EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation – January 12, 2005

Emergency Management for Universities
Unique Challenges and Opportunities


Steven J. Charvat, CEM
Emergency Management Director
University of Washington

Lori Wieber
EIIP Moderator

The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. A raw, unedited transcript is available from our archives. See our home page at http://www.emforum.org


[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: On behalf of Avagene Moore and myself, welcome to the EIIP Virtual Forum for first program of 2005! Happy New Year! to everyone.

Of course we are all saddened by the horrendous loss of life from the tsunami disaster in Asia, but are heartened by the international response. I will not editorialize further as I would be preaching to the choir, however, our next session on January 26th will be devoted to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction being held in Japan next week and these recent events will provide the context for that meeting and will be a major topic of discussion. Please plan to join us on the 26th if your schedule permits.

And now it is my pleasure to introduce Lori Wieber who will be serving as our Moderator today. Some of our old-timers may remember Lori as an editor of our newsletter in the past. Her background is in the private sector and she is joining us from Detroit, Michigan, where she is currently self-employed as a consultant. Lori is training today so that she can act as a backup Moderator in the future on those rare occasions when both Avagene and I are unavailable for technical or other reasons. Please be kind to her today! Take it away Lori.

Lori Wieber: Thanks Amy. Today's session is titled "Emergency Management for Universities: Unique Challenges and Opportunities," and features the experience at the University of Washington in Seattle. The university's Office of Emergency Management will host a symposium at the end of the month on Best Practices in Risk Reduction for Colleges and Universities, and the symposium logo on our home page is a link to more information.

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce today's speaker, Steven J. Charvat, Emergency Management Director for the University of Washington. Steve has extensive local emergency management experience, beginning with 10 years in Phoenix, AZ, moving on to a consulting firm in the Washington, D.C. area, and also served as Director of the Training, Exercises, Mitigation and Plans (TEMP) Division of the District of Columbia Emergency Management Agency in Washington, DC during the post-9/11 period.

Steve has many professional activities to his credit, including being one of the first Certified Emergency Managers (CEM), past-president of IAEM, and numerous other activities. Please see the more detailed bio on our session background page.

Welcome to the Forum Steve, and thank you for being with us today. I now turn the floor over to you.

[Presentation]

Steve Charvat: Thank you Lori and Amy. It is a pleasure to return back to the EIIP after a brief absence! Hello everyone from (non-rainy) Seattle!

As many of you know, over the past decade, colleges and universities across the globe have increased the development and delivery of courses, degrees, and certificates in emergency/ crisis/ disaster management. However, at the same time, there has also been a parallel movement for many institutions of higher education to "practice what they preach." Due to the substantial economic losses in the recent decade related to the impacts of natural and human-caused disasters, many U.S. colleges and universities recently begun to establish and support their own dedicated, full-time emergency management offices, departments or positions.

However, there are unique challenges in dealing with colleges and universities that make it difficult to apply local government emergency management models to academic institutions of higher learning. With their own diverse populations, critical infrastructure, and related hazards and specialized resources, many colleges and universities are considered a "city-within-a-city." And the layers of bureaucratic and historical challenges make it difficult to apply standard government EM practices in institutions of higher learning.

Although no independent survey has been done to quantify how many emergency management programs have been established, information is spreading via word of mouth through professional associations and listserves that a growing number of U.S colleges and universities have recently begun to establish and support their own emergency management offices, departments or positions. The events of September 11, 2001 reminded many of the importance of taking steps to reduce the risks to disasters.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, many higher education institutions reviewed their disaster plans and began to reconsider issues of safety and security... for their students, faculty, staff and visitors. As an example, the events that Pace University (in New York City) experienced on 9/11, as a direct result of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, tested its readiness to deal with such a disaster. Its main Manhattan campus was only two blocks away from Ground Zero. They also operated its World Trade Institute program from the 55th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Four Pace students and forty alumni lost their lives. Days after the attack, air quality, water contamination, and restoring communications become chief concerns along with resuming operational and academic functions to normal.

