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KSC Background Information: Public Safety Management Project

October 6, 2004

The development of the national public safety management system will draw together resources from Keene State's School of Sciences and the School of Professional and Graduate Studies - in particular the department of technology, design and safety (TDS).

Keene State's roles in the project are:

To create a modern education facility in the new Science Center with distance- learning capabilities that will be used to train emergency professionals from throughout New Hampshire and across the region.

To assess the training needs of emergency personnel and to create and deliver educational curricula to these professionals by way of the distance-learning facilities.

To help other institutions in the state develop dynamic, readily accessible inventories of chemical, biological, and radiological hazards and to use this information to improve emergency response activities and reduce the exposure risk to security and emergency personnel.

To begin to develop an Emergency Public Health certificate program at the College, through KSC's Continuing Education program.

Under the direction of Melinda Treadwell, assistant professor of TDS, KSC staff and faculty are using the UNHCEMS software - developed at the UNH Research Computing Center - to create dynamic, facility-specific inventories of chemical, biological, and radiological hazards at Keene State and at four other educational institutions across the state of New Hampshire. TDS staff will then train personnel at participating institutions in the use of the software and will work with security and emergency personnel to use the software to improve emergency response and to reduce the potential for unnecessary exposure to toxic hazards in the event of an emergency. Security and emergency personnel will receive regularly updated information regarding the chemical, biological or radiological material volume, location, and hazard at participating institutions and will be involved in training and educational programs throughout the project.

The College's new, $23-million Science Center houses a lecture hall and classrooms that will be equipped with video-conferencing technology for distance learning. The Science Center also has faculty and analytical equipment that will be used for newly developed curricular offerings for security and emergency professionals regarding chemical, biological, and radiological hazards.

TDS faculty will work with security and emergency professionals to assess their current knowledge of chemical, biological, and radiological hazards and the effectiveness of their response to hazardous situations. UNHCEMS will then be integrated at four participating educational institutions, and the security personnel will assess the utility of the software in improving their responses to these sites. This collaborative assessment of the UNHCEMS software and emergency response procedures will support advanced professional development opportunities, along with new emergency response tools and procedures for these professionals.

"This project brings important resources of Keene State College and the University of New Hampshire together for the benefit of the people of New Hampshire," said KSC President Stanley J. Yarosewick. "When we designed the College's new Science Center, we intended for it become a resource for the region. The Science Center will make a significant contribution to public safety in New Hampshire using the distance learning technology that this appropriation provides."

The goal of Keene State's involvement in this project is to reduce the risk and increase the effectiveness of New Hampshire's emergency professionals in responding to situations involving potentially hazardous materials.

For more information, contact: Melinda Treadwell, assistant professor of technology, design and safety, at 603-358-2945; Gordon Leversee, dean of the School of Sciences, at 603-358-2544; Jeff Brown, Continuing Education Office at 603-358-2901