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CCU awarded FEMA grant for indoor mass notification system

April 29, 2019
The new notification system will be installed in four residence halls on campus that house more than 1,000 students during the academic year.  The new notification system will be installed in four residence halls on campus that house more than 1,000 students during the academic year.  Carissa Medeiros is the director of emergency management at CCU.

Coastal Carolina University is the recipient of an award from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The grant, worth $151,460, will be used to install and integrate an indoor mass notification system (MNS) in University housing to warn residents of impending dangers. The system has the ability to alert students through speaker strobes, intelligible voice messages, tones, sirens and live voice messaging from dispatchers. The new notification system will be installed in four residence halls on campus that house more than 1,000 students during the academic year.

“The University has experienced the effects of many natural disasters and severe weather-related incidents on campus,” said Carissa Medeiros, director of emergency management at CCU. “The safety, security and welfare of Coastal Carolina University students and the entire University community are central to fulfilling our mission.”

In addition to the funding provided by FEMA, CCU will also contribute $50,487 toward the project, totaling $201,947. This project adds to the MNS already in place, installed with CCU funds in 2016 in nine outdoor and four indoor locations across campus. The outdoor MNS is being expanded this year to east campus and around some residential complexes, funded by a FEMA grant.

The ongoing project and CCU’s financial contribution represent a continued dedication to emergency management and building a more resilient institution, as detailed in the University’s All-Hazards Mitigation Plan, which includes a hazard and vulnerability assessment, mitigation strategies and an action plan.

“The University has been impacted by five disasters the last five years which has brought emergency management to the forefront,” said Medeiros. “The president and the University leadership fully support and appreciate the value of a comprehensive emergency management program that addresses all hazards and all phases of emergency management: preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.”

The award comes in the wake of Hurricane Florence; however, the Housing Indoor Mass Notification System project is funded by the grant program tied to Hurricane Irma, which threatened CCU’s campus in 2017. FEMA grant recipients often take years to be selected and approved; the emergency management office is currently in the process of writing grant applications for Hurricane Florence’s HMGP.

CCU has received two other FEMA grants since the development of the All-Hazards Mitigation Plan in 2014.

The project will be bid out to contractors, who will estimate a completion date. All new construction at CCU and major renovations of existing facilities will include the indoor MNS.

“The grant is not merely funding a project, but giving CCU the ability to achieve coverage of the indoor MNS quicker than we would on our own,” said Medeiros. “This is an investment in the protection of young adults and aids in maintaining a safe living and learning environment.”

For more information, visit coastal.edu/emergency.