University to promote emergency preparedness

Seton Hall will host its first Emergency Management for Colleges and Universities Symposium on Wednesday, March 9, to promote the development of emergency management programs at institutions of higher education.

Tom Giordano, assistant director of Emergency Management, said hopefully all colleges and universities in the area can benefit from the symposium. “How to promote emergency management programs to other colleges and universities, it’s a community wide effort,” Giordano said. “Everybody has a role in it.” The symposium is free for all attendees, who will choose to attend one presentation in the morning and afternoon. The keynote speaker is John Farmer, the current dean of Rutgers Law School. His past experience includes acting as the Attorney General for New Jersey from 1999 to 2002 and serving as senior counselor to 9/11 Commission from 2003 to 2004. There are five three-hour presentations in the morning, and five one-hour presentations to choose from in the afternoon. Topics of presentations include behavioral threat assessment, business continuity planning, multi-hazard emergency planning, response from disease outbreaks, evacuation tips, campus fire safety. The lunchtime presentation will teach attendees how to use electronic media to educate and prepare a population for an emergency. The symposium is a project funded by the Emergency Management for Higher Education Grant that was awarded to the University by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009, Giordano said. The Emergency Management for Higher Education Grant is meant to “support institutions of higher education (IHE) projects designed to develop or review and improve and fully integrate campus-based all-hazards emergency management planning efforts,” according to the U.S. Department of Education website. Institutions that have received the grant must use the framework of four phases of emergency management, prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, according to the website. Various groups were invited to attend the symposium, including departmental emergency coordinators, emergency response teams, counseling personnel, fire safety groups, health services. “We are trying to appeal to a wide range of people from various disciplines, simply because when an emergency occurs, you have a response from a great variety of people,” Giordano said. The symposium is being offered to help create, not an academic, but a practical application to protect a campus during a state of emergency. According to a release on the Seton Hall website, “The purpose of this symposium is to promote the development of ‘all hazards’ emergency management programs, for institutions of higher education to help them mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from the impact of critical incidents or disasters.” Joanna Toole can be reached at joanna.toole@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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