Public Safety shares results of emergency management exercises
Oct. 24, 2012 College News - As a participant in federal Title IV student financial assistance programs, the Medical College of Wisconsin must comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act). The Clery Act requires institutions to disclose campus crime statistics and security information.
Medical College of Wisconsin Public Safety, in accordance with the Clery Act, recently completed a test of its emergency response and evacuation plans. The test included two components, a drill and an exercise.
Public Safety facilitated the College’s annual evacuation drill on Wednesday, Sept. 26. The drill tested how employees and students might respond if an evacuation of a building or buildings was necessary. Participants also gained valuable information on where to assemble once they had exited the building.
Secondly, a full scale exercise testing the College and its campus and community partners’ response to an active shooter situation occurring on campus was conducted on Wednesday, Oct. 10. The College’s mass notification system was also tested as a part of this exercise. Many valuable lessons were learned through the exercise.
Summary of the Emergency Organization Plan
The College’s Emergency Organization Plan (EOP) establishes policies, procedures and an organizational hierarchy for response to critical incidents. The EOP describes the role and operation of the units and personnel of MCW during an emergency and sets forth standard operating procedures adopted by MCW for handling emergencies resulting from fire, flooding, storms, hazardous material incidents, and other potential emergency situations.
College departments/units are responsible for developing contingency plans and continuity of operations plans for their staff and areas of responsibility. The College conducts several emergency response exercises each year, such as table top exercises, field exercises, and tests of the emergency notification systems on campus. These tests are designed to assess and evaluate the emergency plans and capabilities of the institution.
MCW Public Safety has received training in the Incident Command System and the National Incident Management System. When a serious incident occurs that causes an immediate threat to the campus, the first responders to the scene are usually MCW Public Safety, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and the Wauwatosa Fire Department. These entities typically respond and work together to manage the incident. Depending on the nature of the incident, other MCW departments and other local or federal agencies could also be involved in responding to the incident.
General information about the emergency response and evacuation procedures for MCW is publicized each year as part of the institution’s Clery Act compliance efforts. That information and detailed information on the MCW EOP are available on Public Safety’s website.
Summary of emergency evacuation procedures
An evacuation drill is coordinated by MCW Public Safety each year for all faculty, staff and students on the main campus. In addition, Public Safety conducts evacuation drills at various off-site clinics. Employees and students learn the locations of the emergency exits in the buildings and are provided guidance about the direction they should travel when exiting each facility for a short-term building evacuation.
MCW Public Safety does not provide information in advance about the designated locations for long-term evacuations because those decisions are affected by time of day, location of the building being evacuated, the availability of the various designated emergency gathering locations on campus, and other factors such as the location and nature of the emergency. In both cases, MCW Public Safety staff on the scene will communicate information to employees and students regarding the developing situation or any evacuation status changes.
The purpose of evacuation drills is to prepare building occupants for an organized evacuation in case of a fire or other emergency. At MCW, evacuation drills are used as a way to educate and train occupants on fire safety issues specific to their building. During the drill, occupants ‘practice’ drill procedures and familiarize themselves with the location of exits and the sound of the fire alarm. In addition to educating the occupants of each building about the evacuation procedures during the drills, the process also provides the College with an opportunity to test the operation of fire alarm system components.
Evacuation drills are monitored by MCW Public Safety, Facilities, Environmental Health and Safety, and the Wauwatosa Fire Department to evaluate egress and behavioral patterns. Public Safety encourages departments to identify deficient equipment so that repairs can be made immediately. Recommendations for improvements are also submitted to the appropriate departments/offices for consideration.
What it means to “Shelter-in-Place”
If an incident or emergency occurs and the buildings or areas around you become unstable, or the exterior of the building becomes dangerous due to severe weather or a toxic or irritating substance(s), it is usually safer to stay indoors because leaving the area may expose you to that danger. Thus, to “shelter-in-place” means to make a shelter of the building that you are in, and with a few adjustments, this location can be made even safer and more comfortable until it is safe to evacuate.
How you will know to “Shelter-in-Place”
A shelter-in-place notification may come from several sources, including MCW Public Safety, activation of building alarm systems, e-mail, overhead paging systems (where available), bullhorns, other College employees, or other authorities utilizing the College’s emergency communications tools.
How to “Shelter–in-Place”
No matter where you are, the basic steps of shelter-in-place will generally remain the same. Should the need ever arise, follow these steps, unless instructed otherwise by local emergency personnel:
Move away from the perimeter of the building, especially from exterior glass. Evacuate all exterior offices and close the doors and blinds. If you are unable to leave an exterior office, seek refuge under a desk. If you are outdoors, proceed into the closest building quickly or follow instructions from emergency personnel on the scene.
Go to the central corridor of the building, near the restrooms or elevators. Do not attempt to use the elevators.
Sit down and protect yourself. If high winds enter the building, protect your head by putting it between your knees.