Miami Dade College Receives Major Grant from U.S. Department of Education Emergency Management Program
City of Hialeah police officers prepare to participate in a mock emergency response drill held at Miami Dade College’s Hialeah Campus recently. "It’s imperative that we continue being as prepared as possible for any major campus emergency,” said Scott Burnotes, MDC’s director of emergency preparedness.
Miami, July 22, 2009 - The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced on July 9th that Miami Dade College (MDC) was selected to receive a $499,999 grant from the Emergency Management for Higher Education Program.
The major grant, which took effect this month, will help the college with its existing and future emergency planning activities. The DOE created the Emergency Management for Higher Education (EMHE) Grant Program in 2008, as a tool to fund new or existing higher education institution projects and fully integrate campus-based emergency planning efforts.
The grant will help MDC manage its own emergency mitigation efforts through a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) for its eight campuses and numerous outreach centers.
The CEMP will incorporate the guidance of both college personnel and an external advisory committee made up of representatives from partnering agencies, which include Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the county’s Health Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and various municipalities.
“Collaboration with off-campus emergency response agencies is a particularly critical need at MDC due to the location of campuses within multiple law enforcement and fire rescue jurisdictions,” said Scott Burnotes, MDC’s director of emergency preparedness.
To secure the grant, MDC submitted a proposal based on several needs, mainly improving its existing emergency plans and the entire College community’s level of awareness, and maintaining the National Incident Management System requirements mandated by the Department of Homeland Security.
The College was among 259 other higher education institutions from across the U.S. to apply for the government grant.
However, due to limited funding, the DOE was only able to award the EMHE grant to 17 institutions in 2008. Instead of having all the institutions resubmit proposals, DOE decided to continue to fund quality projects from the 2008 submission and MDC was chosen along with 26 other higher education institutions to receive the 2009 EMHE grant funds.
This is just one of the recent grants MDC has been awarded to improve safety and security at its campuses. Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security awarded the College $50,000 from the State Homeland Security Grant Program for enhancements to its mass notification capabilities and another $75,000 from the Urban Area Security Initiative Nonprofit Grant Program to increase security at the Freedom Tower at MDC.
“MDC’s eight campuses are serviced by six local law enforcement agencies and three fire rescue agencies,” added Burnotes.
“We’re committed to enhancing collaboration and communication with these agencies to avoid duplication of effort. This way, we ensure that our emergency policies, plans and procedures are consistent with local, state and federal plans. Considering the population we serve, it’s imperative that we continue being as prepared as possible for any major campus emergency.”
For nearly half a century, MDC has been regularly lauded for its academic and cultural programs and operations.
In fact, it has often served as a national model for quality and efficiency. Recent grant developments confirm MDC’s standing among the nation’s top educational institutions.
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