The LSU Emergency Operations Center said communication is the most important part when dealing with a hurricane.
EOC was on high alert last week when the University faced a potential hurricane, and made sure the University was prepared for any situation. Manager of the Emergency Operations Center Jake Palmer said students should always be watching the weather for updates on a storm, paying attention to updates from the EOC and keeping in contact with family and friends.
“Communicate with your parents,” Palmer said. “One of the things we get a lot of [is] the students are fine, but the parents up in Chicago don’t understand what we’re facing here, [and] they’re the ones that get spun up.”
There are no mandatory evacuations when it comes to University protocol. The EOC closely follows the recommendations of the parish and state government, but is always prepared to feed and shelter students and local residents in need.
Typically, the University is used as an evacuation center for Louisiana residents further south. This was complicated when Hurricane Gustav directly hit LSU’s campus in 2008. There was extensive damage and power was lost for more than 24 hours.
If needed, all residential halls, apartments and dining halls have supplies
ready and protocol in place to deal with major storms hitting campus. The PMAC and Carl Maddox Field House are also on-campus buildings that are run by the state for safe shelter.
Executive Director of the Student Health Center D’Ann Morris, who previously worked in the EOC, wants to reassure everyone that students living on campus will be taken care of and safe.
“We work very close with Residential Life to make sure they know the protocols,” Morris said. “They’re one of the best partners the EOC can have. They have some of the best emergency planning, hands-down.”
The EOC prepares enough food and water to last for weeks in case a big enough disaster occurs. Tiger Stadium is stocked with more than 100,000 water bottles at all times during hurricane season. The dining halls are stocked with non-perishables and, in a rare scenario when needed, Ready-To-Eat Meals made by the U.S. Department of Defense.
“It’s one of those things [where] you walk into a room and flip the switch and you expect that light to come on,” Palmer said. “But what happens when it doesn’t? When those minor everyday assumptions we make go away, that’s when we start to panic.”