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Letters to the Editor

UNH Updates Emergency Response Management Procedures

Dear Colleagues,

September is National Preparedness Month, and I want to provide you with a series of updates on the issue of emergency response management at the University of New Hampshire.

The goal of National Preparedness Month is to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action, and given the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this increased awareness could not be more timely.

I recently approved the University’s Emergency Operations Plan which has been in development for more than a year. The plan facilitates decision making, communication, and coordination of response activities in the event of an emergency. It specifically addresses how we respond to various levels of emergencies and is comprehensive in its scope because, the more complex the emergency, the more offices and municipalities will be involved. The plan was developed under the able leadership of William Conk, Director of Housing, and I thank him for his excellent work. The responsibility for the implementation and regular updating of the plan has been assigned to Brad Manning, Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS).

To assist campus departments in emergency planning efforts, OEHS has developed a comprehensive Emergency Procedures Program (EPP). The purpose of the EPP is to provide information that will save lives during emergencies or disasters and hasten the resumption of normal UNH operations after these events. The document outlines procedures to be followed by the campus community for responding to and recovering from a variety of emergency and disaster situations. These events may include fires, hazardous material spills, medical emergencies, bomb threats, or major accidents. Evacuation drills for all campus buildings will be scheduled as a preparedness exercise. Individual University departments looking for assistance should contact OEHS at 862-4041.

Environmental Health and Safety has created an Emergency Preparedness website that the campus community can access for information and guidance. This site provides information on the steps UNH has already taken for disaster preparedness, what our community can do to prepare for emergencies, and how UNH will communicate disaster or emergency information to the community. It can be viewed at: I urge you all to go to the site so that in the event of an emergency - you are familiar with navigating around the site so that you can implement emergency recommendations for yourself and colleagues in your area. The site covers a broad range of examples from inclement weather to bomb threats.

Jennifer Murray, Vice President for Communications and Marketing, has finalized a crisis communication plan. This communication plan will be rolled out to first responders this month with the assistance of UNH Media Relations and OEHS.

As we have learned from the past year, the campus is not immune to emergency situations, whether they are fires, student life issues, snowstorms, or chemical spills in one of our science laboratories. We have competent and experienced first responders and other staff who are specifically trained to address these emergencies. It is our hope that with an emergency operations plan approved and in place, along with Web resources for our community, we will be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Stay safe.

Ann Weaver Hart, President



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