Magazine article University Business

Weapons of Mass Disruption: Is Your Institution Prepared to Handle Emergencies?

Magazine article University Business

Weapons of Mass Disruption: Is Your Institution Prepared to Handle Emergencies?

Article excerpt

You arrive at work armed with a strong commitment, good equipment and the right information--ready to provide a safe atmosphere for your school community. Then it happens! You find yourself the victim of a weapon of mass disruption.

Everyone on the site is affected as buildings are evacuated, people are relocated and the atmosphere is changed from calmness to a sense of confusion and alarm. As you quickly arrange theft protection for personal items and sensitive equipment, you wonder if the authorities will complete their search of the premises in time to avoid cancellation of classes. You may need to compose and distribute information to dispel rumors and possibly respond to the media about this event.

There is, of course, a difference between destruction and disruption. White weapons of mass destruction are rarely used against schools, weapons of mass disruption are used against us often. White not all disruption is catastrophic, without an effective strategic plan the effects of these weapons can result in even greater disruption and expense. How we respond to this type of attack is the focus of this article.

DO IT FAST AND DO IT RIGHT

The goal in dealing with weapons of mass disruption is to insure that staff and students are out of harm's way within the first five minutes. Whether the threat is real or designed only to disrupt, now is the time for rapid decisions. What you do while waiting for the local authorities to arrive is critical; and if the threat is not limited to just your campus, it may be some time before they are able to get to you. Having a Critical Incident Management Plan in place is essential.

WHO IMPLEMENTS THE PLAN

Everyone talks about the need for "the Plan." Whether your plan is a new concept, is currently being developed, or is already in place, an essential element is the Critical Incident Management (CIM) team. Having an organized CIM team will help improve your chances of responding appropriately and efficiently. The CIM team should include administration, security, faculty and facilities personnel.

It is imperative to have members with the authority to make decisions regarding relocation or evacuation of students. …

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