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Preparation is key; review weather plan

All MUSC employees, students, contract employees, and volunteers must have a working knowledge of their department’s or college’s emergency preparedness plan.
In addition, all employees, designated and non-designated, should establish a personal emergency preparedness plan for their families. MUSC is not a designated emergency shelter and will not act as one during a natural disaster. Only designated employees will be allowed on the MUSC campus during a weather emergency. The Master Plan for Severe Weather is reviewed annually.

Hurricane evacuation
The primary goal of the MUSC evacuation plan is to ensure that the evacuation of students and non-designated employees of the MUSC community is conducted in an orderly manner. Based on information gathered from the Charleston County Emergency Preparedness Division, the National Hurricane Center, and the medical center disaster coordinator, the director of University Risk Management will determine when it is necessary to recommend the evacuation of MUSC. Once this determination is made, the director of University Risk Management will notify the president, vice president of academic affairs, and the vice president of finance and administration of the recommendation to initiate the evacuation plan for MUSC. Upon authorization, the first phase of evacuation will begin with the students, followed by notification to all non-designated personnel.

Students, school closing policy
In the event a tropical storm threatens the Charleston area, students (undergraduate, gra-duate, and post doctorate) should follow the instructions of university, city, county and state authorities.
When such events disrupt or have the potential to disrupt scheduled classes and clinical rotations, the vice president for academic affairs will ultimately decide when to cancel or delay starting times of scheduled classes and clinical rotations. The decision will be made after considering information conveyed by the director of University Risk Management, gathered from weather authorities and local emergency preparation officials.
Cancellations will be determined for classes and clinical rotations at the same time. The vice president of academic affairs/provost will notify the director of University Risk Management of the decision to cancel classes. The director of University Risk Management will coordinate efforts to make the appropriate announcements of class cancellations or delays. These announcements will be made as far in advance of a predicted event as possible.
In the event classes and clinicals are canceled, all students are considered “non-designated” personnel. Faculty and staff may not ask, direct, require, or coerce any student into remaining on campus once a decision has been made to cancel classes and clinicals. Students who are also employees of the university or the medical center should follow the disaster preparedness policies of their respective departments.

Residents are considered “designated” employees and should follow the policies and procedures set forth for designated employees (see HRM policy #13). Residents are responsible for understanding the designated employee policies and what is expected of them during a disruption of normal business operations.

Resuming classes
The vice president for academic affairs/provost will determine when scheduled classes and clinical rotations will resume and will notify the director of Risk Management, who will coordinate efforts to publicize this information as quickly as possible. The decision to resume classes will be based on information provided by university, city, county, and state officials. It is the student’s responsibility to remain informed of such announcements.

Information regarding school closings and cancellations will also be available through the red alert button on the MUSC home page and through local television and radio stations, the internal MUSC Broadcast Message system, and the MUSC dial-in information number, 792-MUSC (6872). This emergency line will be available at all times during hurricane season providing up-to-date information on tropical storms approaching the South Carolina coast, and as needed for other disasters and emergencies.

Students (undergraduate, graduate, and post doctorate, excluding residents) should begin evacuating or preparing to evacuate at the announcement of cancelled classes and rotations.

MUSC students (undergraduate, graduate, and post doctorate, excluding residents) who are without a safe place to which they can evacuate are responsible for notifying their colleges. Individual colleges will maintain an accurate and all-inclusive list of their students in need of assistance in a weather emergency. It is the student’s responsibility to notify their college dean’s office in order to be included on this listing.
At the announcement of canceled classes and in the event students are asked to evacuate, these students should report to the Basic Science Building Auditorium to be transported to the nearest Tri-county shelter. University Risk Management will coordinate with University Transportation Services to satisfy transportation needs. Once conditions are safe (as determined by state and local officials), University Transportation Services will pick up MUSC students from the shelter(s) and transport them back to the Education Center/Library Building. Students will not be allowed to stay on campus once the decision has been made to evacuate.

What to bring to a shelter (disaster supply kit)
  • Blankets or sleeping bag, pillows, air mattresses or cot(s) if you have one.
  • Any special dietary needs. Non-perishable packed or canned food including high energy snack items.
  • One gallon of water per person per day in clean plastic containers. Do not bring glass containers.
  • Necessary medication, especially prescription drugs.
  • Personal hygiene and sanitary items (toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, towels, etc).
  • A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
  • Special items for infants (formula, diapers, etc.), elderly or disabled family members.
  • An extra set of car keys.
  • Credit cards and cash (not for use at the shelter; you’ll need these when you return home.)
  • Important family and household papers (birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, etc.)
  • Flashlights, battery-powered radio or TV with extra batteries.
  • Books, games, coloring books for children.
Hurricane watch is issued
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
  • Prepare to bring inside lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
  • Prepare to cover all windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use precut plywood as described above. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking, so taping windows is not recommended.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
  • Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications.
Hurricane warning is issued
  • Listen to the advice of local officials and leave if they tell you to do so.
  • Complete preparation activities.
  • If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors away from windows.
  • Be aware that the calm “eye” of the storm is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
  • Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a room with no windows.
  • Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.
Post hurricane
Keep listening to NOAA Weather Radio, or local radio or TV stations for instructions.
If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
Inspect your home for damage.
Use flashlights in the dark; do not use candles.
The complete plan is available online at

Friday, Aug. 22, 2008
Catalyst Online is published weekly, updated as needed and improved from time to time by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.