hurricane Watch:            The first notification by the National Weather Service that a hurricane is a
                            definite threat to a geographic region of the United States. Landfall is
                            uncertain and broad geographic areas are alerted. It is normally given 36
                            hours before the storm is expected to strike.

  Should Group 3 essential personnel not be required to report to an off-site or satellite location, they will then fall
into the category of Group 2 essential personnel.
Hurricane Warning:     Notification by the National Weather Service, normally 24 hours before
                       the storms is expected to strike; more accurate landfall is predicted, with
                       narrower geographic boundaries.
Hurricane Alert        Notification by the National Weather Service issued when Hurricane
                       Force winds are imminent.
Hurricane Shelters:    Areas of refuge to be used in the event of a hurricane should be a
                       substantial building with limited glass.
Tropical Storm:        A storm in which sustained wind speeds of 34 – 73 mph exists.
Tropical Storm         A tropical storm exists and may strike the area within 36 hours or less.
Tropical Storm         A tropical storm may strike the area within 24 hours or less.

Categories of Hurricanes
There are five categories of hurricanes. They are characterized by their sustained winds with
category 1 being the least severe and category 5 being the most significant:

   •   Category 1 –   Minimal winds 74-95 mph
   •   Category 2 –   Moderate winds 96-110 mph
   •   Category 3 –   Extensive winds 111-130 mph
   •   Category 4 –   Extreme winds 131-155 mph
   •   Category 5 –   Catastrophic winds >155 mph

Useful Terms to Know
The State Emergency Management Division and Charleston County Emergency Preparedness
use the term “OPCON” (Operating Conditions) with references to stages of an emergency.
OPCON stages are one of the following five categories:

   •   OPCON 5:        Day-to-day operations to include normal training and exercises.
   •   OPCON 4:        Possibility of an emergency or disaster situation that may require a partial
                       or full activation of the Emergency Operation Center.
   •   OPCON 3:        Disaster or emergency situation likely or imminent. Full or partial
                       activation of the Emergency Operations Center; activate Emergency
                       Operations Plans.
   •   OPCON 2:        Disaster or emergency situations in effect; maximum preparedness level;
                       full activation of the Emergency Operations Center.
   •   OPCON 1:        Disaster or emergency situation in effect; full-fledged emergency
                       response operations on-going; highest state of emergency operations.

This plan has been developed to work in conjunction with the College’s Emergency
Management Plan. All individual department plans must be developed to work in conjunction
with this plan and the Emergency Management Plan. Some College departments, such as Grice
Marine Lab, may have timetables within their plan that are accelerated because of special
responsibilities in storm preparation procedures.

The Division of Marketing and Communications will update the College emergency webpage
( and 843-725-7246 (843-725-RAIN) line at each stage as listed
below or as directed by the President or his/her designee.


                              o   Monitor all Atlantic tropical depressions and named storms
                                  from June 1 – November 30 for potential threat to South
Day-to-Day Operations             Carolina
                              o   Maintain up-to-date Hurricane and Tropical Storm
                                  Preparedness Plan
                              o   Provide EMT updated plan timely

                              o   The Chair of the Emergency Management Team (EMT)
                                  notifies President that the Team is being convened.
                              o   EMT Chairperson to notify President of meeting results and
                                  President advises Executive Policy Group (EPG).
                              o   EMT to begin frequent monitoring of weather related media
                                  sources including but not limited to the National Weather
                                  Service, NOAA, FEMA, and PEMA.
                              o   All departments to review storm procedures with key staff.
96 Hours Prior to Storm       o   Procurement to secure satellite phones for EMT, EPG and
Arrival                           other essential departments as needed.
                              o   Assess available supplies of food, water and fuel should
                                  Shelter-in-Place procedures be required.
                              o   Dining Services to review inventory and ensure it can provide
                                  food and water for all students and essential staff for at least a
                                  72-hour duration.
                              o   Ensure all emergency equipment is in a state of operational
                              o   Individual departments ensure sufficient supplies are on hand
                                  to secure offices.

