UW Today

July 6, 2011

Cool in a crisis? UW Emergency Management seeks volunteer responders

The UW Emergency Management Office cant predict disasters, of course — but should one happen, they know theyll need some help. And thats where faculty and staff, and even retirees, can come in.

The Emergency Management Office will train volunteers who are willing to work during times of real emergency.

The Emergency Management Office will train volunteers who are willing to work during times of real emergency.Mary Levin

“We are looking for folks who would be willing to volunteer when the Emergency Operations Center is activated,” Siri-Elizabeth McLean, Emergency Management plans and training manager, wrote in an email. “We will need help with answering phones, taking notes, updating maps, running computers, managing documentation, runners to deliver messages, etc.”

McLean said many of the responders already signed up at the new Emergency Operations Center are “at the director level, where decisions are made.” After all, the center, in the C building of the UW Tower cluster, is all about getting the UW and its business up and running as quickly as possible following an emergency.

What Emergency Management needs is, well, troops. “We need support staff,” she said. “Were looking to build a group of people who would be on our responder list.” Such folks put themselves on a list and are called in when needed by Emergency Management.

“They must have approval from their supervisor and availability to work long, crazy hours when the center is activated” She said they seek people who work well under pressure and who enjoy helping others in times of need.

McLean said details will follow soon, but now theyre just starting a list of people who might be interested in training as volunteer responders. She said the training — all free — will likely start with basic incident command courses offered online by FEMA.

“In every EOC position, were training three deep,” she said. “Because you never know.”

Steve Charvat, Emergency Management director, added wryly, “Volunteers will get to experience working with and perhaps sharing cold pizza and drinking strong coffee at 2 a.m. with senior-level University officials!”

Interested? Contact McLean by phone at 206-897-8081 or email at sirim@uw.edu.