Staff incident response training underway

Members from several factions of the campus community are undergoing Incident Command System training in order to improve modes of communication and execution in emergency situations.

The 22 staff members from the departments of Computing and Information Technology, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities, Communications and Publications, University Police, the Student Health Center and the Provost's Office have already attended three out of six classes, each building upon the last. Dean of Students Lenny Sancilio and Vice President of Administration and Finance Kenneth Levison are also undergoing the training.

Sancilio said that in addition to providing trainees with opportunities to practice emergency responses and universal terminology, ICS provides a "method to plan large-scale events in an efficient way." He said that this year's commencement ceremony is being planned using ICS.

ICS training for Geneseo was organized by the Disaster Planning and Response Coordinating Task Force, chaired by Chuck Reyes. The training is related to the National Incident Management System, which has been mandated for use at SUNY institutions by its chancellor and was originally issued by George Bush in 2004.

Essentially, ICS training works to consolidate workers in a crisis so that each person reports to only one superior and no individual is responsible for more than seven others. The training also incorporates "tabletop exercises," where responders are given an imaginary situation to which they must react. After drills are completed, participants review what went well versus where improvements can be made and deficiencies fixed.

According to Reyes, the training will help faculty to work with outside agencies like the village fire department as well as teams from the county and state. These external organizations have also undergone ICS training in order to understand the frequently used terminology and techniques common to the program.

The disaster task force has detailed information on record for every department and functional area of the college should an emergency affect it. There are also two emergency operations centers on campus from which plans can be made in an extreme situation.

Kevin Niedermaier, director of Emergency Management Services for Livingston County, runs the ICS training classes.