Hurricane Emergency Plan

Introduction 
The regular hurricane season in the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean extends from June 1 to November 30 of each year. Grenada is located at 12.1º N and 61.4ºW.  To the north are the Grenadine islands and St. Vincent, located at 13.2º N and 61.1ºW.

During Hurricanes Ivan in 2004 and Emily in 2005, St. George’s University’s facilities in Grenada sustained only minor damage – no structural damage – with no serious storm-related injuries to students or employees.  However, disaster preparedness is a continuing exercise that involves everyone in the community. Communication is a key element of this effort.

St. George’s University has developed an emergency plan in the event of a tropical storm and/or hurricane to ensure the safety of SGU’s students, faculty and staff.

Emergency Information 

If a hurricane threatens Grenada, St. George’s University will use the University website and radio station to keep you informed of the status of operations, class cancellations, safety precautions, and safe relocation to on-campus areas.

Complete official information is communicated on the University’s website, www.sgu.edu  and radio station, SGU 107.5 FM.

Emergency Coordinating Committee

In concurrence with the Chancellor and headed by the Provost, an administrative team of staff and students residing in Grenada are responsible for making policy decisions during the pre-season preparation, all threat assessment stages, during and after an event.  These plans are implemented through the Emergency Coordinating Committee by Emergency Plan Coordinators at each site.

The Plan

The Hurricane Emergency Plan is divided into 5 phases.  The Provost may declare a change in stage at any time due to the unpredictable nature of hurricanes. At each stage, specific information will be provided to all students on the SGU website, SGU 107.5 FM radio, class announcements, and/or posting on specified bulletin boards, as needed.

The Alert 

The Alert Stage begins when a weather pattern is elevated to tropical storm status and poses possible danger to Grenada – or has been elevated to a tropical cyclone South of 20º N and within 40ºW to 65ºW. The University may be under the Alert Stage for several days or weeks before predicted storm landfall.

  • Students are notified of weather that could threaten Grenada.
  • The Provost will provide specific information to all students via the SGU website and radio, and update briefings will be provided at stated intervals on the website, Sakai and SGU 107.5 FM radio.
  • Students should call or email their families to advise them on the situation.
  • Students should ensure that the Registrar’s office has their updated local contact information (telephone number and residential address).
  • Students are strongly encouraged to register with their national embassies or to notify their government of their extended stay in Grenada.

An excellent list of emergency supplies and steps to take has been compiled and tested by SGU students who have experienced hurricanes in Grenada.

  • Place important documents (passport, insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc) in a waterproof container (e.g., zip-lock bag).
  • Keep some CASH (EC and US/Euro/etc – your own country’s money) on hand in a safe location.  Try to have enough money on a credit card should you have to purchase an emergency plane ticket.
  • Have a kit of supplies available: flashlight and batteries, matches, candles, duct tape, plastic trash bags, battery or hand-operated radio, candles, mosquito repellents/ bug spray, sunscreen, broad brim hat, granola bars, personal drinking water supply, any personal supplies such as extra glasses/contacts, etc.
  • Pack toiletries/hygiene items and medicines/prescription drugs that you need in a small bag.  Know ahead of time what else you need to have, such as changes of clothes, shoes.  Keep in mind that you may very possibly be limited to a few items and there may not be a lot of time to decide what goes and what stays.
  • Wear appropriate clothing.  If relocated from a building, wear thick-soled, close-toed shoes or sneakers and comfortable clothing that will hold up in any situation.
  • It is a good idea to have drinking water and food for 3-5 days on hand (at least 1 gallon/day/person and preferably nonperishable or canned food). Sinks and/or bath tubs, buckets or plastic wastebaskets should be filled with water for washing and flushing..
  • Unplug all electrical equipment and place as high as possible, preferably on a high shelf in the closet. Don’t open refrigerator or freezer unless necessary and if so, do it briefly.
  • Water may enter your room, so anything on or near the floor–shoes, suitcases, rugs, etc. –should be moved to high shelves or dresser drawers.
  • Place all papers, books, and loose or small objects in dresser drawers or closet shelves.
  • Close all windows tightly, as well as closet doors and dresser drawers.
  • Have a buddy system in place.  Have at least one person on campus (friend/ roommate) that has your personal and contact information.  Develop a plan should there be an emergency to stay together or have a meeting place should you get separated.
  • Know the campus well.  Familiarize yourself with building names and alternate routes across campus.
  • Have a plan with parents/relatives/friends at home in case of emergency.  Give them the telephone numbers for University Services in New York.
  • Follow directions. In the event of an emergency, it is best to follow instructions of those individuals in charge to maintain order and efficiency.
  • Be aware of surroundings.  In the event of an emergency be aware of downed wires, puddles, and falling or fallen debris.
  • Be sensible.  If there is no immediate danger, do not go out and seek it.  Stay in the safest place possible, do not stay alone, and remain calm.

The Watch 

Within 36 hours of predicted landfall of a Tropical Cyclone, the Provost will inform all students via the SGU website and SGU 107.5 FM radio about possible class cancellations, and at what point a cancellation will go into effect.

Update briefings will be given at stated intervals on the SGU website, Sakai and SGU 107.5 FM radio.  Depending on the time of day and day of the week, specific instructions may be disseminated through Dean of Students Office, Course Directors and Student Government Association.  Updates may also be posted at stated intervals on designated campus bulletin boards and residence halls, as applicable.