                              o   EMT meets.
                              o   President convenes the EPG. EMT Chair briefs EPG.
                              o   Essential departments conduct inventory of emergency
72 Hours Prior to Storm       o   Essential departments arrange delivery of cots and rental
Arrival                           vehicles.
                              o   All emergency call lists are verified.
                              o   Ensure athletic equipment, outdoor research equipment, trash
                                  and recyclable receptacles, benches and all other loose items
                                  that may become projectiles in high winds are secured.
                              o   Ensure that contractors working on campus secure all
                                  equipment and materials from their site that may become
                                  projectiles in high winds.
                              o   Libraries and Museums begin preparation for priority
                                  collections and exhibits.
                              o   Begin backup of student records, library catalogs, alumni
                                  records and other relevant data.
                              o   Individual departments report status of storm preparation
                                  procedures to EMT.
                              o   Director of Fire and Life Safety reports to Charleston County
                                  EOC (Time may vary depending on speed and severity of
                                  approaching storm.)

                          o   EMT meets. Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activated.
                          o   EMT Chair briefs President and EPG.
                          o   Departments arrange a location for securing College-owned
                              vehicles during storm.
                          o   Essential departments verify sleeping quarters for personnel.
                          o   Activate alternative telephone lines for the President, EOC,
                              Public Safety, Physical Plant and Information Technology.
48 Hours Prior to Storm   o   Procurement ensures delivery of satellite phones for EMT,
Arrival                       EPG and other essential departments as previously arranged.
                          o   Fiscal Services prepares for College’s business continuity.
                          o   The Office of Media Relations notifies appropriate media of
                              College’s hurricane preparedness plan and status.
                          o   Individual departments report status of storm preparation
                              procedures to EMT

                          o   The EMT assumes control of the College’s operational
                              responses during the remainder of the emergency.
                          o   EMT Chair briefs President and EPG.
24 Hours Prior to Storm   o   All leaves and days off for essential personnel are cancelled.
Arrival                   o   Arrange garage parking for all essential personnel.
                          o   Evacuate all College buildings located in flood plains. Physical
                              Plant to decide if shut down of utilities is appropriate.
                          o   Individual departments report status of storm preparation
                              procedures to EMT

                          o   EMT Chair briefs President and EPG.
                          o   President and EPG make decision to close the College,
                              cancel classes and/or evacuate or to initiate Shelter-in-Place.
12 Hours Prior to Storm   o   Recall all essential personnel not already on campus.
Arrival                   o   Fuel all vehicles necessary for emergency management
                          o   Public Safety to secure all unoccupied campus facilities.
                          o   All departments to complete back up of all computers.
                          o   Individual departments report status of storm preparation
                              procedures to EMT.

                          o   Essential that all persons stay indoors throughout the entire
                              hurricane. For maximum protection during the storm, residents
                              should remain in the hallways and not attempt to open
                              windows or doors to see what is happening outside.
                          o   All persons on campus should follow the instructions of
During Storm                  College officials, including Public Safety, Student Affairs,
                              Residence Life & Housing and/or Physical Plant.
                          o   Avoid use of elevators to travel between floors due to the
                              possibility of a power failure. Students should provide their
                              own flashlights to be used during a power failure. Do not use
                              candles during power outages due to the increased fire
                              hazard. Fire can be uncontrollable during a hurricane due
                              to high winds and limited access to emergency vehicles.
                          o   Restrict telephone calls to emergencies only, since non-
                              emergency calls can overload the phone systems.

                           o   At first light, Public Safety and Physical Plant personnel will
                               assess damage to the campus and report conditions to the
                               EMT. Damage will be documented and photographed.
                           o   EMT to inform utility companies of damage or outages.
                           o   EMT Liaison to EPG will report damage assessments to EPG.
                           o   All Group 2 essential personnel to report to campus.
                           o   President, with assistance of EPG, to determine if it is
                               necessary for Group 3 essential personnel to report to off-site
                               or satellite location.
                           o   Mobilize cleaning crews, remove plywood, tarps, and
After Storm                    coverings, standing water, replace broken glass and check
                               and turn on elevators.
                           o   Public Safety to assign two-person teams to all patrol areas to
                               maintain maximum presence. Zero tolerance for any looters.
                           o   Public Safety to post officers for security of severely damaged
                           o   All employees to check the College emergency webpage
                               ( or call 843-725-7246 (843-725-
                               RAIN) for updates and status of campus. (If necessary, any-
                               and-all employees will be requested to report to campus to
                               assist with clean-up activities.)
                           o   The President, with the assistance of EPG, to make the
                               determination regarding students returning to campus housing
                               and resumption of classes.
                           o   College of Charleston EOC to remain operational until
                               resumption of campus activity.

Document Lessons Learned   o   Evaluate plan efficiency and success and note areas needing

Update Plan To Address     o   Update plan with improvements and furnish updated plan
Lessons Learned                timely to EMT.


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