Whatever work is being done, whether at the local, state, or federal level, it must include educational institutions as an participant. Often, educational institutions have tremendous resource pools that will assist with all areas of preparing for, responding too, and recovering from incidents and will posses some of greatest risk potentials.
Nation-wide, there is a push to incorporate private sector assistance into All-Hazards incidents, which includes grant funding and I applaud this effort. At the same time, educational institutions, depending on their “classifications” (i.e. state institution, private college, public school, etc) may be overlooked. Some argue that educational institutions are "part of the bigger picture" and are “represented” by their surrounding community; this is not always the case. In reality, their mere size, though used to help justify grants for surrounding agencies, leave them autonomously perched when trying secure resources to handle their own emergency management needs.
As I previously mentioned, I believe that participation must be drilled to the “working level” and I offer the following to support this statement. Locally, we have a very active UASI working group and I recently read the following statement on the site that listed the awards (monies) received by that group:
• States must ensure that the identified Urban Areas take an inclusive regional approach to the development and implementation of the UASI program and involve the contiguous jurisdictions, mutual aid partners, port authorities, rail and transit authorities, campus law enforcement, State agencies, Citizen Corps Council(s), and MMRS jurisdictions in their program activities.
We are the largest University in our state/ UASI area and other than having our geographical statistics used by surrounding communities to apply for said grants; we have not been involved with any UASI processes. I realize this example is not an accurate depiction for all areas across the country or even within my own state but I am confident I am not the only person that has identified this “gap” within their local jurisdiction and a push must be made at ALL levels to change this behavior.
In closing, I will reiterate that the example given above was used to stress the need for “local” or “working level” involvement by education institutions. Relationships and involvement from educational institutions, similar to what is being created with the private sector and already established with Non-Governmental Organizations must be embraced and expanded.
Assistant Chief of Police
Arizona State University Police Department