March 21 public meeting looks at campus plan for a Disaster Resistant University

Faculty, staff and students are invited to an open house meeting on March 21 to provide feedback on the UW-Madison’s Disaster Resistant University plan for the Madison campus and outlying properties. The meeting with DRU project manager Tom McClintock will be held Thursday, March 21 from 1–4 p.m. room 240 Steenbock Library, room 240. A 10-minute presentation will also be given on the hour (1, 2 & 3 p.m.)

The draft DRU plan is the result of a three-year, FEMA-funded effort by a planning team that includes campus and government agency personnel and consultants. The goal is to help mitigate and minimize potential damage from natural, technological, or political hazards or disasters. The DRU Plan will facilitate cooperation between federal, state and UW-Madison authorities as well as enhance a planning network to better enable the university to articulate accurate needs for mitigation. The UW-Madison DRU Plan will also ensure eligibility for future hazard mitigation grants offered through the Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency and Wisconsin Emergency Management.

The DRU steering committee includes representatives from Campus Police, the CALS-based Land Information and Computer Graphics Facility, campus Facilities Planning and Management, University Housing, Ag Research Stations, UW Hospital & Clinics, Risk Management, the City of Madison, Wisconsin Department of Administration, and and two consultants: Integrated Solutions Consulting and the Polis Center at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The DRU Planning Process

The DRU Planning Process consists of four phases: Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment, Mitigation Strategies, and FEMA plan approval. The DRU plan will be an on-going process, with formal updates required by FEMA every 5 years.

Hazards Identification. The planning team researched historical records, existing mitigation plans for Dane County and the State, and received input from hazard specialists and community members to identify the following possible hazards:

  • Natural hazards: Tornado, Flood, Severe Storm/Lightning, Severe Temp, Subsidence, Disease, Drought
  • Technological: Hazardous Materials Release, Structural Fire/Failure, Critical Infrastructure Incident, Utility Failure, Water/Wastewater
  • Political: Terrorism, Civil Disturbance, Special Events
Simulation of a tornado strike on campus using Aloha GIS modeling software. This map helps identify which buildings would potentially need evacuating and how many people are affected.

Risk Assessment. The DRU plan requires assessing the risks from the identified hazards to university property, operations and safety of humans. Staff at the LICGF center on campus are integrating spatial information and databases from different sources, including campus structures, demographics and hazard locations on campus, using geographic information systems (GIS). These GIS layers are helping the planning team model potential disaster scenarios and estimate risks.

Mitigation Goals and Strategies. The UW Madison DRU Committee developed preliminary Mitigation Goals to identify the expectations of the DRU Plan. The mitigation plan’s goals are broad statements that describe the principles that will guide the mitigation actions. These goals are supported by objectives which are targeted statements that define strategies and implementation procedures to attain the mitigation plan’s goals. Mitigation strategies were then developed based on the risk assessment.

For more information. Come to the open house, visit our website, or contact Tom McClintock, Outreach Program Manager at UW LICGF at 608 263-0009, for more information.