Students should actively make preparations to protect themselves and property, and keep listening attentively to further announcements.  A disaster supply kit and items needed when relocating to a shelter should be prepared.

NOTE:  Detailed shelter assignments on True Blue campus, hours of operation and transport schedules will be listed on the SGU website, Sakai, SGU 107.5 FM radio, and posted on designated campus bulletin boards and residence halls.  Shelter Wardens are assigned to all locations.

Grand Anse campus facilities CANNOT AND WILL NOT serve as an emergency shelter.Students are given instructions from the Housing department via RA’s about relocation to assigned shelters on True Blue campus.

The Chancellor urges all Grenada students to shelter on True Blue campus.  Some students may have secure accommodations and choose to shelter at home.  If so, students should indicate their shelter decision and off-campus location to regmail@sgu.edu in writing no later than 24 hours before expected landfall.

All students should remain in their assigned spaces so that the University can assess the safety of the student body.  Any student wishing to shelter with friends at a location other than their assigned location should indicate their shelter decision and specific location to regmail@sgu.eduno later than 24 hours before expected landfall.

Students with pets may be housed on the True Blue campus in specific shelter buildings ONLY, as indicated by shelter assignments.  All pets must have cages or leashes, along with a pet disaster supply kit when relocating to a shelter.  Pet owners should bring the pet’s licenses, immunization records, ownership papers and a photo for identification/finding purposes.  Pet owners should develop their own plan and have a clear decision as to what to do with their pet, especially if transportation will not accommodate the animal(s).

Students will be notified of the transportation schedule for moving them to True Blue campus and specific shelter assignment.  If advised to relocate, students must follow directions on the timeline for doing so.  Parking is not available for all students on True Blue campus, so bus transportation is advised.

The Chancellor also invites all Grenadian students, all staff and all faculty, along with immediate family members, to seek safe shelter on the True Blue campus during a hurricane.  He would like this invitation to be emphasized.  Please indicate your desire to do so by sending an email to regmail@sgu.edu or register with the Department of Security and Safety during the watch stage.

The Warning 

NOTE: A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

Under Stage 3: WARNING (or after 12 Midnight)

Emergency Plan Coordinator directs University Security, Facilities Staff and additional support staff to move to assigned campus locations.

Students must go into their designated shelter building and follow on-campus restrictions and curfews as enforced by RA’s and Shelter Wardens.

No alcohol may be brought into shelter areas for the duration of the emergency, regardless of the student’s age.
  
Students must follow RA’s and Shelter Wardens’ orders to ensure their safety by any methods including the following: Vacating rooms for an interior room or hallway to avoid potential injury from broken glass and flying objects striking the windows; Proceeding to a lower level in a residence hall building due to sustained high winds; Propping mattresses over windows in rooms being used as shelters, and other actions that might be necessary.  Students are required to comply with emergency procedures in order to ensure the safety of the University community.

No one (students, faculty or staff) is permitted to remain in campus buildings – other than designated shelters and incident management sites – for any reason.

The Event 

For the duration of the emergency, the Provost and Emergency Plan Coordinator communicate at regular intervals with the Crisis Management Team at University Services in New York, by satellite telephone and HAM radio (if other telephones are inoperable).  The Chancellor will ensure that an emergency information telephone line is maintained with current university operating status, special instructions, and next scheduled update.

Students should be aware that during the hurricane, normal electrical and water capacities are shut down to preserve the integrity of the facilities and to permit a rapid start-up after the event.

Students are responsible for obeying all emergency instructions and behaving in a professional manner during the emergency.

 Post Event

Once the storm has passed, and NaDMA has issued the “all clear” the Provost and Emergency Plan Coordinator notify RA’s and Shelter Wardens at each location that conditions no longer pose a threat.  Communication will continue at regular intervals by satellite telephone with the Crisis Management Team at University Services, LTD, in New York.

The Dean of Enrolment Planning after conferring with the Chancellor, updates the emergency information telephone line and SGU website and radio, and indicates time of next briefing.

Students who are leaving campus after sheltering there must check in with designated Shelter Manager or RA to clearly write name and local contact information for accountability purposes.  After doing so, students are then released from shelters.

Students are reminded to contact their parents/family.  If land lines and cell networks are not working, students will be able to send messages via the HAM radio in the Chancellery Operations Center.  This will be organized through the Emergency Plan Coordinator and staffed by volunteers to ensure that all messages are sent.

An immediate Damage and Needs Assessment is conducted to inspect for damages to all University buildings, grounds, and utilities.

The Chancellor announces current status and date/time of resumption of classes on the emergency information telephone line, SGU website and SGU 107.5 FM radio, and indicates when next scheduled update will be given.

Students may volunteer through SGA to help restore normal function on campus and/or in the wider community.

In the unusual event that the University is deemed unsafe or conditions in Grenada require an evacuation, the Chancellor announces the activation of its University Services Resumption Plan in light of the catastrophic event on the emergency information telephone line and SGU website (www.sgu.edu) and SGU 107.5 FM radio, and indicates when the next scheduled update will be given.

As arrangements are made, students are transported to the airport. All travel expenses incurred are the individual’s responsibility.
  
All students are reminded that they must bring along their passports and visas. If you are trying to evacuate with a pet, you must have all the pet’s papers too.

You are reminded to limit your belonging as per the above list, as those belongings above the allowable limit on the flight will be left at the airport.