Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Bellarmine University President Susan M. Donovan discuss the university's severe weather preparedness.
Bellarmine University’s efforts to prepare for severe weather have earned it the National Weather Service’s StormReady Campus designation
Bellarmine is the first private university in Kentucky
to earn the designation, joining six state universities as StormReady campuses.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and John Gordon - the chief meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Louisville office - joined Dr. Susan M. Donovan, Bellarmine’s president, to celebrate the recognition.
“As Louisvillians know all too well, the threat of severe weather is an ongoing concern for our community,” said Fischer. “From a public safety perspective, it’s critical to understand the risk and have effective plans in place to minimize the possibility of harm to people and property. Bellarmine has taken great steps to align their severe weather plans with national best practices and Louisville Metro’s own response plan. That’s great news for the campus community and it’s also beneficial to the city."
Fischer noted that Louisville was recognized as StormReady community in 2015.
As a StormReady campus, Bellarmine meets or exceeds a set of standards regarding monitoring, communicating and responding to the threat of dangerous weather, such as severe storms, tornadoes, flooding, excessive snow and extreme temperatures. To maintain the StormReady designation, Bellarmine’s Office of Public Safety has committed to keeping its severe weather emergency operations plan up to date, identifying shelter locations, conducting tornado drills and other training, havingi multiple methods to communicate severe weather alerts, and monitoring hazardous weather information every day of the year.
“Over the past 10 years, several university campuses have been struck by tornadoes,” said Joe Sullivan, the National Weather Service’s warning coordination meteorologist. “It’s not a matter of if one will strike again, but when. With 10 tornadoes touching down in Louisville during that same time frame, the threat is always here. Bellarmine is doing everything right to ensure that if one does hit the campus, their staff and students will know what to do to minimize their risk of being harmed.”
Beyond the threat of severe weather, Bellarmine’s Office of Public Safety has recently taken other steps to keep the campus community safe, including:
- Developing the university’s first-ever comprehensive emergency operations plan, using the National Incident Management System as a framework to ensure seamless communication with the city’s emergency responders during a campus or city-wide emergency.
- Conducting a full-scale active aggressor simulation in 2017, in partnership with Louisville Metro Emergency Services.
- Posting clear instructions for emergency scenarios in every building and classroom.
- Leading ongoing training sessions for the campus community on topics including active aggressor scenarios and CPR.
“When parents send their children to college, they want to know that university officials share their concern for their child’s safety,” said Donovan. “Bellarmine University has taken great strides to identify key threats to campus safety - including severe weather – and developing response plans that ensure we’re as prepared as possible. This designation from the National Weather Service is one measure of the safety commitment we’re keeping to our students, their families, our faculty and staff, and anyone visiting our campus.”