Gustav provides test run for Co-Lin shelter

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 5, 2008

WESSON – Gustav was a good practice run for Copiah-LincolnCommunity College now that the school has been designated a specialneeds shelter under extenuating circumstances, Dr. Ronald Nettlestold trustees at Thursday afternoon’s meeting.

“This is the first year we’ve been designated as a special needsshelter,” he said. “We learned what it takes to get our equipmentready and be ready to provide evacuees with the care theyneed.”

Nettles said Co-Lin’s shelter was never activated during thechaos caused by Hurricane Gustav, but that the school had to beready in case they were activated. He said the college was providedwith generators for the gymnasium, the nursing building and otherimportant buildings, and a stockpile of medical supplies in casethey were needed.

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“We were prepared to be called in but they never did activateus,” he said. “We had cots and bedding and all kinds of equipment,and we moved half of it to the gym because they’d told us it was ahigh probability we’d be activated.”

Nettles said due to the nature of a special needs shelter, theyare very restrictive in who they can admit because they are gearedtoward helping people with specific medical needs.

The shelter at Co-Lin would have been opened if the specialneeds shelter at Hinds Community College had reached 80 percentcapacity.

Nettles said Co-Lin experienced very little in the way of otherstorm damage, adding that officials consider themselves lucky.

“We had a few limbs down here in Wesson, and a lot of trees downin Natchez,” he said. “We found some roof leaks, and lostelectricity briefly in Wesson and until Wednesday night inNatchez.”

Nettles said students are receiving a little leeway in terms ofclass attendance if they are from areas that lost power or wereheavily damaged by the storms.

In addition, he said, Physical Plant Director Daryl Jordan hadcrews on campus through the weather trying to get powerrestored.

“When everything else was closed, we had the crews out thereworking,” he said.