Client’s Challenge: A National University Consortium Seeks an Emergency Preparedness Plan

The governing committee of a major national university consortium wanted to ensure that its member campuses were sufficiently prepared – both individually and collaboratively – to respond to a major crisis, natural disaster or other campus-wide emergency.

Our Solution: Designing a Plan Carefully Aligned with the University’s Risks, Operations and Culture

An early priority of the Hillard Heintze team was developing a keenly informed, front-line perspective – not just on the risks and threats confronting the consortium’s students, employees and visitors but also on the culture and guiding principles that set these universities apart from their peers. The team knew that insights on balancing these factors would be a crucial driver behind the ability of the system’s stakeholders to readily embrace a raft of key prevention-related and crisis-responding behaviors. And it based its final report recommendations on a careful balancing of the many factors underlying best-practice emergency planning and response procedures in a university setting as well the evolving maturity of the schools’ crisis-related resources and capabilities and the readiness “mindset” of the various student bodies, faculties and employees.

Impact on the Client: Confident in Its Plan, the University is Now Advancing Its Threat Assessment Capability

The university consortium has begun implementing these recommendations in compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Incident Management System (NIMS). As part of its commitment to establishing the building blocks of a best-practice-based emergency preparedness program, it is moving quickest on one key strategic front: establishing the groundwork for an effective behavioral threat assessment capability.

Unplugged: The Project Manager's Post-Engagement Perspective

“We know emergency preparedness like the back of our hand. That is not the ‘lift’.

it’s not hard to come up to speed with what’s going on – on the ground – and then bring a well-integrated set of critical practices to bear. And help advise the client, of course, on how to bridge the gaps, sequence the investments and do it holistically from day one.

What really matters is getting the ‘soft stuff’ right. Call it culture. Or principles. Sometimes, it’s clearly internal politics.

But if you don’t take the time to get to know how the organization wakes up, turns on and goes to work day in and day out, it doesn’t matter how right you think you are with your analysis and recommendations. They just won’t be implemented. That’s what matters to me.”

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