One step ahead in crisis response

By: Alina Avalos

 0LamarAt any moment, an emergency situation could bring mass casualties into our hospitals and facilities, requiring us to serve as a first-responder organization. It’s important for UF Health to be prepared with a strong response plan and the right leaders to guide us through crises. One key leader is Walter Lamar, the UF Health Shands Safety and Security department’s new safety and emergency preparedness manager.

“Emergency preparedness touches everyone within the organization, and Walter is someone we can look to before there is a disaster to make sure we are doing everything we can to support our community,” said Suzanne DeKay, MSPH, UF Health Shands Safety, Security and External Transportation director.

Lamar, a Ph.D. candidate in emergency management, brings experience in environmental safety, risk management and emergency preparedness training gained while working in the theme park industry and at Bethune-Cookman University.

“We really look forward to Walter building upon the foundation and groundwork that we have in place with our safety and emergency preparedness programs,” DeKay said.

We asked the new leader some questions to learn more about his plans in his new role.

What are your goals for the coming years?

My goal for us as an organization in regard to emergency preparedness and safety is to not simply practice until we get it right, but rather train to the extent that we cannot get it wrong. I also want UF Health Shands to be at the forefront of public health, including emergency preparedness. I’m part of that top 10 goal.

What changes are on the horizon for emergency preparedness?

One major change is that we will unify our emergency plans. Rather than our hospitals on Archer Road having a different emergency action plan than our Springhill locations, for example, UF Health’s clinical programs as a whole will operate with a unified plan.

What is your best safety tip for employees?

Remain active and aware. If you have to double-check something, it’s typically intuition keying you in on a potentially unsafe situation. It is everyone’s responsibility to stay alert.

What would you like employees to know about you?

I’m from Orlando, but I’m a Gator. I graduated from the University of Florida, and I’m currently in my dissertation phase as a Ph.D. student in public safety and emergency management.