December 2008

GW’s Emergency Management Office Wins 12th Award

Emergencies can happen any time, and GW’s Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management (OPSEM) works to ensure the University is prepared. John Petrie, assistant vice president for public safety and emergency management, and his emergency management associates help University departments create and implement contingency and continuity plans.

In recognition of their efforts this year, the International Association of Emergency Managers awarded OPSEM with the Business and Industry Preparedness Award for the second year in a row. OPSEM was recognized for its planning guidance and its SafeTea programs, initiatives that encourage emergency planning discussions among departments.

The award is OPSEM’s 12th from the association since 2004.

Petrie credits the hard work and dedication of his emergency management associates with winning the award.

OPSEM provides a variety of planning support services, including advisement, evaluations, and exercise drills. When departments draw up emergency plans, OPSEM staff evaluate them using a checklist that they later provide to department members. Petrie says the emergency manage¬ment associates also contact departments every year to remind them to update their emergency plans for their annual review, and send University leaders a report three times a year that details their respective departments’ plans and areas for improvements.

Petrie says more and more GW departments are implementing emergency plans. “The emergency plans can change year to year and so they need to be somewhat of a living document to retain utility,” he says. “Over the years, we’ve also been able to improve the review and guidance we provide. Having emergency plans protects members of our University community and what we all do here.”

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