University of South Florida

Administrative Services


University of South Florida’s Emergency Management Program earns nationally recognized accreditation

A large lecture hall is filled with staff and computers observing a presentation at the front of the room titled "objectives and core capabilities."

Part of the USF Emergency Management program is a yearly hurricane exercise where the Emergency Operations Center is activated. The 60+ group is presented with an oncoming hurricane situation and then have to run through the steps each area takes to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the emergency. The last in person exercise, pictured here, was held in 2019 in the MDL building. The yearly exercise has continued virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

USF was recently recognized for maintaining a high-quality emergency management program, earning accreditation by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP). This places USF as one of the top higher education institutions in the nation for emergency preparedness. 

EMAP is a voluntary accreditation program that utilizes peer assessment from other emergency management professionals around the world to assess the strength of an emergency management program. USF now is one of fewer than 10 universities in the country with this national recognition for emergency preparedness, which generally is only obtained by state and local emergency management programs. It is also the first univeristy with a multi-campus structure to recieve this accreditation. USF joins the ranks of institutions like the University of Alabama, Washington University in St. Louis and Michigan State University as institutions that that hold this prestigious designation. 

USF’s Emergency Management Program began working toward this accreditation in 2015, when Jennifer Fleischman, USF’s director of emergency management, developed a needs assessment for the program. Fleischman identified numerous areas to build on to better align with the international standard that EMAP uses for assessments, which includes 16 main categories and 64 standard areas.

Emergency management programs include more than just emergency management department and staff. The programs encompass all activities that mitigate against, prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from any type of disaster or emergency, such as an active threat, hurricane or pandemic. At USF, thousands of employees are included in this program as essential personnel. University police, information technology, business and finance, facilities management, student success, academic affairs, housing, parking and transportation services and athletics are among the areas that played a part in securing this accreditation across all three campuses. The EMAP accreditation highlights the university’s commitment to a safe and prepared campus. 

“This accreditation is really the result of years of hard work from both the emergency management staff on all campuses and our emergency operations personnel,” Fleischman says. “It showcases USF is prepared for what could come our way and should make the community feel safer and more confident while on our campuses.”

USF will maintain the accreditation for five years, at which point a reaccreditation process will occur.

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