Plattsburgh State plans to observe National Preparedness Month by hosting Emergency Preparedness Day, Wednesday, Sept. 28.
National Preparedness Month promotes awareness and the importance of being ready for disasters that could happen at work, home or school. The awareness does not just focus on weather related disasters, but also those of terroristic and technological natures as well.
Emergency Preparedness Day will be full of activities for students and staff. There will be a mock college dorm room fire, where students can witness how quickly a dorm room can catch fire.
There will also be a mock aerial rescue in Whiteface Hall, where firefighters will save a volunteer from the 9th floor by repelling down the building. Firefighters will also supervise a mock fire as students try to navigate through the basement of Macomb Hall while it is filled with smoke, as if they were in a real fire.
Lastly, there will be a presentation given by two alumni from Seton Hall College in Yokum Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. where they will speak about their experience in a dorm room fire.
There also will be a sample disaster kit that will be raffled at the end of the day, as one way to be prepared for a possible disaster is to have a “kit” ready on hand.
PSUC’s Emergency Management Director Michael Caraballo said he always has a disaster kit with him in his office. Caraballo said disaster kits similar to his own should contain items that could make you self sufficient for 72 hours. This should include food, water, medications and other items that would allow for a victim of a disaster to be able to wait for help. Each kit should be tailored to fit an individual’s environment and outdoor surroundings.
Some of the basic items recommended for a disaster kit include a battery-powered radio, flashlight, as well as extra batteries for both, a first aid kit, a whistle, personal sanitation supplies, a can opener for canned foods possibly included in the kit, local maps. Cash, sleeping bags, and warm clothes are also suggested, according to Caraballo.
Caraballo said this month, he wants everyone to remember that pets also need to be thought of in possible disasters, and recommended that while making a disaster kit, to also think of pets and to pack food and extra water for them.
Sophomore expeditionary studies major Ethan Raines said they are trained to always carry “the four essentials” on trips, which he said vary on each outing they conduct, but usually consist of tools to fix gear, medical supplies, and communication materials.
PSUC’s student health center nurse Monica Latrell said they don’t have a specific disaster kit in the health center, but they do have backup water and a generator, rooms that lock from the inside to prevent intruders from entering, as well as phones to contact others in case of an emergency.
She said the health center also has an emergency button connecting the counselling center to the health center, used to signal one side to the other that assistance is needed, or in case of possible danger on site.
Caraballo said prior to the start of the school year, a survey was conducted to ask which disaster scenario was most likely to occur on campus. He said the survey concluded severe cold and ice storms to be the most probable disaster.
Both University Police and the health center are trained every year for possible disasters that may occur over the school year.
“While it doesn’t happen often, we should be prepared for it” said Caraballo.
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