Universities often exist in their own worlds, secluded from the cities which surround their campuses. UNLV, however, is located right next to a top tourist attraction, the Las Vegas Strip, and blocks from one of the world’s busiest airports. So when emergencies and crises happen in the city, the campus may be called upon to pitch in.
Emergency Management Coordinator Yuri Graves is working to prepare campus for all types of hazards, ensuring that personnel are trained to respond and our campus community has the resiliency to recover. Graves joined UNLV after leading preparedness and relief efforts for the United States Coast Guard and the city of Henderson.
We listened in on a recent KUNV 91.5 interview and came away with three key things.
Training is the key
Threats that begin so quickly and unexpectedly are hard to plan for and difficult to respond to, he said. But planning is the key to sleeping soundly. Incidents — like active assailants, where the timing, location, and totality of the circumstances are unknown — are always challenging. However, as with earthquakes, flash flooding, and pandemics, the process for response can be planned and defined: identify the hazard and respond; and take the steps to protect life, property, and the environment as the situation is stabilized.
UNLV has well-developed training for responding to emergencies, he notes. One of his top priorities is to improve plans for dealing with the recovery process after any incident. He also is working to make UNLV a more integral part of the Las Vegas Valley’s broader comprehensive planning process.
Communication is continual and interactive
Graves’ job is not simply to put out information, but to ensure the public can ask questions and get involved. The goal is as much interaction as possible. Not simply between agencies and jurisdictions, but with students, staff, and faculty on campus, as well as with their families or roommates at home
Graves is helping enhance the campus community’s preparation for emergencies in general. This includes helping campus community members understand how to develop their own personal emergency and communications plan as well as supply kits for home and car.
This isn’t just a saying or a hashtag, it is a way of life on campus and in the community, Graves said. It means having an emergency plan and supply kit, staying informed, and getting involved. Downloading the RebelSAFE App and knowing how to receive emergency alerts is only step one. Graves is developing fun, educational exercises to engage the students — so keep an eye out for the campus zombie apocalypse, and Be RebelSAFE.