|Jewish Community Campus|
|Written by Barbara Bayer, Editor|
|Friday, September 30 2011 09:47|
In case of an emergency at the Jewish Community Campus — the building that serves as the home of the Jewish Community Center and all its programming including the fitness center, Child Development Center, Heritage Center and the White Theatre; Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy; Jewish Federation; Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee; Jewish Family Services; Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and a branch office of Jewish Vocational Services — its common sense to call 911 immediately. Last week, staffers and administrators from the agencies that are housed at the Campus met to learn more about keeping everyone safe.
Mark S. Shuster, chief financial officer of the Jewish Federation and a member of the Campus Crisis Management Team, pointed out that last week’s meeting wasn’t the first time anyone at the Campus has discussed safety issues.
"The Campus Crisis Management Team’s goal is to make being prepared an everyday task for everyone working at the Campus," Shuster said. "We work together to determine where we have gaps in preparedness for the group, and what the risks are for each agency."
Alan Bram, who has served as executive director of the Campus since before it opened its doors in 1988, explained that the Crisis Management Team, which includes representatives from all the agencies, works together to oversee all the crisis planning and training that goes on at the Campus. Bram said a crisis can be defined in many ways.
"A crisis can be any unplanned event, occurrence or sequence of events that can affect safety or security, financial stability, reputation or the ability to conduct normal business operations," he said. "Crises are characteristically uncommon, unpredictable and sometimes sudden, demanding immediate responses in order to save lives, avert secondary damage and restore normal operations."
Last week’s training session covered the topic of what to do if an armed intruder enters the building. But the Campus has emergency plans for a variety of crises, including fire, tornado, sudden illness/death, disorderly behavior, bomb threat, utility interruption, earthquake, lock down and evacuation.
As Bram points out, not every crisis requires an immediate response or threatens one’s safety.
"We schedule annual drills and evaluate what we learn from those drills about how well we are, or are not, prepared. Our training includes regular fire drills, and has included bomb detection and search training, evacuation, tornado and lock down drills, as well as CPR, first aid and defibrillator training. The Campus Crisis Management Team takes Campus security very seriously, every day," Shuster said.
"But there are some, like our exercise pointed out last week, that could threaten an institution’s survival," he said.
As Shuster pointed out, the Crisis Management Team meets regularly to review communication plans and establish contacts between organizations.
Last week’s training session was led by Adam Crowe, assistant director of community preparedness for Johnson County. Also in attendance to lend their expertise were Tim Lynch, the administrator of homeland security and emergency management for the Overland Park Police Department, and Roger Lippert, division chief of Johnson County Emergency Medical Services, commonly known as MED-ACT.
Crowe pointed out that the city and the county both maintain close relationships with all faith communities concerning safety issues, not just the Jewish Community Campus. That’s because law enforcement officials believe all faith communities are vulnerable to certain crisis situations.
He also pointed out during the training session that there is no absolute correct way to plan or train for an emergency, because "every emergency situation is going to be different."
OPPD’s Lynch said in certain emergency situations "all hands would be on deck." He elaborated by saying that law enforcement and emergency personnel from the surrounding areas — including Leawood, Prairie Village and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department — would be at the scene as well as officials from Overland Park.
Lynch also told the group that even though they can’t ever feel like they are fully prepared for an emergency situation, sessions like the one they were attending are good.
"The planning and preparation is important and not a waste of time," he said.
Both Lynch and Bram said that the Campus has a great working relationship with the Overland Park Police Department.
In addition to planning meetings and drills, The Campus has five Automated External Defibrilators (AEDs) that have been used over the years that have saved five lives. A closed circuit TV system is also available that may help the police in case of an emergency situation.
Bram noted that while the Campus takes security and safety very seriously, no amount of planning and training will ever guarantee the safety of every student, every employee and every visitor in the building during a crisis situation.
"With sessions like we had last week, we are trying to do our very best to deal with, respond to and mitigate damage during a crisis situation," Bram said.
|Last Updated on Thursday, October 06 2011 10:49|