According to FEMA, human-caused and natural disasters represent a wide array of threats to the instructional, research, and public service missions of higher education institutions. In the last decade, disasters have affected university and college campuses with disturbing frequency, sometimes causing death and injury, but always imposing monetary losses and disruption of the institution's teaching, research, and public service. In June 2001, Tropical Storm Allison inundated the Houston area and its universities and colleges with 10 to 24 inches (25 - 61 cm) of rain. The University of Texas at Houston Medical Center had 22 feet (7m) of water in it causing the hospital to close for the first time in its history and seriously disrupting its research efforts. The total losses estimated to be $2 billion at TCM institutions.

Damage to buildings and infrastructure and interruption to the institutional mission can result in significant losses that can be measured by faculty and student departures, decreases in research funding, and increases in insurance premiums. The experiences of Pace University and University of Texas, along with the impact of the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake (6.8mag.) in Washington State at the University of Washington demonstrate that losses could have been substantially reduced or eliminated through comprehensive pre-disaster planning and mitigation actions.

Universities in particular are often considered a city-within-a-city with their own diverse populations, critical infrastructures and specialized resources. With billions of dollars collectively in annual private and public investment, these institutions deserve the attention of a comprehensive emergency management program similar to those provided in their neighboring communities, cities and counties. As a typical example, at the University of Washington, the daytime population between the hours of 9am to 5pm during the work week is approximately 65,000 in .4 square miles (.9 sq. km). The population increases six times a year to approximately 74,000 during Husky home football games. In addition the UW generated $2.7 billion in revenues, in which grants and contracts made up 32% or $843 million in fiscal year 2003. This concentration of people and money in such a small area as well as being geographically divided by a body of water, does not allow for the University to be caught unprepared for a future catastrophic event.

In 2003, as a result of 2001 as a year of tumultuous events here at the UW and around the world, which included the Nisqually Earthquake, domestic terrorist fire bombing of the UW Urban Horticulture Center, the 9/11 attacks and anthrax mail threats, the UW established its first Office of Emergency Management. Located at the Seattle Main Campus the office was established to coordinate campus emergency planning, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. Additionally, the Office of Emergency Management acts as the primary liaison between the University and other outside government (city, county, state) emergency management agencies, and centralizes all campus-wide emergency/disaster plans, training, and exercises. In other words, it conducts the same type of EM activities as every other city, town and county EM agency across the nation.

Some academic institutions in the last two fiscal years have directly benefited from federal grants. The following two grants were awarded to the University of Washington in recent years that assisted in strengthening the emergency management program: FEMA Disaster Resistant University (DRU) grants and Dept. of Homeland Security Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants.

In 2000, the University of Washington was selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) now under Department of Homeland Security to participate in the national Disaster Resistant University (DRU) pilot program. Along with the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Alaska/Fairbanks, the University of North Carolina/Wilmington, Tulane University and the University of Miami, the UW was designated as a leader in campus emergency preparedness nationwide. This program was expanded in 2004 as part of FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program to 28 universities nationwide, with grants from $30,000 to nearly $500,000 -- of which the UW received the highest funding allotment.

As a result of the DRU program, the UW has developed a number of new and innovative programs for the campus community designed to reduce or eliminate the impact of disasters on the students, faculty, staff and visitors. These included completing a risk assessment; updating a campus emergency operations plan; conducting hazard awareness education and emergency response training and outlined a business continuity planning process.

Robert Mueller, Former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned in his congressional testimony to the US Senate in February 2003 of multiple small scaled-attacks against soft targets which included among others schools and universities along with places of recreation and entertainment. Having been identified as a location with a number of high risk targets, the UW has been able to receive over $1 million in funding via the City of Seattle under another federal grant: the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant program.

