Responding to Disaster

Posted by cservaes on June 19, 2012 in "Academic Programs", Communication, "Current Students", "Disaster Assessment", Events, Reading, "The College" Ottawa University students traveled to Reading, Kansas, on April 13-14 to participate in a mock disaster, just less than a year after the town was devastated by an EF3 tornado that killed one person and injured five others. Ottawa University’s Interdisciplinary Studies Disaster Assessment Planning and Response class spent the two-day trip speaking with survivors of the 2011 tornado, conducting “damage assessments” and putting their public affairs experience to test by writing press releases, updating social media and doing interviews for feature stories. They also heard from city officials about recovery efforts in the town following last year’s tornado. “We didn’t know when we reached out if the town would be willing to help us with the simulation, but it has been amazing,” said Kara Cunningham, assistant professor of communication at Ottawa University. “The people of Reading have been so generous with their time and with their assistance.” In addition to the residents, Reading’s mayor and public information officer, Lyon and Franklin County emergency management teams, area firefighters, a Reading church and school, and area Red Cross chapters assisted with the exercise. The mock disaster was featured on FOX4 News on April 13. The segment can be viewed at