How Colleges Respond To Emergency Calls to Dorms

HowColleges Respond To Emergency Calls to Dorms

HowColleges Respond To Emergency Calls to Dorms

Inthe United States, every situation that requires emergency medicalservices, fire department or police intervention is an emergencycrisis. The 9-911 and 911 are emergency numbers that institutionssuch as universities should use to report disasters. However, everyeducation institutions have unique emergency and crisis response foruse in their dormitories. The hall staff is responsible for educatingthe students on appropriate steps to take in case of a disaster. Theemergency management approach used in each organization is distinctbecause the physical design varies. Every student is encouraged learnand use the recommended escape routes when emergencies occur in orderto avoid casualties. The following is a literature review comparinghow Boston University, Penn State University of Connecticut, theUniversity of Massachusetts (Amherst), and University of Rhode Islandrespond to emergency calls to dorms. The sources used in the essayare authoritative since they contain primary information from therespective organizations. Besides, they contain qualitative, unbiasedand current information that is less than two years old.

Accordingto the BostonUniversity research compliance environmental health &amp Safety(2014),Boston University (BU) Emergency Response Plan (Plan) lays out aformula for marshalling the institution’s resources and informingeveryone within the organization who might be affected by thedisaster. However, if the disaster is massive, the external communitymay also be informed of the crisis. The EmergencyResponse Planning Division of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)developed a plan in collaboration with more than a dozen of publicsafety agencies, offices, colleges, and departments. The plan isrevised annually, and a drill is conducted once after every 18 months(BU Today Staff, 2014). BU’s emergency response protocol isclassified into three phases:

PhaseA: a response strategy used when a prospective or actual disasteroccurs, but its effect is unknown

PhaseB: the plan is used when an emergency that affects the entireinstitution, and the onsite staff cannot solve it using the availableresources. The university establishes a Command Center thatcoordinates representatives from major stakeholders from one locality

PhaseC: utilized when massive disasters occur, and the on-duty may bereassigned and/or off-duty contractors or personnel recalled. ACommand Center is established to coordinate activities in the entireorganization.

Accordingto the BU website, the college can respond to emergencies in the dormrooms through either evacuating students or proposingshelter-in-place. The shelter-in-place is a safety measure wherestudents are advised to remain indoors if the hazard is outdoors. Forexample, bad weather or contaminated air may propose the students toremain inside the dormitories. On the contrary, the institutionprovides students with evacuation maps of their respectivedormitories. The Office of Residence Life trains the staff at thebeginning on emergency and evacuation processes at the beginning ofevery semester. The emergency use a BU alert to direct the studentson the expected action (BU Today Staff, 2014).

Thesource also states that BU has EMTs with experience for handlingradiation, chemical, industrial hygiene and biological emergencies.The state, regional, and local public safety departments do provideassistance to the response team in the campus as required (BU TodayStaff, 2014).

PennState Harrisburg (2014) asserts that the institution uses PSUAlert,an emergency messaging service, is used to inform all the studentswithin the campus when an emergency occurs/ Students can choose toreceive the messages directly to their cellphones or email account.The institution has a Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) composedof officials from Public Information Office, Safety and PoliceServices, Chancellor, and Student Services. The group is responsiblefor determining the appropriate strategies to address an emergency.In case medical assistance is required, the Red Cross EMTs, doctors,and ambulance services provide it (Penn State Harrisburg, 2014). PennState University lacks an inhouse EMT service like the one in BostonUniversity. The source further claims that the response to anemergency is mainly determined by the nature of information theuniversity chancellor or any other senior administration officer onduty receives. The university has an elaborate plan for addressing.

Onthe other hand, Penn State University (2014) the organization has anelaborate emergency response plan. When emergencies occur in thedormitories, officials in charge of given residences guide studentsin the evacuation process using designated routes. The Universityrules require students to inform relevant authorities whenemergencies occur. They should then evacuate the premises usingdesignated routes as they ensure that their colleagues have heard thealarms as well. The local police officers and Emergency Medical Teamsoften attend to the injured and traumatized (Penn State University,2014).

