WARWICK, R.I. -- The University of Rhode Island was getting ready for commencement when the severe storms of March and April hit.
For Anne Gregson, who handles risk management and insurance for the university, flooding was the last thing URI needed.
“This is usually a very busy time of year for us,” she said. “The March rainstorms added to the work that needed to be done to prepare our campus.”
Gregson said she’s proud of the way campus staff handled the disaster. Floodwaters inundated a number of buildings on campus, including Washburn Hall and Tootell Aquatic Center. Many of the university’s older buildings suffered water damage as well.
“I don’t think our staff could have responded any better than they did,” Gregson said. They were there 24/7 helping across campus,” Gregson said.
University officials attended a Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) Applicant Briefing, where state officials provided an overview of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance available to the university. University officials learned details in a “kickoff meeting” with a FEMA Public Assistance project specialist, who explained documentation and other application requirements.
“Our experience with FEMA has been a positive one,” Gregson said. “The project specialist was very thorough and extremely knowledgeable. She was able to make recommendations that will certainly be advantageous to us right through the mitigation stage.”
Mitigation considerations include finding ways to rebuild stronger, so that damage is prevented or reduced in a future storm event.
“We had a plan in place, but we can always make things better,” Gregson said. “We’re focusing on recovery and will look back to see if and how we can make the plan better. We’re prepared. We know where we’re going. Once you prepare for the worst, you can handle anything.”
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.