Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Administration: Augustana prepared for emergency situations

In the case of an active shooter being on campus, Augustana follows a lockdown procedure. In this scenario, all faculty, staff, and students would lock the door of the room they are in, turn off the lights, and remain quiet until an all-clear announcement is given.
An evacuation tactic is used for emergencies such as gas leaks, fires, and bomb threats. For this procedure, faculty, staff, and students must evacuate the affected building(s) and go to a safe location. Taking shelter in place is used during severe weather situations.
Sam Schlouch, director of public relations, serves as one of seven members of Augustana’s Emergency Planning Task Force.
The Emergency Planning Task Force is comprised of Schlouch, Tom Phillis, Mark Beckwith, Chris Beyer, Liesl Fowler, Joe Scifo, and the chair of the committee and Dean of Students, Evelyn Campbell.
The committee meets every other week to discuss emergency drills and safety and/or security concerns.
“Our main focus is on prevention and awareness of procedure,” Schlouch said.
The college holds one emergency drill per term, each focusing on a different aspect of the either shelter, evacuation or lockdown emergencies.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) has recognized four Illinois colleges and universities, including Augustana, as being “Ready to Respond” campuses.
According to Augustana’s website: “to attain the Ready to Respond Campus designation, colleges must demonstrate compliance with standards for hazard identification, operational and violence prevention planning, incident management, training, exercises and crisis communications/public education.”
“It’s a huge honor (to receive these awards and recognitions), but our safety plan is something we constantly work on,” Schlouch said. “We are always trying to improve.”
Schlouch said he and his fellow committee members believe previous practice and experience will allow everyone on campus to feel prepared enough for any emergency.
“In today’s society, most students are coming from high schools where they have done lockdown drills or had lockdowns for whatever reason,” Schlouch said. “We as a society have had to, unfortunately, prepare ourselves for things of that sort.”
Under 10 minutes away, in Davenport, Iowa, St. Ambrose University also goes to great lengths to ensure the safety of their faculty, staff, and students.
Jane Kettering, director of media relations at St. Ambrose, discussed the college’s Safety Committee, specifically focusing on one of its subcommittees, the Emergency Operation Plan Committee. The Emergency Operation Plan Committee meets weekly to discuss and refine the college’s emergency operation plans.
Kettering discussed how emergency-related information is made known to everyone on St. Ambrose’s campus.
“We have a campus emergency guideline that is sent out to faculty, staff, and students,” Kettering said.
This guideline is sent via e-mail and includes information for various situations, such as what to do if there is a fire, active shooter, bomb threat, hazardous spill, weather emergency, or any other type of emergency situation.
In a similar fashion, Augustana has informational signs posted in almost every room on campus on what to do in any hazardous situation.
Another feature both colleges boast is their ability to contact their faculty, staff, and students quickly and efficiently via text message.
“We have an emergency notification system that all faculty, staff, and students sign up to be contacted by,” Kettering said. “We also make this service available for students’ families.”
Augustana also has an emergency message service, which notifies faculty, staff, and students of any emergency drills or actual situations.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting, the Clery Act requires every Title IV institution to share information regarding emergency situations with all faculty, staff, and students on campus.
This statement reiterates the importance of communication throughout any type of emergency, especially for Title IV schools, like Augustana.
Due to the fact that Augustana has been recognized by the state of Illinois and acknowledged as a “Storm Ready College” by the National Weather Service, Slouch feels the college is ready to handle any emergency situation that could affect the campus.

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Administration: Augustana prepared for emergency situations