Dean of Students holds emergency information meeting to tell students where to go during natural disasters

Written by: 
Jessica Gonzalez Leon

In place of the normal BYUH Management Society’s My Leadership Story event scheduled on Jan. 18, an informative meeting on what to do during natural disasters or missile threats replaced the lecture in response to the false missile alarm the weekend before.


Dean of Students Melba Latu introduced members of the Student Advisory Council to address students’ questions and concerns in regards to the false missile threat. Latu started the session by asking a few students to share how they had responded that Saturday morning. The first student who answered said she had a 72-hour kit and waited for school instructions.


Davisson Oliveira, a Hale 3 RA from Brazil and a senior student majoring in computer science, said when he heard about the missile threat, he immediately called their Hale Parent, Sister Croft, who he said told them to stay in place. Latu pointed out the RAs are receiving training to know what to do under different scenarios.


Another male audience member, who lives at the Hales, shared his experience during the threat. “I didn’t really see a lot of people panicking, then I didn’t hear any sirens on campus or anything. So I made sure I was ready to go, but I didn’t leave. I actually went back to bed, but I was ready to leave.” Then he looked online for some updates on what was going on, realized it was a false alarm, and informed everyone he knew so they wouldn’t panic.


Latu recognized, during the day of the false alarm, there were students who were nervous. Some of them went to the stake center only to realize it was locked. She said, “If there was a missile just stay inside.”


Who goes where?


One of the topics brought up was where students are supposed to go for other emergency situations such as floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Latu said all single female students - whether they’re on or off campus - should go to Hales 4 and 6. All on- or off-campus single male students should go to Hale 3 and 5. She explained how the upper floors are strong shelters for all single females and male students. “We have space for all of you.”


In case of a flood, hurricane, or tsunami, TVA residents shouldn’t go to the stake center but “to the higher apartments,” said Latu.


If there was a severe tsunami, she said, “We are all going to head up to the temple mountain. Not the temple because you’ll die. You are going to go above the temple. I know people think ‘go to the temple, the Lord is there,’ but you have to go higher to be safe.”


How to keep informed?


Latu suggested students download the RaveGuardian and EverBridge apps. She suggested students make sure all their contact information is updated on PeopleSoft as well so they can receive the updates. “Make sure you have your phone number in there, that’s how we are going to keep in contact with you.”


How to be ready?


In case of an emergency, Latu said to follow shelter instructions. The university will provide food, medical, and counseling support. “We have all of that, however it takes time to set up, and the location will depend on what has happened and what structures still stand.” She then emphasized, “So at least, for the first 24 hours you are on your own, [and] you need to have your own supplies.” She recognized that a 72-hour kit might sound overwhelming but encouraged students to start with a 24-hour kit.


She advised students to check out the BYUH website, where students can see different files that include an emergency preparedness guide, 72-hour kit, Laie Emergency Planning Brochure, BYUH Emergency Plan, and Laie Emergency Plan.


Latu also suggested to go to every emergency guide training the school announces so students can be up to date on what to do when an emergency happens.


Another audience member, who is a TVA RA, said all the RAs were required to attend this meeting as part of their training but was also being trained in his ward. “Our bishop, he does train us in this too. We received this training before what happened on Saturday. I had received a 72-hour training beforehand.”


He continued, “I feel that after Saturday’s experience, I am more ready and prepared for the next time. I’ve talked about it with my spouse on where we should be, kind of having a planning place, understanding that the school has given us this training, but also you have your own personal preparedness.”


Zachary Johnson, a married junior student from Utah double majoring in accounting and finance, was one of the students who went to the stake center on Saturday morning when he was informed of the crisis. “We went to the stake center and it was locked. We did talk about how we are going to gather more supplies and backpacks. We committed, because we didn't have anything prepared. We have whatever is in our house, but we don’t have any 72-hour kit or anything like that.”


Students can visit for further information on what to do during an emergency.

For more information on “Things to do during a missile threat,” refer to:

Date Published: 
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Last Edited: 
Saturday, February 24, 2018