From Western Washington University:
Western Washington University has received a two-year, $512,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education to partner with a number of community institutions to review, improve and enhance campus emergency management planning efforts.
The grant was given to enhance emergency preparedness within the Resilient Bellingham Consortium (RBC), a group consisting of the city’s three institutions of higher education – WWU, Bellingham Technical College and Whatcom Community College. Grant principals include WWU’s Environmental Health and Safety office; WWU Associate Professor of Psychology David Sattler; the WWU Psychology Department; Rebekah Green, associate director of the Resilience Institute at WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment; Debra Jones, vice president of Bellingham Technical College; and Ray White, vice president of Whatcom Community College.
Community partners include the City of Bellingham’s Office of Emergency Management, the Whatcom County Division of Emergency Management, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the Whatcom County Health Department, among others.
Members of the RBC will use the funding from the federal grant to enhance their current all-hazards emergency plans, paying special attention to the needs of those with disabilities and other groups having special issues; as well as work on topics such as homeland security, infectious disease outbreaks, and campus violence. The grant will support training for university staff and faculty in emergency management procedures and promote coordination of emergency planning and communications across departments within each institution as well as between the institutions of higher education. The effort will build upon current relationships to collaborate even more closely with local government partners and emergency management professionals within the community.
“We’ll use this funding to revitalize mechanisms to plan for disasters that address each campus’s unique challenges,” said Gayle Shipley, WWU director of Environmental Health and Safety and grant project director. “This grant provides a much-needed resource to increase our communities’ resilience. An effective response to, and recovery from, a disaster will help us maintain ongoing access to educational opportunities for our students. And more broadly, it will enhance the wellbeing of our communities beyond our campuses.”
For more information on the Resilient Bellingham Consortium or the Department of education grant, contact Gayle Shipley at (360) 650-6512.