Hurricane Preparedness Meeting

The hurricane season is upon us! Year after year, AUC prepares by doing a number of things: boarding up the larger windows at school, stocking up on food and water, and preparing students to know what to expect and do in the event of a hurricane. Every year, AUC acts as a shelter for those students (and their families and pets) who live in hurricane-unfriendly places on the island.

Today we had a Hurricane Preparedness Workshop. Here are some questions from the audience that were answered during the meeting.

Disclaimer: Forgive me on the incomplete sentences and less-than-formal style of writing. These are notes that I was merely jotting down as I was listening.

Q: How many hours of warning would we have before the hurricane hits?
A: We’ll generally have 36+ hours. Once hurricane starts, know who to stay with, because you can’t go out. If you have glass doors or sliding doors, cover them up, or come to school. If you have concrete roof and shutters, you are safe.

Q: For those of us who decide to stay on the campus shelter, where will we be staying?
A: Multipurpose room, lecture halls, library. We have roll-up mats that we store. We have extra mattresses in the dorms, so we will ask people staying in the dorms to host others. We may set the mats in the dorms. We will have water and food brought from the warehouse to the multipurpose room.

Q: What should we bring?
A: The school has food and drinks, but bring some that you like, and also bring pet food. Bring pillow blanket, important documents, cash, and credit cards. Bring your needed toiletries (like contact lens solution if you wear contacts). Don’t wear flip-flops.

Q: What will shut down on the island?
A: Power, internet, everything will shut down outside of campus, because companies want to protect their stuff. On campus, we have our own water and power plant. All buildings on campus are hurricane proof. Very comfortable here on campus during a hurricane.

Q: How is the building code on the island?
A: The island has learned the hard way through the 1995 hurricane. Most buildings on the island will be safe. Pretty much all the apartments around campus will be safe (except if you live by the water of course). Dorms have shatter-safe glass.

Q: Is there a hotline parents can call to check up on state of the island?
A: Since Hurricane Omar, MEAS made a hotline between families, School, and MEAS. Families can contact there. Mrs. Choe is in charge of this.

Q: What if someone is looking for me?
A: Please update the school on where you will be living, in case they need to find you in the event of a hurricane. We’ve been sending emails to do this… so please check and READ your AUC email.

Q: Can we bring family to stay on campus?
A: Of Course. Bring their passports, kits, diapers, etc.

Q: How will we be notified of a hurricane warning?
A: Email, Class-reps, SGA

Q: How many days should we prepare for?
A: few days. It can be as much as 3 days.

Q: Who should come stay at the school during a hurricane?
A: People who live in Beacon Hill, Point Pirouette, and all others who live by the ocean front (or lagoon). In the past, we had four students who lost their homes. Ocean came through their walls, washed everything away into the ocean. Mr. Tien replaced the cost of all their lost. Solutions Management offered its own apartments for the students to stay at until the students’ own apartments were fixed. They could have been killed, but they were lucky. And this was just a 1.5 category hurricane. But if there’s any doubt at all, come to campus. Campus is located at a high elevation.

Q: How should we prepare we we decide to stay at home (off-campus)?
A: Fill everything with water. Cook all your perishable foods because power will go off. Don’t be alone! Network with others! Let parents and families know that they won’t hear from you for a while.

Q: What does the island do during a hurricane?
A: You need to know what district you are in. The military comes in and gets everyone prepared. Know where your district shelter is. You can’t go to any other district during a hurricane… official government curfew.

Q: What is the protocol for pets?
A: Must have a cage, food, and if you have a big dog, must have a muzzle.

Q: What if hurricane comes during exams?
A: check your messages before the storm to see.

Q: Will there be shuttle surface?
A: Yes there are. We’ll have extra trucks ready on campus just in case they need to pick up ppl before, during (emergency situation), or after the hurricane.

Q: Showers?
A: Besides the dorms, there are 2 showers.. one upstairs in the main building and one in the gym.

Q: Supply kit?
A: save up packaged foods with long shelf life. Canned foods and can opener.

Q: If we decide to stay off-campus during hurricane, what about bathrooms?
A: Flush the toilet once a day. You need water to flush the toilet… have enough water for that!!!!

Q: When does Hurricane Season end?
A: We’ve had hurricanes as late as November, so always be prepared for the unexpected.

Other Info:

  • GEBE now 90% of power is underground… accounts for the power outages you see when they put down the wires. It took 6 weeks for them to put power back up again during Hurricane Louis. So now, they decided to bury most of the power afterwards.
  • We would like a lot of student participation. Fortunately we have many EMTs, etc. we’d like to coordinate with. Think about how you can help. In the past, we’ve had students rescue trapped people in flooded neighborhoods on boats. They were awarded for their heroism.
  • Get a battery powered radio to get updates from radio stations! Short wave radio can also get info from Puerto Rico. Flashlights, candles. Hand cranked radios or shaked flashlights.