No amount of training will keep a tornado from dropping out of the clouds or a fire from starting, but university administrators hope a series of sessions to be held across campus this spring will help PSU respond effectively in the event of a disaster or serious incident.
Mike McCracken, director of University Police, began the sessions with President Steve Scott and the administrative team on Wednesday. McCracken presented an overview of the incident command system (ICS) and the roles senior officials in an organization play in a response to a disaster or critical incident.
Wednesday's training and the sessions to follow later this spring are components of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), a national framework that is designed to coordinate preparedness and response to critical incidents among all levels of federal, state and local entities.
"Safety is an important part of the culture on this campus," Scott said, noting that the university has "made a great deal of progress" in emergency preparedness in recent years.
Some of those advances include the rewriting of the university's crisis response/critical incident operations plan, the institution of an emergency text messaging option for the campus, installation of outdoor emergency loudspeakers, an engineering survey to identify the safest areas to shelter in case of storms, and the installation of an emergency group dial phone system.
Scott said training and regular practice are needed if the university hopes to be able to respond quickly and properly when an emergency occurs.
"The challenge is to keep people's attention focused on being prepared, even when the skies are clear and everything is calm," Scott said.
To view the university's crisis response plan and related documents: