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PHCC approves emergency plan

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An emergency operations plan for Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) was unanimously approved by the college’s board on Monday.

The plan lists types of disasters and other emergencies to which the college may be vulnerable and steps that must be taken to properly handle them.

Some emergencies, such as a fire or tornado, affect everyone on campus, while others, such as a heart attack, affect just one person, the document shows.

“When an emergency does occur, it is too late to develop a logical, well-conceived emergency management plan and to identify the key campus personnel needed to minimize potential problems,” the plan states.

“Quite a bit of time has been spent” on developing the plan to make sure the college is ready to handle any type of emergency, said board member Lillian Holland.

The plan notes the location of first-aid kits and defibrillators — electrical devices used to resuscitate heart attack victims — on campus.

Among numerous other things, the plan also lists safe areas where people should congregate if there is a fire or tornado.

The emergency operations plan replaces a previous crisis management plan put into place four years ago. It follows guidelines of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and reflects changes in state laws.

Students and employees usually receive information on campus emergencies through the “PHCC Alert” system that delivers messages to their computers and mobile phones. A campus loudspeaker system also has been installed.

Also Monday, the PHCC Board:

• Learned that most of the money localities in PHCC’s service area allocated to the college for the current fiscal year has not yet been received.

Martinsville has paid its $17,720 allocation in full, while Patrick County has paid $11,247.54 toward its $14,997 allocation, a report shows.

Henry and Franklin counties have not yet paid anything toward their allocations of $52,467 and $12,166, respectively, the report shows.

• Learned that the number of students taking PHCC’s “distance learning” courses via the Internet is increasing.

As of last spring, 1,775 students were taking online courses, an increase of 85 from the previous spring, statistics show.

College officials said they did not immediately have a current count of students taking such courses.

Some PHCC students take classes both on campus and online, according to Public Relations Director Kris Landrum.

Ed McGee, PHCC’s coordinator of instructional technology, said students take online courses for various reasons, including scheduling conflicts with career or family activities.

A few prefer to “pull the information” off the Internet themselves rather than learn it in a classroom, McGee said.


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