Archive for the ‘Emergency Management’ Category

UCI Emergency Management Hosts FEMA Training

Last week, the UCI Emergency Management Division hosted a two-day; 16-hour FEMA training titled “Executive Seminar: Prevention of, Response to, and Recovery from Campus Emergencies.” The curriculum provided participants with an understanding of and ability to navigate through the difficult aspects of dealing with campus emergencies involving natural or human-caused events, including acts of violence.  The course consisted of small; problem-based, integrated group activities that required a coordinated approach to solve.  Through tabletop scenarios, course participants observed developing incidents and responded in a manner that was consistent with currently established campus plans, policies and procedures.

The training was made possible through FEMA’s National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC) and this course, specifically, was delivered by three subject matter experts from Louisiana State University’s (LSU) National Center for Biomedical Research and Training (NCBRT). The course was well attended and included both UCI staff as well as public safety personnel from other local colleges and universities which contributed greatly to the quality of class discussions.  A few of these other institutions included CSU Dominguez Hills, Loyola Marymount, Coastline Community College, UC San Diego and Los Angeles Community College District.

The training provided UCI emergency management with new “tools” and operational concepts to consider regarding campus preparedness, however, it also validated what a strong emergency management program the campus currently has in place. In fact, during the lead instructor’s final remarks, he commented that having delivered this course to more than 120 colleges and universities during his tenure, UCI has one of the strongest and most robust emergency management programs that he has ever seen.  Furthermore, he requested permission to use the UCI Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) and related Annexes in future courses as “best practices” to benefit other institutes of higher education.

UCI strives to be a leader in education, research, patient care, innovation and world change and the Emergency Management Division has adopted this same vision as it relates to being a leader in emergency preparedness both within higher education and the larger community as a whole.

 

National Immunization Awareness Month 2017

As summer begins to wind down, children will be headed back to school or beginning school for their first time. This can be a busy time for parents as they start shopping for backpacks, binders, pens/pencils, clothes, shoes and a number of other items that will help their children have a great start to the school year.  But let’s not forget the most important item on our back-to-school checklist: immunizations.  This action, above all, will help ensure your child has a healthy and successful year.

The month of August is National Immunization Awareness Month which is sponsored by the CDC and coordinated by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC). This initiative not only focuses on children going back-to-school but provides an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the lifespan.  Activities focus on encouraging all people to protect their health by being vaccinated against infectious diseases.

Visit the NPHIC https://www.nphic.org/niam or CDC https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam.html for more information regarding immunization recommendations for pregnant women, infants/young children, school-age children, pre-teen/teen & adults.  Also, for UCI students, please visit the Student Health Center http://www.shs.uci.edu/ for additional questions/consultation regarding immunizations.

 

Facebook’s Emerging Role in Emergency Management

At the tail end of last year (December 2016), UCIPD posted an article about Facebook’s “Safety Check” feature which has become an emerging means to communicate one’s personal safety with loved ones in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or emergency. Now, the company has agreed to take its role in emergency management one step further by using data to help communities rebuild and recover following disasters.

On June 7th, Facebook introduced a disaster mapping tool that uses “aggregated, de-identified Facebook data” to help organizations address the critical gap in information they often face when responding to natural disasters. The company worked with several disaster response and relief organizations to identify what data would be most helpful and how it could be utilized to address the needs of populations immediately after a disaster.  There are three primary types of maps that will be used to display the compiled data including Location Density Maps, Movement Maps and Safety Check Maps.  For more information please see the company’s press release at the following link: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/06/using-data-to-help-communities-recover-and-rebuild/

 

UCI Receives “Spotlight on Collaboration” Award at 2017 Risk Summit

In June of 2015, the Campus Continuity Subcommittee was convened to carry out an 18-month campus wide initiative of conducting the university’s first Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and developing the framework for the enterprise continuity & recovery plan. The subcommittee was made up of quasi-level executive membership representing the following departments: Police/Emergency Management, Campus Counsel, Risk Services, Human Resources, Administrative & Business Services Office, Office of Information Technology (OIT)/Disaster Recovery, School Information Technology, Office of Research, Academic Affairs & Student Affairs.

