Hurricane Katrina: UT Tyler Prepares for Possible Shelter Designation
September 2, 2005

with UT Tyler staff.
Dr. Dale Lunsford, vice president for student affairs and external relations, (standing) leads university administrators in a planning meeting to prepare for possible activation as a shelter for Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

Gov. Rick Perry may call on The University of Texas at Tyler to be a general shelter or a special needs shelter for the Hurricane Katrina evacuees, President Rodney H. Mabry announced.

The American Red Cross would direct the general shelter in the UT Tyler Fisch Convocation Center. The Smith County Public Health District would coordinate the special needs shelter in the UT Tyler Braithwaite Building.

“The University is in a database, with other State facilities, based on available services. It is not definite that we will be activated,” he said.

UT Tyler administrators are making arrangements to do their part in assisting the evacuees with as little disruption as possible to the functioning of the University.

“We are doing everything we can to prepare in the event that we are called upon to accommodate the evacuees. Our nursing faculty and students are preparing their skills lab to house evacuees with certain special medical needs, and the Herrington Patriot Center is getting ready should we need to house other evacuees in the convocation center,” said President Mabry.

Approximately 250 – 300 evacuees could be accommodated for 30 days in the Fisch Convocation Center. The Red Cross would provide bedding, food, security and other necessities.

“We want to make them as comfortable as we can during this difficult time. We are also looking at ways to develop educational and recreational activities for the younger children who aren’t of school age yet,” said President Mabry.

Nursing students prepare
Dean Linda Klotz, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, directs nursing students in the organization of the skills learning lab, which may be activated to house hurricane evacuees with special needs.

The College of Nursing is on alert to be activated as well.

If necessary, the 20-bed nursing skills learning lab would be used to support low acuity medical needs of hurricane refugees.

“It could happen as early as this weekend. Faculty and students remain on standby to staff the laboratory if it is needed,” said Dr. Linda Klotz, dean of nursing and health sciences.

The fourth level nursing students, who are doing their community health experience rotation this semester, are energized and involved in citywide efforts to help, Dr. Klotz added.

“The nursing students at all levels and on each campus are working as volunteers and through their nursing student association to help with their relief efforts. I am very proud of all of them,” she said.




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