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the initial phase of response,” says Curtis Liska,
who directed security and crisis management for
the Kentucky Community and Technical College
System before joining Wright State University a few
years ago. “So, the first step in making sure you’re
prepared is building close relationships with first
Holding regular training exercises helps
ensure that everyone on campus knows their role
and is prepared to respond during an emergency.
“Training doesn’t always have to be a full-
blown exercise with an after-action report.
Sometimes, just sitting down and talking through
real-world examples can be beneficial,” Liska says.
“Take time at the end of emergency preparedness
meetings to pull real-world examples that have
While most colleges focus on active shooter drills
and responding to natural disasters, leaders shouldn’t
overlook the lower profile risks that are more likely
to occur on their campuses, Liska says—such as
aggravated or sexual assault, as well as mishandling
of materials used in teaching or other mishaps.
This is why training should go well beyond
emergency drills. For instance, community colleges should include mandatory safety training in
all classes where students are working with materials that could be considered dangerous.
Requiring students and staff to undergo extensive
safety training can save colleges significant money on
insurance premiums, as Coast Community College
District in California has found (see sidebar).
TOTAL TEAM EFFORT
Stoeger-Moore is fond of saying that everyone on
campus is a risk manager, not just the person who
holds this title. It takes a total team effort to reduce
risks and create a culture of safety.
On one of his walk-arounds at MATC several
years ago, he visited a sheet metal lab in which the
instructor had his safety goggles resting on top of
his head. “I pulled the instructor aside and told
him privately: ‘You are setting the wrong example
for your students,’” he recalls. “I made it a point
to return a few days later, and the instructor and
every student was wearing safety glasses.” I m
When near heavy equipment, safety goggles are a must at Milwaukee Area Technical
College for students, faculty and visitors.