As the path of Hurricane Irma was fairly uncertain leading up to her arrival, The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville monitored the storm closely in efforts of keeping students updated on the possible inclement weather. When the storm began to shift closer to the west coast and the Florida Panhandle, staff and faculty prepared for the worst case scenario, working diligently to protect and provide for the students that remained on campus as well as those evacuees that were already arriving seeking shelter.
Before the weekend commenced, Campus Safety Director Olan Strickland visited each of the dorms and provided the Resident Directors (RDs) with plenty of water, batteries, and flashlights for their residents. He also led students in a tour of the FEMA approved storm shelters that are strategically placed around campus. His main goal was to ensure that, if hurricane or tornado force conditions struck Graceville, BCF students would be confident in evacuating to the storm shelters and have the materials necessary during the storm.
While extensive preparations were being coordinated on the Graceville campus, evacuees from throughout the state were moving into the BCF Blue Springs Campus. Prayers, people, water, and food poured into both campuses with over 70 people seeking shelter at the Blue Springs Campus and over half of the dorms, married housing, and guest housing filled.
Before the storm approached, Resident Directors (RDs) with the assistance of faculty and staff delivered extra water and food to the dorms in case it was unsafe for students to get to the dining facility (where meals would be provided) or in the event power was lost, food was available. Constant contact and the flow of information was the key to keeping both campuses safe and making sure everyone was accounted for.
The winds blew and the rain came down, but for BCF the hurricane brought a greater sense of unity rather than destruction. The overwhelming reaction shared by everyone involved in the storm showed that at The Baptist College of Florida, we are family (even some you didn’t know you had).
Faculty, staff, and students continue praying for the individuals and families that were directly impacted by the storm and additional prayers are extended to our BCF Collegiate Disaster Relief Team that deployed this morning to Naples, Fla., to assist in disaster relief efforts.
For more information on The Baptist College of Florida, please call 850-263-3261 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.