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Emergency Preparedness Committee Created

Published: September 2, 2014

Preparing the CSULB campus for an emergency is Jon Rosene’s main job.

To help with that mission, a new emergency management advisory committee has been created. That committee, which currently includes 33 individuals from across campus, will meet on a quarterly basis and oversee the creation and implementation of a strategic five-year emergency preparedness plan.

“We have a three-year set of goals for emergency preparedness for the campus that were set in 2013,” said Rosene, the Emergency Management and Preparedness Coordinator at CSULB. “One of those goals was to create this emergency management advisory committee that would create a five-year strategic plan for the university, specifically for emergency preparedness. We’ve gone through many phases of seeing how the committee is going to be represented in an effort to make sure every area of campus is covered.”

As for any head of an organization, safety should be a top priority, and for CSULB President Jane Close Conoley, it’s no different.

“Our very first priority is the safety of our students, staff and faculty,” said Conoley. “The campus has a comprehensive plan to deal with natural and person-made disasters and threats. Our police, student services, academic leadership and health professionals are closely aligned to coordinate services. Our primary focus is, of course, prevention. We practice regularly to be sure we are ready to react to any threat and review the safety of our built environment regularly.”

Under University Police, the committee will serve as an overall university function in an effort to get more people involved and keep them informed.

“This committee is a crucial part of our emergency preparedness planning for this campus,” said CSULB Police Chief Fernando Solorzano, who serves as committee chair. “This cannot be a one department effort. The more individuals from across campus we get involved, the better it will be for everyone if and when we ever have an incident of some kind.”

Rosene will be spearheading much of the effort, collaborating with different individuals and having side meetings to get everyone up to speed. Every building on campus has a unique set of circumstances, whether it contains chemicals, is a child center, has 10 floors, is an office or contains classrooms, so coordination among all parties is key.

“Everyone knows what their piece of the puzzle is, but they may not see the whole picture,” said Rosene. “The idea of this committee is to create a baseline for saying, ‘This is where we are and this is where we’d like to go.’ It’s an effort to get everyone on the same page, so to speak. It is a large venture to do this, but I think it’s the right step.”

He also noted the incredible wealth of faculty members who are experts in their field, a group he wants the committee to tap into.

“They have done incredible research in their fields, so why wouldn’t we want to take advantage of those researchers, those faculty and the experience they have to assist us in our operations?” he said. “In order for us to get better we really have to bridge the academic side so one of the goals of this committee is to utilize the experts we have here at the university.”

According to Rosene, a lot of areas of emergency management requirements are already defined by local, state and federal governments in regards to how institutions become prepared.

“In order to fulfill those various requirements, we need all the stakeholders involved,” he said. “For us, it ranges from our facilities management people to housing, to Information Technology Services, our police department, our student health center, the counseling and psychological services and human resources, budgeting and finance and public affairs. We want faculty and student representation and there are others whose voices need to be heard so they need to be part of the planning.”

One of the first goals is to complete a threat and hazard identification and risk assessment which will be done by identifying the threats and hazards which have historically been experienced and have the most likelihood of occurring at CSULB and surrounding areas. Once that venture is complete, then strategic plans, including the planning and training aspects, will be developed.

“We have to trust the people with their training and experience and the tools they have in an emergency or disaster,” said Rosene. “I strongly believe that the leaders in management and those who are responsible for responding to disasters on campus are fully prepared today, but I think this committee is going to allow us to have a more efficient effort, particularly in the recovery process.

“We need the policy support for something like this to get done and we have it,” he added. “The university is fortunate to have an administration that is for emergency preparedness and pushing this forward.”