Washington State University’s emergency response agencies and the Office of Business Affairs are closely monitoring the recent volcanic activity at Mount St. Helens and are prepared to respond as necessary for the health and safety of all parts of the WSU community.

“The recent rumblings of the mountain have our response agencies reviewing and updating emergency plans,” said Chris Tapfer, emergency management coordinator. “We are monitoring the events closely and are prepared to activate emergency management operations if there is any threat to WSU campuses or facilities around the state.” 

According to information released by the U. S. Geological Survey staff monitoring the activity at Mount St. Helens, a major eruption like the one in May 1980 is not expected, Tapfer said. Conditions are different now than when the gigantic eruption resulted in much of eastern Washington being covered with a blanket of ash.

While WSU’s Pullman campus is not likely to be affected, WSU Vancouver and WSU research stations and extension sites closer to the mountain may receive ash fall at some time during this eruptive phase, Tapfer said.

If volcanic ash fall or other activity were to pose a threat, emergency response would be activated based on the individual emergency response plans of each of WSU’s four campuses, he indicated. Emergency response for WSU’s research and extension centers and units would be coordinated between the local unit and the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

To keep an eye on activity at Mount St. Helens, check on the latest updates from the USGS at this website: http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/MSH/framework.html.