An in-depth effort over the past year by local and state officials has been aimed at developing a campus-specific Disaster Resistant University Mitigation Plan (DRU) for The University of Southern Mississippi.
The DRU designation promotes a proactive approach to reducing the university’s vulnerability to future natural disasters and to ensure that, in the event of a significant disaster, critical facilities and services of the university continue to operate.
A campus committee will host two public meetings to invite comments and suggestions necessary to finalize the university’s plan. The first open meeting for the campus community is set for Thursday, Feb. 25, at 11 a.m. in the Thad Cochran Center Room 216. Another meeting for the surrounding community will be scheduled in April.
Critical areas are those facilities, systems and infrastructure that must remain operational and functional prior to, during, and after a significant hazard event, says Rodger Jackson, committee member and director of fire and safety at Southern Miss. “Any plan must consider not only brick and mortar structures, but also physical infrastructure systems such as drainage, electrical power and communications along with public safety and physical plant operations.”
The draft plan includes hazard mitigation strategies designed to minimize or eliminate potential hazard impacts on these critical systems and facilities. It was submitted to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) for a preliminary review in December, but still requires review and input from the campus and surrounding community.
In addition to various campus units, the committee includes representatives from the City of Hattiesburg, the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District and the Forrest County Emergency Management District with additional assistance from the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) and MEMA.
The Southern Miss planning effort is part of a statewide effort on behalf of the IHL to create hazard mitigation plans on all Mississippi university campuses. It is funded through a grant by the Mississippi Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management agencies.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.