Gov. Warner Taps GMU for Statewide Shelter Plan

From a news release issued today: Gov. Mark Warner has requested
the assistance of George Mason University in developing the first-ever Virginia
plan for evacuation event response.
The plan is expected to be completed
later this fall, allowing Virginia to be the first in the nation to develop a
written plan documenting lessons learned about state-level emergency
sheltering response activities necessitated by recent natural disasters like
Hurricane Katrina.

eorge Mason's College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), Center for
Health Policy Research and Ethics (CHPRE), will be leading the charge for the
university. The plan will include operations guidance and standard operating
procedures (SOPs), as well as forms necessary for rapid mobilization and the
management of emergency shelter openings and closings. The plan will
complement Governor Warner's existing plan for commonwealth disaster and
emergency response and will integrate side-by-side support practices from
government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross and
faith-based community organizations.

"I am pleased and honored that the Governor of Virginia has recognized our
college's expertise in disaster and emergency response and is engaging us to
develop this comprehensive response plan," said Shirley Travis, CHHS
dean. "Our work on this plan is a great responsibility and presents a
tremendous opportunity to serve the government and citizens of Virginia."

Dr. Peggy Jo Maddox, deputy director of CHPRE, is spearheading the George
Mason Disaster Recovery Response Plan team. Maddox and her team were
originally approached by Virginia Secretary Jane Woods to help document
establishment of a site located in Fort Pickett, Virginia to support evacuee
outplacement from Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Gulf States. Subsequently, the
Governor requested the support and assistance from the university in
developing the Commonwealth's response plan.

The Emergency Sheltering Operations Plan is being directed by Secretary
Woods, who served as Incident Commander (IC) for the Pickett operation.
Maddox's George Mason team will build upon the Governor's initial emergency
plan and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) incident
command functions and develop a framework for developing and managing
short and long-term plans for designated emergency sheltering operations. As
such, CHPRE will provide assistance to the Commonwealth for the following:
" Information analysis and coordination;
" Immediate and long-term planning;
" Compilation and documentation of After Action Reports, designed to
capture learning from the experience and documentation of processes to
improve response time for operations readiness;
" Collaboration with functional area chiefs to document SOPs for
logistics, administration, finance and operations (inclusive of reception,
evacuee, security, medical health and transition services);
" Establishment of a documentation system for meetings, briefings
and conferences; and
" Assistance to VDEM in developing a data collection system to
capture resource expenditures for planning activities that may be reimbursed
by FEMA, as well as public assistance program rules for emergency sheltering
operations. The system will also document the cost of disaster recovery
planning and mobilization.

Maddox's team includes Kae Livsey, MPH, RN, research associate with CHPRE,
and Elizabeth Chester, a graduate student in CHHS who will assist in the
planning effort through a service learning course. Maddox said, "For students
and faculty alike, this a great opportunity to serve the citizens of Virginia and
those left in crisis when a disaster strikes. Students are learning first hand
how to roll up their sleeves and be a part of the solution."

With a 30-year history, CHHS has received sustained and widespread support
of the programs from the greater Northern Virginia health care community and
the graduates of the program. For the past 10 years, the graduate nursing
program has consistently been ranked among the top 50 programs in the
United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. For more information
on CHHS, visit

By Steve Fehr |  October 11, 2005; 1:03 PM ET  | Category:  Public Safety
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