The Campus Continuity Subcommittee met on a quarterly basis for 18 months (June 2015 – November 2016) to review and prioritize the risk values associated with 527 essential functions performed by 84 departments across campus in order to identify which of these would have the greatest impact on the campus mission should they cease for any period of time. The methodology behind the risk value-rating process targeted five separate areas of impact including research, teaching, operations, finance and compliance.  The subcommittee served as a quality control panel for this process; viewing it through their own respective area of expertise, in order to ensure that the data collected, processed and interpreted throughout the course of 104 department-level interviews was considering “risk” through a variety of different lenses.

A BIG thanks and congratulations to the UCI Campus Continuity Subcommittee!

 

UCI Emergency Management Delivers a “Best Practice” at Conference

Last week, the UCI Emergency Management team had a visible presence at the 5th Annual Best Practices in Higher Education Emergency Management Conference hosted by Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. The presentation, which was delivered to emergency management and business continuity practitioners at various institutions nationwide, focused on the strategy, methodology and results of the UCI campus wide Business Impact Analysis (BIA) that was completed in November of last year. The purpose of this 18-month initiative was to effectively identify the institution’s mission essential functions, project anticipated impacts of downtime, and determine campus priorities based upon risk values in order to inform the Campus Continuity Framework.  The completed BIA and campus continuity framework now serve as the University’s foundation for all business continuity efforts moving forward.

The BIA highlights the true nature of collaborative partnerships here on campus as this project required a multi-disciplinary subcommittee to convene in May of 2015 and meet quarterly until its completion. This dynamic group included representation from the following: A&BS Office of the Vice Chancellor, Risk Management, Campus Counsel, Office of Research Operations, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, OIT, School IT and UCI Police Department Emergency Management Division.  The contributions made by the subcommittee were extremely valuable as each member viewed the risk evaluation process through their own unique “lens of expertise” which, fundamentally, validated the results.

Business continuity planning in higher education is critical to building a resilient institution and the approach and methodology used by UCI to conduct a thorough; campus wide BIA to establish the foundation of all continuity planning efforts moving forward is gaining recognition as a best practice. UCI strives to be a leader in education, research, patient care, innovation and world change and the Emergency Management Division has adopted this same vision as it relates to being a leader in emergency preparedness both within higher education and the larger community as a whole.

 

National EMS Week: May 21 – 27, 2017

In 1973, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation’s communities. Back then, EMS was a new profession, and EMS practitioners had only just started to be recognized as a critical component of emergency medicine and the public health safety net.

A lot has changed since then. EMS is now firmly established as an essential public function and a vital component of the medical care continuum. On any given day, EMS practitioners help save lives by responding to medical emergencies, including heart attack, difficulty breathing, a fall or accident, drowning, cardiac arrest, stroke, drug overdose or acute illness. EMS may provide both basic and advanced medical care at the scene of an emergency and en route to a hospital. EMS practitioners care for their patients’ medical needs and show caring and compassion to their patients in their most difficult moments.

So, next week, or any week for that matter, when you’re in the grocery store and you see an EMS practitioner in uniform thank them for their vital public service they provide to our communities every day. For more information about National EMS Week visit https://www.naemt.org/ems_agencies_audience/ems-week/celebrate-ems-week

 

National Police Week: May 14 – 20, 2017

Are you aware that May 14 – 20, 2017 is National Police Week? In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as National Police Week. During this week, we salute those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and honor all of those that have chosen this field of selfless service to their community. We are very fortunate here at UC Irvine to have a cadre of dedicated police officers committed to a community-oriented style of policing that not only responds quickly to the needs of our campus but utilizes and partners with the community in a proactive manner to keep all of us safe.

This week, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world will converge on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor our fallen heroes. Visit the National Police Week website at http://www.policeweek.org/ for more information. In addition to these events, communities and law enforcement agencies across the country will sponsor their own activities to recognize their fallen officers and their families.

