UCO changes emergency protocols
UCO plans to update the emergency procedures provided in each classroom, using QR codes to aid students in the case of an emergency. Alongside the QR codes posted on the wall will also be arrows directing students to the nearest evacuation route and severe weather shelter.
Norman Nieves, director of emergency management, plans on making this switch during the spring semester but originally planned this development before the COVID-19 shutdown. In the case of an emergency, a QR code allows students to find a route to safety quicker than flipping through the pages of the single binder provided in a classroom.
Nieves has served in his role of director for 14 years and through the years has organized a variety of emergency procedures that are available to students and faculty in red binders placed in the classrooms around campus. Each procedure has its own plan with specific duties and responsibilities for staff and faculty. The procedures are updated after every drill with an “After Action” report, which is a debrief with the cabinet to discuss how to improve the drill performed. When the switch takes place in Spring 2022, the emergency procedures will be updated with more ease after each report. Although the binder strategy is being replaced, it has been a reliable system through the years that has been adopted by other education systems such as OCCC and Francis Tuttle.
If students have not already, Nieves said he recommends those on campus sign up for campus alerts on their cellphones to stay informed and protected in similar situations or worse. Further details on shelters and safety procedures can be found at www.uco.edu/offices/public-safety/.