The Emergency Plan, Built to Keep You Safe

Morgan Zwart

mzwar542@uwsp.edu

In an effort to make campus as safe as possible, the university’s emergency management plan has been updated and implemented.

The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point emergency management plan was originally developed in 2002 by the Environmental Safety Committee. The current emergency management plan is reviewed annually and any updates are added throughout the year.

“It is ongoing,” said Jeff Karcher, the director of Risk Management. “With any emergency plan you need to constantly update and upgrade it.”

The emergency management plan is a comprehensive plan that provides resources for the campus community on how to respond when various emergencies occur on campus. Developed to assist the students, faculty, and staff members to proactively manage campus emergencies, the four elements of the plan include preparation, prevention, response and recovery.

The office of Risk Management, located in the George Stein building, wants to lead UWSP in the right direction in multiple security and risk areas such as loss prevention insurance administration and claims management, contract and agreement reviews, occupational health, and safety.

Risk Management members also cover other important areas, such as ergonomics, inspections, wastes management, and training in various related areas.

Since 2002, there have been hundreds of safety measures put in place to keep campus safe and prevent damage to campus facilities. Protective Services provides many security and safety measures for students and the campus community.

“We work closely with Stevens Point police and fire departments as well. We are also a member of the Portage County Local Emergency Planning Committee,” Karcher said.

“The emergency management plan is an important resource for everyone on campus. A review of the plan will show it provides education and preparedness tools to help all individuals respond to emergencies,” Karcher said.

There are currently three new improvements to the emergency management plan.

The first improvement was the creation of certified volunteer emergency response teams for all UWSP campus buildings. Risk Management will start with a pilot group CERT’s to get the program established and will be open to volunteers, including students, across campus.

The second improvement will be numbering all entrances to campus buildings in order to help emergency services and campus security. Karcher says that they are numbering the entrances to improve response times and directions for emergency responders.

“This will enhance emergency response. Also, it will help improve general building organization and direction, which is helpful to occupants, visitors and maintenance crews,” Karcher said.

The third improvement is a chemical inventory system upgrade. This is for ordering and tracking chemicals, as well as an upgrade to CISPRO and CHEMWATCH, two powerful information databases.

“These new systems will primarily be used by Science and Trainer Natural Resources building departments for their chemical inventory in the stockrooms. Chemical component and safety information will benefit the entire campus,” Karcher said.

Of the improvements to the current emergency management plan, students agree that numbering doors for safety reasons and creating CERT’s in every building on campus are good ideas.

“The numbering of the doors would be extremely valuable,” said Tammy Jorgenson, a senior and English major.

Jorgenson thinks CERT’s are a good idea and that it is something a lot more people should know about, as well as the location and equipment being used in emergency situations.

“As a parent I think that these things would be very important. The sooner you can get to people, the sooner you can help people, the better it is. All of those things are going to increase response time and that is going to increase our safety.”Jorgenson said.

“It is beneficial to the students and for the faculty if there is an emergency that we have our teams ready to jump in, rather than having to call the fire department or the police right away,” said Peter Purvis, a senior wildlife ecology major.

“Not every incidence is going to require police intervention or the fire department. It would be nice to save tax payers dollars if we do not have to call them in,” Purvis said.

 

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