UCI News

In case of emergency

Environmental Health & Safety’s Linda Bogue readies the campus for all kinds of disasters

by Kathryn Bold | December 18, 2006
In case of emergency

Linda Bogue, emergency management coordinator, has to think about the unthinkable – it’s her job. Earthquakes, fires, terrorist attacks, violence – all serious incidents fall under her watch.

“I know that if something happens, a lot of eyes will be on me,” she says. “I’m on call 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Bogue’s in charge of creating UCI’s emergency response plan – no small task considering the university’s size and the fact that it’s home to numerous labs, a power plant and nuclear reactor. To get everyone on campus to prepare for a disaster, she must overcome an “it-won’t-happen-to-me” mentality.

“It’s finding the balance between scaring people to death and asking them to be accountable for themselves,” she says.

Bogue reminds them that not only can a serious incident happen here, one already did. In 2001, before she came to campus, a chemistry lab in Frederick Reines Hall caught fire. A graduate student whose work triggered a small explosion suffered second-degree burns on his hands, arms and face. While the flames were confined to the lab and no other serious injuries resulted, the fire created enough damage and confusion to spur UCI to action.

Today, if a fire or other incident occurs, Bogue and 30 to 40 team members from across campus will activate UCI’s Emergency Operations Center, coordinating the response to disaster through a centralized command post set up in an Environmental Health & Safety conference room.

In addition, UCI has 13 Emergency Response Zones, and Bogue works with the captains of each to ensure the zone crews – including building coordinators and floor wardens – are ready to assist with evacuations and other emergency activities. She also trains Campus Search and Rescue volunteer team members in handling hazardous materials, fire safety, first aid, and light search and rescue.

Bogue worked for 20 years in the oil industry in operations and safety training before joining UCI. She especially enjoys community outreach – meeting with local fire and police representatives, as well as other emergency managers.

“I’m proud we’ve partnered with our neighbors outside of campus,” she says. “You don’t want to shake hands for the first time in the heat of battle.”