DeSales University Runs Emergency Preparedness Drill
DeSales University conducted an Emergency Response Drill on Tuesday, April 29, as a test of various communications and safety systems implemented on the campus.
The safety and well-being of all members of the DeSales University community remains a top priority for the University administration. Conducting emergency drills helps to ensure the proper response and reaction during an emergency situation. The drill at DeSales was initiated at the request of University President, Rev. Bernard O'Connor, and the University's Board of Trustees.
"From all indications, the emergency response drill was a success," said Robert Snyder, vice president for finance and administration and campus environment at DeSales. "It clearly demonstrated that the University community responded accordingly and is working together to make certain that DeSales continues to be a safe place to study, work, and visit."
The University updated its written Emergency Response Plan to include additional layers of communication during the summer of 2007, when the University implemented a new text messaging system.
"The actions performed on Tuesday were part of an ongoing series of steps, as we believe campus safety is paramount," said DeSales University Chief of Police Vincent Berkes, who coordinates security and public safety at the University. "Conducting exercises to ensure the readiness of our campus community is essential."
The campus community was alerted to an emergency situation involving a mock tornado hitting campus via the e2campus system at approximately 11:10 a.m.
Simultaneous warnings were issued via email and public address, including police loudspeakers and sirens. When the campus emergency message was initiated, faculty, staff and students responded according to emergency instructions that are posted in academic and administrative areas of University buildings. The "all clear" was given at approximately 11:30 a.m.
Currently, there are 3,189 students enrolled at DeSales, including 1,641 traditional students, 1,063 graduate students, and 485 ACCESS (evening / adult education) students. Also, there are 106 faculty members, 130 professional administration staff members and 169 support staff members.
Following the "all clear" message the University's Emergency Response Group (ERG) convened for a table top review of the communication mediums and next steps should an actual emergency situation had occurred.
As part of the Emergency Response Plan, members of the DeSales University Police, under the supervision of Chief Berkes, evaluate and upgrade the plan on a regular basis. They update procedures and implement new programs and procedures to ensure proper communication and dissemination of information within the campus community, as well as off campus with appropriate law enforcement, emergency and government agencies.
Among their responsibilities, the DeSales University Police plan and coordinate mock disaster drills, maintain necessary medical and other emergency supplies, monitor communications systems, conduct ongoing meetings, and attend and participate in training programs related to emergency response and recovery activities.
According to Snyder, the emergency exercise conducted on Tuesday (April 29) tested the internal communications and response of the campus community, but the University understands it is also part of the larger community.
"We were very fortunate to have Chief Robert Coyle and Investigator Thomas Nicoletti of the Upper Saucon Township Police observe our drill and participate in discussion after the drill with respect to next steps that would have been taken in the event of an actual emergency," said Snyder. "Their input and observations confirmed the effectiveness of our communication systems and also the response and cooperation demonstrated by our students, faculty and staff who took appropriate action in a responsible manner."
According to Snyder, in future exercises, the University administration will engage coordination with local authorities and Chief Coyle's and Investigator Nicoletti's involvement today provides that building block. DeSales will continue to hold periodic exercises that will both test communication systems and campus readiness as the campus makeup changes each year with entering classes and growth of programs.
Press Release: DeSales University Runs Emergency Preparedness Drill | Posted on: 5/2/2008
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu