SRU emergency drill set for April 26

north hall in spring time with tulips

April 21, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - If you see police cars, ambulances and fire trucks racing to Slippery Rock University April 26, don't 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 8:30-10:30 a.m.

"One of the great lessons learned from the Virginia Tech tragedy is that you can't practice enough to be able to respond to all types of situations that might occur on campus," said Paul Novak, SRU's emergency management administrator, who will oversee the drill.

Drill activities will occur in and around the residence halls 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. People located in the specific area of campus where drill activities will take place have been notified and were involved with planning the drill, Novak said.

As it would in the case of a "real" event, the University's e2Campus alert system 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.

In preparation for the drill, students, faculty and staff were 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," Novak said.

"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 tornado? 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 mean 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.

"Should emergency information announce the presence of an active shooter on campus, all individuals are advised to consider the awareness and survival techniques of "GET OUT, HIDE OUT or TAKE OUT.

"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 26 campus emergency drill, contact Novak at: 724.738.2465.

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