BostonUniversity emergency response management is related to Penn State’suniversity as both institutions conduct fire drills, establish acommand post and specialized medical professionals when addressingemergencies. However, BU has inhouse EMTs while Penn State Universitydepends on Red Cross professionals during emergencies (BU TodayStaff, 2014).

Accordingto the University of Connecticut (2014), the institution has anemergency line linked to a local Police Department dispatch center.When students at the students call 911, the emergency response teamcan identify the distinct position of the distress call. However,students are required to hold on the line and explain their locationif they are using mobile devices. Uconn has professional 24-hourinhouse EMTs available. Font (2013) asserts that the institution hasa student population of above 40,000 students hence, disastermanagement in the institution resembles plans used in a small city.Emergency calls from the Uconn Student health center go directly toan in-house Departmentof Public Safety.The department provides different services such as Emergency MedicalServices, Public Safety, Police (security), and Fire responseservices. Emergency response services to the students’ dorms aremanaged by the organization’s Department of Public safety. Everytime, the university have at least 10,000 residential students. TheDepartment of Public Safety Chief guides the emergency responsemanages the response services. Once the department receives adistress call from the students’ dormitories, the support staffrefers it to the relevant agency within the organization such as theDivisionof Emergency Management and HomelandSecurity (DEMHS) and Connecticut Department of EmergencyServices and Public Protection(DESPP) among other relevant government departments andnon-governmental organizations (University of Connecticut, 2014).When an emergency such as fire occurs in the dormitory, students areencouraged to break the fire alarm. They should then follow thedesignated exit path for the given dorm. The institution has anassembling point where students meet. In addition, the institutionhas an internal police department that make it easy for the lawenforcers to identify the precise location for distress calls.However, students can call 9-1-1 using their cell phones, but theyshould ensure to explain the exact distress location.

Fuller(2014) asserts that UConn has EMTs within the campus. In fact, thehealthcare facility located within the campus offers 24-hourhealthcare services. The staff contains medical specialists, medicinephysicians and nurses trained to handle various forms of emergencycases. Emergency responses are highly tailored to independentagencies within the institution’s public safety department (Font,2013). Font (2013) resource claims that the university agencies workclosely with the state and federal organizations to offer criticalservices such as mass feeding of victims, coordinate shelter,temporary shelter in other state colleges, and non-surgical medicalassistance when the damage to the dormitories is very big.

Accordingto UMass Office of Emergency Management (2014) source, the Universityof Massachusetts (Amherst) issusceptible to numerous hazards that may affect visitors, students,faculty and the institution’s assets. The dangers are both naturaland human caused. One the elaborate emergency response plan involvesemergency calls to the dorms. The nature of risk facing the studentsmainly determines by the CampusEmergency Management Plan(CEMP) implemented. Nonetheless, the approach used gives priority toon solutions that would cause little property and environmentaldamage, save lives, and stabilize the risk. Emergency responseservices the institution follows a strict protocol that is compliantwith theFederal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)andNational Incident Management System-Incident Command System(NIMS-ICS) regulations. The institution has campus police officersand a call center that receives distress calls from the dormitories.For example, a student can call the police if a student opens fire tohis or her colleagues. In such a case, the police will respond bysending a team of armed police officers with the intention to eitherarrest or kill the suspect.