While managing a university emergency management program is similar to that of a municipality, there exist a number of unique challenges in dealing with an academic institution of higher learning. The interpersonal and management skills, that one learns working for government or a large private organization come into full use when dealing with an academic institution. The following challenges include:

1. Selling the benefits of emergency management can be a challenge in the halls of hallowed learning - but one that is very much needed and appreciated. Academic buy-in to the concept of emergency management requires teamwork and consensus-building in an institution that basis many of its decisions via committee and workgroup structures.

2. Shifting the way of thinking during an emergency where decisions need to be made quickly is made difficult within the consensus-building culture of a college or university.

3. There exists a cultural disconnect between the academic and operational side of an institution for higher education in communicating the emergency management activities of the University.

4. There currently are no national standards for business continuity and resumption planning in higher education institutions, and finally

5. Training students to respond to disasters is a lost opportunity, because in 2-4 years they graduate and leave the institution.

Yet students, as well as other members of the campus community, are particularly vulnerable to injury from events, either directly from falling objects during an earthquake or as a result of performing a heroic action while attempting to save lives. This leads back to the main concept of how to focus scarce resources where they have the most impact.

It is important to point out to counterparts throughout the United States and the rest of the world to recognize the unique aspects involved in living and working near a college or university. Not only are they responsible for education, but for many, they provide valuable research and countless public services to their respective communities. Many local emergency managers recognize and support the efforts of their counterparts who work for their neighboring college or university. A fully prepared institution of higher learning can be a formidable asset to its surrounding community, for it can provide specialized expertise and skills to its surrounding community as well as resources and facilities (i.e., shelters or emergency medical services).

Yet as emergency management programs develop on the reach and teaching side, the future of emergency management at colleges and universities needs to be further defined. Below are recommendations that have emerged out of the first year the Office of Emergency Management at the UW has been in existence:

1. Adopt an All-Hazards Approach - Although federal funding currently available to institutions of higher education has been focused on terrorism, most institutions can take as an opportunity to plan for all hazards. An all-hazards approach provides the added benefit that can be prepared for potential disaster or emergency.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice - Developing an emergency management response plan and testing it to the EOC incident command structure provides great opportunities to find and modify the weakness in the response structure, and it provides an opportunity to train with other units within the campus structure.

3. Improve Campus and Community Partnerships - It is important to involve other campus stakeholders in the process. This includes obtaining support from other administrators, faculty, staff and students. Creating a small advisory group made up of a few campus experts who are willing to actively participate and have a sense of ownership in the emergency management program. Also involving and informing the surrounding community, municipality and county in the campus emergency management activities provides added opportunities such as utilizing their resources and networks.

4. Understand Potential Losses and Manage the Risks - UW OEM intent is to work with other units on the campus to prevent loss of life and injury from structural, nonstructural or utility failures from a natural and human-caused disaster, and to assist units in sustaining operations after an event. However, to be able to begin accomplishing these goals, the decision needs to be made on how to measure those risks. This leads back to the matter of communication (what people and decision-makers understand), and a matter of comprehensiveness (what adequately conveys the extent of risks).

5. Encourage Business Continuity Planning - In order to resume instruction, research and public service activities within a certain time period after a disaster, it is imperative for all academic and operational units to undertake business continuity planning. This includes planning for alternate or backup computer information systems and vital records management, back-up power and water supplies and developing a structure to rapidly restore infrastructure.

6. "Need for Champions" - There must be broader commitment from executive management personnel to support the programs, policies and budgets, to implement many of the risk reduction strategies and to advance structural and nonstructural mitigation projects institutionally.

In conclusion, I hope that everyone assembled today online believes, as I do, in the importance of implementing sound emergency management programs on college/university campuses.

To further that goal, the UW is hosting a two-day symposium later this month (January 27-28, 2005) that will bring together, for the first time, over 150 college emergency management professionals from throughout the Americas. The purpose of this "SOLD OUT" symposium is to share best practices with each other. All of the 24 presentations, by practicing emergency managers like you and me, will be posted on the Symposium Website by the end of February for anyone to view. The Website for the symposium is:

http://www.washington.edu/admin/business/oem/symposium/index.html

Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you all today. I look forward to your questions and comments! I will turn the session back over to our Moderator.

