Remember the ice storm? Learn how AU is creating a culture of preparedness

When an ice storm hit Augusta in February 2014, Augusta University’s emergency management team jumped into action launching a plan that ensured the safety of our faculty, staff, students and patients.

Five years later, Critical Emergency Preparedness and Response (CEPaR) Director Joe Webber says his team continues to glean lessons learned from that experience to develop emergency response strategies designed to create a safe and secure environment on all campuses.

“Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility because we each play a role in making sure our departments follow safety protocols and also knowing what do in case disaster strikes at home,” Webber said. “I am proud to be a part of an institution that is dedicated to developing a culture of preparedness, and the CEPaR team will continue working hard to educate the Augusta University community on how they can stay safe and aware during times of crisis.”

As the regional coordinating hospital, Augusta University regularly conducts a wide range of planning and training exercises to evaluate the institution’s ability to support patients, students and employees during critical situations.

Next month, the university will participate in a state-wide drill involving a mock scenario of a train derailment carrying hazardous chemicals leaving local residents ill. CEPaR Coordinator John Ryan is helping to plan this exercise, and he is anticipating putting the university’s emergency management plan to the test.

“We know bad things can happen at any time, which is why preparation is the key,” said Ryan. “We are concerned about the safety of our people, and our drills are designed to show not only our strengths but the areas where we might need to develop better strategies in emergency situations.”

As the university continues its efforts to strengthen the safety and preparedness of our community, consider volunteering in any of CEPaR’s upcoming drills or attending the office’s monthly emergency preparedness workshops. The Augusta University Medical Reserve Corps is another volunteer opportunity for students, employees and staff — both medical and non-medical — to serve in the event of a large-scale disaster or public health crisis.

As an added layer of campus security, sign up today for Jag Alerts to receive the most up-to-date information during a crisis and download the Rave Guardian app to keep safety tools at your fingertips while on campus.

Learn more about the Office of Critical Emergency Preparedness and Response, and contact the CEPaR team for more information on how you can help in a crisis.

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Written by
Danielle Harris

Danielle Harris is Senior Media Relations Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-7511 or

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Written by Danielle Harris

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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