FEMA Emergency Training Draws 12 Colleges and Schools, Worcester Police and Fire, to Becker College
Becker College is host to a new three-day FEMA course, “Managing Critical Incidents for Higher Education Institutions” on campus March 15 – 17. Three instructors with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) are taking more than 30 administrators and police personnel from a number of institutions through disaster scenarios, specifically designed to orchestrate a comprehensive and collaborative approach—from campus security to dining services. The training will culminate in a role-play emergency exercise, an explosion and fire, customized to the Becker College campus.
To prepare, in a room that looks very much like a command post, the class will assess campus emergencies, such as California State University Northridge and the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the Virginia Tech shootings, and will cover preparedness, prevention and the relationships and roles critical to a coordinated multi-agency response and recovery.
“College campuses may overlook their own resources,” said lead instructor, Lt. Ian P. Cyr of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Police. “I see people in this course from facilities, a vice president, residence life, and sitting across from them are traditional first responders. This course fosters those relationships so they can learn what they need from each other.”
“Building relationships before the worst-case scenario occurs may be the most important element in an emergency management plan,” said Becker Police Chief David J. Bousquet. “Becker is fortunate to be part of a collaborative community of colleges and support organizations like IACLEA.”
On the first day, instructors spoke of recent tragic events, the earthquake in Japan and the Phoenix shooting which targeted Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and brought them into the context of the college campus. Instructor Paul Dean, deputy police chief at the University of New Hampshire, referenced new guidelines requiring college police to be present when elected officials are on campus.
In IACLEA’s efforts to advance public safety for educational institutions, it has stepped up activities to support safe campuses by broadening its reach of emergency training beyond campus police and security and professional first responders by offering this program, revised in 2010 to include the all-hazard, multi-discipline team-based approach capable of responding to a large-scale or expanding incident, whether natural or man-made. The organization is developing a shorter version of the critical incident training for college presidents, with an emphasis on their relationships with local government officials, according to Deputy Dean.
Institutions signed up to attend the training from as far away as Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. and include: Boston College, Smith College, Williams College, Stonehill College, Hampshire College, Clark University, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mount Holyoke College, Mount Wachusett Community College, Milton Academy, Miss Hall’s School and Worcester Police and Fire Departments. Ralph Gould, director of public safety at Holyoke Community College, was also part of the instruction team and was joined by John Leonard, IACLEA campus preparedness training coordinator, who sat in on the first day of the course.
Photo: Paul Dean, deputy police chief at the University of New Hampshire; Lt. Ian P. Cyr of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Police; and Ralph Gould, director of public safety at Holyoke Community College (L-R).