What is Emergency Management?

Emergency management can be defined as the organization and management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all aspects of emergencies and disasters, in order to reduce the harmful effects on a community.


It is the vision of MIT Emergency Management to build and maintain a professional, exemplary, comprehensive emergency management and business continuity program for MIT that perpetuates resiliency across all sectors of the Institute.

Mission Areas

The MIT Emergency Management program has five key mission areas:

  • Prevention
  • Mitigation
  • Preparedness
  • Response
  • Recovery

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Building W92-129
Cambridge, MA 02139



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Suzanne Blake head shot

Suzanne M. Blake, CEM

Director, MIT Emergency Management & Administrative Director, MIT EMS
Suzanne is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) with over 20 years of broad experience. She got her start working on post-September 11th projects in Washington, DC before becoming the University of North Carolina Wilmington's (UNCW) first Emergency Manager. At UNCW, she was able to build the emergency management program from the ground up and also managed several hurricanes that affected the campus during her tenure. Prior to coming to MIT in 2015, Suzanne worked with higher education institutions across the country as the Higher Education Specialist for Witt O’Brien’s, an emergency management consulting firm run by James Lee Witt, the Director of FEMA under the Clinton Administration. Her focus in that role was on developing and improving emergency management and business continuity programs at more than 50 higher education institutions nationwide. At MIT, Suzanne manages all aspects of MIT's emergency management program in coordination with her amazing team, representatives from across campus, and MIT's senior leadership. She also serves as the Administrative Director for MIT EMS, MIT's student-run ambulance service. In addition, she has received the Certificate from the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), has completed the FEMA National Emergency Management Executive Academy, and is a graduate of MIT's Leader to Leader program. She received her bachelor's degree from Georgetown University in English/Writing, where she served as an EMT for the student-run EMS service, and her master's of environmental management degree from Duke University, where she focused her studies on climate resiliency in coastal areas. She also holds a certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from UNC Chapel Hill. Suzanne loves working in emergency management, and has been know to call it her "career soulmate."
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Michelle Carestia

Associate Director, MIT Emergency Management
Michelle Carestia is an experienced emergency manager with a strong focus on efficiency and innovation. She began her career as a graduate fellow at the New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) before moving on to make significant contributions to various esteemed institutions including Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital. Michelle has extensive experience responding to real emergencies, including hurricanes, snow storms, oil spills, network and facility disruptions, and violent/threatening incidents. These experiences have honed her crisis management skills, enabling her to make well-informed decisions under intense pressure. Her ability to communicate effectively, coordinate resources, and create organizational structures has been crucial in ensuring efficient and effective responses. Michelle earned a BA degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Saint Michael’s College and a MPA in Emergency and Disaster Management from the Metropolitan College of New York.
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David head shot

David M. Barber

Senior Emergency Management Specialist
David has more than 20 years of experience overseeing emergency response and training at MIT. He provides administrative, educational, and operational oversight of MIT’s Emergency Operations Center and Emergency Response Liaison Team, and he has handled a wide range of situations from fires, spills, utility outages, and construction incidents to aviation accidents, weather-related emergencies, public health emergencies, and shooting incidents. David provides emergency management training to MIT’s front line responders; Emergency Operations Center; Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) coordinators and responders; and MIT Emergency Medical Services staff. In addition, David is certified by the Business Continuity Institute (CBCI) and serves in leadership roles in international and national emergency management associations, including the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).
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Steven A. Taddonio

Emergency Management Specialist
Steven has over 20 years of broad experience in the Public Safety area, joining the Institute in 2016. Previous to MIT, he spent eight years at Berklee College of Music where he served as their first Emergency Manager and Clery Compliance Officer. During this time, he chaired the Emergency Planning Committee and created the college's emergency management program. In 2013, he received a Distinguished Service Award for his efforts to support the college's critical assets affected by the Boston Marathon attacks. Steven has both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Criminal Justice, was certified by the Business Continuity Institute (CBCI), is a certified assessor for the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP), and is a graduate of a Massachusetts reserve police academy. At MIT, his primary responsibilities are in communications and technology, including administration of the Institute's emergency notification system.
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Andrea Finnin

Program Administrator
Andrea has 18 years of experience at MIT in Finance, Facilities as a member of the Security and Emergency Management Office, and in Emergency Management. The last eleven years have been spent in a variety of emergency management roles, with a heavy focus on mitigation and response. Andrea's primary focus is running all of MIT’s background checks, including CORIs, SORIs, and driver’s license checks; managing the process from submission to reporting, including acting on any adverse findings in the checks run. Andrea is also the Program Manager of MIT’s Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT), which she revitalized in 2013 after it had been defunct. CERT has participated in many on- and off-campus events and training sessions, including BosLEAP, a live, multi-agency response exercise at Logan Airport with 1,200 participants. Andrea has also received an MIT Excellence Award as a member of the Support Staff Issues Working Group which improved the recycling program at MIT. Andrea is also an active member of several volunteer groups with a focus on volunteer management and event planning. She received her bachelor’s degree from UMass Boston in English and Education, and later her MBA from Northeastern, with certificates in Corporate Renewal and Marketing. In addition, Andrea holds both Associate Risk Management Professional and Associate Business Continuity Professional certificates, with additional FEMA certifications held in CERT Program Management, Business Continuity, and All-Hazards Situation Unit Leader.
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Meaghan Whalen

Continuity Analyst
Meaghan is a young professional in the Emergency Management field and joins our team with a background with various emergency management and business continuity knowledge. She obtained her Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice and a masters in Emergency Management and Homeland Security from Lasell University. Meaghan began her career as an emergency management consultant for Nodi Solutions where she consulted for the Doctrine Team at FEMA. In addition, she was also a consultant for CH Consulting where she supported a number of departments in the Frisco Independent School District in developing Continuity of Operations plans. Meaghan’s experience in emergency management thus far paired with her strong communication, collaboration, and analysis skills makes her a great asset to not only our Business Continuity program but to our whole team here at MIT.
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Starr Cobryn

Background Check Associate
Starr is new to the field of Emergency Management and to MIT and is committed to learning everything she can about disaster preparedness and response. Her primary focus is MIT's background check program, alongside Andrea Finnin, to ensure that the background check process runs smoothly by facilitating the progress of a request from submission to the reporting of results of the check to the relevant parties. Born and raised in the central Ohio area, she worked for six years in physical, identity, and theft prevention while completing her bachelor's degree in psychology at The Ohio State University, including work in her university's Rare Books and Manuscript Library. Since her appointment at MIT, she has completed certificates in Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT), Mental Health First Aid, and in emergency management organizational structure. Starr looks forward to getting to know the community at MIT, and to advancing in her career on the Background Check Team and Emergency Management as a whole.
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