Lori Wieber: Thank you very much Steve.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Question:
Sylvana Ricciarini: Dear Colleagues: I would like to make a comment: We want to take this opportunity to let you know about our Disaster Reduction of University Campuses in the Americas (DRUCA). This program aims to facilitate technical assistance and knowledge transfer in the management of natural disaster vulnerability reduction among institutions of higher education in the Western Hemisphere through the sharing of experiences to date, as well as the establishment of an advisory network among colleges and universities in collaboration with EDUPLANhemisférico.

Guidance material is under preparation for this purpose. If you are interested please contact us at: Stephen Bender: [email protected] or Sylvana Ricciarini: [email protected] DRUCA program will be attending the Symposium 2005: Best Practices in Risk Reduction for Colleges and Universities, at Seattle and we hope to see you and share with you there. Thank you.

Steve Charvat: We look forward to working with you Sylvana!

Question:
William Regensburger: Steve, good overview. Can you say just a little bit about your CERT program?

Steve Charvat: The CERT program is a FEMA-developed 8-week program primarily for community roll out. The UW took that city/community-based model and established a pilot program here on our campus. It took some major re-tooling to make it work in an employer-based setting, but we made it work. Details on the "lessons learned" for starting a CERT program on a college campus can be found on our UW OEM Website at:

http://www.washington.edu/admin/business/oem/cert/

Comment:
Jenny Holt: I would like to suggest that the group check out Ready Campus (www.readycampus.org), a new initiative to create emergency management partnerships among campuses and their neighboring communities. It is designed to strengthen emergency preparedness and response through the use of campus facilities, etc. If anyone has any questions, please contact me at [email protected]

Question:
Burt Wallrich: Like any medium-size city, large universities have many low-wage, semi-invisible workers on staff (aside from TAs) doing maintenance, food service, etc. I would expect this group to mirror the low-wage population of the surrounding community. Does the UW plan explicitly deal with pre-disaster warnings and post-disaster recovery services for those populations and restoring their jobs?

Steve Charvat: Good question. Our plans and procedures do not address that specific concept Burt. We make a number of assumptions -- one being that all faculty, staff, students, visitors, etc. will be provided the same level of service pre- and post-disaster services.

Question:
Sylvana Ricciarini: You mentioned that there are no standards yet, for business continuity. If one of the challenges for EM is that universities "cities in cities" have their own bureaucracy and management, would it be useful having "standards of business continuity", rather than, business continuity guidelines for different types of universities?

Steve Charvat: Good question. I heard that there actually is talk in the EMAP (Emergency Management Assessment Program) to develop standards for colleges/universities but have not gotten any real details back yet from them.

Of course, many offices and functions within a university setting have their own professional or legal standards that they must meet (banking, etc.).

Question:

John McNall: How do individual colleges/universities apply for UASI, DRU & PDM grant funding?

Steve Charvat: Well, there is no "one-stop shop" for grants for colleges and universities. Only colleges that are in the 30 designated UASI cities may potentially apply for UASI grants if they have a good working relationship with their neighboring city. As for the DRU grant, unfortunately, FEMA has eliminated the DRU grant as a separate grant as of FY 05 and lumped it with their Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant (PDM) program. The total funding for PDM 05 is $255 million.

Question:

Robb Rehberg: Steve, are there any direct access grants that are available specifically to colleges and universities? As a state university in New Jersey, we are often pushed off between state and county offices of emergency management, and as I understand it we can only apply for the DRU grants as a sub-grantee through our state OEM.

Steve Charvat: Yes Robb, PDM grants require that all colleges/universities officially apply through their state office of EM as a "subgrantee". There currently are NO federal grants that I am aware of where a public or private university can apply directly to the Feds for $$. As a word of warning - the PDM grants are a challenge and require a lot of paperwork and require a 25% cost match. The FY 05 grants are currently open. Contact your State mitigation officer to find out how to apply. The deadline for all projects is the end of February 2005!

