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Press Release: DeSales University Runs Emergency Preparedness Drill
Date: 5/2/2008

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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 D
irector of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034

610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu

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