Hanson joins campuses after a lengthy career in fire service, emergency management
John Hanson has been involved in emergency management for most of his adult life. The new Northern Division Director of Emergency Management and Continuity will be working on the Indiana University Northwest and Indiana University South Bend campuses.
Hanson joined IU on October 9, following a 25-year career in fire service. He was responsible for emergency incidents, served as incident commander for numerous incidents, developed standard operating guidelines and created incident action plans for large events.
He retired from full-time fire service as a deputy chief in 2021. Hanson took a job as a code enforcement and zoning officer but started missing the emergency services profession. That’s when the IU job caught his attention.
“This popped up and it involves things that I’m well-versed in, so it seemed like the perfect fit,” Hanson said. “I’ve always liked helping people through difficult situations and love the interaction with people and helping them get to where they need to be.”
As emergency management director for the two campuses, Hanson will provide expertise in developing and improving emergency response plans. He will prepare and deliver training materials for emergency personnel and provide educational information to campus faculty and staff. He will also conduct periodic assessments of natural, technological, and human hazards and threats on campus and develop strategies for mitigation.
“Basically, my mission is to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff on a daily basis and plan for special events on campus,” Hanson said.
He’s already reviewing and developing emergency management plans for each campus, so each is ready for any sort of emergency that might happen.
“There’s a saying in our field that we plan for anything that can go wrong and hope nothing ever goes wrong,” Hanson said.
That can include everything from traffic and parking planning for major events like graduation to something as simple as fire drills.
When he’s not spending time on campus, Hanson teaches new recruits at the Benton Harbor Fire Academy and serves as a volunteer firefighter in southwest Michigan.