EIU to Host State-Level Emergency Exercise on Tuesday, June 12Jun-01-2012
EFFECTIVE TUESDAY, JUNE 12
On the EIU Campus
All public emergency alerts (Web-based, email, text-messaging, public address systems, etc.) issued as part of the June 12 exercise will be standard test messages. IF A REAL EMERGENCY SHOULD OCCUR, the exercise will be immediately terminated and the appropriate warnings issued instead.
Seventh Street between Johnson and Grant avenues is scheduled to be closed to the general public. There should be no parking on Seventh Street.
The Student Services Building parking lot will be closed to all incoming and outgoing traffic between 7 and 9 a.m.
Parking lots scheduled to be closed to routine campus traffic include the lot directly west of Greek Court I (Ninth and Roosevelt); the lot directly east of the Doudna Fine Arts Center (Ninth and Hayes); the UPD lot, located between Doudna and the UPD; and the Blair Hall south lot.
Entrance to and exit from the Student Services Building will be limited to the north entrance between 8 and 9 a.m.
The north entrance of the Food Court, MLK Jr. Union, will be closed between 8 and 9 a.m.
The McAfee building will be closed to occupants between 1 a.m. and 3 p.m. The adjoining parking lot will be closed.
Simulated shots will be fired; sirens will sound. Emergency announcements (with the appropriate disclaimer) will be made via the Web, email and text messaging.
Even a helicopter will be circling overhead as rescue personnel from all over east central Illinois converge on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.
“Don’t be surprised at whatever you might see,” William Weber, vice president for business affairs, advises.
On Tuesday, June 12, the campus will become the site of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s 2012 State Level Exercise. A similar event is held annually, with activity rotating every three years between the southern, central and northern parts of the state.
This will be the first time an exercise of this magnitude has taken place on the EIU campus. And although the planning process has been a long one – two years or more in the making – the administration at Eastern welcomes the opportunity to host the event.
“You never know when an emergency situation is going to arise, although you always know it is a possibility,” Weber said. “This exercise will help us learn and improve on our emergency preparedness, with an emphasis on how we work with local, regional and state emergency response groups.”
In turn, said EIU Safety Officer Gary Hanebrink, an exercise of this kind is an excellent way in which to extend the university’s educational services to outlying communities and strengthen partnerships between local and area entities.
“Emergency response units are always looking for this sort of possibility,” he added.
Details of the training exercise are being kept confidential so as not “to give the secret away” to exercise participants. However, notice of the exercise is being provided to prevent panic among the public – both on and off campus – and to give advance warning about certain road, parking lot and campus closures during the duration of the exercise.
In addition, Weber emphasized that all activities associated with the exercise will be treated as a real emergency, meaning, in part, that observation by non-participants will be discouraged.
Individuals will be on the scene to evaluate all levels of the exercise, including the response of the university’s Emergency Management Team who, in the case of a real on-campus emergency, would shoulder the responsibility of providing necessary resources; communicating with on- and off-campus constituencies, including the media; and developing plans for campus recovery.
“An assessment of the exercise is always positive in that it identifies areas for improvement in our procedures,” Weber said. “Constructive feedback only helps participants learn from the exercise.”
Emergency responders scheduled to participate in the exercise include IEMA; Mutual Aid Box Alarm System; Illinois Fire Service Institute; Illinois State Police; the American Red Cross; the Champaign, Charleston, Decatur, Mattoon and Urbana fire departments; the Charleston, EIU, Lake Land College and Mattoon police departments; the Coles County Sheriff’s Department; the Lincoln Fire Protection District; the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center’s EMS Department; Coles County 911; Coles County EMA; and EIU’s ROTC.
In addition, the exercise could involve 50 or more individual volunteers portraying victims.