University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus Safety Project

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Situated in West Baltimore, the University of Maryland, Baltimore – CHHS’ home base – is a 71-acre campus encompassing nearly 70 buildings, hosting more than 7,000 employees and 6,000 students.  With such a large footprint, safety and security is a top priority for University leadership. While CHHS has worked with the University on emergency preparedness on a number of initiatives over the years, the University recently utilized CHHS’ expertise to conduct a comprehensive campus security project that included an examination and updates to Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans, development of awareness campaigns, building safety assessments, and a series of exercises to test security readiness.

During 2015, CHHS Senior Policy Analyst Eric Oddo worked closely with the University’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to support campus-wide COOP planning efforts. Offices and schools made comprehensive contingency plans for how to continue functioning in response to three different types of fundamental scenarios: the loss of a facility, the closure of campus, and an unanticipated 50% staff reduction caused by an emergency. The plans also account for resource and IT requirements, critical interdependencies, and succession lists for leadership.

Following suggestions from CHHS experts working with the University’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs, several awareness campaigns were also developed, including wall placards providing instructions on effectively responding to emergencies. Placed by elevators, staircases, and doors throughout campus this past summer, and available electronically through the University’s website, these easily digestible signs use visual cues for a multitude of emergency situations – such as fire, tornado, earthquake, active shooters – showing readers the best course of action for each.

Additionally, working with the University’s Police Force, CHHS Senior Policy Analyst Vernon Herron conducted building assessments to evaluate the safety and security of each academic and administrative building on campus, as well as personal safety for those entering. Final recommendations addressed the following areas: safety and security of building exterior and interior; access control; type and extent of monitoring and surveillance; and alert and notification procedures.

Testing many of the plans and policies developed under the campus security project, CHHS’ Exercise and Training team has conducted seven exercises with UMB staff.  Representatives from the President’s Office, Finance, Facilities and Operations, Information Technology, Communications, Academic Affairs, Public Safety, EHS, General Counsel and Human Resources, as well as individual graduate and professional school liaisons, have participated in workshops, tabletop discussions, and functional field exercises. Bringing together stakeholders in simulated scenarios has prepared the campus to better address future real-world emergencies as a team.

This text is taken from the CHHS Fall 2015 Newsletter

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