On May 16, 2013 the UCI Emergency Services Division conducted the annual exercise of our campus Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Department Operations Centers (DOCs). The purpose of the exercise was to practice EOC and DOC operations and evaluate the effectiveness of personnel, plans, and communication methods. This annual drill provides realistic exercise experience for the EOC and DOC staff comprised of personnel from various Administrative and Business Services (A&BS) units, Student Affairs, Strategic Communications, and other campus partners. EOC Manager, UCI Police Chief Paul Henisey, complimented the EOC and DOC staff for another successful exercise. For more information on UCI emergency services visit: http://snap.uci.edu/viewXmlFile.jsp?cmsUri=public/EnvironmentalHealthSafety/GeneralSafety/MainMenuEmergencyManagement.xml
The University of California, Irvine has been recognized by the National Weather Service as a StormReady site. The StormReady program is a nationwide initiative that helps organizations and communities better prepare for all types of severe weather – from winter storms to tsunamis to wildfires. The program encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with guidance on how to improve their weather operations.
To achieve this distinction UCI met rigorous criteria, which include developing an all-hazard safety plan and communications infrastructure, as well as actively promoting all-hazard weather safety through public awareness activities and training.
UCI is the third UC campus to receive this designation. UC Santa Barbara has been recognized as a TsunamiReady campus and UC San Francisco has been recognized as a StormReady campus. For more information on StormReady please visit www.stormready.noaa.gov
It can seem overwhelming to prepare for disasters! A new initiative, Do 1 Thing, aims to simplify the planning process by focusing on just one action each month to help get you prepared. The Do 1 Thing series will be presented on our blog once a month for the next year.
The May topic is Work, School and Community with the goal of making sure that the people who count on you are prepared for a disaster.
Below is a list of things you can do to achieve your goal this month. Choose at least one, and complete it.
- Make sure emergency procedures are in place for your workplace or school.
- Give emergency kits to people who count on you (college students, elderly parents, etc.).
- Know how others in your community will respond in a disaster.
The entire Do 1 Thing campaign can be found here: http://do1thing.com/things/may
Additionally, the UC Irvine Police Department, Emergency Services Division, has a number of online resources to assist you with being prepared both at home and here on campus. For more information visit: http://police.uci.edu/ and http://snap.uci.edu/viewXmlFile.jsp?cmsUri=public/EnvironmentalHealthSafety/GeneralSafety/MainMenuEmergencyManagement.xml
On Tuesday, April 16 Linda Bogue, UCI Emergency Services Manager, was a guest speaker on the KUCI talk show “Ask A Leader”. Linda discussed a number of relevant emergency management topics, including the bombing incident at the Boston Marathon that occured just a day before.
Linda discussed various campus emergency preparedness efforts including Zone Crew and Campus Search and Rescue (CSAR) as well as ways to be better prepared on a personal level. Always remember to get a kit, make a plan, and be prepared! For more information listen to the entire podcast here: http://www.kuci.org/podcastfiles/984/BoguePilkey4-16-13Show.mp3
First off – our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by the events in Boston and West, Texas. The first responder/law enforcement communities continue to tirelessly serve and help resolve each of these situations. We are appreciative of your dedication and hard work.
Second – in light of the events unfolding this week at the Boston Marathon, the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, and the letters containing ricin sent to various public officials, including President Barack Obama, we thought this would be a good opportunity to remind everyone that if you see something that looks off or suspicious remember to say something and do something. Call 911 and share the specific information with a dispatcher so that an officer can follow up and investigate. You know your community better than anyone and if something seems off don’t hesitate to call 911. It’s always better to err on the side of caution then to not speak up at all.
Finally – with all of the media coverage on these various events you may have heard different terms used to describe recommended protective actions. It is important to understand the difference between Lockdown, Shelter-In-Place and Secure-In-Place.
Lockdown – this is often a catchall term used by the media when they are really referring to shelter or secure-in-place situations. This term is typically used at elementary, middle and high schools where it is easier to actually “lock” the facility down due to a perceived outside threat. Students are under 18 and fall under the authority of school administration. This emergency protocol is used to prevent people from leaving a safe location and entering into a potential danger zone.
Shelter-In-Place – at UCI we use the term Shelter-In-Place for Hazardous Materials Incidents. Similar to what residents are doing in West, Texas the idea is to quickly find shelter in a safe location indoors and stay away from the contaminants in the outside air. If a Shelter-In-Place order is issued DO NOT leave until you are given the all clear by a uniformed officer or the University administration.
Secure-In-Place – at UCI we use the term Secure-In-Place for any other incidents in which it is recommended that you find a safe and secure indoor location and remain there until further notice from University administration. Secure-In-Place is used whenever an evacuation is not safe or if it is unclear whether an evacuation is safe. If a Secure-In-Place order is issued DO NOT leave until you are given the all clear by a uniformed officer or the University administration.