Question:
Jim Hoover: What type of "hands on" training components are in your program and how are they implemented/conducted?

Steve Charvat: Most our "hands on" training is provided though outside resources. With only an office of 2.5 FTEs, we rely on the training resources of our State Emergency Management, City of Seattle and King County partners. We do, however, conduct campus wide drills at a minimum twice a year, usually in conjunction with Statewide Earthquake Month in April.

We also have been selected at the UW as the FIRST university ever to be going to FEMA's Integrated Emergency Management Course in Emmitsburg, MD this August. We are sending a team of over 70 UW, city, county, and private partners to this exercise/training session. We are excited about being the first university to ever be invited to participate!

Question:
Stacia Momburg: An issue often overlooked in an Emergency is reputation management. Does the UW plan include an Emergency Media Communications Plan/Response to effectively address media outlets descending on, and calling UW in the event of a major emergency?

Steve Charvat: Of course Stacia. We recognize, as do our local and state and private partners, that the media can be either a friend or foe during/after a disaster. Our Office of News and Information is key to assisting us in this effort -- from having trained PIO staff, to setting up an off-site JIC, they are involved in all the pre-, during- and post-disaster event planning. We would be lost without them. They are a key component of our EOC's ICS structure and are tied to my hip during every event!

Question:
Gerald Isaacson: Steve, getting down to specifics, one area that appears to be difficult to implement is an effective means of emergency communications to the campus population. How is this done on your campus?

Steve Charvat: Good question. As we all know, the #1 problem with any disaster response (or for that matter, pre-event planning) is effective communications with your customers/citizens or for us, our campus populations. We have developed a number of redundant systems to address these. Are they perfect? NO. Can we make improvements? YES!

Some specifics:

1. our Website and its continual updating with information to keep it from getting stale

2. hosting a campus-wide annual emergency preparedness / safety fair

3. presentations, speeches, brochures

4. getting to get the professors, deans, TA's and instructors to teach 5-minutes of Emergency Prep before each semester/quarter begins

5. we have a toll-free and local info line for activation during a disaster (206) 547-INFO

And finally, as an example, our office, working with our PIO folks, has the ability to instantly update the main UW homepage with emergency information because, as I have been told, "if it ain't on the Web, it ain't on the radar screens of today's college students."

Question:
Clarice Hall: Getting back to your Symposium, is there any way to get into this "sold out" event?

Steve Charvat: Good question Clarice, unfortunately, our Symposium for College and University Emergency Management programs is now SOLD OUT. But, we hope to have all the presentations posted on our Website by the end of February!

https://www.washington.edu/admin/business/oem/symposium/index.html

Question:
Bill Nicholson: Regarding continuity standards for universities, even though they don't exist, pressures and the structure for creating them is in place. Note that the 9-11 Commission proposed NFPA 1600 be recognized as ‘the national preparedness standard’ for government and business. The Commission further suggested that NFPA 1600 should become the legal standard of care toward the public and employees. The Commission recommends that financial institutions and insurers consider NFPA 1600 compliance when evaluating credit worthiness and insurability.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, Public Law 108-458, endorses NFPA 1600 as a 'voluntary'' national preparedness standard, stating as the sense of the Congress that the Secretary of Homeland Security should promote voluntary adoption of standards such as NFPA 1600. The adoption of NFPA 1600 by insurance and financial institutions (as well as using it as the EMAP standard) may result in irresistible pressure to comply with the "voluntary" standard.

1. What do you think the role of this law, NFPA 1600, and the DHS NIMS Integration Center will be for universities in creating a national standard?

2. Do you think one be imposed on them if they don't regulate themselves as appears to be the case (pursuant to HSPD 5) for some types of emergency responders through the NIMS Center?

