East Carolina University Office of Environmental Health & Safety and the university's administration continually monitor weather information for the approach of severe weather. when severe weather threatens, the University has experienced based preparation & response plans in place.
Hurricanes have become familiar to ECU over the last twenty years. When the possibility of a hurricane strike is likely, the University starts an orderly progression of activities intended to provide for the safety of students & staff. Additionally, seventy-two to forty-eight hours before the predicted landfall of a hurricane, the administration begins to meet regularly to assess the projected path of the storm, review the current status of preparations, as well as to provide additional instructions to the campus community as to how best to prepare for the storm. If the storm track continues to threaten the region, ECU's administration instructs Housing Services, Dining Services, and Student Health Services to begin preparing for the storm by following their own Hurricane Preparedness Plan. Water and eating supplies are stockpiled, emergency communications are checked, and personnel are put on alert and assigned to storm duty.
If the storm track continues toward the University, and within 12 hours of landfall, ECU's administration meets to decide whether or not to cancel classes and send students out of harm's way. Should this be the decision, students will be instructed to seek shelter inland at home or with a friend's family. Those who cannot leave for a safer location are housed together in a storm resistant residence hall for safety purposes. Even if the Administration decides not to cancel classes, residence halls have been renovated to be hurricane resistant and provide a safer structure than most single-family homes in the region. When students are housed in the residence halls, they are supervised by trained Residence Assistants who are prepared for power outages, equipped with emergency communication, water, entertainment, and emergency lighting. These students are requested to stay in this secure location until the administration has determined it is safe to leave the facility. These hurricane plans and procedures can be viewed at http://www.ecu.edu/oehs/EmergencyProcedures/severeweather.htm.
Throughout preparations, storm, and through recovery, ECU administration maintains close contact with Pitt County Emergency Management which is responsible for providing emergency services, as needed, to ECU.
Once the storm has passed, Facilities Services and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety will survey the campus to assess damage and identify safety issues. ECU Police will provide security protection throughout campus. Damage will be repaired promptly and the University will be readied for the student's return as quickly as possible. If the damage to the university and surrounding community is severe, the university may remain closed until conditions are safe for students to return.
It should be stated that while this is the response procedure for the University, each student is responsible for following the University's instructions, using common sense and seeking safe shelter. Parents are requested to urge their students and their friends to return to the safety of your homes and to follow emergency warnings and University instructions. Information concerning the status of the university can be obtained through ECU's Hotline (252-328-0062), ECU's "Alert Banner-Emergency Announcements" displayed on the ECU home page at (http://www.ecu.edu) and through local TV news reports. These information sources will also advise students and parents of the scheduled start of classes after the hurricane.