For more information you can always refer to the Blue Flip Charts that are posted on campus. These guides provide recommended actions for what to do in case of evacuation, fire, earthquake, utility failure, active shooter, medical emergency and more! Additional information can be found online on the Emergency Management website.
The week of April 7-13, 2013 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. This is an opportunity to honor the women and men who serve as our Public Safety Dispatchers. They are the voice at the other end of the 9-1-1 call assisting a distraught caller and at the other end of the radio when police, firefighters, and medical personnel are responding to emergency situations. Often these “invisible” courageous professionals are the forgotten component of public safety.
Telecommunicators Week began in California in 1981 and quickly grew to national recognition. Just ten years later, Congress designated the second full week of each April as a time to remember the critical role that Dispatchers play in keeping us all safe.
If you’ve ever been the victim of a crime, been in a collision, reported a fire or needed emergency medical help, you’ve called 9-1-1 and been helped by a Telecommunicator, also known as a “Dispatcher.” Not being visible or always recognized in the public eye, the critical role they play between the community and first responders is essential for every public safety call for service. Our Dispatchers are the direct link to our officers in the field. They monitor the radios, computers, phones, and more; answering thousands of calls from our community each year.
Please join us in conveying a BIG THANK YOU to the often heard but not seen “first of the first responders,” our 9-1-1 Dispatchers and Call Takers.
We encourage the community to partner with law enforcement to prevent or report crime by contacting the police department at (949) 824-5223 or if you wish to remain Anonymous, call “OC Crime Stoppers” by dialing 855-TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227), text the letters OCCS plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or use the website http://occrimestoppers.org
Here at UCI, the Police Department has their own dispatch center. Dispatchers are responsible for answering business lines, emergency and non-emergency calls, as well as calls for service for the UCI Medical Center. They also monitor campus security alarms, surveillance security cameras, blue light emergency phones and elevator phones. In 2011, Dispatch answered 23,830 campus calls, 17,433 Medical Center calls, and 7,925 9-1-1 calls.
Here are a few tips to help you “Be 9-1-1 Ready”
- Know Where You Are. Where are you right now? Could you tell 9-1-1 exactly where to find you?
- Don’t Text to 9-1-1: Your local 9-1-1 is not be able to accept text messages, photos and video. A voice call continues to be the best way to reach 9-1-1.
- Use a Landline: Whenever possible, use a landline to call 9-1-1. However, if you do call 9-1-1 from a cell phone while you are on campus, the majority of those calls come directly to the UCIPD Dispatch Center. On campus, the blue light phones also directly connect with UCIPD Dispatch.
- Stay Calm & Ready to Listen: 9-1-1 is here to help you through until help arrives. Be ready to listen and follow directions.
When calling 9-1-1, one of the first things you’ll be asked to provide is the location of the emergency you’re reporting. The call taker may not automatically know your location or may ask you to confirm it. How you can help…
- Tell the call taker the location of the emergency. Provide landmarks such as cross streets, buildings, and mileposts.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
Know Your Cell Well
- The current 9-1-1 system is designed for voice communications only.
- Texting 9-1-1 is not an option; you must dial 9-1-1 and speak with a call taker.
- Lock your keypad when you’re not using your phone, so 9-1-1 isn’t dialed by mistake. For the same reason, don’t put 9-1-1 on speed dial.
- Do not give old phones to children as toys. A wireless phone with no active service can still call 9-1-1.
- If you accidentally call 9-1-1, stay on the line and tell the receiver that you do not have an emergency.
9-1-1 is for Emergency Use Only
- Call 9-1-1 for emergencies only.
- It is appropriate to call 9-1-1 when you need to save a life, stop a crime, report suspicious activity or report a fire.
- 9-1-1 is the right number to call in an emergency when a prompt response is needed.
Remain Calm, be Prepared
- Try to stay calm, listen carefully, give information and follow all instructions.
- In an emergency, seconds matter, so being knowledgeable and prepared can make all the difference.
- Knowing when to call and what to expect when you phone 9-1-1 can help reduce fear and feelings of helplessness in an emergency.
Help 9-1-1 Help You
- The more you know what to expect when you call 9-1-1, the faster 9-1-1 can get you the help you need.
- If you dial 9-1-1 for a non-emergency matter, you are tying up resources that could be needed in a real emergency.
- You can save a life! Follow all instructions the 9-1-1 call taker gives you, and don’t hang up until the call taker does.
To learn more about the National 9-1-1 Education Center, visit www.know911.org
To learn more about the UCI Police Department, visit www.police.uci.edu
This week is National Tsunami Awareness Week. I know you might be thinking, UC Irvine isn’t on the coast, so we aren’t affected. And while that is true, many of our students, staff, and faculty live in coastal cities in Orange County that have the potential to be threatened by a Tsunami.
A Tsunami is an unusually high sea wave that’s formed from an underground earthquake, underground volcanic eruption, a massive landslide, etc….then that wave is like a wall of water as it crashes ashore. The cause can be from a local source, like an underwater landslide off the California coast, or from a distant source, like a major earthquake in Alaska.
