Storm-Ready: UNCW Officials Stress Preparedness for 2021 Hurricane Season

Thursday, May 27, 2021

As the 2021 hurricane season approaches, UNCW’s Environmental Health and Safety Department stresses the need for students and employees to have personal preparedness plans and be aware of emergency procedures and campus communications.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts 13 to 20 named storms in the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season with the possibility of  three to five major hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through Nov. 30.

UNCW is committed to year-round preparation for tropical weather systems and other emergencies. The university’s preparedness activities include training personnel, contracting with the private sector for resources, stockpiling critical materials, developing technology solutions and building relationships with community partners.

In 2020, university officials conducted an annual review of its emergency operations plan and updated components that are being rolled out for 2021, said Eric Griffin, assistant director of environmental health and safety and emergency manager.

“Plans are living documents and continual review is needed to incorporate lessons learned from prior events, best practices from other universities, and to ensure modifications are made to address any changes on our campus affecting how we respond,” said Griffin. “While every contingency cannot be planned for, thousands of hours have been spent engaging in planning activities to address the most common needs we would have across all types of disasters.”

UNCW qualifies as a Disaster-Resistant University and was the first university in North Carolina to receive the StormReady designation by the National Weather Service.

Emergency Notification
In case of a weather event, or any safety-related emergency in the vicinity of the UNCW main campus or satellite locations, the university may use various communication tools to disseminate emergency information and/or announce potential impacts on classes, events, or campus access. Please familiarize yourself with these communication tools.

  • The UNCW homepage: This is the official source, along with the university’s social media feeds, of emergency information and messages from the university. Other units on campus may share the information posted on the homepage and via feeds. Please be sure you are relying on only official university messaging during emergencies.
  • Emails to campus inboxes (students and employees).
  • UNCWAlert phone calls and/or text messages. Information about the university’s emergency alerts distribution list can be found here; students are automatically included on this distribution list, but faculty and staff must opt-in.
  • Parents and the public can sign up for community alerts via this website. Users who have opted for the service will receive UNCWAlert text messages, phone calls and/or emails when the university issues them.
  • UNCW Facebook: The UNCW Facebook page is often the fastest way for students, employees and parents to receive updates, along with campus emails to students and employees.
  • Hotline: 910.962.3991 or toll-free at 888.657.5751. The hotline is activated only in situations of a full-scale safety or weather emergency. It reflects information already available via the online resources listed above and serves those who don’t have easy web access.
    Hurricane-Related Resources
    NOAA National Hurricane Center
    Hurricane Information from EH&S

    --Venita Jenkins