SIU plans ‘active threat’ drill on April 20
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale will hold “active threat” exercises on April 20 to assess and improve the university’s response to emergencies.
Each year, the university’s Emergency Operations Center conducts exercises based on a simulated scenario. This year’s drill will involve more people, including university leadership, and be more visible, said Ben Newman, director of public safety and chief of police. EOC has been planning for the exercises since the fall.
“The EOC has members from several university departments, including the Department of Public Safety, faculty, University Housing, Student Health Services, University Communications and Marketing and others,” Newman said. “This is an opportunity to see how our teams work together and to analyze strengths and areas for improvement. Although we have been planning these exercises for months, recent news serves as a reminder for why they are necessary.”
Faculty, staff and student will receive test messages about the drill. The public may notice an increased presence of armed police officers on the west side of campus. Parts of Lincoln Drive and campus pathways will be blocked temporarily to the public and to members of the media, like they would be to ensure safety in a real emergency.
“We ask members of the public and the news media to respect those boundaries while emergency responders conduct their work,” Newman said. “If this were a real emergency, responders would be working to make the area safe again. Trespassers could interfere with those efforts and endanger themselves.”
Members of the media will be provided with access to a site to be announced the day of the drill to assist them with coverage, similar to a real emergency.
SIU has communicated with students, faculty and staff, and families through newsletters, emails, posters and conversations. The goal is to avoid causing panic and to alert people who may find the sights of the drill disturbing. Student experiencing distress may call Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 618-453-5371. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to faculty and staff.
Plans also call for sending a press release on the day of the drill. On Monday, April 24, journalists will receive a press release with further analysis. University officials will be available for interviews that day. Contact Jim Potter at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.