MSU becomes 5th U.S. university accredited in emergency planning
In 2015, the MSU police department formed an advisory team to begin preparing for emergency plans in case of natural disaster or crises; today they’re the fifth higher education institution in the nation and second entity in the state of Michigan to become accredited in emergency planning.
Emergency planning is through the independent non-profit program Emergency Management Accreditation Program, or EMAP, that has been training MSU’s Police Capt. Penny Fischer for two years.
EMAP is a voluntary process that prepares programs to meet the national standards for emergency management to minimize injuries and provide support for rescue operations during a disaster.
Fischer formed an advisory and planning team of 25 professionals across campus to work together for completion of the accreditation.
“It’s something that we are extremely proud of, certainly because it impacts our entire community,” Fischer said. “We’re very cognizant of how to protect our community and do what’s right and do good things.”
Fischer said it was a way for the department to show how prepared they are as an institution, and she has an intense amount of pride as the captain who helped accomplish this goal.
“I’ll be honest, when I first started, I had no idea how we could accomplish this. So now looking back, we did do it so that’s a great thing,” she said.
Fischer said she is grateful for the confidence her department had in her to lead the effort.
According to the relief website, between 1994 and 2013 there were 6,873 natural disasters recorded worldwide and 218 million people were affected on average during that period.
The majority of those disasters were caused by flooding, accounting for 43 percent of the recorded events.
“We are already thinking ahead to what things could happen here, so should some emergency or disaster happen we already have tried to plan what we would do in response and how to recover,” Fischer said.
Fischer said the program is a five-year accreditation, so MSU will have to begin the process again in a few years. Fischer believes it won't be as difficult in the future because they’ve already accomplished it the first time.
The next steps for the department include getting other officials trained in the EMAP program, and Fischer said she has already prepared one of her sergeants for the protocol.
Fischer said they want to assure it stays up to par so they are building a “bench strength” of people who will be able to take on this program for the following years.
“We’re constantly improving so we’re always in a constant evaluation,” she said. “The better we are prepared as an institution, the better our response will be to you as a member of the community. Making us better prepared means, your life becomes safer, your life is more secure.”
MSU spokesperson Jason Cody said the EMAP is a tremendous accomplishment for MSU and reflects the commitment, led by MSU Police, to ensure as safe and secure a campus as possible.
“Countless hours have gone into the accreditation process, and campus leaders will use this as a springboard moving forward,” Cody said in an email.
“All Spartans should be proud of this,” Fischer said. “This is an achievement for the whole institution and certainly makes us look better in our members of the Big Ten and other institutions around the world, so we’re pretty proud.”