USM Board of Regents Adopts New Campus Emergency Preparedness Policy
ADELPHI, Md. (September
5, 2008) - The
University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents voted unanimously today to
adopt a new policy on campus emergency planning, preparedness, and response.
The policy applies to the system's 11 universities and two research centers. In
light of this new policy, all USM institutions will be required to submit their
emergency preparedness plans to USM Office by January 12, 2009, for review and approval.
"Events such as the tragic
shootings at Virginia Tech and Hurricane Katrina's devastating effects on
colleges in New
brought the need for comprehensive campus emergency preparedness and response
into a sharp focus," said Board Chair Clifford Kendall. "The regents
established a campus safety and security workgroup last December to review
current practices and recommend ways for improving emergency planning and
accountability overall. This policy is the result of that effort."
from all USM campuses as well as the Board of Regents and the system's
information technology and telecommunication office staffed the workgroup.
Three working subgroups focused on different aspects of campus emergency
preparedness: risk assessment and planning, emergency preparedness and
prevention, and response and recovery. In preparation of its report and the new
board policy, the workgroup and subgroups heard presentations on current
practices, experiences, and challenges in the area of campus emergency
planning, prevention, and preparedness. It also consulted the expertise of the
Maryland Emergency Management Agency and outside experts in campus and homeland
"The workgroup began its
deliberations in January and put many hours into understanding the complexity
and challenges of campus emergency planning," said Regent Marvin Mandel, who
chaired the workgroup. "I was truly impressed with the expertise and experience
among the staff at our institutions.
Their contributions were invaluable to development of this new policy."
The new board policy
(VI-13.0) outlines basic areas that all USM institutional emergency
preparedness plans must address, including:
- Organization and coordination on campus and with
off-campus emergency responders;
- Annual institutional risk assessments that review
a comprehensive range of threats, including natural disasters, hazardous
materials, terrorism, violent crime, and pandemic diseases;
- Emergency preparedness and prevention testing,
training, and comprehensive communications plans;
- Response and recovery, including redundant and
varied systems or warnings and communications, and establishing emergency
- Creation of permanent multi-disciplinary
behavioral assessment teams to review reports and take appropriate action
on potentially distressed or disturbed members of campus communities,
including students, staff, and faculty.
In addition, the policy
specifically recommends that USM institutions adopt a variety of best practices
for emergency preparedness and response, including:
- Developing plans for continuity of operations and
the continuation of IT services, communications, and essential business
functions in the case of incidents with long-term impacts;
- Utilization of a full-range of testing, such as
tabletop exercises, drills, and full-scale simulation exercises, to ensure
the effectiveness of plans and response mechanisms.
"All of our campuses have
emergency response plans in place, but we thought it best to codify and
standardize what all USM institutions must do to ensure the fullest measure of
planning and preparedness," said USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan. "Emergency
response plans are constantly evolving and recent events across the nation
speak to the value of ongoing training, review, coordination, and testing to
ensure plans are effective tools for campus crises."
Click here to
access the new campus emergency planning, preparedness, and response policy.
Contact: John Buettner