Improved Planning for — and Communication During — Hurricane Evacuations

In the wake of a rocky hurricane evacuation experience, Coastal Carolina University needed an easier and more efficient way to document residents’ evacuation plans and align the housing department with the Campus Emergency Management Plan.

 

“Hurricane Irma in 2017 was the first time we used the data collected through StarRez to prepare for evacuation. Our president, emergency management team, and executive group were blown away at the data we were able to provide.”

Leslie Hogan, Assistant Director for Assignments & Marketing

In October 2016, as Hurricane Matthew was closing in on the Atlantic coastline, Emergency Management staff at Coastal Carolina University made the decision to evacuate its 621-acre campus. The 4,600 students living on campus could elect to evacuate with the University Housing team or make their own arrangements for travel and accommodation. With no existing protocol in place, staff scrambled to quickly collect this information from students via another campus system. Responses were sporadic, and no reporting or communication tools were available.

The housing application was modified in StarRez to include a section for residents to document their Personal Evacuation Plan. If they plan to evacuate with the University Housing team, they are provided with information about the procedure and required to acknowledge they read and understand it. If they plan to evacuate independently, they are required to enter details on where they will go, with whom, and how they will get there. These plans can be updated at any time.

The Emergency Management team is now able to access resident evacuation plans long before a storm hits. They can easily create and email reports as needed, and because the students’ information comes directly from StarRez, the potential for inaccuracies (in name, ID number, room assignment, etc.) has been eliminated.

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