Administration: Emory to Open Crisis Office

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Administration: Emory to Open Crisis Office

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By: Susan McMillan<br />
Issue date: 4/24/07<br />
Section: News


Emory will establish an Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response to coordinate responses to catastrophic events, University officials announced Thursday. The office, CEPAR, will report directly to University President James W. Wagner.

Although the announcement about CEPAR comes close on the heels of last week&#39;s shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, its director, Alexander Isakov, said the timing is coincidental.

"What brought this to the foreground was the University&#39;s effort in the fall of 2005 to address the challenges of a pandemic strain of influenza," said Isakov, an associate professor of emergency medicine.

The office was recommended by the Avian Influenza Task Force, which evaluated Emory&#39;s ability to respond to a flu pandemic, and it was first officially proposed in January 2006. CEPAR will also work on drawing up plans to deal with natural disasters, campus violence, disease outbreak and other situations.

Isakov will assume his new position on May 1, and funding for the office begins Sept. 1, the start of the University&#39;s fiscal year.

He said the staff of CEPAR will identify current emergency response plans in place across Emory&#39;s divisions and coordinate them to eliminate duplication. By making planning more efficient and cohesive, Isakov said, the University can ensure more effective responses to catastrophic events.

In addition, by bringing together Emory&#39;s emergency planning and response functions, CEPAR will be able to serve as a "central command and control center" in the case of a crisis, Isakov said.

Emory also plans to enhance its emergency notification systems with a handful of new technologies, Emory Police Department Chief Craig Watson said. He said the timing of the announcement of the enhancements is also coincidental, since they emerged as recommendations from a task force last fall.

"We&#39;ve been working on this for quite a while now," Watson said.

One suggestion was a siren and public address system that could be used for inclement weather warnings or voice messages. Another addition would be a computerized paging system that could target key groups, such as building managers, or be used more broadly, like a text-message warning sent to registered cell phones.

Less direct notification systems proposed include banners for Emory&#39;s cable TV system and the creation of an AM radio station that could also provide traffic and campus directions when there is no emergency.

Watson said funding has been secured for these improvements and that they are expected to be in place by the end of 2007, if not sooner.

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Original Source: <a href=http://media.www.emorywheel.com/media/storage/paper919/news/2007/04/24/News/Administration.Emory.To.Open.Crisis.Office-2876089.shtml> Emory Wheel - April 24, 2007</a>

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Susan McMillan

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2007-07-11

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Sara Hood

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"Christopher H. Megerian" <cmegeri@LearnLink.Emory.Edu>

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eng

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Susan McMillan, "Administration: Emory to Open Crisis Office," in The April 16 Archive, Item #689, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/689 (accessed August 22, 2014).