September 10, 2008 — A message from Marjorie L. Sidebottom, the University's director of emergency preparedness:
September is Emergency Preparedness Month.
The Office of Emergency Preparedness coordinates emergency planning and operations at the University of Virginia. We focus on everything from special events planning, such as football games, to potential regional situations, like a hurricane. Along with the local emergency operations center, we are actively watching tropical weather patterns and are focused presently on the paths of Hurricanes Hanna and Ike.
Preparing for events that may impact us locally is a priority, but as state employees we also have the opportunity to respond to requests for assistance from other parts of the country affected by disasters. The Commonwealth of Virginia participates in the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, where other states can request specific help in response to an emergency. For example, Virginia filled a request in preparation for Hurricane Gustav and deployed law enforcement personnel to Louisiana.
Please read the memo below announcing the adjunct emergency workforce database, a new database created and housed here at U.Va. that tracks those willing to volunteer when the state receives an Emergency Management Assistance Compact request. As you will see, signing up does not obligate you, but provides the University, including the Medical Center, with a list of those employees that can be contacted regarding availability if their specific skills are requested.
There are three important things you can do now:
• Make sure your personal emergency plan is up to date — see www.readyvirginia.gov
• Know your role at work should an emergency arise
• Sign up for the governor's adjunct workforce (see the letter below with instructions).
Dear U.Va. Employee,
Over the past year, emergency preparedness has been on all of our minds as well as a hot topic in the news. We here in Virginia have had special reason to pay attention. Natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, and human tragedies, like the shootings at Virginia Tech, have focused a great deal of attention on how we prepare for the unimaginable.
As a state employee, you have received communications from the Governor and the Commonwealth's Department of Human Resources Management regarding creating a volunteer emergency workforce.
The first communication announced an added responsibility to your Employee Work Profile performance plan. Designed to ensure manpower in an emergency, the mandate was a direct outgrowth of the lessons our federal and state governments learned from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This addition was mandated by the Commonwealth, and the University supports this effort. It reads: "May be required to perform other duties as assigned. May be required to assist the agency or state government generally in the event of an emergency declaration by the Governor."
In any scenario, you would only be asked to perform a role you are capable of doing. Some employees may not be suited to respond because of their critical role here at the University, or other circumstances.
The second announcement was to roll out an adjunct emergency workforce for the Commonwealth, soliciting volunteers for specific roles. A number of you tried to sign up, only to find the state could not take your information. In an effort to correct this, the University has created a database for those that might wish to volunteer in an emergency. The format allows you to add your name to a University database of volunteers. You can also opt in to volunteer for the specific roles outlined by the state if you wish. That information will be communicated to the state on a regular basis.
Many of you have relevant skills that will be a great aid in an emergency, and this new system will provide a comprehensive clearinghouse of those willing to help. Signing up will not obligate you for a specific time, but will provide the Office of Emergency Preparedness with a list of volunteers, should the need arise. If you are interested in helping in case of emergency, please take a few minutes to sign up (link to http://www.hrs.virginia.edu/dhrm/aewapp.html).
Should you have questions about any of this information, please feel free to contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565.
Office of Emergency Preparedness