Emergency preparationDHS launches Campus Resilience pilot program

Published 4 April 2013

DHS secretary Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday that seven universities will participate in a national preparedness initiative designed to help campuses train for, respond to, and recover from an emergency situation.

DHS secretary Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday that seven universities will participate in a national preparedness initiative  designed to help campuses train for, respond to, and recover from an emergency situation.

Napolitano made the announcement at Drexel University in Philadelphia, which is one of the schools chosen for the Campus Resilience Pilot Program. NBC10 reports that the point of the program is to help college develop safety practices in order to be able to respond quickly to threats, violence or natural disasters.

“As we know from experience, a crisis on campus can happen without notice,” Napolitano told reporters, “whether it’s an active shooter situation, a major disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake, or some other hazard that endangers lives.”

According to Napolitano, the initiative is part of the Obama administration’s effort to reduce gun violence, but she would not specify how much the program would cost, saying that the department is redeploying resources to fund it.

Eastern Connecticut State University, Green River Community College, Navajo Technical College, Texas A&M University, Tugaloo College, and the University of San Francisco are the other six schools involved.

School administrators, students, and other community members will work with DHS and emergency management officials to evaluate campus safety, train responders, and develop crisis plans. The strategies will then be shared with colleges across the country.

“The government can’t do it by itself, campuses can’t do it by themselves,” Napolitano told reporters.

The colleges which were selected range from urban to rural locations, both public and private schools, and of differ in size. Several university officials have said they are not sure what their participation in the program will be just yet.

Drexel president John Fry said that campus safety includes a combination of human expertise and technological capabilities, such as security cameras and emergency call boxes.

University police “are able to do so much more because of what the technology provides them,” Fry told reporters, adding that he looks forward to learning about safety strategies at other campuses.

Peter Novak, the vice provost for student life at the University of San Francisco, said the program “will be incredibly valuable to us as an institution and to the community.”

“Resilience planning combines the best of emergency planning with preventive education and crisis management” Novak said in a statement.

 

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