UW Emergency Management

UW Emergency Management (UWEM) is a department of UW Facilities. 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.  We jointly accomplish this through structured planning and training, identification of mitigation actions, supporting effective response efforts, promotion of sound prevention actions — all with the goal of shortening the impact and length of time involved in recovery efforts.

  • New UW Continuity Checklist Developed Labs & Research Facilities

    March 20, 2020

    This is a challenging time for many as we adjust to working under the constraints of the COVID-19 situation and plan for impacts outside of our control, some of which may impact research continuity.

    In cooperation with the University’s  Environmental Health and Safety Department, and input from the Office of Research, we collectively can provide guidance to the research community to assist with their business continuity planning.  As a supplement to other planning resources and in response to requests for assistance at the lab level, this joint effort has prepared a Guide to Business Continuity and Recovery Planning for Laboratories and Research Facilities. It includes a checklist and is intended to assist faculty, staff, laboratories and research facilities in maintaining research continuity consistent with their own unique needs and circumstances.

    We encourage all principal investigators and lab managers to develop a research continuity plan that takes into account health and safety as a priority.

    • Consider how the work of your groups can be slowed for a period of weeks and what steps you would follow if the work was placed on hold with short notice.
    • Encourage staff, students and postdocs in your groups to work from home, whenever feasible.
    • Provide flexibility for members of your groups. Practice social distancing and good hygiene (more than 6 feet between people).
    • Absolutely require that if anyone in the group is sick that they do not come to work.
    • Establish a system by which you, and members of the lab, can check the status of each other.

    This guidance plan/checklist was developed in response to the 2020 global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  This guide/plan contains many of data elements required under the University's APS 13.2 requirements which mandate that each department, unit, Center, and College develop, test/exercise and annually review its continuity plan.  Elements (or all) of each plan may be transferred or attached to each lab's parent department in the U-wide HuskyReady online continuity planning tool.

    The planning you do now will support the long-term success of our labs and research groups. Please contact disaster@uw.edu for questions or assistance with building your plan.

  • CANCELLED: Introduction to BARC Planning Course 13 March 2020

    March 3, 2020


    THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED: Come one, Come all!! UW Emergency Management has developed a training course to assist BARC planning efforts across the university.  This Introduction to BARC Planning course will provide plan managers with training and resources to assist them in preparing their plans by providing concepts of continuity planning, as well as, training on the HuskyReady platform for plan management. We will also be answering some FAQ's as well.

    This training opportunity is designed for an audience new to BARC planning, as well as for managers of plans that currently have plans in initial development stages.  The training class will be limited to 20 individuals. Due to this initial offering we ask that only on representative from you planning team apply for the training. Following training offerings will be dependent on need and staff availability. This opportunity is preceded by the UW EOC Tour & Personal Preparedness Workshop at 10:00 am.


    When: 13 March, 2020 at 11:15 am - 12:30 pm

    Where: UW EOC,  UW Tower Room C-140

    Register: disaster@uw.edu

    Registration is currently open, but will close at NOON on 12 March, or when the course size is reached.

    Please bring your current plan.  


  • BARC website improvements support new Provost's Safety Initiative

    February 5, 2020

    picture of a 3-ring binber with cover page noting "Agenda:At their regular meeting on February 5, 2020, the UW's Board of Deans & Chancellors  (BoDC) formally reviewed and endorsed a sweeping set of safety initiatives identified by Provost Mark Richards in a recent written directive.  In his charge to the colleges and academic departments, the Provost identified seventeen (17) separate tasks and activities that collectively, will enhance the overall safety, security and preparedness posture of the entire university.  The 17 Safety Initiatives outlined in the report are based on current Federal, State, local and UW legal and regulatory mandates,  Over the next 18-months, colleges and departments, including all research units, will be provided ongoing resources and support assist them in meeting their deadlines.  To ensure ongoing success in meeting their compliance requirements, four administrative departments will provide technical and program support: Environmental Health & Safety, UW Police, SafeCampus Program and UW Emergency Management.  Five (5) of the seventeen safety initiatives relate to the UW's mandate that every department, college, unit and center develop an maintain a continuity plan to ensure that each is able to protect, restore and resume critical operations within specific time frames.  This program, called BARC (Business, Academic and Research Continuity) has been around since 2008.  The 2020 Provost Safety Initiative will invite hundreds of new players in the BARC program.  With many newcomers unfamiliar with the BARC process, UWEM developed a new BARC for Beginners webpage to provide a simple, step-by-step process to guide our new partners in this program.  The webpages includes links and content on basic continuity concepts, sign-up for a peer-to-peer UW continuity network as well as training opportunities, technical resources and FAQs to address the most common issues that most newcomers may face when tasked with developing or updating their department continuity plan.

  • So... How Accurate were the January 2020 Snowstorm Forecasts?

    January 20, 2020

    If you were in Western Washington anytime from January 10-18, 2020 and watched local news, browsed social media or stepped foot in a local grocery, hardware or home improvement store, you likely were exposed to some of the Seattle-area residents' winter weather "hysteria".  Some schools closed entirely for days, some started late (like the UW), buses went on on emergency snow routes, events were postponed, and citizens cleared the shelves of milk, bread, eggs, kitty litter, batteries, rock salt, shovels and generators.  Local media stirred up the frenzy even further with reporters dispatched to all corners of the Puget Sound in search of the first snowlflake.  But while the mountains and passes got pummeled with FEET (not inches) of snow), most of Puget Sound lowlands got anywhere from just a dusting to just a few inches. While most commuters breathes a sigh of relief, other people were confused, frustrated and some even angry that the forecast was wrong ... at least in their minds.  Yes, some communities -- mostly in Skagit and Whatcomb Counties -- did get a true taste of winter, most of us "dodged the bullet."

    So, why were many of the weather forecasts wrong during this period, yet were much more accurate last February when we experienced the last true major series of winter storms?  The simple answer is: ITS COMPLICATED!  Dr. Cliff Mass from the University of Washington provides a comprehensive explanation in his weatherblog as to why the January 10-18 forecasts were both correct, but also missed the mark in some aspects.  After reading his explanation, you will have a much greater appreciation for the challenges that our local meteorologist experts at the National Weather Service Seattle Office  face every day to deliver these forecasts.

  • When the UW "closes" due to Snow, who makes that decision and how do we find out?!

    January 8, 2020

    photo of the main UW entrance roadway covered in snowWell before the first snowflakes begin to fall, UWEM starts fielding this question from students, faculty, staff, parents, media and the general public.  After we remind everyone that the UW NEVER CLOSES (technically, we either "suspend operations", announce a "delayed start/opening," or allow for an "early release"...) , we note that the UW follows a standard plan for making this important decision. This process also includes detailed actions to ensure timely, accurate and updated information to the campus community on any changes to our normal operational status.  The UW's Inclement Weather Plan is the primary document that guides senior leadership in this complex decision-making process.  First developed in 2018 and further refined after the February 2019 Snowmageddon experience, this plan and related procedures, provides us with a consistent process by which the UW assesses current and forecast weather conditions, solicits input from key campus stakeholders, consolidates situational assessment, convenes key leaders for rapid decision-making and finally, getting "the word out" to the public in an efficient and rapid manner.  So how can I be ready this year for any upcoming weather disruptions?  First: if you have not already done so, SIGN-UP for UWAlert notices -- your best and most reliable way to getting up-to-the-minute notices.  Second:  go to our Preparedness website and take steps now to get ready... and Finally: remember to be patient, flexible, helpful to others who may need assistance and, yes, take this as an opportunity to assess personal preparedness at home, school, work and community.

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