National Preparedness Month is celebrated every September and sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This year’s theme is “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”
It encourages and reminds all U.S. citizens to be prepared for disasters and/or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities.
Preparedness Month emerged in 2004 to strengthen the United States preparedness abilities, specifically each citizen’s own ability to survive. After the 9/11 attacks, the government as well as the nation saw the importance in being prepared.
Review and Update Emergency Management Plans on Campus
Although it’s not every day there is a major emergency on a college or university campus – each should understand that it is not an exception to natural disasters or emergencies taking place.
And, with more than 25% of higher education institutions reporting they have never conducted a comprehensive hazard and vulnerability assessment - we have some work to do.
Emergency Management is a course of action developed to mitigate the damage or potential events that could endanger an institution’s ability to function.
Campus administrators should review and update, or develop, emergency management plans for the following natural disasters or emergencies that have the potential to occur on their campus or surrounding community:
- Severe or Extreme Weather (Tornados, Hurricanes, Flooding, Blizzards, Earthquakes)
- Active Shooters
- Power Outages
- Wild Fires
- Nuclear explosions
FEMA's Four Step Approach
Colleges and universities are encouraged to utilize FEMA’s 4-step mitigation approach on their campuses to identify and implement actions to reduce or eliminate loss of life, property and function due to natural and man-made hazards.
- Organize Resources
- Identify necessary and available resources.
- Form an advisory committee.
- Collect past and current emergency management plans.
- Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
- Identify campus hazards.
- Assess risks to campus disasters or emergencies.
- Mitigation Plan Development
- Develop an in-depth mitigation plan.
- Involve local and state agencies.
- Review and update this plan regularly.
- Adoption and Implementation
- Adopt an implement your new plan.
- Make sure to keep plan updated and relevant with changes throughout campus.
- Educate and train staff, faculty and students.
A more detailed explanation of this approach can be found here. Also, make sure to provide digital or print resources and training to your students, faculty and staff so that they can stay well-informed on what to do if a specific emergency or disaster takes place on your campus.
It’s important to have a plan, but without clear communication your plan could be useless.
How SafeColleges Can Help
The SafeColleges Training System includes several courses in our Emergency Management category: Active Shooter, Active Shooter: Run, Hide, Fight, Crisis Response and Recovery, and Terrorism: Awareness and Response. These courses provide administrators and staff with strategies on the best strategies to handle these emergency situations, proper response plans, how to handle the aftermath, and more.
The SafeColleges Online Tip Reporting System can be used to prevent and investigate sexual assault, hazing, discrimination, threats of violence and more on your campus. Alert lets students, faculty and staff anonymously report tips to your administration 24/7 from any web-enabled device. Users can submit tips through the phone, text, email and website. A SafeColleges Alert Mobile App will be available soon for students, faculty, and staff