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UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA RECEIVES FEDERAL GRANT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMEALND SECURITY THROUGH FEMA'S DISASTER RESISTANT UNIVERSITY PROGRAM

11-05-2004

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond $75,000 as part of the Disaster Resistant University (DRU) program. In total, 27 colleges and universities were awarded more than $3.2 million. The DRU program assists universities and colleges, through state and local governments, to implement a sustained program to reduce the risk from disasters to students, faculty, facilities, and research assets.

The Director of Environmental Health and Safety at UCO, Don Powers, said UCO plans to use the grant to write a hazard mitigation plan.

?Damage and interruption to the mission of a university can result in significant losses,? said Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response Michael D. Brown. ?The losses can be measured by faculty and student departures, loss of irreplaceable research assets, decreases in research funding and increases in insurance premiums. The DRU program is designed to lessen or eliminate such losses.?

In the past decade, disasters have affected university and college campuses with increasing frequency and at great cost. As an example, in June 2001, Tropical Storm Allison inundated the Houston area and its universities and colleges with 10 to 24 inches of rain. The University of Texas Medical School building had 22 feet of water in it, causing the hospital to close and seriously disrupting its research efforts. Damage to the medical school was estimated at more than $205 million.

The DRU program, started in 2000, is designed to provide universities with grants to assess their risks and develop plans and projects to address them. In FY 2004, the DRU funds were competitively awarded to ensure that program funds benefit a representative range of universities, based on types of hazards as well as size, location, and academic community served, which included consideration of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges and Universities.

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