Newsletter: September, 2009

University Disaster Prevention, Response and Recovery Seminar

A DHS-approved course entitled “Executive Seminar: Prevention, Response and Recovery from Campus Emergencies” is scheduled for September 3-4, 2009 from 8:00 AM-5:00 PM at the University of Washington, in Gerberding Hall. Currently, over 40 UW and local college/university staff have signed up for the course, with many others on waiting list.

The seminar will provide an understanding and ability to navigate through the difficult aspects of dealing with campus emergencies. The course will consist of small, integrated group activities that include classroom instruction, facilitated discussions and practical activities involving scenario-driven problems.

If you have questions about the course, please email Stefani Christensen, State of Washington EMD Training and Exercise Coordinator, 253-512-7046,

— Delia Hough, Fiscal Specialist

UW Family Housing Emergency Ready…

Through our internal UWEM grant funding, UW Family Housing (a part of Housing and Food Services) was able to purchase community emergency preparation supplies for their residents at Family Housing. They are now equipped with first response medical supplies, generators, and communication instruments in the event of an emergency or large-scale disaster.

They have also created an emergency manual that will instruct staff on how to access and utilize the supplies. UWEM is proud to have played a supporting role in helping UW Family Housing in becoming disaster ready!

— Delia Hough, Fiscal Specialist

Plans Progessing for New UW Disaster Response Center

The UW may finally be moving into a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in about a year from now. The selected location will be in the C-1 level of the UW Tower complex.

UWEM staff has been closely working with the UW Capital Projects Office, CASPO and local achitects and engineers, in developing a “Pre-Design” for space in the UW Tower complex for a new campus EOC. It is no secret that the current campus EOC is located in space that is not adequate or appropriate to conduct emergency response activities — especially after a major earthquake. The vulnerability of the current EOC in an earthquake-prone 100+ year old structure has required its immediate relocation to a more suitable location.

Over the next few months, the project team will be working with UW partners and external agencies (such as the City of Seattle) in securing the necessary permits, locating grants to enhance the communications capabilities and furthering the project. It is our hope that if the project is approved, that the UW will complete design, construction and move-in by late summer 2010.

Upon completion, this state-of-the-art EOC will serve as a central coordination and response location for enhanced campus drills, planning, training and events that will continuously promote disaster and crises mitigation, response and recovery activities for the UW.

— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director

September is National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month (NPM) is sponsored by the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps. NPM is held each September and is designed to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.

September 2009 is the sixth annual NPM. This year will focus on changing perceptions about emergency preparedness and helping Americans understand what it truly means to be Ready.

Contact Siri McLean at 206-897-8081 if you would like more information or to schedule a specialized training session for your department, unit, residence hall or organization. Best of all, all UWEM classes and workshops are FREE OF CHARGE!

— Siri-Elizabeth McLean, Plans and Training Manager

NIMS/ICS Position-Specific Courses

The Emergency Management and Response - Information Sharing and Analysis Center confirmed that the Incident Management System Integration Division (IMSID) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be offering National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) compliant All-Hazards ICS position specific courses through the Emergency Management Institute (EMI).

EMI will be offering these 15 courses on-campus at the National Emergency Training Center (in Emmitsburg, MD) during the 2010 Fiscal Year beginning in October 2009. Emergency Services Sector personnel interested in examining more information regarding eligibility requirements, reimbursement, transportation, and lodging expenses can be seen at EMI’s web site.

Emergency Services personnel (including UW personnel with emergency responsibilities) will be trained and become eligible to apply to serve on a Type 3 All-Hazard Incident Management Team. The Seattle/King County area has a number of these teams that UW-trained staff can join once trained and certified.

Contact UWEM’s Siri McLean at 206-897-8081 for more information.

— Siri-Elizabeth McLean, Plans & Training Manager

2009 Customer Service Survey Results

Not surprisingly, UWEM’s biannual customer service survey results showed us as providing a continued excellent level of services to those we serve.


  1. Overall, I am satisfied with the Services Provided by Facilities Services:

FS Average = 75% UWEM Score = 85%

  1. Employee Service Deliver is Professional and of High Quality:

FS Average = 82% UWEM Score = 94%

  1. Employees Come up with Effective Solutions to Meet our Needs:

FS Average = 69% UWEM Score = 88%

  1. Employees are Courteous, Competent and Professional:

FS Average = 86% UWEM Score = 95%

  1. Employees Communicate Effectively with Me as a Customer:

FS Average = 70% UWEM Score = 94%

While UWEM staff are satisfied with our overall excellent scores, we will continue to strive for incremental improvement. Over the next few months, UWEM staff will be working with our key clients in identifying ways to continue to reach 100% in all our scores. Your suggestions are welcomed!

— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director

Potential for Serious Flooding in the Green River Valley

The higher flooding risk later this year may occur due to water seeping more rapidly through an earthen bank next to the dam after record high water last winter. Until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can make repairs, it must limit the amount of flood water it stores behind the dam.

If heavy and prolonged rain occurs this flood season (roughly October through March), many homes and businesses in the valley that don’t typically see flood water—including parts of Auburn, Kent, Renton, South Seattle and Tukwila—could be flooded.

Evacuations in some communities are possible. Key transportation routes and transit service could be disrupted, and power outages and sewage back-ups are possible even outside the immediate flood zone.

Planning Recommendations:

  1. Make an emergency plan and assemble an emergency kit.

  2. Buy flood insurance now; it takes 30 days for a policy to take effect. Review your current policy; a standard insurance policy will not cover flood damage. Contact your insurance agent or use the link above.

  3. Purchase an inexpensive AM radio or NOAA weather radio with batteries in case of power outages for urgent news day and night.

  4. Monitor area news media for information if severe weather is predicted.

  5. Listen for alerts about evacuation routes or find the latest evacuation route information on this website.

  6. Monitor local road conditions and obey closure signs.

  7. Take medications and supplies with you, for those with medical needs.

  8. Be ready to relocate animals and livestock out of harms way.

  9. Minimize flood damage:

— Store valuables and electronics higher on the ground floor, on the second story or in your attic.

— Store chemicals above possible flood levels; recycle them or dispose of them at the King County Wastemobile.

— Ensure underground storage tanks are sealed and secure.

— Learn how to use sandbags and locate where you can buy or get them ahead of time if needed for flood fighting.

— Move vehicles and equipment to high ground before flood waters rise.

— Keep storm drains free of leaves and other debris.

For more information, please contact UWEM Plans and Training Manager, Siri McLean at 206-897-8081.

— Siri-Elizabeth McLean, Plans & Training Manager

The Sequel: Return of the H1N1

The UW’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (ACCD) continues to meet over the summer break to plan for the very-likely and eventual return of the H1N1 flu (or Swine Flu) to campus and the region.

Actually, the H1N1 never left, it just died-down a bit over the summer (excuse the pun!) While most students and some staff took a few weeks off for vacation, various UW officials have been busy preparing for this Fall’s return of the flu.

The ACCD, Chaired by Vice Provost Eric Godfrey, is in the process of revising the UW’s Communicable Disease Plan, as well as updating the UW’s pandemic flu website and developing a public relations campaign for the Fall Quarter. In addition, a number of academic schools and departments, such as the School of Public Health, are gearing up to provide instruction via alternate means.

While the focus of the UW’s efforts will continue to address public health activities and common-sense measures, we are also developing flexible contingency plans should the next wave of H1N1 get more serious this Fall. This MAY include provisions for additional restrictions of campus activities (teaching, research and business functions) and other activities to reduce the spread of the disease.

Students, faculty and staff will all be encouraged to get their SEASONAL FLU shot early this year as there may also be 1-2 separate vaccinations needed for the yet-to-be-approved new Swine Flu shot.


— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director

IAEM Board Appoints Steve Charvat as its Next Secretary

The governance board of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) recently appointed Steven Charvat to the position of Secretary. Mr. Charvat will complete the Secretary’s unexpired term after the untimely passing of long-time IAEM Secretary Vikki Stempkowski this past summer. IAEM, which has 5,000+ members in 58 countries, is a non-profit educational and professional organization dedicated to promoting the goals of saving lives and protecting property during emergencies and disasters.

IAEM President Russ Decker nominated Steve Charvat to complete the term of Secretary through November 2010. The Board of Directors unanimously approved the recommendation on August 26, 2009 at its monthly Board meeeting. Steve is currently the Director of Emergency Management at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington and is definitely no stranger to IAEM. He is a past-President (1996-1997) of the association and is a 2-term past Chairman of the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) Commission (1997-1999).

Mr. Charvat, as the incoming Secretary will complete the term of the vacant position and will be begin his new official role at the IAEM annual conference in Orlando, Florida in November 2009.

— UWEM Executive Offices, Washington, DC

Support for Campus Business Continuity Program Returns This Fall

With the support of university leadership, UWEM is happy to announce that our Business, Academic and Research Continuity (CAR) Program has returned — just in time for this Fall’s Swine Flu next phase!

A new Business Continuity Program Manager has been hired after the program was suspended in early 2008. The BCP Manager will be reaching out to key departments and units over the next 2 months to provide support in the development of basic plans to handle the likely impacts of the next H1N1 outbreak.

After that, the plan is to develop a standardized and structured business/academic/research continuity program for all UW units, campuses, programs, centers and departments.

— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director