This winter, Arkansans encountered an unusual amount of winter weather. UA Fort Smith closed several times this winter due to inclement weather. Last week Dr. Kyle Parker, the Vice Chancellor of Planning and Technology at UA Fort Smith, reported the use of over 10,000 pounds of ice-melt – twice the amount that the university uses in a typical winter. With the unusual amount of winter weather we have received this year, it is no surprise that we welcome spring with open arms.
As the spring storm season approaches, many Arkansans prepare for the rainy storm season that can potentially bring situations that require emergency response. Small communities and college campuses across the nation develop individual plans for disaster recovery, and UA Fort Smith is no exception.
The UA Fort Smith Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is designed to identify possible disasters, and it outlines proper procedures in order to respond to the disasters. The EAP provides appropriate responses for possible natural disasters (fire, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes, and winter storms), criminal behavior and suspicious activity, and medical or psychological emergencies. Detailed suggestions to respond to each of these disasters can be found at the link above.
The University also has an emergency text messaging service that reports emergency situations via text message or email. By signing up for LionsAlert, users elect to receive campus emergency notifications from UA Fort Smith. LionsAlert is a great way for the university community to stay informed of campus events via mobile devices.
Evacuation and shelter maps for each building on campus can be found on the UA Fort Smith website. These maps are also posted in each building.
Disaster preparedness can also be done at the home. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides an emergency preparedness checklist for those who would like to plan ahead for possible disasters. FEMA suggests discussing your individual plan with members of your house, and posting the plan in a highly visible area in your home.
Community members who are interested in learning more about disaster response can contact the Sebastian County Community Emergency Response Team for information on disaster response training and volunteer opportunities.