Sept. 26, 2013
Northwest, Red Cross enhance emergency response partnership
Northwest Missouri State University and the Midland Empire Chapter of the American Red Cross have formally signed a memorandum of understanding to document their partnership and outline a framework for their cooperation in providing emergency preparedness and response services to the region.
The MOU outlines Northwest’s and the Red Cross chapter’s desire to enhance community disaster preparedness and coordinate disaster planning and response. It encourages enhanced communication between the two organizations and the sharing of information related to disaster preparedness and response as well as disaster preparedness education and response training.
Additionally, Northwest and the Red Cross will work together to evaluate the suitability of local facilities as disaster shelters. The MOU also calls for an annual review by the partners to evaluate and revise their goals as needed.
Noting September is National Preparedness Month, Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said the University’s partnership with the Midland Empire Chapter strengthens its emphasis on having emergency guidelines in place and being prepared when a crisis occurs.
“At Northwest Missouri State University, we take safety and emergency preparedness very seriously,” Jasinski said. “What this does is formalize our relationship with the Red Cross, whether it’s communication between the organizations, being prepared throughout our communities, disaster preparedness education, having a response team for disasters, supporting disaster operations and certainly regional coordination.”
Karla Long, who serves as emergency services director for the Midland Empire Chapter and has 17 years of experience in emergency management, also praised the partnership. She said it is exciting for the chapter to help further Northwest’s focus on emergency preparedness.
“Things happen every where every day, and we never know when something is going to impact northwest Missouri,” Long said. “Knowing that you’ve prepared your students and your staff and your faculty about what to do, whether they’re on campus at Northwest or they’re at home, we’re excited to be able to help Northwest continue its preparedness efforts.”
Jasinski and Long also commended Lt. Mike Ceperley, Northwest’s emergency management coordinator, and Ralph Dishong, mass care specialist for the Midland Empire Chapter, for their work to formalize the partnership between the two organizations.
The partnership with the local Red Cross chapter is another of many steps Northwest has taken in recent years to enhance the safety and preparedness of its students, employees and community. The University routinely participates in table-top exercises, live training scenarios with local law enforcement agencies and other emergency preparedness activities to ensure it is properly prepared to address a variety of scenarios.
In June, Northwest announced its employment of a smartphone application to help students, employees and campus visitors become better prepared when a crisis arises. The easy-to-navigate “In Case of Crisis” app gives students and employees instant access to Northwest emergency plans so they know what to do when a crisis strikes. The app features information categorized by scenarios and offers actions to take in cases of fire, severe weather, evacuation and workplace violence, among other situations. Each crisis plan also includes phone contacts and online resources where users can access more information.
The American Red Cross is a humanitarian, volunteer-led organization that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. The Red Cross is guided by a congressional charter and the fundamental principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The Midland Empire Chapter serves 13 counties in northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. For more information, visit http://www.redcross.org/mo/st-joseph.
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Northwest Missouri State University
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