Emergency preparedness works to improve disaster preparedness

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The emergency management office  is responsible for many aspects of campus safety and emergency readiness, such as providing education, equipment and resources for the UVU population.

Robin Ebmeyer, director of emergency management and safety, is responsible for everything from ensuring that automatic external defibrillators are available throughout campus to developing and rehearsing complex responses to large-scale emergency events.

Those rehearsals are conducted regularly to prepare for specific events and to help find weaknesses in plans and procedures.

“I like to push things until they break,” said Ebmeyer. “I want to know where the breaking spots are, and I want to find that out in an exercise. I would rather find out in an exercise than during the real thing.”

A bomb threat rehearsal was conducted between the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. Ebmeyer also spoke of a rehearsal to be conducted next September during which the Red Cross will set up a shelter on campus. This is an example of the work Ebmeyer and emergency management personnel do. Ebmeyer regularly attends events with law enforcement and emergency response agencies outside the university to improve interagency communication and their responses to incidents.

The emergency management office is also responsible for designating building marshals and floor captains to aid in emergency response and evacuation for each building on campus.

Ebmeyer recommends participating in trainings including CPR, automatic external defibrillators, active shooter situations and other safe campus education for individuals who may not have a predetermined role in emergencies.

Ebmeyer emphasized that she is willing to provide training to any group or individual, and she can tailor training to the needs of those requesting it. She recommends preparing and storing emergency kits in vehicles, homes and at work. These should include water, food, clothing and medications.

The opt-in text alert system and the UVU app are also tools that help students, faculty and staff to stay aware of potential issues or threats on campus.

Ebmeyer and the administration are also working to replace the opt-in text alert with an alert that will require individuals to opt out. The new text alert system will improve capacity and speed, allowing up to 50,000 messages to be sent in two minutes. The current text system can take up to a couple of hours to notify those who have opted in.