October 22, 2014  

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Southern Miss Officials Participate in Disaster Response Seminar

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Administrators from all corners of The University of Southern Mississippi campus convened for two days recently as participants in an executive seminar designed to sharpen response procedures in the event of an emergency.

The seminar, held Oct. 21-22 at the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, followed guidelines and protocol established by the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education at Louisiana State University.

“This seminar has been very eye-opening and educational for all of us here at Southern Miss,” said Dr. Susan Hubble-Burchell, associate dean in the College of Health who helped organize the event. “This allows department chairs, deans, associate deans and the like here to get on the same page when it comes to disaster response.

“Whether it’s something as simple as a fire or something as dramatic as a hurricane like Katrina, you can never be too prepared. The idea is to make sure all of the proper procedures for every conceivable scenario are in place here.”

The seminar was conducted by law enforcement officials and first-responders from across the country. Attendees participated in group activities that were problem-based and required a coordinated, integrated approach in order to solve. Through table-top scenarios, participants also observed a developing incident and were required to respond in a manner consistent with currently established campus and jurisdictional emergency operations procedures.

Hubble-Burchell said the seminar also provided an opportunity to detect any potential lapses in safety and security on the Southern Miss campus.

“We’ll take what we learned here and follow-up with a closer examination of the policies we already have in place,” she said. “That will help us identify whether or not we need any further training. Nothing else carries a higher priority than the safety of our students and our campus as a whole.”