California State University, Long Beach
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Rosene Wants The Campus To Be Prepared For Emergencies

Published: December 18, 2013

Jon Rosene is prepared. He wants you to be, too.

“Something will happen, it’s only a matter of time. That’s what keeps me motivated, helping people be as prepared as possible,” said Rosene, the Emergency Management and Preparedness Coordinator at CSULB. “Building a program here is my number one priority. My vision is to build a disaster-resilient university, to be an institution that educates and is a pivotal entity in this city.”

Rosene took a huge step in that direction by coordinating a multi-agency emergency preparedness exercise, that culminated with an on-campus active shooter drill on Aug. 13. It was in response, in great part, to recent shooting incidents that occurred at Santa Monica College and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Normally, such events take about a year to design and pull off, but Rosene, with the help of many others, did it in four months.

“I wouldn’t have tried to do it if I didn’t know the capabilities of these individuals beforehand,” he said. “We have an amazing group of people here—our Police Department, Facilities Management and Health Center personnel—and our administration is just behind this entire thing.”

More than 150 volunteers participated in the drill including personnel from the Long Beach Police and Fire departments, St. Mary Medical Center, other agencies in the Long Beach area, as well as campus employees.

“This industry is all about relationships,” said Rosene. “You don’t want to meet people for the first time on the day of a disaster, you want to meet them beforehand. You want to know names, you want to know phone numbers, you want to know personalities. In this position it’s all about building relationships.”

Rosene has been at CSULB for seven years, first as a student who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2007 and then serving as a dispatcher for University Police. He was an emergency medical technician (EMT) five years before that.

“I became an EMT right out of high school, so I’ve always been in a position that wants to take care of people and wants to help in stressful situations,” he said. “I don’t run from those things, I run to them.”

Rosene landed internships at the Orange County Health Disaster Service Bureau working in its emergency operations center before coming to campus and taking what he termed as a secondary role to help out the emergency manager at CSULB.

“I would tag along on campus with Lt. Scott Brown and Sgt. Rick Goodwin,” he said. “I was using my academia knowledge and was just trying to get some more practical experience.”

He then suggested that CSULB make the job of emergency manager a career position rather than one what was rotated every couple of years among university police officers.

“It was a rotation position,” said Rosene, “so just as an officer learned a lot and was getting comfortable they were out of it. That didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.”

He was confident such a position would be in the best interest of the university and apparently the administration agreed. Knowing he had the background and passion for emergency preparedness, he was offered and accepted the position in October 2012.

“I’ve always been a people person,” he said. “I have the student perspective, I have a graduate level perspective and I have a staff perspective, so I’m able to kind of able to see where this university is and where it needs to go as far as emergency management.”

Rosene’s career path became more focused when he met Prof. Steve Jensen in the Professional Studies graduate program for emergency services administration at CSULB, where Jensen discussed his own career path. Rosene took CSULB’s master’s program in emergency services administration and graduated in 2010.

Most recently, Rosene graduated from the Federal Emergency Management Agency academy in Emmitsburg, Md. The four-week course provided 170 hours of intense training, with Rosene spending two weeks in December and June.

By his own admission Rosene is trying to do a lot, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m really into this,” he said. “If I didn’t have some of the people around me helping this might be too much. My enthusiasm is definitely driving a lot of the initiatives. I’m driven by the thought that if something were to happen tomorrow, are we prepared?

“Overall, we are prepared,” he continued. “I see each day I’m here at work as another opportunity for me to help everyone else be prepared in a disaster. We will meet the challenge whatever it is.”

Next, Rosene is looking to start an emergency management committee on campus that will help develop goals and prioritize those.

“I want to bring a committee together that has all the departments that have anything to do with emergency response, preparedness or if they have input in how we prepare,” he said. “I see that group preparing a five-year strategic plan for emergency preparedness and out of that document we would start meeting these needs and doing hazard analysis for the campus. What are our threats? What are the most likely incidents to occur here? What are the most catastrophic things that can occur? And, based on that, how do we train?”