California State University, Fullerton

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Eye on Emergency Planning

Emergency Management Coordinator's Efforts Garner Outstanding Staff Award

July 26, 2013

Sue Fisher seems to live and breathe safety, emergency management and planning.

Sitting on her desk is a canned container of water — "good for 30 years" — and she's thumbing through a mini-sized emergency planning booklet she picked up at a recent meeting.

"I wonder if I can get more of these to share on campus," she thinks out loud.

One of this year's three outstanding staff-employee award recipients, Fisher has served on campus since 1991 as radiation safety officer and director of the Research and Instructional Safety Office in academic affairs, and since 2009, campus emergency management coordinator.

As coordinator, she has been the voice on planning for the unexpected with periodic general safety suggestions, and messages for the Emergency Notification System — like those used during the Dec. 12, 2012 lockdown.

"That's why we need to train as often as possible," she says of last Fall's shelter-in-place drama.

Fisher has organized the annual campuswide evacuation drills, developed training exercises for police, building marshals and community and medical emergency response members (CERT/MERT) and offered specialized training for departments, like the Student Recreation Center.

"Exercises are not to frighten but to give people the skills and knowledge to make the right choices," she explains. "Following the incident last December, campus members let me know that because of the drills, they knew how to respond."

"Instead of having the same old earthquake exercise or evacuation drill each year, Sue has reached out to local community organizations to make them more interesting and expose outside agencies to the university for our benefit," said John Brockie, acting administrative captain, in nominating Fisher for the staff honor.

"I pray that the full extent of her labors are never tested in a real world event, but knowing that Sue is responsible for this area and that we are ready if such an event were to occur, I sleep much better."

In addition to the drills and planning, Fisher has applied and received grants that have funded additional radios for the building marshals and a mobile response unit medical responders.

Coming up, Fisher will address an international association of emergency responders in Las Vegas, where she will discuss training and drills. As hard as it is to train people without scaring them, she says, "its scarier if you don't give them those skills that will help them survive an situation."

"I am not surprised that Sue Fisher was recognized for such a prestigious award given the stellar employee she is and how Sue is dedicated to the success of the University Police Department in its pursuit of safety for our campus community," said University Police Chief Dennis DeMaio.

"Sue is the staff member that never quits and strives for excellence in everything she does. I am so proud to be a part of an organization that has outstanding team players like Sue Fisher."

By: Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852

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