Campus trains for preparedness month

Across America, September is National Preparedness Month. While a designated month is often one of celebration, awareness or remembrance, National Preparedness at SMU is more one of active training and scenario-based tests of applicable skill.

The SMU Risk Management Offices are in charge of keeping the campus community safe and prepared work year-round. September will be the month when their planning and research will be experienced by all those teaching, learning, working and living on-campus.

Natural disasters, fires and the possible chemical spill from a lab class have been identified with Disaster Preparedness almost continuously.

However, the threat of an on-campus shooter or intruder has become more and more prioritized across the country in recent years.

With gun-control and protection in schools as one of the nation’s most heated debates, the reality of a campus shooting has become all too important not be addressed at the heart of the September exercises.

The SMU team, while not instilling fear in students, will educate the community on the key steps in staying safe in the event of a violent threat. This includes what to do, where to hide and the survival mindset to react with.

September will feature a number of real-life scenarios in some of the campus’ most frequented spots.

Places such as Fondren Library and McFarlin Auditorium, with volunteer students piloting these test-runs, will allow the SMU Risk Management team to better assess and plan for emergencies, while giving students practical skills and experience.

By identifying strengths and flaws in building designs, students’ reactions and emergency plans already in place, SMU will be able to better ensure the safety of students and the effectiveness of current and future safety blueprints.

Posters and more information will be found across campus, and various other disaster-based drills will take place in campus buildings.

While many students may have a hard time envisioning a legitimate shooter at SMU or may find the fire drills annoying and intrusive, most would agree that if a disaster were to strike the University, they would far rather know what to do than be caught off-guard and left to fend for themselves.

If you are interested in volunteering to take part in one of the scenario drills, contact Emergency Manager Lisa Morris at lwmorris@smu.edu.

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