Emergency Management

The Office of Emergency Management for the Univerity of Mary Washington is housed within the Public Safety and Community Services Unit. The division is responsible for providing the framework for development, coordination, control, and direction for all university emergency management planning, preparedness, readiness assurance, response, and recovery actions

What’s an Emergency?

An emergency is any unplanned event that can cause deaths or significant injuries; or that can shut down the university, disrupt operations, cause physical or environmental damage, or threaten the reputation of the university. There are many but these generally include:

1.  Fire
2.  Hazardous materials incident
3.  Flood or flash flood
4.  Hurricane
5.  Tornado
6.  Winter storm
7.  Earthquake
8.  Communications failure
9.  Radiological accident
10. Civil disturbance
11. Loss of auxiliary services
12. Explosion
13. Biological agent release (bioterrorism)

A disater is a large-scale emergency — even a small emergency left unmanaged may turn into a disaster. 

Emergency Management Steps

Any emergency management initiative must start with an inventory of risks and an assessment of the exposure form these risks. Infrastructure issues will likely be seen as the ones that present the most risk.  The key steps in emergency management are:

  • Mitigation

  • Preparedness

  • Response

  • Recovery

Mitigation is defined as “sustained action that reduces or eliminates long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects.”  Mitigation is the ongoing effort to lessen the impact disasters may have on people and property.  Mitigation involves such activities as avoiding construction in high-risk areas such as floodplains, engineering buildings to withstand wind and earthquakes, and more.

Preparedness is simply preparing for an emergency before it occurs.  Obviously, it is important to not just plan, but to prepare as well.  The key to effective emergency management is being ready to provide a rapid emergency response.  Being ready includes training and exercises as well as logistics. Everyone needs to be prepared.

Response includes the action of responding to an emergency.  Trained and equipped personnel will be required to deal with any emergency situation.

Recovery is the process of returning to normal.  Salvage, resumption of business processes, and repair are typical recovery tasks

The University of Mary Washington recoginizes that all of these steps are necessary to provide a safe and productive environment for all Faculty, Staff and Students.

The University is fully NIMS/ICS compliant and has an onsite Emergency Operation Center that can be activated 24/7. The University Emergency Operations Team train frequently on all hazards related to Campus Life as well as local disasters that could effect the University. UMW is also fully intergrated with local Emergency Responders from jurisdictions supported departments.