Articles

Higher Education Receives $9.7 Million for Emergency Management Plans

The U.S. Department of Education awarded grants to 26 colleges and universities to address the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

by / July 16, 2009

On July 9, the U.S. Department of Education awarded grants totaling more than $9.7 million in Emergency Management for Higher Education discretionary funds to 26 colleges and universities. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also contributed to the grants.

As specified in the grant application, each plan must address the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. According to the press release, funds may be used to update existing emergency management plans; conduct vulnerability assessments of campus facilities; provide training to campus staff and students; organize tabletop exercises or large-scale drills; collaborate with local first responders and community partners; and develop or enhance plans for preventing violence on campus by assessing and addressing the mental health needs of students who may be at risk of causing campus violence.

An example of how a university is going to put the funds to use is the University of Oregon, which was allotted $474,333 in the emergency management grants. According to Andre LeDuc, director of the University of Oregon Emergency Management (UOEM) program, the university will use its grant to build upon the emergency management program it started in fall 2007. He said the university already has a good start on the emergency management components, but will be able to enlist an integrated program that ties together response, mitigation, business continuity and preparedness.

The UOEM also will use the grant to enlist in Incident Command System training and work toward National Fire Protection Association Standard 1600, which is designed to cover a program's basic criteria that addresses disaster recovery, emergency management and business continuity.

"The campus has done bits and pieces of business continuity planning, but again we want to build a more uniform structure to business continuity and continuity of operations planning for the campus," he said.

LeDuc also said part of the grant requirements include addressing infectious disease and pandemic flu planning. He said the UOEM is already examining what worked and didn't work surrounding the campus's response to the H1N1 virus, while examining continuity of operations. "We think business continuity and pandemic flu planning go hand in hand," he said. "We use the pandemic as a means to work with our departments and get them thinking about essential personnel, critical functions and how they prioritize that with a limited work force and limited resources."

Emergency Management Grant Distribution

The 2009 grants were distributed as follows:

California
Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
(Stanford University)
Stanford, Calif.
$451,564

District of Columbia
The Catholic University of America
Washington, D.C.
$491,681

Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.
$549,302

Florida
Miami Dade College
Miami
$499,999

University of Central Florida
Orlando, Fla.
$176,245

Idaho
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho
$502,148

Illinois
Illinois Community College District #515
(Prairie State College)
Chicago Heights, Ill.
$267,090

Kansas
Johnson County Community College
Overland Park, Kan.
$249,094

Louisiana
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Lafayette, La.
$440,286

Massachusetts
Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Buzzards Bay, Mass.
$218,239

Michigan
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, Mich.
$490,517

Missouri
Missouri State University
Springfield, Mo.
$469,515

Montana
The University of Montana
Missoula, Mont.
$499,900

New Jersey
Seton Hall University
South Orange, N.J.
$536,009

New York
Niagara University
Niagara, N.Y.
$398,157

Research Foundation of CUNY c/o John Jay College
New York, N.Y.
$768,334

North Dakota
North Dakota State University
Fargo, N.D.
$412,352

Oregon
Southern Oregon University
Ashland, Ore.
$250,000

University of Oregon
Eugene, Ore.
$474,333

Teaching Research Institute
(Western Oregon University)
Monmouth, Ore.
$167,343

Pennsylvania
Community College of Allegheny County
Pittsburgh
$252,727

Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, R.I.
$260,668

Texas
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
$175,756

Virginia
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, Va.
$247,419

Washington
Peninsula College
Port Angeles, Wash.
$255,115

Wyoming
Laramie County Community College
Cheyenne, Wyo.
$229,593

Elaine Rundle Staff Writer