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Press Release  
Release Date: Friday, August 26, 2011 10:13 PM
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Media Contact:
Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing
Howard University Prepares for Hurricane Irene

Photos by Justin D. Knight Howard University administrators, staff, students and faculty prepare for Hurricane Irene.  

WASHINGTON (Aug. 26, 2011) – Howard University is taking carefully coordinated steps to prepare for Hurricane Irene and the severe weather expected to hit the Washington metropolitan area. The Emergency Response Team has developed a plan that emphasizes prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

“We have an all hands on deck,” Deputy Police Chief Alonzo Joy said. “We began early preparation to ensure that the University community is safe. The work is in progress and we have the necessary staff to keep our community safe until the all-clear is issued.”

The plan includes:

  • Activation of an Emergency Operations Center, Howard’s command hub of weather, communications, medical, facility and public safety specialists.
  • Assigned trained personnel and volunteers to manage emergency plan functions.
  • Continuous notifications to students through cell phones, Internet, printed material and University officials of changing conditions and appropriate action in the event of disruptions, including electricity and water.
  • Stocked provisions of non-perishable food and other necessary supplies such as sand bags, lamps, flashlights and satellite phones.
  • Implementation of a modified dining services plan.
  • Developing crisis and mitigation procedures with input from law enforcement, medical services, public health officials and emergency responders.
  • Ramping up registration for an emergency text notification system – AlertHU – to better keep students informed of important weather-related and safety information.
  • Utilizing, HU Communications, Newsroom, WHUR 96.3 FM, WHUT-TV, ResNet, local media outlets as well as social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube).
  • Provision of temporary housing for essential staff, including public safety, food services and facilitates who are assigned to served the University community.
  • Posters in the halls of residence halls and common areas to educate students and implore proactive action.

The Department of Auxiliary Services will work tirelessly to maintain operable dining hall hours during any hurricane-related crisis period. Given the current trajectory of the storm, meal service will follow its regular schedule on Saturday. If this changes, Howard will notify students. If conditions worsen on Sunday, the University has secured sufficient non-perishable meals for distribution to the various dorms to ensure that students and staff can remain indoors.

Additionally, University officials are encouraging all members of the Howard community to register for Bison Connect, which includes two University-wide alert systems: AlertHU and HU Guardian Service. The systems send email notifications and text messages to registered users during emergencies.

Students, faculty and staff should use university-issued email addresses to register at

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