SOU plans for disasters

The Disaster Preparedness Center at Southern Oregon University will practice its evacuation plan in Forest, Hawthorne, and Emerald Halls in Cascade on Wednesday afternoon in case of a wildfire.Because Southern Oregon University borders a hillside, an area susceptible to wildfires, the university wants to be ready to implement an evacuation plan if necessary.

Though it is not mandatory, the Disaster Preparedness Center requests all students in these halls to take part in this important evacuation drill.

The Disaster Preparedness staff is also asking students, particularly those living in the dorms, to realize the possible need of evacuation if a wildfire were to occur.

Students will receive an email within the week explaining when, where, and why this drill will occur, and the process that will follow should there be a dangerous wildfire.

Students will also receive a flier with a suggested evacuation ready list outlining important items that they should take with them, such as medications or important documents, as well as what they should know in order to be prepared in case of an emergency.

Heather Freiheit, the Disaster Preparedness Grant Director at SOU, said the school has never actually tested their evacuation plan, and has decided to do so to make sure that any problems with the plan are identified and taken care of.

“Plans may look good on paper, but in reality sometimes you want to tweak things,” said Freiheit.

During the drill, the Crisis Management Team, made up of various SOU faculty, will practice assessing and then dealing with the problems that may arise, such as what to do if there are various on-campus events such as sports games or conferences.

The SOU Health and Wellness Center will also participate in the drill by practicing setting up a first aide center, as well as evacuating the medical center.

The Ashland Fire Department will also be on campus near Cascade Residence Hall on Wednesday supervising and practicing with students the process of the evacuation drill.

SOU will also test the SOU Alert during this drill, and encourages students who do not receive these alerts via text message to visit the Emergency Preparedness website and sign up.



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