On Wednesday, Oct. 5, Augustana conducted an emergency evacuation drill at around 11:00 a.m.
The emergency exercises are planned by the college’s Emergency Planning Task Force, which meets every other week. The task force includes Dean Evelyn Campbell, Chif Tom Phillips and Deputy Chief Mark Beckwith of Augustana Police/Publis Safety, Joe Scifo, Director of Facilities Service, Chris Beyer, Director of Residential Life, Leslie Fowler, Registrar, and Sam Schlouch, Senior Communications Director.
“We plan three exercises a year (one per term) that seek to educate the campus on the following responses: evacuation, shelter in place and lockdown,” said Sam Schlouch.
According to Mr. Schlouch, Augustana has received the Ready to Respond designation from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (only four other colleges/universities have this designation in the state) and has been designated as StormReady by the National Weather Service. These designations make Augustana rare among colleges and universities, and it shows that the college is ready to respond in the event of an emergency on campus.
The college utilized the Augie Alert system to communicate with the campus during the drill. The Augie Alert system is made up of various components that notify the campus community of an emergency. They include an outdoor alert siren, indoor buzzers and phones that ring and the E2campus system that sends text messages and emails.
“Our priority is to get the vast majority of the campus away from the emergency and train a small group of people to respond to it. Those people include our police and public safety officers, facilities services staff, senior administrators and staff, building safety officers and communication staff. All of those who would respond have gone through National Incident Management System (NIMS) training through FEMA,” said Schlouch.
The college has experienced various types of emergency situations on campus, but nothing comes to mind that really affects the campus.
The emergency exercise happening last Wednesday drew the attention to the whole campus. Faculties, staff and students were announced of the drill and got out of the buildings.
“I think everyone took it seriously. People were rushing out of the building and some of us were freaking out,” said first-year student Trang Hoang.