UNCP police, administrators complete disaster preparedness course

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Officers with UNC Pembroke’s Police and Public Safety Department along with key administrators and staff, completed a three-day course last week designed to address emergency preparedness.

Participants took part in role-play exercises, group discussions and lectures focused on five major categories related to critical incidents: prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery.

“This course is designed for UNCP’s administrative folks, as well as others in the community at institutions of higher education to help them get prepared to manage any kind of incident at their institution whether it is a hurricane, tornado, active shooter or chemical spill,” said Jay Moeller, training facilitator.

More than 33 representatives from regional institutions attended, including Clemson University, UNC Chapel Hill, Elizabeth City State University, N.C. State University, Central Piedmont Community College and Meredith College.

 “The class is centered on group discussions. It gives them a chance to see what other institutions are doing on their campuses, and what possible gaps they may have” Moeller added.

The course, Managing Critical Incidents at Institutions of Higher Education, was held at the Office for Regional Initiatives.

“One of the tenets or focal points is forming relationships before you have critical incidents. This is huge. That is one of the big things we try to draw out of the participants.

“At the end of course, we hope they return to their institution and review their Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) to see where they may have gaps that they need to fill with training to better prepare themselves for any kind of critical incident.”

McDuffie Cummings Jr., chief of Police and Public Safety, and Michael Bullard, Environmental Health and Safety officer, were among the UNCP representatives.

“The course provided attendees guidance in preparing for a critical incidents,” Cummings said. “One great take away was the significance of making contacts early to avoid scrambling during an event and wondering who to call.”

Bullard agreed, saying the course provided staff with clearer understanding of the serious nature of any critical incident on campus. 

“Whether the critical event is a natural disaster such as a hurricane, an active shooter event or even a fire in a campus building, these types of events can affect the entire campus community. Response to the event may last up to several days but recovery efforts may last weeks, months, or even years. If we work together as a team and know what outside resources are available, we can overcome any critical event.”

The course was taught by facilitators with Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, a member of the National Disaster Preparedness Consortium. The NDPC is a DHS/FEMA training partner providing high-quality training to emergency responders across the country.