Iowa Floods Test Mount Mercy’s Emergency Management Plan

This July, as flood waters wreaked havoc on Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Mount Mercy College had an opportunity to implement its own disaster preparedness plans, which included contingency plans for natural disasters like flooding and tornadoes.

Assistance to Red Cross, Local Businesses is Ongoing
As the waters receded, Mount Mercy continued to assist by hosting more than 30 members of the Red Cross core leadership team on its campus. Mount Mercy is also helping several area businesses by providing short-term alternative space so they can remain open even though their buildings were damaged or severely impacted by the flooding.

“We are called to the service of others and to a commitment to community support,” says Mount Mercy College President Dr. Christopher Blake. “The fact that our campus community — which has been untouched by the ravaging waters — is so willing to be involved in flood relief efforts is a testament to that calling.”

“This crisis has been an extraordinary — although unwelcome — opportunity to put our campus emergency plan into practice,” says Pooley. “Now that the crisis has passed, we will be debriefing, but the indication right now is that we have succeeded in implementing the emergency management plan with flying colors.”

Mount Mercy has a strong history of helping those in need. The Sisters of Mercy, founders of Mount Mercy, arrived in Cedar Rapids over 100 years ago and established ministries that addressed needs of indigent people. In 1924 the Sisters founded Mount Mercy Academy, which today is Mount Mercy College. The institution remains focused on educating students and instilling in them a passion and calling to serve the common good and help where help is most needed.

These values and a commitment to the community were key in the college’s disaster preparedness and in its desire to be involved with local flood recovery efforts. “Having our emergency management plan in place allowed us to be prepared,” says Pooley. “Fortunately we understand that the plan is a fluid document and disaster preparedness is always ongoing. We were able to use the plan as a basis, and then adjust as needed in order to assist our community.”

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Molly Altorfer is director of communications and marketing at Mount Mercy College, and Stacey Jones is assistant director of marketing for Mount Mercy College. Altorfer can be reached at


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