MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Auburn University and Auburn University at Montgomery have been jointly awarded an Emergency Management for Higher Education grant by the U.S. Department of Education. Public safety and emergency management officials from AU and AUM, along with the AUM Center for Government will use the funding to enhance emergency preparedness planning efforts on both campuses. The two-year grant is in the amount of $708,471 and is one of just 17 awards given nationwide.
The Auburn University system is the first in the state of Alabama to receive funding through the grant. "This is a great opportunity to better prepare our university system as a whole and to show the collaboration among the two campuses and our community partners," said Chance Corbett, associate director with the Auburn University Department of Public Safety and Security.
"In recent years, Auburn has shown great improvement in the area of emergency preparedness," Corbett said. "This funding will give us the opportunity to continue to update procedures, addressing the emergency operations plan, evacuation plan and other key emergency preparedness plans that are currently, or soon will be, in place. We also plan to implement systems to manage and track emergency incidents and events that occur on campus, which will promote a more coordinated response and recovery."
Additionally, the grant will provide for the mapping of buildings on both campuses into Virtual Alabama, a 3-D geospatial imagery toolset based in Google Earth technologies, which serves as the state's common operating platform for disaster planning, response and recovery.
"The floor plan maps we create in Virtual Alabama will identify a number of critical features found in and around the buildings, such as where hazardous materials are stored and where the various emergency staging areas are located," said Matthew L. Duke, senior director of the Center for Government at AUM. "Through this virtual environment, we can provide first responders the information they need, including the location of and access to live security camera feeds, anywhere they have Internet connectivity. Having this information, at the time and point of need, is essential to saving time and saving lives."
The Emergency Management for Higher Education program supports institutions of higher education Projects designed to develop, or review and improve, and fully integrate campus-based all-hazards Emergency management planning efforts. The planning process utilizes the framework of the four phases of emergency management including prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
"The public safety collaboration between Auburn and Auburn Montgomery continues to build, and as a result, we have been able to make huge strides in being prepared for anything that could happen on our two campuses," said Ricky Adams, director of Public Safety at Auburn Montgomery.