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BC Sponsors National Preparedness Month

For The Heights

Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

In 2004, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sponsored the naming of September as National Preparedness Month. September was chosen in honor of the Sept. 11 tragedy, a point at which safety education became even more stressed for the public. This is the third year that Boston College has officially participated.

BC’s Office of Emergency Management is spreading the word through emails, posters, and Facebook to educate the student population on ways to be prepared and what to do in the event of an emergency.

“The goal behind [National Preparedness Month] is to try to get everybody to understand what they can do to be prepared for emergencies,” said John Tommaney, director of the Office of Emergency Management. “There’s a mentality today that ‘someone else is going to take care of this for me.’ We need all members of the community to do their part.”
The education available for BC students includes Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT) training for a disaster response team at BC, as well as CPR training and BC Safe Sessions. BC Emergency Management is also teaming up with the Office of Health Promotion at Healthapalooza, which has been moved to Friday, Sept. 21 due to inclement weather. In addition, a BC Emergency Notification System test will be performed on Thursday, Sept. 27.

BC Emergency Management is responsible for many of the posters around campus that give basic instructions for emergencies. A flier with what to do in different disasters is posted on the backs of all dorm room doors in order to educate students should the need arise.

Another project of the Office of Emergency Management is the BC Emergency Supply kits. Bags that can be easily brought in case of emergency feature lists of the supplies needed, including bottled water, manual can openers, radios, first aid kits, extra batteries, and other supplies that may be important for survival. Tommaney says that the kit is small, and should be used for the initial stages of a crisis situation.

“It can be relatively small, but help you through the initial stages,” Tommaney said. “It doesn’t have to be a doomsday package.” These emergency kits should be kept updated periodically with new supplies and recent emergency contact information. They should be easily accessible to a student in case evacuation is required. “If you need to evacuate in a crisis, it’s right there,” Tommaney said.

The Office of Emergency Management also places a lot of emphasis on staying calm and using common sense and planning to best handle emergency situations. “The most important part is the process of making a plan and the discussion that goes along with it,” Tommaney said. “It doesn’t have to be a scary subject.”
Tommaney suggests several things that students can do, including updating their cell phone numbers on Agora so that they can be quickly notified. “It only takes a minute to do, but makes a big difference in how quickly we can contact students,” Tommaney said. In addition, he recommends informing parents in the case that an emergency should occur on campus to keep them calm and to let them know that their children are safe.

Complete lists of suggested supplies for the emergency kits are available on the Office of Emergency Management’s website, as well as opportunities for safety education and training open to the student body. BC On-Campus Emergency Reference Guides are also available, and feature detailed instructions about how to handle different kinds of emergencies in the best way, as well as contact information for emergency services.

Students who wish to learn more information can visit or join the Facebook page at

“If students have questions, they shouldn’t hesitate to contact us. We’re more than happy to talk with them,” Tommaney said. “For every person who’s prepared, that’s one less person that we have to worry about.”

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