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UMass Boston seeks public input on disaster planning

Posted by Patrick Rosso  June 11, 2013 03:57 PM

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The University of Massachusetts Boston is seeking input from residents as the college develops contingency plans to deal with disasters.

A public open house will be held Wednesday, June 12, from 4p.m. – 7 p.m. in the Chancellor's Conference Room, on the third floor of the Quinn Administration Building. The event will provide residents a chance to discuss ways the school is preparing its campus for any potential disaster.

The mitigation plan, which using the school’s recently completed risk assessment plan, will identify strategies the school can use to prepare for both manmade and natural disasters that could impact it and the surrounding community.

The plan will also highlight areas in the school that could use more work.

“Basically, this is best practice for the school,” explained Anne Marie McLaughlin, the emergency manager for UMass Boston. “You want to have the planning to help reduce risk and damage.”

UMass Boston isn’t the only school going through this process; all the universities in the UMass system are working on their own plans.

Each plan, which will also be submitted for approval to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency will, however, differ depending on the circumstances at the school.

“A lot of risks and hazards are not surprising given our location on the coast,” explained McLaughlin. “It’s all part of due diligence and a way for us to seek funding for hazard mitigation problems.”

After identifying the potential hazards that could hit the school the risk assessment plan will lay out ways to better prepare the school, from stronger roofs to ways to prevent Harborwalk erosion.

“We’re looking at all kinds of risks,” added McLaughlin.

Once completed the school will be able to use the plan to lobby for funding to complete campus projects that can help reduce potential hazards.

The plan will also help the school better connect with the community that surrounds it as it develops partnerships through the process, according to a presentation expected to be given Wednesday night.


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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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