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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 is this week!

    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

  • Winter Weather Outlook for Western Washington (2017-18)

    September 28, 2017

    Following a mild and short-lived La Niña last winter, the climatic phenomenon known as “La Niña” stands a 55-60 percent chance of developing once again this fall and winter. That’s the most recent forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center.  Based on observations of what’s happening in the Pacific Ocean, and modeling to predict what may be coming, NOAA has issued a La Niña watch, indicating that conditions are favorable for its development.

    weather outlook pictureLa Niña can strongly shift weather patterns, bringing anomalously cool or warm, and wet or dry, conditions to large parts of the world. In the United States, La Niña tends to bring wetter than normal conditions to the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Midwest. Unfortunately for southern and central California, things tend to dry out.  The UW’s resident weather expert, Dr. Cliff Mass recently stated in his weather blogThe implications for snow is clear, especially after January 1.... a higher probability of the white stuff, particularly in the mountains.  Yes... a reasonable year to get an annual pass at your favorite ski area!

    While last winter shattered all records for the amount of precipitation (mostly rain) west of the Cascade Mountains, this winter may not be as wet.  With this long-term weather prognostication in hand, UW Emergency Management has been working with our campus operational units and departments to begin preparations for another messy (and wet) fall and winter season. All UW students, faculty and staff are encouraged to check out our Winter Storm preparedness webpage for more information on how to best get ready for winter.

  • What UWEM can do for YOU!

    September 20, 2017

    As National Preparedness Month comes to a close, we wanted to share with you the services that UW Emergency Management offers the UW community all 100% free of charge.


    Earthquake Awareness and Personal Preparedness presentations (30-45 min)

    Consider scheduling an Earthquake Awareness and Personal Preparedness presentation at your next all-staff meeting. Although typically 30-45 minutes, this talk is 100% customizable for time and audience.

    Mitigation Walkthroughs

    Ever wonder how your work space will hold up to an earthquake? Why not have an outsider come check it out with eyes trained to notice earthquake-specific threats or concerns! This service is entirely informational (not regulatory in any way) and is intended to spread awareness of simple and cost-effective methods of non-structural mitigation. Time needed varies on the size of the department, but typically 45-60 minutes should cover it.

    BARC planning & Husky Ready

    UWEM pays annually for an online program designed specifically for colleges to plan for the unthinkable. BARC stands for Business, Academic, and Research Continuity, so no matter which department you represent at the University of Washington, we can help you plan how to get back to work as soon as possible after an earthquake or other major emergency on campus.

    Just about any other customized training

    We are here to serve you - our community! Let us know what you would like help with in terms of emergency readiness, and we will do our best to accommodate you! Some past examples include:

    • Table-top exercises (TTX) in which we walk your department through a "bad-day" scenario, usually with a PowerPoint, and facilitate discussion in order to determine strengths, weaknesses, and action items for improvement
    • Incident Command System (ICS) training in order to better prepare Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Unit Response Center (URC) volunteers
    • EOC Tour and Introduction to Emergency Management for any and all (but usually safety teams) interested in what we do over here in UW Tower!
    Get started today by emailing us at!

  • September is National Preparedness Month!

    August 30, 2017

    The official logo for National Preparedness Month 2017. [High Resolution JPG]

    The UWEM team has been following closely the events unfolding in Texas and Louisiana, and our hearts go out to every first responder, emergency management official, and citizen that has been impacted by Hurricane/Superstorm Harvey.

    It is purely by coincidence that National Preparedness Month comes at a time when the country is already so focused on the unthinkable. While many of us are thinking about what we can do to help others in need, try also taking a few minutes to consider your own family. Do you have a plan in place for if/when the unthinkable happens?

    Here are a few resources to get started:

  • Air Quality Questions? Resources below!

    August 3, 2017

    Wondering if it's okay to be outside in the wildfire smoke in our region? UW Environmental Health & Safety have provided some information on their website here.

    Wildfire smoke is not good for anybody, but it can cause extra problems for young children, adults over the age of 65, people with respiratory issues or lung disease, smokers, diabetics, and pregnant women. You may want to consider staying indoors as much as you can.

    Here are a few additional resources Public Health Seattle King County has a Facebook Page. Also, for your weekend plans, you might have to skip the bbq unless you are using propane as there is currently a burn ban in effect for King County. You can check here for more information from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

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