Onthe contrary, the emergency response team can order the students to‘lockdown’ instead of evacuating if the danger is close to thedormitories. For example, if a student armed with a gun is shootingat students randomly, or a toxic gas cylinder has exploded. Theorganization has EMTs specializing in various fields such asbiological, fire, environmental and chemical crises. The UMassEmergency Medical Services(EMS) is a team of special of emergency medical technicians that havetransformed from a first aid response service provider to complicatedstandby professionals coping with diverse emergencies. Emergencyalerts are dispersed using mass text messages. According to the UMassOffice of Emergency Management (2014), a team of EMTs based in theorganization is prepared to respond to the crises any time of theday. The response protocol that is compliant with the MassachusettsDepartment of Environmental Protection(DEP), theFederal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and OccupationalHealth and Safety Administration(OSHA) (UMass Office of Emergency Management, 2014). University ofMassachusetts Amherst Hazard Mitigation Plan (2013) asserts thatUMass has a team of internal technicians that can respond todormitory emergencies, but they often collaborate with the governmentI order to ensure they provide excellent services.

TheUniversity of Rhode Island Emergency Management Dicision, thesecurity of students in the dorm is a big priority. The institutionhas an elaborate emergency response plan for distress calls from thedorms. The nature of an emergency determines the response planapplied. Examples of emergency responses often implemented include‘shelter in place’, ‘lockdown’, or ‘evacuate’ the(University of Massachusetts Amherst Hazard Mitigation Plan, 2013).The source further claims that the organization has a call centerthat receives all the emergency calls. The information is transmittedto the department through a phone call or activating alarms mountedat strategic places. Rhodes Island University has an establishedemergency response services that each student receives upon joiningthe institution. The plan contains comprehensive details regardingthe steps students should take when a given form of emergency occurs.For example, the response team require students to evacuate thedormitory premises in case of a fire outbreak or bomb scare.

Theorganization’s website asserts that the response team recommendsstudents to use various public warning strategies such as sirens. Italso proposes that students should attempt to mitigate thecatastrophe. For example, students can suppress the fire using fireextinguishers placed at strategic locations. The emergency responseteam can also instruct the students on the steps to take duringemergencies using vehicles fitted with public address system andpre-recorded information. The organization conducts emergency drillsat least twice every year thus, everyone understands the appropriatesteps to take when an emergency occurs. Emergency Management (2014)Rhode Island source claims that the university has internal EMTs, butit collaborates with both the state and federal standards.

Accordingto the literature review of individual high learning institution, theBoston University, Penn State, University of Connecticut, Universityof Massachusetts (Amherst) and University of Rhode Island emergencyresponse plans to the dorms are related. For instance, they all havedesignated assembly point. Besides, the emergency care team conductsoccasional drills, at least once every year. The drills are intendedto train students on appropriate techniques of responding to variousrisks. In addition, the universities work closely with bothnon-governmental organizations, and federal and state agenciesintended to mitigate risks.

However,the emergency response approaches do also differ from one universityto the other. One of the key differences is availability of internalEmergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) in some institutions. The PennState University depends on the Red Cross EMTs to provide emergencyevacuation services within the institution. The evacuation plansimplemented in the organizations are also different. The strategiesdiffer because house plans influence the emergency response techniquethe organizations use (Emergency Management, 2014). In addition, someuniversities such as the Boston universities have an elaborateemergency reporting and authorization process. The Boston Universityresearch compliance environmental health &amp Safety (2014)literature claims that the response team has subdivided emergenciesinto three phases whereby, phase ‘A’ emergency is less severethan phase ‘B’, and phase ‘C’ disaster is more catastrophicthan phase ‘B’.

Insummary, the literature review indicates that the institutions haverelated emergency response services such as the procedures areregulated by federal agencies such as the Division of EmergencyManagement and Homeland Security (DEMHS) and Connecticut Departmentof Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). The students’safety is a priority in every university. This explains the reasonall the literature reviews assert that the institutions haveelaborate emergency response plans. Some organizations such as theRhode Island and Boston University have printed emergency plans thatgiven to each student in the institutions. Besides, the sourcesindicate that all the reviewed universities, except Penn State, haveinternal emergency response professionals. Penn State relies on theRed Cross EMTs to provide the desired care in the organization.Similarly, internal EMTs found in the universities have excellentwork relationship with the state and federal government. In fact, thegovernments regulate the competence and experience of theprofessionals.


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