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Emergency-Management Planning with Cathy Anthofer
Director of Campus Safety and Security, Earlham College, Richmond, Ind.
Your department is developing an emergency-management plan for your organization. What are key components to that plan and its successful implementation?
Key components to our emergency plan include agreeing on a common definition of security and advertising to everyone that emergency preparedness is their business and their responsibility. The team responsible for creating the emergency plan also must be interdisciplinary, involving stakeholders from diverse areas of the institution.
What is the role of the maintenance and engineering department related to your emergency-management plan?
Our facilities department, which includes maintenance, grounds, and engineering, is essential to our emergency planning and our plan. In the planning phase, managers are our best resource to mitigate many of our identified hazards.
Our facilities professionals comprise a large portion of the operational team in the emergency plan. They are the doers during an emergency. Our plan is designed so they have the ability to accomplish what they need without having to search for resources. That responsibility is vested with the logistical arm of our plan.
How do you build support for an emergency-management plan among campus occupants? How does personal preparedness come into play with your institution’s goal of keeping campus occupants safe and secure?
Our emergency plan is ever-evolving. Our plan is beginning a phase where we focus on personal preparedness. If everyone in our community takes responsibility to know exit points, identify shelter areas, and create a personal kit to sustain themselves for 72 hours in an emergency, then our overall plan functions better.
Those who are required to report to campus during an emergency as responders also should have a family plan in place so they are more likely to respond as needed. After Hurricane Katrina, a number of responders did not report for duty because their families were at risk. Those responders had no plan to evacuate, shelter, or feed their families, so they did not report to work. If they had developed a plan to evacuate, shelter, and feed their families, then they likely would have reported to work.
When building renovation or new construction takes place on campus, how much communication do you have with managers to ensure the facility can accommodate certain safety elements?
Our security department employs a full-time safety technician. He and I communicate and collaborate with the architects and facility department to not only meet safety codes for new construction, but also suggest best practices. We are working with several departments on campus, including facilities, to identify areas for shelter. When developing evacuation procedures, we also rely on facilities managers to identify hidden hazards, such as gas lines.