Steve Charvat: Great topic Bill. As a long-time voting member of the NFPA 1600 Standards Committee, I am well aware of the recent national importance of this voluntary document. To answer your questions:

1. Since NFPA is a voluntary standard, unless the US Congress or local state legislatures mandate its use, or DHS ties its compliance to grants, it likely will remain voluntary (the ole carrot and the stick philosophy).

2. It will be difficult to mandate any standard on all colleges and universities at this point due to the fact that there is such a mix of institutions small, large, public, private, etc. But, of course, that all can change overnight, but knowing how colleges and universities work and try to avoid regulation, it likely will be a long process. That's just my opinion.

Question:
Chuck Cooper: What has UW done to prep faculty for recovering from a "significant" event that closes the university for several weeks or more and reduces the operational infrastructure, i.e., how would you bring your department back to life?

Steve Charvat: Let’s see how I can reply - since this office at the UW is less than 2 years old, that issue is more of a "back burner" issue as we now are doing mostly grants management for WMD!!! But the issue of cracking into the faculty'/researcher ranks is posing to be the most difficult for me and my staff. Getting on their "radar screens" is challenging, but what I have found is that you must attack that issue from multiple fronts, for example, via the students asking their professors questions on disaster response, providing resources to the faculty in a passive manner via the Web (https://www.washington.edu/admin/business/oem/prepare/), and finding a few "champions" who can get your topics/presentations on the various faculty committee meeting agendas.

Universities are filled with many small kingdoms and issues such as tenure work against forcing any professional faculty member to give you his/her time to learn about disasters. Just take it one step at a time. Remember, you can’t move a mountain overnight. Eat that elephant one bite at a time. (How is that for mixed metaphors!)

Question:
Monica Farris: Does UW assist students in evacuating to another location off campus if necessary? If so, what type of assistance is provided?

Steve Charvat: Good question Monica. We are in the process of developing a campus evacuation plan right now. Currently, our plans make the ASSUMPTION that if/when we have to evacuate, that everyone (up to 70,000) people, will simply and rationally leave. We know that will not be the case but what we have found in our initial studies is that no campus in the US has a good evacuation plan. Of course, we still have not even discussed what to do with all our "special populations" such as visitors, handicapped, non-English speakers, patients at our 2 hospitals, children in child care, and 300,000 animals (used in experiments).

Comment:

Quentin Frazier: A comment regarding Public College and University participation in UASI: the FY05 Grant Program, of which UASI is a part, places the requirement for inclusion by all stakeholders within the UASI area squarely on State offices of OEM/OES. In CA, 10 of the CA State Universities are within UASI areas, with 5 institutions in L.A. County alone. It takes "face-time" between the university EM and the city and county EM's, as well as persistence to be allowed to participate.

My university is within a UASI and we have sold our need for involvement based on INFRAGARD's inclusion of colleges and universities as being one of the key identified critical infrastructures. As well, we have used the results of our recently completed economic impact report [direct and indirect for our one campus] to the local area of more than $800 million dollars, and the fact that we are the largest employer in the area as additional leverage for inclusion. With the statewide economic impact of all CA state universities at more than $18 billion, sometimes we need to think outside the box to be allowed inside to participate.

Steve Charvat: Good point Quentin. Being located in a USAI city/region does not GUARANTEE funds. This is where the interpersonal relationships come to play.

Quentin Frazier: It guarantees a chance to participate if you are willing to fight hard for it.

Steve Charvat: Emergency Management Tip #104 states that an effective emergency manager MUST build good bridges between his/her office and partners. Yup, nothing comes easy. I call it the "schmooze factor". They don’t teach that in college courses!

Question:

Isabel McCurdy: Steve, is there a system in place to keep track of students - who is on and off campus?

Steve Charvat: Isabel, we are currently funding a project to do just that with our Office of Student Affairs via an internal $30K grant. With over 40,000 students here but only 8,000 actually living in campus dorms (Residence Halls) it is hard to keep track of who is where at what time, but with this project about to start, we hope to get a better feel for who is where and when.

