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ASU-FEMA team launches online training course to improve campus emergency response

June 11, 2012

A new online training course developed by researchers at ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) will improve the way colleges and universities across the country respond to emergency situations.

The Campus Public Emergency Communications project (CPEC), funded by a $1.4 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), identified the best practices related to campus public emergency communications and developed a series of three full-length National Incident Management System (NIMS) -compliant online courses. The courses offer multimedia emergency communications training materials for campus administrators, campus communications experts, campus emergency management personnel and first responders with jurisdiction over campus safety during emergencies or disasters. 

“Communication is a critical link in the chain of systems and protocols designed to protect students and the public on college campuses,” said Al Brown, principal investigator for the project and director of Environmental Research Initiatives at CTI. “Our goal was to integrate best practices into a series of web-based communication training courses that would be easily available for campus emergency response communicators around the country.”

The first of the three online courses launched this month, "Principles of Effective Campus Public Emergency Communications" provides an overview of the challenges unique to college and university campuses and a review of fundamental emergency communication concepts for practitioners and managers.  

The second course, "Campus Emergency Communications: Individual and Organizational Perspectives," will cover specific needs of those involved in emergency communications. The final course, "Emergency Communications: Best Practices and Emerging Trends," will provide a description and assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of various emergency communications systems and protocols that can be used before, during and after emergencies. 

“The multimedia training modules offered through CPEC are more comprehensive and streamlined than previous materials used to train public emergency communicators,” Brown said. "The new CPEC training materials will assist campuses with the assessment and improvement of their existing emergency communication systems.” 

The Campus Public Emergency Communications courses are listed in the FEMA and state Emergency Management Training catalogs and are available online at