 

Chancellor’s Cabinet Participates in Annual Exercise

Every year the UCIPD Emergency Management Division hosts an annual exercise that allows responders of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and various Department Operation Centers (DOC) across campus to sharpen their skills and better prepare the campus to respond to an emergency in an effective manner. These “functional” exercises typically involve a couple hours of exercise play with simulation of a plausible scenario. However, this exercise was unique in that it was the first time the Chancellor’s Executive Policy Group (CEPG – i.e. Chancellor’s Cabinet) participated simultaneously and interfaced via video conferencing with the EOC Management Section. The primary exercise objective was to test this interface, communication and coordination between the CEPG and the EOC. Another objective was to test the operational coordination and communication between the EOC and the DOCs as they were challenged by arising problems within each of their given disciplines/areas of expertise as a result of an exercise scenario depicting an explosion and fire at a heavily attended event.

Overall, the feedback from participants was quite positive with identification of strengths as well as areas for improvement. The CEPG and EOC interface went extremely well and participants from both groups agreed that this was an extremely beneficial aspect built in to the exercise that needs to continue to be tested. The EH&S and Facilities Management DOCs continue to mature in to their roles and demonstrate a working and applicable knowledge of the Incident Command System (ICS) and the importance of effective communication and coordination.  The Emergency Management Division wishes to recognize and thank all participating University staff and executives for their outstanding commitment to enhancing the University’s preparedness efforts and, in many cases, volunteering to serve in a role that is outside of their normal job responsibilities.

 

UCI Emergency Management Hosts 2nd Psychological First Aid Training for Campus Responders

The psychological of impact of disasters can oftentimes be more devastating to survivors than the physical damage or tangible losses themselves. Also, it’s very difficult to quantify this impact on a given population when conducting disaster preparedness activities and, as a result, efforts to mitigate these impacts can oftentimes be overlooked. The CSAR program covers a broad overview of disaster psychology, however, there was a recognized need for additional training. We wanted to provide our campus responders with a greater depth of knowledge in this area so that they will be more capable to effectively address the mental health concerns of disaster survivors after a devastating event.

On Monday, April 17th the UCI Emergency Management Division hosted a 2nd offering of the American Red Cross Psychological First Aid course to members of both the Campus Search & Rescue (CSAR) and Care & Shelter Team (CAST). The objectives of this training were to 1) Help responders be able to recognize the signs of stress in clients, co-workers and themselves, 2) Apply Psychological First Aid principles in providing immediate support to people who may be experiencing stress, and 3) Understand how to obtain additional mental health support for themselves, co-workers and clients.

There were 36 campus responders that attended this course and the class was delivered by a certified American Red Cross Instructor. The American Red Cross has been an outstanding partner to the UCIPD Management Division over the past few years with the development of the CAST initiative and continue to help shape and improve the program as it evolves.

 

Remembering Virginia Tech: 10 Years Later

It’s hard to believe that this past weekend, Easter Sunday – April 16th, marked the 10-year anniversary of the largest school shooting in the U.S. and second deadliest shooting spree (to that of the tragic 2016 Orlando, FL nightclub shooting) in U.S. history. The Virginia Tech tragedy of April 16, 2007 has been referred to by many as the “9/11 for Institutes of Higher Education” (IHEs) – drawing parallels to the legal and operational change in requirements to prepare for and respond to acts of violence on campuses as those national homeland security measures resulting from 9/11. To this day, universities and campuses look to the lessons learned from this tragic event and best practices implemented by Virginia Tech’s now robust emergency management program which has, in some ways, become a “gold standard” in higher education emergency preparedness.

The following article does an excellent job capturing the events that unfolded that day, summarizing the State and Federal legislative actions taken afterwards to strengthen safety and security measures for students, and telling the narrative of Virginia Tech’s response, recovery and continued dedication to protecting its community.

http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/article/virginia_tech_shooting_anniversary_emergency_preparedness?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial&eid=350358940&bid=1723881

Next month, Virginia Tech will be hosting the “5th Annual Best Practices in Higher Education Emergency Management Conference” and the UCIPD Emergency Management Division has been selected to speak on a related topic to share best practices and contribute to the growing body of knowledge that can be shared among other higher education emergency management professionals to increase the resiliency of the institutions they serve.