University of Maryland Eastern Shore conducts test of emergency response with a full-scale exercise
Third in the “America’s Safe Campuses” series is University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Founded in 1886, the school is located near the Chesapeake and Atlantic beaches on 776 acres in Princess Anne, Maryland. They have approximately 4,500 students with 2,500 living in resident housing, and 32 major buildings, plus 41 other units. UMES has 16 officers in their police agency.
Improving Communication with Interagency First Responders
“This video depicts an example of a carefully planned Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) Exercise conducted on a college campus,” explains Kenneth A. Collins, Interim Chief of Police at University of Maryland Eastern Shore. “It was a classic exercise utilizing the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) protocol as mandated by Maryland State Government and Federal Government as well.”
The possibility for an emergency to occur on campus is real, whether it’s man made, a natural disaster, or a simple accident that turns into something much larger. Schools can prepare for emergencies with meetings and reviews of plans, and by running drills, table top exercises, and full scale exercises. School officials use these events to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their plans, protocols, and response.
Updated in 2008 with enforcement stepped up in recent years, the Clery Act requires federally funded institutions of higher education to conduct at least one test a year and it can be announced to the public ahead of time or go unannounced. They define a test as regularly scheduled drills, exercises, AND appropriate follow-through activities, designed for assessment and evaluation of emergency plans and capabilities. To comply with the Clery requirement, the test must meet all of the criteria in the definition. It must:
- Be scheduled. You cannot say that an actual emergency situation or a false emergency alarm served as a test of your institution’s procedures.
- Contain drills. A drill is an activity that tests a single procedural operation (e.g., a test of initiating an emergency alert system or a test of campus security personnel conducting a campus lockdown).
- Contain exercises. An exercise is a test involving coordination of efforts (e.g., a test of the coordination of first responders, including police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians).
- Contain follow-through activities. A follow-through activity is an activity designed to review the test (e.g., a survey or interview to obtain feedback from participants).
- Be designed for assessment of emergency plans and capabilities. This means that your test should have measureable goals. For example, “Everyone involved in the emergency response and notification procedures will understand his or her role and responsibility.”
- Be designed for evaluation of emergency plans and capabilities. Design the test so that, using the assessments, you can judge whether or not the test met its goals. For example, “The evacuation process accounted for/did not account for the diverse needs of all members of the campus community.”
Discover why UMES chose to run a full-scale exercise and the lessons learned by watching the 8-minute video today. If you like it, feel free to share it. Here’s the official news announcement with quotes from UMES and others.
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VIDEO CASE STUDY
Princess Anne, MD
4,500 students and 1,100 faculty and staff.
Raise the level of emergency response, especially coordination with outside agencies, and comply with the Clery Act.
UMES was successful in engaging area first responders into the school’s emergency response plans and capabilities. Afterward, they completed a situational report or post-event debrief to review strengths and areas for improvement. Additionally, they will comply with new Clery Regulations.