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FIU Grad Students Respond to Fictional Hurricane Scenario

The two-day drill is the ninth annual disaster field course conducted by Florida International University's Academy for International Disaster Preparedness, where students are taken through a full-scale disaster response.

white pickup truck that says FIU Hurricane Research on the side
Adobe Stock/iicholakov
Florida International University students in the school’s Academy for International Disaster Preparedness (AIDP) are at it again, this week conducting the ninth annual two-day disaster field course.

The first day sees the students getting briefed on a fictional category 5 hurricane that has struck the Caribbean, where they make landfall at ground zero. The students are taken through the stages of a full-scale disaster response and meet with victims and survivors, learn of humanitarian needs and assess the destruction left behind by the storm.

Participating agencies lend assets such as helicopters, marine vessels, drones and other resources to make the drill as realistic as possible.

On the second day, the participants are deployed as humanitarian responders to provide immediate relief to hurricane survivors. The two-day event sees the students complete several assignments, including conducting damage assessments and writing press releases to test their ability to adapt to a disaster.

“This exercise is the linchpin of our program and critical to our students graduating prepared to lead in a disaster scenario," Javier Marques, executive director for AIDP said in a press release. “We appreciate our partners with whom we train and form bonds of trust that are essential in navigating the uncertainty that comes with disasters.”

The course is part of the school’s Master of Arts in Disaster Management, a 30-credit graduate program. It focuses on disaster preparedness, emergency management and humanitarian assistance/coordination.