Disaster Planning in a Coastal Community: University of North Carolina Wilmington's All Hazards Emergency Operations Plan

by Blake, Suzanne

Abstract (Summary)
Over the last century, the concepts of emergency management and disaster planning have evolved and shifted from reactionary and event-based to precautionary and focused on all hazards. The existence of an emergency management program in jurisdictions such as cities and towns has become necessary for the protection of lives and property from natural and human-caused hazards. Recent disasters, such as the events of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, and the Virginia Tech shootings, have emphasized the need for disaster planning not only in cities and towns, but also at universities and colleges across the country. Implementing an emergency management and disaster planning structure and instilling a disaster resistant culture throughout a campus community has become important to maintaining the mission, vision, and essential functions of a university.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), located on the coast of Southeastern North Carolina, is vulnerable to a multitude of hazards including hurricanes and severe weather, technological disasters such as power outages and hazardous materials spills, and acts of violence. UNCW’s location and status as an institute of higher education create vulnerabilities for the university that could threaten its property and the members of its community. Therefore, UNCW is in need of a response plan that details university emergency operations for any major disaster that may affect the campus.

This project describes the process of writing and implementing the UNCW all hazards Emergency Operations Plan, including the emergency exercise program developed to accompany and test the plan. The project also explains challenges and issues associated with creating the plan, such as overcoming the “Disaster du Jour Syndrome,” and future steps for adopting and executing the plan. With a comprehensive and practiced all hazards Emergency Operations Plan, UNCW is now better prepared to respond to any disaster that may affect the campus. By continuing the development of its emergency management program and applying the plan when necessary, UNCW can continue its mission and vision even in times of crisis.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Pilkey, Orrin; Orbach, Mike

School:Duke University

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:emergency management disaster hurricane university plan uncw


Date of Publication:04/25/2008

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