New emergency preparedness program and website ensures Stanford community is CardinalReady

CardinalReady, a new program offered by Environmental Health & Safety, is designed for all members of the Stanford community and will help them prepare for a wide range of emergency situations well in advance of an actual crisis.

Members of the Stanford community have a new source of information to refer to when planning how to respond to emergencies ranging from earthquakes to active shooters to power outages.

The CardinalReady program focuses on emergency preparedness for the Stanford community. (Image credit: Courtesy Stanford Environmental Health & Safety)

CardinalReady, a new program created by Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), focuses on emergency preparedness and is designed for students, faculty, staff and parents, as well as the Department Operations Center coordinators responsible for overseeing Stanford’s response.

Initially, the program features a website with wide-ranging information. Eventually, the program will expand to include collateral, including flashlights and stickers, that makes it readily recognizable to those on campus likely to be affected by emergency situations.

The new website is not meant to replace, the official Stanford emergency website, which will continue to be the go-to place for updated information in campus emergencies. Rather, the CardinalReady website will help members of the community find the information they need to plan in advance for emergencies, whether they be local and quickly resolved, major enough to disrupt portions of the campus or catastrophic enough to involve external communities.

Not just another website

EH&S conceived of CardinalReady after realizing the campus community needed a single source of information for emergency preparedness.

“We found that many different departments were distributing their own part of the emergency preparedness message, but no one department covered everything,” said Keith Perry, university emergency manager and assistant director of EH&S.

Perry cautioned that the new website is not intended to be a source of information in the middle of an emergency, when most of the advice offered would be too late to be of use.

“At that point, your best resource is our emergency website, where information will be posted about the emergency, and any notices sent by the AlertSU system will be copied there,” he said. “Instead, we hope CardinalReady will be a one-stop shop for getting prepared before an event occurs.”

Laurie Friedman, deputy emergency manager in the Office of Emergency Management, said EH&S hopes the program will become widely recognized on campus.

“CardinalReady is not just another website for information,” she said. “We want it to become a well-known focus of our intention to help the Stanford community prepare for emergencies. It is a program – branded and recognizable – that will be identified with Stanford. We hope it resonates in particular with students and encourages them to actively prepare and help out in emergencies at Stanford and later in their lives.”

An ounce of prevention

Any emergency is likely to be a shock to both individuals and the campus community as a whole. Still, Perry said studies show that people who have physically practiced emergency responses or simply thought through the process mentally are better prepared to respond when a real crisis occurs. In the case of emergencies, he said, the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true.

Although the website includes information on some 20 different types of emergencies, a successful response to crisis really narrows down to just two basic protocols, Perry said.

“In most cases, you either need to evacuate because it’s no longer safe where you are, or you need to shelter in place because it’s more dangerous outside,” he said. “Once you grasp how those two approaches work, it’s not that difficult to apply it to other scenarios and then just add in scenario-specific adjustments or additional material as appropriate. For example, you should ‘duck, cover and hold on’ in an earthquake before you evacuate. Never try to evacuate a building during an earthquake. That’s an easy way to get hurt by falling objects.”

Perry and Friedman hope members of the university community will immediately visit the website for easily accomplished actions. For instance, everyone should know how to evacuate the buildings they frequent, whether they be offices or residences. Talking about the possibility of emergencies among those you live and work with can provide insight into what resources are readily available even before first responders arrive. In addition, practicing such skills as evacuation can make an emergency response seem like second nature.

“Getting involved can give you comfort knowing that you are better prepared to help yourself and others in an emergency and don’t need to rely on emergency responders who may not be able to respond to you in a major event,” Perry said. “So, get out there and take that First Aid, CPR and AED class, join a Community Emergency Response Team and visit the CardinalReady website to get informed about how to best respond to emergencies on campus and at home.”