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Make a Plan

As responsible members of the University community, students should plan for the unexpected by creating personal emergency plans. It is a good idea to talk with your student about what to do in the event of an emergency while at UVA. Students should be prepared to put their personal plans into action if the need arises. Preparation can be a valuable defense in such situations. The University will respond quickly in an event, but your student will be best served by having a plan to take care of themselves for a brief period of time. All students, especially international students, should think about what their alternatives are if the University were forced to evacuate during a hurricane, or if a pandemic were to lead to the cancellation of classes and closure of the University. Staying with friends or relatives in another part of the country may be an option to explore in advance, especially if travel abroad is restricted during a large-scale crisis.

Ready.gov has a simple template to help you record your emergency plan.

  • Communications Plan - Work with your student to create a communications plan that outlines how you will contact each other.
    • Technology does have limitations; therefore, we ask students to contact home as soon as possible following a critical incident and advise you of their status; after that, we ask students to minimize the use of their phones to allow for telecommunication system use by emergency responders
    • Identify an out-of-state contact to receive and relay messages among family members, for those times when it is not possible to communicate with family in close proximity. In emergencies it is often easier to make a long distance telephone call than a local call.
    • Create a list of all important family contact information to keep in emergency kit
    • Include a prepaid phone calling card or coins to use to call the emergency contact
    • Add 'In Case of Emergency' (ICE) numbers to your student's cell phone, for example, ICE Mom or ICE Dad. Medical professionals often look for ICE contacts in patient cell phones to assist in contacting family members when it's most needed.
  • Emergency Procedures – Knowing what to do in specific emergency situations is important. The Office of Safety and Emergency Preparedness created a quick reference poster that outlines incident-specific instructions for sheltering in place and evacuation. 
  • Critical Incident Management Plan – The University acts immediately in response to emergency situations using the Critical Incident Management Plan (CIMP) to guide response actions. The CIMP is activated when an emergency affecting the University reaches proportions that cannot be handled by established measures. The CIMP is flexible to accommodate contingencies of all types, magnitude and duration.