Hurrricane Ike photographed from NASA's International Space Station.The 2014 hurricane season has begun. As UTMB’s Institutional Emergency Preparedness Officer, I want to urge every member of the university community to visit the Emergency Plan web site and read up on how to prepare for weather and other emergencies. Please pay particular attention to the newly posted presentation materials and handouts from this year’s Hurricane Prep 101 meeting.

Although weather experts are forecasting a relatively quiet hurricane season for the Atlantic, remember that it only takes one bad storm to make life difficult if it happens to hit your area. Remember also that, while hurricanes are a major focus of disaster planning for UTMB facilities near the coast, these and other natural disasters can affect our employees and clinics throughout the state.
With that in mind, regardless of your work location, take time now to develop a plan for your household, become familiar with your department’s and your worksite’s disaster plan, and confirm with your supervisor what your role at work will be in an emergency. Pay attention to weather alerts, be prepared to act on your plans if needed, and avoid the complacency that sometimes comes after a few years with no major storms.
I also strongly encourage you to update your UTMB Alerts information today. Although all students, faculty and staff are automatically enrolled in this mass notification system with their university contact information, in practice you will get the most timely alerts on your mobile device—via text (SMS) or voice message. To add or update your mobile information, search your name in the UTMB Online Directory, click the “Edit Data” button above your listing, and fill in the Emergency Notification Information.
While we hope the forecasts for a quiet hurricane season prove accurate, preparing now is our best bet for minimizing disruption to our mission and to our personal lives should a storm or other disaster come our way. Thank you for joining me in this effort.
Dr. C. Joan Richardson
Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics
John Sealy Centennial Distinguished Chair in Neonatology
Director, Division of Neonatology
Institutional Emergency Preparedness Officer