Fight or Flight: Natural Disasters on Campus

With the recent path of hurricane Joaquin having been averted, a conversation that came up with my fellow students was: what would you do in the event of a natural disaster?

Joking answers of surfing tsunamis and hopping on planes to far-flung lands were thrown around. The conversations did make me start considering I should do in the event of an emergency.

Natural disasters can appear as quick as a flash of lightning in a rogue thunderstorm, or a gust of wind in a tornado. What we would do in these situations is never easily said. Thinking or even talking about them is not even close to the same thing as experiencing it, but thinking about some of these questions may help you if the challenge arises.


Here’s a list of questions I’ve asked myself, and that you may helpful too.

What events have I experienced in my life that were extremely stressful for me?

Times of hardship come in many shapes and sizes, whether they be natural in the shape of storms or emotional such as familial loss. How we have dealt with difficult times in the past can often assist us in challenges we face in the present.

How did I manage these stresses?

Do we face our challenges head on or do we pretend they do not exist? In the event of natural disaster, neglecting the issue is not always possible.  You can’t exactly run away from gallons of rain, but having thought about it prior, you can be prepared well in advance.

Did I ask others for help or did I go at it alone?

Sometimes we can resolve personal issues on our own. But it is definitely important when nature strikes to have something planned. With many international students (including myself) on campus it may be a good idea to consider seeing if others need help. Some of us have been through multiple hurricanes and others have never even heard of one before.

Can I keep my cool?

A very important part of any emergency situation is the ability to keep our cool. Are you the person who is prepared for the events that may unfold, or are you the one that runs out and requires others to put their lives further at risk to help you?

What have you learned from past events?

Past experiences always play a crucial role in how we develop. What do you know that those around you may be able to benefit from in the event that something does happen.

Life is a series of events. Many of them are positive experiences that remind us why it is a great thing. Other times, we have to face natural forces that, on our own, we would surely fail. When we work together and prepare for the worst and discuss with our cared ones of what we plan to do in the event of an emergency, there is nothing to fear except for fear itself. Remember to be prepared, work together with those around you, and realize that the unexpected is often the most expected.

If you are unsure of what to do in the event of an emergency, Florida Tech’s student handbook is always of use on either hardcopy or the digital copy available on the school website, as well as Florida Tech’s security office.

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