Evacuating Your College Housing Because Of A Weather Emergency

There may come a time when your college housing is closing due to a natural disaster such as a blizzard or hurricane.  No one wants to think about this occurring, but it can happen.  If your housing is going to be closed you want to be able to evacuate as quickly as possible.  Leaving in a timely manner will give you the opportunity to choose your own destination and method of transportation.

Back in 2005 students in New Orleans expected to be away from their college for about three days because of the hurricane.  Instead, this disaster turned into an evacuation of 5 months or more.  Even though there has not been another widespread evacuation since Katrina it is wise to have a plan in place.

College administrations have learned many lessons from the disasters of the past several years.  They have shared their findings with each other.  Deciding when to cancel classes because of an anticipated weather event is always difficult.  If the classes are cancelled too early it can be seen as a waste of time and money.  However, delay can limit options for commercial travel arrangements or efficient highway travel.  The safety of the student is of the utmost importance   The housing staff and RAs are prepared to assist students with evacuation plans.

The colleges are capable of providing the necessary information regarding a weather event to their students.  The schools have sophisticated communication systems in place.  Another major factor in providing information is social media, both official and unofficial.  Parents also have access to college websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and emergency alerts to smart phones.

When some college housing is at risk the college will arrange for temporary emergency style shelter near the campus.

Some colleges may provide busses to take students to safety at another college a few hours away in a safe location.

If college housing needs to be evacuated those students with cars who have family living within a reasonable distance can simply drive home.  For personal safety and to avoid any flooding the student should start driving as soon as the school announces a closing.  Some students who live further away may want to fly home to get away from the threatening weather event.  Be aware that taxi service to the airport may be reduced and flights may fill up quickly.

When you are planning what you will need to take with you in the event of an evacuation, in addition to clothing, consider the following items:

Your driver’s license, passport and school ID, car keys and room key, eyeglasses and contact lenses, prescription drugs, dental retainers, cell phones, tablets and laptops, flash drives with school work, custom footwear.

During a weather emergency it is possible the processing capabilities for credit cards can be impaired.  In addition, the ATMs can run out of cash during an emergency.  As early as possible get the cash you will need to safely live on.  Since you don’t know how long the emergency will last, try to hold onto the cash and use a debit or credit card if possible.

Most college students will never have to use these tips.  However, if a weather emergency occurs the student will be glad they had evacuation plans in place.