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FEMA’s National Preparedness Month is a nationwide effort aimed at promoting and facilitating emergency preparedness and resilience across all sectors of our community. This year’s theme, “Take control in 1, 2, 3.” underscores the importance of proactive planning and collaboration to safeguard our institutions and some of the disproportionately affected communities within them.

Why is National Preparedness Month Relevant to Higher Ed?

As institutions of higher education, we play a critical role in our communities. Disruptions caused by natural disasters, pandemics, or other emergencies can have far-reaching impacts on our students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. By participating in National Preparedness Month, we can strengthen our ability to respond effectively when events occur. Our role in national preparedness is significant, and here’s why:

Research and Innovation
We drive research and innovation that directly contribute to disaster mitigation, response, and recovery efforts. Our discoveries can save lives and enhance preparedness strategies.
Educating Future Leaders
We educate the next generation of leaders, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to address complex challenges, including those related to national security and disaster management.
Community Hubs
Our campuses often serve as community hubs during emergencies, offering shelter, resources, and expertise. Our ability to provide support during crises is invaluable.
Critical Infrastructure
We maintain critical infrastructure, from healthcare facilities to utility distribution to data centers, that underpin our communities’ functionality. Ensuring the continuity of these services is essential.

Key Initiatives in Mission Continuity

Key Initiatives graphicIn our commitment to national preparedness, we are actively shifting our approach to Mission Continuity plans through Community Lifelines.

Community Lifelines are the critical functions and systems that ensure the well-being of our communities, especially during and after disasters or emergencies. They encompass essential services such as transportation, food and water, energy, communications, healthcare, public safety, and more. In the context of Mission Continuity, understanding and prioritizing these lifelines is vital. By identifying the lifelines most critical to our institution and the community we serve, we can develop more effective continuity plans that not only protect our operations but also contribute to the resilience and recovery of the broader community.

We look forward to sharing more information about Community Lifelines and their impact on Mission Continuity in the near future.

Resources for Plan Administrators

FEMA’s Higher Education Program: FEMA offers a dedicated program for higher education institutions, providing resources, training, and guidance on emergency management.
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National Preparedness Month Toolkit: FEMA provides a comprehensive toolkit with resources, templates, and ideas for engaging your campus community during National Preparedness Month.
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Alert Carolina: Any UNC-Chapel Hill affiliate with an ONYEN can register their cell phone to receive emergency text messages from the University. Update your contact information to ensure you receive the most up to date alerts.
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Not a UNC-Chapel Hill Affiliate with an ONYEN: Download the Carolina Ready Safety App for emergency alerts, tools for staying safe on campus, emergency response guides, campus maps and a variety of health and wellness resources.
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