SIU conducts “active threat” drill to improve emergency response
CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale conducted “active threat” training today (April 20) to assess and improve how various teams work together to respond to an emergency. This year’s annual exercises were more visible and involved more people than usual.
The simulated scenario for 2023 was an active shooter in Bowyer Hall and the Agriculture Building, conducted in a compressed timeframe. For most students, faculty and staff, their only involvement was receiving test messages. Some students and employees agreed to serve as actors portraying victims, journalists and others.
First responders, university leaders and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), comprising professionals from many departments, coordinated on restoring safety to the area and to university operations, setting up a reunification center for students and families, providing care for physical injuries and emotional distress, communicating with the campus community, holding a mock press conference and more.
“The exercises have been planned since fall, although recent headlines remind us of why they are necessary,” said Ben Newman, director of public safety and chief of police. “With exercises this extensive, it will take a few days to fully analyze how we responded and craft next steps. We have already seen some benefits. As we prepared for today, professionals communicated with each other about how we can accomplish what we’re required to do, and we will have materials that will be useful if an emergency occurs in the future.”
More information will be provided on Monday, April 24.