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College updates emergency plan

Alicia Smith | Monday, March 23, 2009

Saint Mary’s officials have updated and posted a hazard response plan on the College’s Web site.

The Saint Mary’s All Hazard Emergency Response Plan was officially posted in January 2009. The plan has been in the works for several years, and will be updated on a regular basis.

“It was posted in January, but has been in the works for much longer,” Susan Dampeer, the secretary to the President of the College, said. “We actually started working on a pandemic flu plan several years ago. As we worked on that plan, we realized that it should be part of a much larger and more comprehensive plan that would address all emergencies that might occur at Saint Mary’s.”

Dampeer was co-chair of the committee, which created the policies. Dave Gariepy, director of security, was the other co-chair. The committee included representatives from many different areas of the College.

The new plan is more in-depth than previous ones and covers all types of emergencies.

“We had previous plans to handle emergencies, but nothing that was all together in one place and easily accessible to everyone,” Dampeer said.

The language of the plan states that it was put in place “to reduce the impact of an emergency on students faculty, staff, visitors, and facilities.”

The plan details the actions members of the College community must take in order to respond to any emergency that may occur. It includes everything from fires to bomb threats.

“Recent disasters on college campuses, shootings, fires, etc., have propelled colleges to develop plans like this,” Dampeer said.

The plan states four main priorities: “To protect the lives, safety and health of Saint Mary’s College and Congregation community members and those who may be visiting. To protect facilities, equipment, and services from loss during a continuing emergency event. To effectively communicate with all involved throughout the emergency. To provide for the continuation of college operations and services that have been disrupted or damaged by an emergency.”

The plan classifies different types of emergencies based on the extremity of each individual situation, and each type of emergency has a detailed plan of action.

The policy also includes what to do should an emergency occur within each building on campus.

“In addition to the full plan, we will also have a very condensed version of what to do in an emergency online, in every office on campus, and in every residence hall room,” Dampeer said. “Emergency exit plans will also be posted everywhere. They are ready to go, we are just waiting to receive the holders for them.”

For more information about the new emergency response plan, visit http://www3.saintmarys.edu/ emergency-response-plan.