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UW Emergency Management

UW Emergency Management

UW Emergency Management (UWEM) is one of seven Facilities Services departments.  We provide technical and custom services to the entire institution, including individual and group training, orientations, consultative sessions, seminars and orientation materials as they relate to major campus crises, disasters and major emergency incidents.  With input from our stakeholders, we facilitate the development and implementation of institution-wide, department and individual protection programs and projects that promote disaster resilience, planning, training, mitigation, response, prevention and recovery for all-hazards.

  • Great UW ShakeOut 2017: Recap

    December 11, 2017

    As 2017 comes to a close, the UW Emergency Management team has been reflecting on some of our biggest events of the past year.

    Facebook_ShakeOut_GetReady_1200x900The 2017 Great UW ShakeOut was a huge success, for example! While not required in order to participate, UWEM asked that our friends across the university  register internally with us so that we know how our community is taking advantage of this nation-wide earthquake drill. At the end of the day, 74 departments (totaling almost 4000 people) told us that they participated in the Great UW ShakeOut in some way. While the main purpose of the Great ShakeOut is to practice DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON - many departments use it as an opportunity to also practice fire evacuation procedures, take inventory of emergency kits around the office, and/or update their Business Continuity (BARC) plans.

    Additionally, 2017 is the first year in which the SMS (text) and email portions of UW Alert were tested during the Great ShakeOut. This means that we were able to reach a portion of the UW Community who may have not heard about the Great ShakeOut from other sources!

    From all of us here at UW Emergency Management, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time to practice your response to ground movement. Your safety during an earthquake is our #1 priority!

  • Seattle Traffic + Winter Weather = ???

    November 28, 2017

    Let's talk winter weather preparedness!

    Winter is a prime time for car accidents, with darker commutes and wet or icy road conditions. Add the notorious Seattle traffic problem in the mix, and well, are you prepared to be stuck in your car for hours on end? While having some type of emergency car-kit is always recommended, the urgency increases during the winter months. Whether it is a back-up due to a car collision, or you don't feel safe driving in the weather conditions, we stronger encourage you to consider preparing a car-kit if you don't already have one.

    What goes into a winter weather preparedness car-kit, you ask? (I'm so glad you asked)
    1. Start with a small tote or backpack
    2. Find some essentials - likely already in your home somewhere
      • Warm jacket and hat, dry socks, sturdy shoes, gloves
      • Flashlight or headlamp; extra batteries
      • Snacks and a water bottle
      • Back-up charge for your phone (not just a charger)
      • Non-electronic entertainment: book, Sudoku, crosswords, etc.
    3. Put all of the above in your car - hey, you've started! Good Job!

    Depending on how long you are stuck for, you may need to turn off your car to conserve gas. If it is dark and cold, you will need those extra clothes, sustenance, and something to do!


    Click for printable PDF

    For those of you ready to take it to the next level, here are a few more things to consider for your car-kit:

    • Tire Chains and/or kitty litter
    • Shovel
    • Jumper Cables
    • Road Flares and/or a reflective triangle
    • Gas container + gift card for gas

    Bonus! Many of these items are similar to a general preparedness car-kit, so please feel encouraged to leave this kit in your car year-round! Check out the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) website for more on safe winter driving.

  • Meet Megan: UWEM's New BARC Program Manager

    November 28, 2017

    Head shot of Megan LevyWe are excited to welcome UW Emergency Management’s newest staff member, Megan Levy. Megan joined our team at the end of September to manage our Business, Academic and Research Continuity (BARC) program. Megan joins us after time at Microsoft and the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region. She is a Washington alum, having received her master's in Infrastructure Planning and Management from the UW College of Built Environments. In her role, she will drive business, academic and research continuity planning system-wide.

    What is business, research and academic continuity?

    The overall goal of BARC is to support business, academic and research teams across the University as they develop their own continuity plans to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to identify the impact of potential losses, maintain viable recovery strategies and recovery plans, and maintain continuity of services. Learn more on our business, academic, and research continuity page.

    You don’t want to wait until after a disaster or other event that disrupts your day-to-day to start wondering how to get back to work. Instead, through BARC, we help you to make plans ahead of time to guide decision making when the time comes.

    How can UWEM help me?

