A shelter-in-place exercise, lasting about 15 minutes, is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, the day before the final exam period begins, college officials announced Friday.
Chief of Staff Rob Kelly emphasized the necessity for the drill, saying, “While all kinds of emergency drills are conducted periodically during the academic year (in conjuction with local police, fire and emergency staff), ultimately it is the responsibility of each member of our community to behave in a responsible manner should a crisis occur. And part of being responsible is knowing what to do.”
This month’s drill “is based on an active intruder,” according to Director of Campus Safety Chris Hayen, “but the same actions can be used for weather emergencies or staying in a safe place while another location recovers from an unknown spill.”
Shelter-in-place drills, according to Union’s Office of Communications, mean that participants should remain inside or immediately seek shelter in the closest building if they are outside. Participants should then “go into an interior room, close the door, and lock or otherwise secure the door if possible. Stay away from windows and wait for further instructions.”
Communication about the drill will come in the form of outdoor loudspeaker announcements, and text, phone and email messages, according to the Office of Communications.
Nov. 18 marks students’ reading day, the day students have off from class between the last day of fall term classes and the beginning the final exam period, which is intended as a time for students to study for their exams.
In regards to choosing the date and time for the drill, Hayen commented, “Anytime we do something like this it will interrupt something. It is not a class day or an exam day and it is only 15 minutes of time that we are asking people for.”
Chief of Staff Rob Kelly elaborated that, “no date is a good one, and some days are better than others. The College has a number of functions going on at any one time so the idea is to be as least disruptive to our teaching and learning missions as we can.”
Kelly stated that the date was chosen after seeking “advice from the Faculty Executive Committee, students, staff and administrators.”
Kelly said that the shelter-in-place exercise, planned by Hayen and members of the Emergency response team, “is one part of a multi-pronged approach to keep the members of the campus community and our guests safe while on campus.”
Hayen emphasized that participants should “not panic,” as the drill is “meant to be a learning experience.” He said, “Afterward, they should educate themselves further,” including practicing “to identify areas that can be a refuge” in the event of a shelter-in-place situation.