Campus Safety – Epidemic Preparedness

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Nathan Selin, head of the Central Utah Public Health Department, gives a scenario of what would happen if an epidemic were to break out. Photo by Crystal Snow

Nathan Selin, head of the Central Utah Public Health Department, gives a scenario of what would happen if an epidemic were to break out. Photo by Crystal Snow

On March 17, Snow College Administration, the Central Utah Health Department, and Snow College Emergency Management met in the Greenwood Student Center to discuss the plan of action in case of an epidemic. Incident manager Craig Mathie and CUHPD representative Nathan Selin led this tabletop.

The scenario: bioterrorism through the use of anthrax. Now, this won’t happen at Snow College, but the groups working together felt that if anthrax were used as the breakout, then they would be prepared for any kind of epidemic.

While every single person involved in the process of receiving and distributing of the antibiotic is important.  One that will play a large part in how students handle the situation is going to be social media. There are a couple of ways that student will be able to access the information, but there are also some cautions that need to be taken.

First, there will be updates that go up roughly every 10 minutes to let students know what is going on. These updates will be available through Twitter and Facebook, as well as on the Snow College website.

Second, the Snow College homepage will be changed from what it normally is to “Emergency Information,” which will have the Facebook feed on it.

Craig Mathie directs heads of departments as they role play what they would do in the event of an epidemic. Photo by Crystal Snow

Craig Mathie directs heads of departments as they role play what they would do in the event of an epidemic. Photo by Crystal Snow

The biggest concern with social media is what students put up.  Misinformation and “citizen reporters” will be something the social media group keeps an eye on.

Remember, the actual event will take place on April 21 in the GSC. Bob Wright, head of campus police wants as many students to attend as possible in order to give the administration a good idea of what would take place during an actual incident.

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