SRU schedules emergency drill April 19. Here’s what you need to know

Emergancy Lights

April 16, 2018

Editors' note: This story is the third in a three-part series regarding Slippery Rock University's April 19 campus emergency drill.

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - If you hear the shrill sound of emergency responder sirens or see a parade of police cars, ambulances and fire trucks racing to Slippery Rock University April 19, there will be no need to panic. It's all part of an emergency drill the University is conducting to test the readiness of campus should such an incident happen in the future. The drill will run from 8-10 a.m.

Drill activities will occur in and around Swope Music Hall and will involve a mock emergency situation to which University Police, campus units and the Slippery Rock Borough Fire Department, EMS and Police will respond. Music department personnel have been notified and are involved with the planning for the drill.

As it would in the case of a "real" event, the University's e2Campus and Metis alert systems will be utilized to inform the campus about what is happening and what people are expected to do. "We want to follow what would be normal protocol during a crisis, but we also don't want to create any undue panic. For that reason, every communication will be clearly identified as a 'drill alert' to emphasize the events taking place are not real," said Robb King, associate executive director for communication and public affairs.

Persons that have not already signed up to receive SRU's emergency alerts from e2Campus can do so by clicking here.

In preparation for the drill, students, faculty and staff are advised to review the information provided in the "SRU Emergency Procedures Guidelines for Employees, Students and Visitors," The guide can be found at: http://www.sru.edu/life-at-sru/safety/university-police/forms-reports-and-policies

"On the day of the drill, students are expected to attend classes as they normally would. If a class period has ended and the drill is still in progress, students should remain in their classrooms until the 'all clear' drill alert is issued through e2Campus," said Paul Novak, SRU's executive director of planning and environmental health and safety.

"It is our hope that those areas not directly involved with the actual drill activities will use this as an opportunity to discuss what they should do in the event of a real incident. For example, where should we go in the case of an active shooter? What does shelter in place mean? Do I know where the emergency exits are? Things of that nature."

Following the conclusion of the drill, normal campus activities will resume.

"Unfortunately, due to a number of past incidents throughout the county, people have heard the terms evacuation, shelter in place and lockdown," Novak said. "But they are often confused as to what each means from a crisis response position. I would like to remind folks that when they are asked to evacuate, that means they should leave the building they are in as quickly and calmly as possible.

"When given an order to 'shelter in place,' that means everyone should remain calm and seek immediate refuge inside a classroom, office, residence hall or the closest available facility if it safe to do so. All windows should be closed and occupants should stay away from them. If faculty and students are in a classroom, they should remain there. If, however, faculty and students are on campus grounds, they should seek immediate shelter inside a building.

"Lockdown situations may be thought of as sheltering in place, but not all sheltering in place situations rise to the level of a lockdown. Partial lockdowns are often implemented when a threat is identified and contained outside of a facility, for example, police activity near the facility. Full lockdowns are implemented when an imminent threat exists within a facility.

"If a lockdown is announced during the drill, employees and students should close all windows, lock doors if so equipped and stay away from them. During the April 19 emergency drill the campus will be put in lockdown status. All exterior doors to buildings will be locked either manually or electronically. During a lockdown, no one is allowed to enter or exit the building. Individuals caught "outside" during such a situation are instructed to leave campus by car if possible, or go to a pre-determined off-campus location.

"Should emergency information announce the presence of an active shooter on campus, all individuals are advised to utilize the ALICE approach, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate," Novak said.

ALICE is a proactive training program that prepares persons to handle and respond to the threat of an intruder or active shooter by empowering people to use building and infrastructure technology and human action to increase their chances of survival.

Given its wide use across the country, many SRU students may be familiar with the approach and shouldn't be surprised that the University will utilize that approach during the campuswide emergency drill. To learn more about ALICE and the Universities utilization of the approach, click here.

Novak said that the University will conduct a post-drill review to evaluate the performance of all parties involved, acknowledge the appropriateness of actions taken and identify any areas for improvement in regard to future emergency drills.

"It is understandable for individuals to experience a fair amount of apprehension and uncertainty, especially if this will be the first time they are exposed to an emergency drill. Our ultimate goal is to provide an opportunity to prepare ourselves, not only as an institution, but individually to react to any emergency situation.

"Any students who are concerned about the impact the drill may have on their well-being are encouraged to reach out to the Student Counseling Center at 724.738.2034."

For additional details regarding the April 19 campus emergency drill, contact Novak at: 724.738.2465.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 | robert.king@sru.edu