MIT is one of four universities selected for a new pilot program created by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) to assess the emergency-response plans of higher education institutions.
EMAP, a nonprofit organization, currently reviews emergency-management programs around the country for state, local or territory governments. The new program aims to provide the same services for colleges and universities.
Earlier this year, David Barber, who is MIT’s emergency and business continuity planner, and Abigail Licnikas, the Environment, Health and Safety program manager for student life, applied to join the pilot program. MIT was selected, along with Appalachian State University Emergency Plans & Operations in Boone, N.C.; Idaho State University Emergency Operations in Pocatello, Idaho; and the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.
“MIT is always looking forward in being prepared for anything; this is the next step to take to improve all areas of emergency management on campus,” Barber says.
The accreditation process will take more than a year and involves an in-depth look at current program management. The review process will examine documentation and record keeping, training, exercises, evaluations and corrective action, prevention and security, crisis communications, and public education and information. At the end of the internal audit process, assessors from EMAP will perform an on-site review of the entire program.
“This is an excellent way to get a gap analysis of our programs,” says Tom Komola, project manager for the MIT Security and Emergency Management Office (SEMO). “We are very excited about being selected for the pilot.”
The pilot project will last 18 months, during which time SEMO members will audit their programs, polices and procedures for keeping MIT safe and open prior to, during and after emergencies.