Newsletter: July, 2008

New Fiscal Year Brings New Fiscal Opportunities

From the slumping national economy, to rising gasoline costs and the slowing housing market…. all of these issues combined with a drastic reduction in federal grants for disaster preparedness, have required UWEM to determine our primary service priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

UWEM staff and Facilities Services Department leadership are closely evaluating how to best leverage our limited funding and staff resources with our approved 5-year Strategic Plan (see www.washington.edu/emergency/files/2007_Strategic_Plan.pdf) and the overall mission and vision of the UWEM Division. The 2008-2009 fiscal year will focus on the primary and basic services of UWEM to ensure that we can meet the core needs of our customers.

We welcome your comments and suggestions as we prepare to serve the campus and remain true to our stated vision: A Disaster Resistant University as a global model for other institutions of higher learning.

— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director

UWEM Asked to Assist in Global Arena

UWEM has been approached by the UW Global Support Project Office, to be part of a team in providing technical assistance to their efforts in supporting students, faculty and staff who are working and studying overseas.

While students, faculty and staff have been conducting research and studying abroad for decades, recent national and global disasters have required that the UW provide a more comprehensive system of support should disaster strike overseas. The recent earthquake in central China once again showed the interconnectivity of our UW citizens abroad. UWEM staff will be working with the Global Support office and other operating units and departments to develop both a system of international preparedness information as well as policies, procedures and checklists to be used by UW students, faculty and staff when overseas if/when a disaster strikes.

— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director

Grant Reminder: 2008-09 Internal Grant Applications Due Soon

UW Emergency Management will again be providing a limited number of short-term, one time emergency management and homeland security grants to internal UW departments and operating units. These annual UW funds will be provided to support internal programs that improve the overall emergency preparedness efforts for the campus community.

While there is no formal open application period (projects can be submitted year round), all completed applications must be received by the UWEM by September 1st of each year in order to be considered for the remainder of the fiscal year. All approved projects will be posted on the UWEM website and projects must completed by June 30th of the following year.

For more information, please contact the UW Emergency Management at (206) 897-8000 or go to our website www.washington.edu/emergency and click on Disaster Grants.

— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director

UWEM Welcomes new Team Member

After nearly a year of being vacant, UWEM will welcome its second full-time, permanent employee. Ms. Siri-Elizabeth McLean will join the UWEM team on July 21st assisting the Director and bringing UWEM staffing back up to its 2.5 authorized staffing levels. Siri will be assuming the primary roles and responsibilities for campus-wide disaster plans and training. She comes to the UW after working most recently for the Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, WA where she spearheaded a number of creative employee disaster training and outreach programs.

Siri is a graduate of the UW, having recently completed her Masters Degree in Critical Infrastructure Protection. In addition to all of her other duties, she also will be re-instating the UW’s hazard mitigation programs which were shelved last year when Elenka Jarolimek accepted a position with the City of Seattle. Siri will initially focus her efforts on developing an innovative outreach program to UW undergraduate students, including Freshman orientation and Dawg Daze.

Please join us in welcoming Siri to the UW and to the UWEM Team!

— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director

UW CERT Program Officially Suspended

It started small in 2003 with a private foundation grant to establish a pilot campus-based disaster response team. 60 UW staff acted as as our first “guinea pigs” in receiving modified CERT training. We learned quite a bit as the program was modified to fit a university-based community. Over the next 4 years, the UW’s CERT program grew to over 300 trained and enthusiastic staff volunteers ready to jump in when disaster struck.

Understanding that the UW would likely be on its own for hours of days after a major disaster such as an earthquake, the CERT program quickly grew to include teams from over 17 buildings. This explosive growth was fueled by additional FEMA operational grants to support a full-time coordinator and the purchase of training resources, equipment and supplies to keep the program running and expanding. CERT members were also involved in other special events such as Husky Football games and Commencement.

Unfortunately, the external funding ran out in 2007. While UWEM was able to keep the program on “life support” for another year, due to a tightening fiscal picture at the local level, the funding for this nationally-recognized program, ran out.

UWEM and Facilities Services leadership will continue to explore other future funding opportunities and will re-evaluate the feasibility of re-instituting a modified version of the CERT program as part of the next biennium budget. More information about the transition of the CERT program can be found at UWEM CERT homepage: www.washington.edu/emergency/cert.

— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director