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2020 hurricane season starts today

2020 hurricane season starts today

June 1, 2020 at 3:00pm

On June 1, FIU shared a message about hurricane preparedness with the university community.

Dear members of the university community,

Today marks the start of the 2020 hurricane season. During the next six months, we must stay alert to news reports and be ready to face a major hurricane on short notice.

This hurricane season will be unlike any we have experienced in the past. Not only are scientists predicting an active season, but it will take place in the context of a pandemic, which will undoubtedly pose additional challenges for our entire community. That is why we must take steps now to be prepared.

We know that hurricane preparation may be a new experience for many members of our university community. Please take a few minutes to read this message; it contains important information and resources to help you prepare.

Hurricane preparedness

Now is the time to review, revise or create your personal hurricane plan and purchase/order the supplies necessary for your disaster kit. Please note that when a hurricane is approaching, stores will begin to run out of certain items and will be packed with people, which will make keeping physical distance from others very challenging. 

The 2020 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is this week through Thursday, June 4. During this time, qualifying items related to disaster preparedness are exempt from sales tax.

If you are new to South Florida, there are resources available online and we urge you to review them to make sure you are ready.

FIU’s Department of Emergency Management has also partnered with FIU Online to develop a free emergency preparedness course. The hurricane preparedness portion of the newly refreshed Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) only takes around 25 minutes to complete.

Evacuations and shelters

Storm surge poses a great threat to many areas of South Florida. It is the primary reason residents must evacuate prior to a hurricane. Only residents of these areas should be planning to evacuate if instructed by county officials. The Miami-Dade Office of Emergency Management has identified Storm Surge Planning Zones in areas where storm surge has the highest incidence of occurrence. In the event of a hurricane, local shelters operated by Miami-Dade and Broward counties will be opened.

As a hurricane approaches, on-campus residents are encouraged to leave campus and ride out the storm at home. FIU Housing will provide shelter for on-campus residents who are not able to go home. However, students will not be allowed to stay in their rooms during the storm. BBC’s Bayview residents who stay will be transported to MMC for shelter. The hallways of Parkview Hall and Panther Hall at MMC have been designated to serve as shelter areas this year to allow for physical distancing while sheltering.

Students who need to shelter and are showing signs of illness will shelter away from other students. On-campus residents should speak to their resident assistants for more information.

FIU Parking Garages

If a storm happens to impact our area, FIU parking garages will be open to members of the university community who wish to protect their vehicles from debris and flooding. Space will be limited and on a first-come first-serve basis.

Review FIU’s emergency procedures

As a member of the FIU family, become familiar with the university’s emergency procedures – which apply to all potential hazards – and be an active participant in your own safety by staying alert to messages from university and local officials.

We have an emergency notification system known as FIU Alert that will alert you through some or all of the following channels of communication:

  • Text messages (only issued in the event of imminent danger)
  • Informacast (phones in classrooms and outdoor speakers)
  • Email messages to your FIU account: Your FIU email and local media will be your source of information for all FIU hurricane-related information.
  • Updates on the FIU homepage and
  • Social media: Facebook and Twitter
  • FIU Help Line: 305-FIU-HELP (305-348-4357)

Faculty and staff should also review their department’s Continuity of Operations Plan. In case of a storm, please remember to take the following steps:

  • Back up all your data on the cloud. Faculty and staff have access to CrashPlan and Microsoft OneDrive from Office365, our backup and storage solutions. Students can use Google Drive, available through their PantherMail.
  • Guard against flood damage by raising any sensitive equipment off the floor, especially in ground floor offices.
  • Unplug and cover all electronic equipment to protect it from any water leakage that may occur as a result of the storm.

Remember: Living in South Florida means living with the threat of hurricanes. While we hope that the 2020 season will be without incident, we must prepare for whatever it brings. Being informed and prepared, as well as following the advice outlined here, will make for a safer hurricane season and quicker recovery.

Thank you.