Question:

Nancy Spink: How did you tailor your CERT material to the UW? Did you edit it? Are all the CERT team members CERT-certified? It's a long course, and I’m thinking of editing the material and just not worrying about getting people CERT-ified. Focus on skills rather than the printed materials. Any pitfalls to that approach? I did the CERT train the trainer course already so can teach content myself, and utilize local first responders to teach skills. Does it affect funding if our CERT teams are not "official"? Do I have to take the full 24 hours to teach content?

Steve Charvat: Good question Nancy. I addressed this a bit earlier, but YES, we had to do some major modifications to our program and YES, all of our students were CERT-certified! Go to our CERT Website for our final "lessons learned" to see how you can avoid the same mistakes/pitfalls that we did as we modified the FEMA community-based CERT program to a college campus setting:

https://www.washington.edu/admin/business/oem/cert/

Question:

Jim Hoover: To what extent is your program applicable to developing EM curricular programs e.g., at UW or elsewhere, and to what extent do you interface with the academic EM/HS folks at UW?

Steve Charvat: My office does have some interface with the program here on campus that actually TEACHES emergency management. It is a Master's level degree program in Critical infrastructure protection. We also work hand-in-hand with our health science and emergency medical folks on a regular basis in the program roll out and they are member of our various advisory committees:

https://www.washington.edu/admin/business/oem/prepare/empc.html

But as I mentioned, the focus of my small 2.5 FTE office is to actually run an emergency management program -- not teach students to get a degree in EM. Members of the EM community are often confused as to our role.

Question:

Gerald Isaacson: How effective have you been in bringing the academic and research communities along? Are they represented on your EOC? Any suggestions on getting them involved?

Steve Charvat: Good question Gerald. Once again, as noted earlier, involving the academic side of the house if the most challenging part of the job. Currently, we only involve them in a Liaison role in the EOC via the President's Emergency Cabinet (our Policy Group), which is comprised of a number of deans during/after a disaster, but we still are trying to answer that question. If someone has a simple solution, I would gladly hire you on the spot!

Question:

Sylvana Ricciarini: What type of mitigation to natural hazards measures have been implemented at UW?

Steve Charvat: Lots. Where to begin? Mostly physical infrastructure -- seismic retrofitting of most of our older buildings. This began well prior to our 2001 Nisqually earthquake. Most of our projects were non-FEMA funded via State and local UW funds (well into the tens of millions of dollars). As most of you know, there is no secret huge pot of money for mitigation construction available. Mitigation is a long, deliberate process that must first begin with your campus completing a Hazard ID study, followed up by a Hazard Mitigation Plan. It is not as sexy as response and recovery, but is a very necessary step to place your priorities in order to slowly chip away at recurring hazards

Question:

Bill Nicholson: Have you worked with university legal counsel to examine the huge potential liabilities for not having a good EM program in place? For risk-averse institutions, bottom line issues like potential money damages for failing to plan adequately for evacuation of special needs populations may move administrations when more idealistic reasons fall short.

Steve Charvat: Wow, what a question for last! You know what happens when you ask for a legal opinion in -house Bill!!?? In some institutions, there is the "head in the sand" mentality – "don't bring it up so we do not have to address it." In others, the Legal counsel is much more proactive, usually working in tandem with Risk Management.

[Closing]

Lori Wieber: Steve, would you please provide the audience with your contact information?

Steve Charvat:

Steve Charvat, CEM
Emergency Management Director
University of Washington
22 Gerberding Hall
Box 351275
Seattle, WA 98195-1275
USA Phone: 206.897.8080
FAX: 208.897.8001
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.washington.edu/admin/business/oem/

I am happy to reply to calls/emails from anyone in the audience.

Lori Wieber: That's all we have time for today. Thank you very much Steve for joining us today, and we wish you much success with your symposium and future efforts. As a reminder, the transcript will be posted late this afternoon and you will be able to access it from our home page or the background page.

Thanks to everyone for participating today. We stand adjourned but before you go, please help me show our appreciation to Steve for a fine job.