University of Calgary

University tests its emergency preparedness

UToday HomeMay 17, 2013

Members of the university’s Emergency Operations Group take part in a staged exercise on campus. Photo by Patrick HarderMembers of the university’s Emergency Operations Group take part in a staged exercise on campus. Photo by Patrick HarderLike most major institutions, the University of Calgary has a Master Emergency Response Plan that guides activities during an emergency. In the event an emergency occurs, the university’s Emergency Operations Group and Crisis Management Team are called to respond, depending on the nature of the emergency.

Last week, the Emergency Operations Group and Crisis Management Team were called into action during a staged exercise designed to test and evaluate the system. Although both groups regularly train to respond to a variety of emergencies, Friday’s exercise was an opportunity for both groups to engage in training simultaneously.

Emergency Operations Group members met in the university’s Emergency Operations Centre, a functional space outfitted with special phone lines, TVs and a host of other equipment that might be required during an emergency, such as maps, computers and printers. The Crisis Management Team gathered in a separate location, similar to what would occur in a real emergency.

The exercise was a valuable learning experience aimed at improving the efficiency of the university’s emergency response. Experienced external consultants were on hand to observe and record key observations and will share their feedback with the groups at the end of May to help improve future emergency response activities.

“A safe and healthy campus community is one of our top priorities,” says Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic) and chair of the Crisis Management Team. “The combined exercise was a great opportunity to improve the way our functional teams work together, which is an important step towards a more seamless emergency response.”

“It’s important that our emergency management teams meet regularly to ensure good processes are in place to respond to a variety of emergency situations,” says Steven Gasser, associate vice-president (facilities management) and director of the Emergency Operations Group. “More than 40 dedicated individuals comprise our teams, and they are committed to continuous improvement.”

Learn more about the university’s emergency management.

The University of Calgary has an emergency text messaging system designed to ensure the ongoing safety of students, faculty and staff. Sign up and ensure you’re notified in the case of an emergency.


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