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UST Develops Emergency Management Plans
8/14/2012

Committed to the safety and security of the University of St. Thomas campus community, the new Emergency and Safety Services Office is implementing an emergency management plan in fall 2012.

As part of a $245,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education for emergency management planning efforts, UST is continuing to create a comprehensive two-part plan for campus-based all-hazards emergency management and as well as continuity business plans. In 2010, UST was the only university in Texas to receive funds from the Emergency Management for Higher Education Program that provided grants to 17 schools nationwide.

In the first part of the plan, the ESSO, led by Co-directors Chris Barry and Karen Burns, established several initiatives to better prepare the St. Thomas campus community.

  • The University developed and is continuing to improve an Emergency Operations Plan outlining responsibilities of administrators and departments in responding to an emergency situation.
  • The Continuity of Operations Plans will be sent to departments as the initial plan for recovering after disasters and will be updated annually.
  • Twenty-nine UST employees received the first phase of training in the National Incident Management System, developed by the Department of Homeland Security for federal, state and local governments, and the private sector to work together during emergency situations. Fourteen employees received advanced training.
  • Drills will be held each semester.

The plan includes emergency protocols for the medical, mental health, communication, mobility and emergency needs of persons with disabilities, special needs or language barriers. 

In the second part of the plan, the ESSO and Marketing Communications offices developed the emergency preparedness campaign "Get Ready, Already!" to create awareness among students, staff and faculty about emergency management issues and procedures. The campaign features Dane G. Ross, a character who personifies dangerous situations and tests the campus community's emergency preparedness. The initiative calls people to “Be Aware, Be Prepared and Take Action!”

The new emergency preparedness website, www.stthom.edu/READY, will also launch on Aug. 20 with resources and guides on inclement weather, campus and personal safety, and suspicious situations. Resources will be available in both English and Spanish.

Also, students, faculty and staff can learn emergency preparedness tips, make a hurricane kit and participate in a campus-wide scavenger hunt during Safety Week, to be held during the week of Sept. 24-28.

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