UW Emergency Management

November 1, 2019

UWEM partnerships in practice

Generally, you know its not a good day when this group arrives on campus to convene in the UW’s Emergency Operations Center, or EOC.  But on November 1st, nearly 20 City of Seattle staff and volunteers were just here for training and a mini exercise.

Buy WHY were they in the EOC in the first place??  You may ask…  City staff spent 3 hours learning and testing how they would function and  work in our facility (located in the UW Tower complex) because the UW’s EOC is designated as the primary alternate – or backup – for their main EOC located in the International District.  Planning for, and regularly-testing an alternate EOC or Command Post, is both recommended and required by various laws, regulations and standards.  Just as the UW’s EOC has an alternate location (Madrona Hall), the City needed to identify a number or suitable locations to operate in case their main EOC is damaged, inaccessible or threatened due to an incident, disaster or event that required staff working from an alternate site.

This concept of sharing space and partnerships in times of crisis continues the longstanding partnership between UWEM and the City of Seattle Office of Emergency Management.  While the City has 3 other alternate EOC sites designated in their plans, the UW’s is considered the primary choice due to our 24/7 set-up, availability and vast technical resources at their disposal.

And what does the UW get from this partnership?  We owe our current EOC capabilities and success in large part to the support we needed – and received – back in 2010 when the UW applied for a federal grant to enhance and grow our new EOC, which was moving from the old Bryant Building to our new location at the UW Tower.  Thanks to the City’s proactive endorsement of our grant proposal, we received nearly $350,000 in homeland security grant funds to purchase all new communications and computing equipment, audio-visual systems, furniture and general supplies.  Without their support, our current EOC capabilities would be greatly diminished.

Thanks to this strong partnership, both the UW and City of Seattle continue to reap the benefits of our shared commitment to disaster resilience for our community.