Campus News Georgia Impact

Ready for anything: OSEP programs will focus on emergency planning

In observance of National Preparedness Month, UGA’s Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness will be asking students, faculty and staff a simple question: “Are you ready?”

OSEP is hosting campus events in September aimed at getting faculty, staff and students to think about emergency plans, as well as getting them involved with organizations that respond when emergencies arise.

“These opportunities provide a little more exposure to faculty, staff and students on how to quickly prepare for and be aware of emergencies, and how they will receive emergency information,” said Steve Harris, director of OSEP. “We know that students, faculty and staff are busy with academic and social pursuits, but certainly the time to prepare for any type of event is now.”

National Preparedness Month is promoted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to raise public awareness about being ready for emergencies. The university has hosted preparedness month activities now for eight years.

This year, OSEP has planned a number of events that target different facets of emergency preparedness.

  • The Emergency Preparedness Information Fair and public safety vehicle display will be held Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Tate Center Plaza. The fair will feature safety equipment demonstrations and representatives from agencies and groups associated with emergency preparation. A five-minute video at the fair will show viewers how to use “sidewalk CPR,” a simpler, hands-only method of the life-saving CPR technique now being promoted by many public safety agencies.
  • University, local and state law enforcement and emergency response agencies also will showcase their response vehicles at the fair—including the UGA police department’s bomb unit and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s crime scene investigation vehicle.
  • The presentation “Active Shooter: Lessons Learned from the University of Alabama in Huntsville Incident” will examine a 2010 campus shooting. Representatives from UA-Huntsville, OSEP and campus police will lead the discussion on Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. in the Tate Theatre.
  • A campus-wide test of the university’s mass emergency notification system, UGAAlert, will be held Sept. 18 at 10:45 a.m. The exercise will include testing campus email, phone, social medium platforms and desktop computer notifications. “It’s a drill to make sure everything works,” said Harris about the system, which is used for large campus-wide emergencies.
  • On Sept. 20 at 2:30 p.m., OSEP, in collaboration with the Athens-Clarke County Fire Department, will kick off fall training for UGA’s Campus Emergency Response Team. CERT members learn to deal with emergencies on campus and may be used to assist professional agencies. Training includes classes on emergency preparedness, basic first aid, incident command, fire safety and disaster psychology. CERT members also get to participate in live exercises that simulate emergencies.