UCF students recently gained hands-on experience in emergency
management by participating in a mock exercise at the Seminole
County Emergency Operations Center in Sanford, Fla.
The exercise was part of the course PAD 4395
- Disaster Response and Recovery taught by Assistant
Professor Claire Connolly Knox, who coordinates the school's
management programs. Students learn about disaster response and
recovery processes, programs and problems through lectures, guest
speakers, videos, case studies and field study.
The Emergency Operations Center's staff ran a
mock exercise for PAD 4395 students on Nov. 24. The exercise
focused on managing the impact of high winds and
flooding associated with a hurricane rolling through
Each student sat at a well-defined station or
"emergency support function," such as Animal Care or Public
Works, in the center's large operations room. There the
student learned how to respond to calls for information and
assistance posed by volunteers in a nearby room. In the process the
students helped the center by testing some new systems.
"It's a great learning experience," said Alan Harris, director
of emergency management for Seminole County and a
member of the UCF programs'
Harris also runs the most rigorous emergency
management internship in Florida, Knox said. The
majority of students who go through the unpaid internship are from
UCF's emergency management programs.
Students who have completed the internship have landed emergency
management positions at organizations such as FEMA (Federal
Emergency Management Agency), the EPA (Environmental Protection
Agency), the University of South Florida, Georgetown
University and the University of North Texas, she added.
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