Dear Campus Community,
With the 2016 hurricane season starting this month, I want to reassure you that the University of Houston has already undertaken an extensive review of our emergency preparations and procedures. I also want to urge the UH community to join us in being individually prepared should we face such a threat.
Several of us know firsthand that this is not some hypothetical hazard.
In September of 2008, Hurricane Ike, the third most destructive storm to make landfall in the United States, caused considerable damage to the city of Houston and the UH campus, impacting nearly one in every five of our buildings and destroying a third of our trees.
I’m proud to say our campus community pulled together and we were able to respond and recover effectively – and even served as a distribution point for the public relief effort, with UH volunteers handing out ice, water and packaged meals to long lines of people in need.
While that act of public service is a heartwarming memory, my strongest recollection from that time is still the terrible devastation a hurricane is capable of. That’s why I strongly encourage you to be ready if we find ourselves facing that situation again.
What can you do?
First, make sure you are signed up to receive UH’s emergency alerts via your cell phone. That doesn’t happen automatically – you need to actively input your cell phone number into our system. To do that, click here if you are faculty or staff and click here if you are a student. While our PIER emergency notification system uses conventional email to convey most information, cell phone alerts are the fastest and most reliable mode of communication in extreme circumstances.
It’s also important that you are familiar with the University’s general procedures regarding Hurricane Preparedness and how these specifically affect your own departments and units. Do you know how to contact your colleagues? Do student residents understand evacuation plans? Are there special arrangements you are responsible for?
Finally, you should stay well informed by visiting the University emergency site for the latest updates whenever a hurricane or serious tropical storm demands our attention.
We will do everything we can to ensure the safety of our campus community throughout hurricane season, and I’m calling on each of you to join us as responsible partners in this crucial effort.
With warm regards,