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May 30, 2013


To the University Community,

One of our nation’s founding fathers offered some sage advice more than 200 years ago: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

It’s anyone’s guess what Benjamin Franklin was specifically referring to, but his words are certainly applicable to that time of year now upon us: hurricane season, which starts June 1 and runs through November 30. There’s no telling what weather we’ll be dealt this year, but one thing is certain—we must be prepared for anything.

Last year South Florida dodged a couple of hurricanes, Isaac and Sandy, which skirted the state. Overall, the season produced an above-average number of storms—19—although only one reached Category 3 strength. However, the season will always be remembered for “super storm” Sandy, which wrought a path of death and destruction from the Caribbean to the Northeast. Meteorologists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center are forecasting an active or extremely active season this year—13 to 20 named storms and seven to 11 hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).

While the skies are still sunny, we should do all we can to be ready for when it gets stormy. Preparations should include:

Be InformedKnow what to do before, during, and after an emergency. Employees need to update their contact information on MyUM. Click on “Personal, Address and Emergency/Evacuation Information” in the Personal & Biographical Info section. Students need to ensure their emergency information is accurate in CaneLink by going to canelink.miami.edu, logging in, and clicking on the “Emergency Information” link under the Personal Information section on the top left hand side of the CaneLink home page. This way the University can stay in touch with you in case of an emergency. You can also provide information about where you will be staying if you need to evacuate your residence in the event of a hurricane.

Make a Plan—Use the emergency information available at www.miami.edu/prepare to guide how you and family members will get to a safe place, contact each other, get back together, and what you will do in different situations.

Build a Kit—You’ll need essential items, such as food, water, flashlight, radio, sanitizer, first-aid kit, tools, important documents, and cash, to meet basic needs for at least 72 hours after a disaster.

Get Involved to help. Join the ’Canes Emergency Response Team (CERT) or the Miami-Dade County Medical Reserve Corps University of Miami Response Team.

For a comprehensive list of steps to take at work and home before the storm, click here.

There’s a unique element in this year’s hurricane planning: challenges due to new storm surge planning zones that encompass larger portions of Miami-Dade County. Improved modeling technology will help determine a hurricane’s projected storm surge and evacuation of targeted zones, independent of the hurricane’s category. Administrators are working with county officials in assessing the impacts to University students, employees, and facilities and will communicate any changes to current policies and procedures.

If you live in Miami-Dade County, determine if you live within a storm surge planning zone by visiting tinyurl.com/md-hurricane zone and enter your address, or call the Miami-Dade County Answer Center at 3-1-1. For more information about the zones and what you can do to prepare, go to the county’s Emergency Management website, www.miamidade.gov/fire/emergency-management.asp.

So don’t wait—now’s the time to prepare.