Saturday Will Start With a Bang

In today’s inbox:

University disaster exercise planned for this Saturday On Saturday morning, August 26, local emergency and disaster response agencies, including the ‘Canes Emergency Response Team (CERT), will conduct a disaster exercise at Miller Circle near the University Green from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Faculty and staff should be aware that Miller Drive and areas surrounding Miller Drive Circle will be inaccessible during the exercise. Members of the UM community should also note that a small charge will be detonanted to signal the start of the drill at 10 a.m.

Other participants include the Coral Gables Fire Department and the Miami-Dade Office of Emergency Management. UM Public Safety will provide security and traffic control on Miller Drive during the exercise.

Smart planning, or giving into and feeding post-9/11 hysteria?

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One Response to Saturday Will Start With a Bang

  1. Claire says:

    Probably a little of both — interest in emergency preparedness got a big boost from 9/11, but the real breakthrough happened after Katrina. In New York, there was tons of support, both locally and from the rest of the country and the rest of the world. With Katrina, the world got to watch an entire city be destroyed on CNN, and the state and federal governments completely screwed up the response, most of which also ended up on TV.

    Post-Katrina, a lot of people suddenly realized that natural disasters happen, that they can wipe out everything you depend on, and, most importantly, that you can’t depend on the government doing anything to help you survive, let alone get back on your feet.

    Also, there’s lots of stuff on a college campus that can explode and cause problems without there having to be any deliberate action — there are almost certainly lots of potentially unstable chemistry and physics projects going on that could destablize and cause an explosion. And there are plenty of plain old infrastructural things (such as electrical transformers) that can suddenly blow up and cause lots of trouble.

    Finally, remember that most schools are considered to be _in loco parentis_ when it comes to the well-being of their students. Even if they’re not officially responsible, if something bad happens you can bet there will be lots of lawsuits saying they are (or should have been). Having emergency training drills is not only sensible from a safety standpoint, but could well be a legal and financial necessity.

    All that said, yes, these things can be taken too far. I joined my college’s IMT after they’d taken some actions that were very bad security theater (they pretty much left the curtains open so you could see everything going on backstage), and I’ve been very active in trying to make sure that anything we do can actually be justified to a rational human being.

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