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By KELLY RICHARDSON
ELIZABETHTOWN — Administrators from the state community college system have gathered in Elizabethtown to be schooled on safety.
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College hosted the second Safety Conference for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The conference, which began Tuesday and ends today, covers a variety of topics including severe weather, Internet safety, campus shootings and workplace violence.
Bob Hammonds, KCTCS director for crisis management, environmental health and safety, said he and KCTCS staff want to create a “culture of safety” at the colleges in the system.
“All 16 colleges are taking this very seriously,” Hammonds said.
More representatives from each college attended this year, which is important, he said, since everyone has a role in campus safety.
This year's conference includes more sessions and added vendors, who were set up around a hallway of the Regional Postsecondary Education Center where the conference was held. The companies offered various goods and services dealing with security.
David Evangelista taught a session on Internet safety. A detective with the Vine Grove Police Department, Evangelista is vice president for information technology at First Citizens Bank and founder and executive director of the U.S. Internet Crime Task Force.
Evangelista discussed campus network security and the ease with which hackers can access a system that’s not properly secure. Evangelista told the college representatives that employees are the biggest threat.
He also spent time on potential threats of social networks such as MySpace and Facebook.
The task force has a focus on education, so speaking at conferences such as this fit into the task force’s overall goal, Evangelista said. He said he hopes those who attended his session will spread what they learned to their colleagues and families.
Ed Sullivan is director of operations, planning and construction at City University of New York, and was a keynote speaker Tuesday. He discussed his experience with the Borough of Manhattan Community College, part of CUNY, after the 9/11 attacks.
The campus is three blocks from the World Trade Center, and one of their buildings was destroyed. The college also housed 3,000 first responders for about three weeks after the attacks and port authority police officers stayed in their gym for months.
Sullivan said it was the school’s first experience with a major emergency and they didn’t know how to react.
“We did it by the seat of our pants,” he said.
So now he’s hoping to educate others so they can be more equipped than the community college was. He hopes the attendants take away the idea of being prepared.
“Be ready to protect your faculty, staff and students,” he said.
Hammonds said the safety conference is something KCTCS will continue because the colleges always will need to improve on their approach to preparing for emergencies.
Kelly Richardson can be reached at (270) 505-1747.