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The Blue & Gray Press | August 23, 2019

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UMW Initiates Quake Prep


The University of Mary Washington participated in the Great Southeast ShakeOut for the first time by sending out email notifications on Thursday Oct. 18.

The ShakeOut first originated in Southern California in 2008 as a drill to educate the public about how to prepare and protect themselves against potential earthquakes, according to the ShakeOut website.

The Great Southeast ShakeOut was held in Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, according to the email sent out by UMW office of Emergency Management and Safety.

“The event was essentially a test of the university’s alert systems,” said Christopher Cash, Emergency Systems Integrator.

Email notifications were sent on Thursday Oct. 18 at by EagleEye and the local media informing students and the community that the event was going to occur, according to Cash.

“All of the systems are emergency related and are ready to be used at a moment’s notice. So, as far as the actual issuing of the test normal operational procedures were followed,” said Cash.

Cash believes that the event went well, however, he has not received much feedback on the event.

He plans to try to find additional methods of receiving feedback in the future and would also like to participate in the ShakeOut annually from now on.

“As we found out last year, we even get earthquakes in Virginia,” said Cash.

In order to create awareness for the ShakeOut event, the Office of Emergency Management and Safety advised people to think about the three actions they need to take should an earthquake occurr: drop, cover and hold on.

Cash hopes ShakeOut will encourage students to think about their safety.

“Emergencies can happen any time and can be something as simple as a fall or as major as an Earthquake,” said Cash.

As an Emergency Systems Integrator, Cash keeps emergency systems functioning in a ready state, including supporting the Emergency Communications Center, the card access systems, area warning investigations, the camera systems, the UMW alert systems and emergency phones.

Cash also works with the police department using the emergency systems to aid investigations, gives staff and faculty card access, and assists the director of safety with implementing and improving better alert systems.

Cash was the Emergency Communications supervisor until the reorganization of the department in May, when he became the Emergency Systems Integrator.

Marty Morrison sent out emails concerning class cancelations due to Hurricane Sandy on Sunday Oct. 28 and Monday Oct. 29.