Juneau Community Preparedness Event
Remember preparedness is everyone’s responsibility.
University of Alaska-Southeast (UAS) partnered with Juneau Emergency Program Manager-Tom Mattice to conduct a preparedness workshop for 12-individuals representing eight agencies. As well, three Campus Incident Management Team (IMT) members attended the Incident Command System (ICS) 300 course for Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents. This course is intended for individuals who may assume a supervisory role in expanding incidents. The University of Alaska (UA) has enhanced its ability to prepare for, response to, and ultimately recover from any incident; by becoming one of only a few University systems in the nation to establish an All-Hazard Type 3 FEMA IMT. Having already proven their value in various parts of the country, All-Hazard Type 3 IMT’s are now catching on in other areas.
Over the last 18-months; (Rick Forkel, Director of UA/EM) UA has identified unique team members and ensured they attended FEMA IMT position specific courses. These trained personnel come with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to initiate and staff the Incident Command System for any crisis and/or disaster on campus. Address the unique and difference circumstances in managing an incident on campus (e.g. student issues, research, etc), and Interoperability both horizontally and vertically between internal (UA/MAU units, departments, and overarching policy group bodies) and external partners (city, county, state, and federal agencies). The IMT is composed of the following Command and General Staff positions: Incident Commander, Liaison Officer, Safety Officer, Public Information Officer, and Functional Section Chiefs (operations, planning, logistics, and finance and admin)
UA’s IMT philosophy doesn’t stop at the system level. Our goal is to identify and train Campus IMT’s on each of our campuses to solidity a framework of capability throughout our system. Since 2010 our functional-based incident management team has conducted numerous exercises with response partners in our Campus Communities, with continued field mentoring for our IMT’s with focused training and exercise events. UA’s approach to this gives the members of an IMT the opportunity to work as a team, and learn the knowledge and skills needed to perform effectively in a “learning” environment under stressful, dynamic conditions. Team decision-making is a critical aspect of IMTs. This skill MUST be developed by the team as a whole in an exercise environment so that it can be applied appropriately during an incident.
From the Virginia Tech shooting to the Aurora shooting, and all those in-between to all those yet to happen…capability and confidence within ones IMT will make the tangible difference in minimizing casualties and expediting the recovery process.
In addition to the Campus IMT training and a community ICS 300 course, local preparedness stakeholders met to discuss options for sheltering. The three main stakeholders Alaska National Guard, UAS, and Juneau Emergency Plans & Programs Manger facilitated the meeting.
Future preparedness activities are being planned to include ongoing testing of campus level alert messaging, IMT functional exercises, campus full-scale exercises on the Auke Bay campus and Sitka campus, and the ongoing search for an Emergency Manager for the three UAS campus. Remember preparedness is everyone’s responsibility.