ICS in place for emergencies

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By Maria Brown, Contributor

Students, faculty, staff and community members may recall the February 2014 Scott Village Building G fire that put UNO’s incident command organization into action.

“There is nothing that went wrong other than the fire itself,” said Charley Reed, associate director of media relations.

The command team responded in a timely manner, set its posts and immediately made account for students, he said. One thing, Reed said, the team worked on after the fire was having better ways to identify command team members when they are behind police lines or safety zones.

Reed said the university uses the National Incident Command System, which was put into place by the federal government after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“The Incident Command System structure is designed to enable an effective response during emergency notices, such as a tornado warning, off-campus threat or building fire,” Reed said.

In the event of an emergency, the system uses a chain of command to coordinate with other institutions,
such as the Omaha fire and police departments, Reed said.

The command team is responsible for communicating with students, faculty, staff and the community when emergencies occur on or near campus.

UNO has a lead command organization team that includes Stanley Schleifer, John Amend and Dan Shipp, incident commanders; Paul Kosel, Patrick Wheeler and Tyler Davis, safety officers; and Reed and Erin Owen, public information officers.

The command team meets every month to focus on areas such as new technology and drills. The entire team must complete the Emergency Management Institute course through the Department of Homeland Security.

In 2013, the team went through a staged active killer drill set up by the Omaha Police Department, Reed said.

Other than the Scott Village fire, the command team has been called to action for missing students and to communicate off-campus threats.

Reed said the command team went to preventative measures for the Claussen-Leahy Run because of the timing with the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013.

The university partnered with the Omaha Police Department to increase security for the run.

When the members are called to action, Reed said, they have to-go bags equipped with battery chargers, laptops, vests, and a list of names and phones to be used.

“I think that UNO has a really good team and emergency response system,” Reed said. “We have great out-side support and are prepped, ready to go.”

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