In 2005, Hurricane Katrina created the greatest natural disaster in American history. The states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama sustained significant damage, including 31 colleges and universities. Other institutions of higher education, most notably Louisiana State University (LSU), became resources to the disaster area. This is just one of the many examples of disaster impacts on institutions of higher education. The Federal Department of Homeland Security, under Homeland Security Presidential Directive–5, requires all public agencies that want to receive federal preparedness assistance to comply with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which includes the creation of an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). Universities, which may be victims or resources during disasters, must write NIMS–compliant emergency plans. While most university emergency plans address public safety and logistics management, few adequately address the transportation aspects of disaster response and recovery. This MTI report describes the value of integrating transportation infrastructure into the campus emergency plan, including planning for helicopter operations. It offers a list of materials that can be used to educate and inform campus leadership on campus emergency impacts, including books about the Katrina response by LSU and Tulane Hospital, contained in the report´s bibliography. It provides a complete set of Emergency Operations Plan checklists and organization charts updated to acknowledge lessons learned from Katrina, 9/11 and other wide–scale emergencies. Campus emergency planners can quickly update their existing emergency management documents by integrating selected annexes and elements, or create new NIMS–compliant plans by adapting the complete set of annexes to their university´s structures.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Transportation Security/Counterterrorism

MTI Project



Disasters and emergency operations; Disaster preparedness; Emergency medical services; Hazards and emergency operations



RoleofTransportation.pdf (181 kB)
Research Brief