    Megan is here to serve as a resource for your team in developing your continuity plans. The process of getting started, identifying your critical operations, making a plan to circumvent disruption, and analyzing and testing that plan can be a daunting one. Megan can support you along the way, including:

    • Assisting you and your team with navigating the HuskyReady tool
    • Sharing best practices, tips and guidance on how best to tackle planning and the planning process
    • Providing presentations and facilitated discussion to help you better understand business continuity and the planning process
    • Leading discussions and exercises to test your existing plans
    • Supporting your planning in other ways as requested

    She just can't write your plan for you! You know what you do every day, and you probably also already have a list in your head of your priorities and critical programs. The continuity planning process just helps you get those priorities out of your head and onto paper, identify how you can keep up with them if your operations are limited, and ensure anyone in your organization can start the rebuilding process if you aren’t available. Megan will help you break the process into small steps to spread out the work—eating the proverbial elephant one bite at a time!

    Ready? Ok!

    Contact Megan today at or 206-897-8081 or log in to HuskyReady to review your existing planning or get started!

  • UWEM leading effort to build Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST) for Washington State

    November 28, 2017

    UW Emergency Management is fortunate to be one of the partners leading the way for a Washington State Virtual Operations Support Team also known as a VOST.  Members of a VOST are a diverse mix of professional emergency managers, technologists, communications specialists, and volunteers that share a passion for harnessing technology for the greater good.  VOSTs activations are coordinated through the local, state, or federal emergency management agency, and provide comprehensive reports to support field operations, public information dissemination, and planning.  The VOST concept has been recognized by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a key 20171128_111241component during planned events and disaster response.

    UWEM has recognized the need for this vital resource in the Seattle region, and extending to all UW affiliated campuses across the state.  As a result, UWEM has partnered with several agencies across Washington State and Oregon to build a regional VOST. To further this effort, UWEM hosted a training session that coincided with the 110th Apple Cup, the goal of this training was to improve the skills of the team, and test new tools and techniques that could be rapidly deployed during a crisis. Participants gathered in the UW Emergency Operations Center to monitored social media and key websites to identifying life-safety and other mission-specific information.  Additional VOST members connected from across Washington State, sharing data virtually using open-source tools such as Google suites and Slack.

    The Apple Cup VOST had 3 primary missions:20171128_111350

    • Identify life safety information, including threats of violence and harassment
    • Identify misinformation that may merit correction by an official source
    • Identify individuals sharing positive posts about the Apple Cup

    At the request of partners in Skagit County, a fourth mission was added: to monitor a real-world flooding incident.

    UWEM would like to thank UWPD and UW-IT, the Whatcom County Community Emergency Response Team volunteers, and many others who came to the UW EOC and monitored social media virtually to support the Apple Cup.

    If you are interested in participating in the Washington VOST, please contact Eli King: / 206-897-1882.


  • Great UW ShakeOut 2017 is here!

    October 10, 2017


    With all the recent catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires impacting the US, let's talk about the next Great UW ShakeOut. Our biggest natural hazard threat here in the Pacific Northwest is an earthquake. While Washington does not experience earthquakes as frequently as, say, California, when we are hit with the next 7, 8, or 9 magnitude earthquake, the results will be devastating. One of the main reasons for this is when people aren't accustomed to experiencing earthquakes on a regular basis, they are less likely to become prepared for one!


    Well, lucky for you the 2017 Great UW ShakeOut is just a few days away! The Great ShakeOut is a national program that encourages and supports organizations and individuals alike to practice what every person should do when an earthquake hits: DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON. Of course, there is nothing we can do to stop an earthquake, and so the very first (and most important) thing to consider during one is life safety. Studies have shown that people injured during an earthquake are either hit by objects inside of a building not bolted down or held in place one way or another, or as a result of trying to run and/or evacuate a building. It is for this reason that the standard response to the ground shaking is to DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON! The Great UW ShakeOut is an opportunity for everyone to practice this action and develop a little bit of muscle memory for the real event.


    For the first time in UW Seattle history, all 3 main campuses will be testing our UW Alert notification system around the same time as part of the Great ShakeOut - this year being 10:19 am on Thursday, October 19th. There are many ways to participate in the drill beyond getting the notification, or even practicing DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON. For example, your team could talk about emergency planning, take inventory of emergency supplies, practice evacuation procedures, and so on. If your department, office, or school plans to participate in any way during this year's Great UW ShakeOut, please register here (or visit for your chance at winning an emergency kit.


    Yes! We have created a flyer for you to print and post in your area, department, or building. Download it here. And then keep an eye out for a few more preparedness tips and specific resources that UW Emergency Management has to offer you and your team.  Click HERE for more detailed information on how you, your family, your UW peers and others can prepare NOW for the "Big One!

    Questions? email

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