Post-secondary institutions join forces to prepare for disasters

(Edmonton) A new agreement between the University of Alberta and three local post-secondary institutions establishes a contingency plan to help maintain business continuity in the event disaster strikes one of the partner institutions.

The agreement, signed by the U of A, Grant MacEwan University, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and NorQuest College, means that the institutions could call upon one another in the event of an emergency such as fire, severe weather or flooding.

With the safety of the affected individuals the top priority, the agreement also calls for lending or sharing facilities, resources, equipment or computer systems and software, and even making staff available to assist if needed. Specific types of assistance could include making space available in the event of an evacuation, assistance with cleanup following structural damage, or help with the provision of psychological services to individuals who have experienced trauma.

Philip Stack, the U of A’s associate vice-president for Risk Management Services, said the agreement is an example of how the institutions are working together to make maximum use of their resources.

“The Alberta government and universities agree that everyone benefits when we are able to share resources, knowledge and best practices,” he said. “This agreement forms an important part of our contingency planning that helps ensure we can continue to provide services during a major emergency and return to normal as quickly as possible.”

The agreement establishes the legal and logistical details that would have to be resolved prior to assistance being rendered, ensuring a timely response from the partners in the event of an incident. The signatory parties noted that this Campus Alberta collaboration is another example of the strong relationships that exist between the institutions.

The four partners are making the terms of the agreement available to all Alberta institutions that may wish to pursue a similar arrangement in their geographical area.

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