It is important to know what to do in the event of a Tsunami. Most importantly, follow evacuation orders and other instructions from local officials. If you are on the beach and see the water recede, get to high ground as quickly as possible.
All of the coastal cities in Orange County have gone through the process to be designated as Tsunami Ready by the National Weather Services. This program is designed to help cities, towns, counties, universities and other large sites in coastal areas reduce the potential for disastrous tsunami-related consequences. For more information visit www.tsunamiready.noaa.gov or your City’s emergency management website.
Business Continuity Planning is an essential component to the comprehensive Emergency Management Program here at UC Irvine. Business continuity plans help departments identify critical business processes and establish strategies for business resumption post disaster. UCI uses an online planning tool, called UC Ready, to help individual departments complete continuity plans.
I recently came across an interesting article titled ”7 Reasons Why Business Continuity Plans Fail”. I’ve adapted the article for UCI and included ideas on how we can avoid some of these pitfalls.
1. Unrealistic Expectations
Many plans are created expecting that power, cell phones, phone lines, internet, and water will all be working, and roads will be open. Plans are written expecting that everyone will show up for work, staff won’t have damage at home, won’t have to take care of families and pets, and won’t be stressed. This seldom happens.
As you create your plan – discuss some of these items one at a time. What will you do if the power is out? If the internet is down? Cell phones don’t work? What if you need to relocate to an alternate site? How can you prepare for relocation now so you can do it quickly and efficiently?
While going through the planning process – think about how you would cope with staff absenteeism. Cross Train! Encourage your staff to have personal preparedness kits at home, in the car, and at work! The more prepared you are at home, the more likely you will be able to continue working during a disaster.
2. Focus on the wrong things
Question: What is your continuity plan? Answer: We have computer and server backups.
That is a PARTIAL IT plan, not a business continuity plan. Focus on personnel and facilities. How will you communicate with staff during and after a disaster? How will you get key staff members to show up to work? How will you reach staff if your area is evacuated? How will you continue to communicate to your staff on recovery efforts?
The campus is prepared for long-term response but you should at least have a shift’s worth of supplies to sustain you until campus assets are mobilized. Prepare your office with emergency supplies – water, food, flashlights, batteries, etc. Gather emergency contact information for staff and key department stakeholders. Include personal email addresses, cell phones, and contact information for spouses or partners. Share that contact information with key managers.
3. Little or No Testing.
Plans are often written in a vacuum and then placed on a shelf with little or no testing. An untested plan is not a plan, but a collection of words.
Did you know that the UCI Business Continuity Planner can conduct a tabletop exercise for your department? In as little as an hour we can go through a disaster scenario and work through your continuity plan. Contact me for more information!!
4. No Disaster Experience
Plans written by people without disaster experience can be doomed from the start. If you make the wrong assumptions, you will come to the wrong conclusions.
If you are unclear about any portion of your continuity plan, how your department should respond, or how the University is planning for response, reach out to the UCI Business Continuity Planner for assistance.
5. Too Detailed
Plans are not supposed to be an owner’s manual with detailed step by step guidance. Instead, the business continuity plan serves as a guide on what tasks are to be completed and which critical functions take priority during the recovery process.
Include critical information only. Key documents, policies and procedures, key contact information, etc. Consolidate your contact lists so you can quickly reach staff, key university contacts, and external contractors/vendors, etc. Supplement your plan with detailed documents, spreadsheets, policies and procedures.
6. Not Updated
Business needs change. Responsibilities change. Technology changes. Staffing changes.
At minimum, update your plan on an annual basis. Even though we go through a formal review process once a year, you can log into UC Ready at any time and update your plan.
7. Not Shared
A plan sitting on your desk is of no use if you cannot access your office. A plan is also no good if the only person who knows about it is the one that wrote it.
Share your plan at staff/faculty meetings. Make sure that people know about the plan. Also, have key managers keep hard copies of the plan at home and/or in their cars. If the internet is down and you cannot access UC Ready, having a hard copy available is a great place to start while you are waiting for IT-systems to get back up and running.
To view the original article click here: http://www.semelconsulting.com/2013/02/18/7-reasons-why-business-continuity-plans-fail-what-you-can-do/
Remember – If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
More information on business continuity planning at UCI can be found here: http://police.uci.edu/em/ucready.html
It’s that time of year again. Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 10th at 2:00 AM, with clocks “springing forward” one hour overnight.
As you change your clocks and replace your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide monitor batteries, here are a few additional activities for you to complete:
- Test your smoke alarms – Push the “test” button, which activates the alarm until the button is released
- Review your fire evacuation plan – remember to have at least two ways to evacuate
- Check your emergency supply kit and rotate out any expired food, water, medication, etc.
- Create an emergency supply kit for your car or office
- Check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers – replace if needed
For more information on fire safety visit OCFA at http://www.ocfa.org/Content/SafetyEducation/HomeSafety.aspx