Campus emergency exercise planned for Nov. 25

Nov. 13, 2014

IU Bloomington will be the site of a full-scale active shooter exercise on Nov. 25 to test how well a host of university functions, such as police, communications, executive leadership and student affairs, can work together to address and recover from such a tragic incident.

Coordinated by IU Emergency Management and Continuity, the exercise is part of IUEMC’s active shooter exercise program, which has held similar exercises at most of IU’s campuses. The dramatic, complicated drills typically are preceded with workshops and tabletop drills. Afterward, plans are put in place to address shortcomings discovered during the exercises.

Campus shootings still are rare; the risk for having such an incident at IU is low, but the training provides the opportunity for everyone involved to practice critical steps, such as cooperation between police departments and crisis communications, that are needed to respond to most emergency scenarios.

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IU Bloomington will be the site of a full-scale active shooter exercise on Nov. 25 to test how well a host of university functions can work together.

“An active shooter situation is at the top of every list of concern, even though the risk and threat is low at IU,” said Debbi Fletcher, director of emergency management and continuity for IU Bloomington. “IU uses an ‘all hazards’ planning process. Whether it's a terrorist attack, tornado, active shooter or other emergency, we will always have to take care of the injured; we will always have to communicate with the public; we will always have to establish a safe perimeter and provide shelter. We've chosen this hazard to hone our skills for all.” 

The location of the exercise will not be revealed beforehand. It will call into play the IU Police Department, Bloomington Police Department, Bloomington Fire Department, IU Emergency Management and Continuity, IU Communications and others who would respond to such a situation.

An IU-Notify alert will be sent only to participants in the exercise -- not to the entire IU Bloomington community. Street closures can be expected before and during the exercise. Anyone nearby will see a response by a number of IUPD officers, several police and fire vehicles (without sirens), as well as ambulances (without sirens) and their crews. A number of “victims” with simulated injuries sustained from the incident will be present.

The exercise has been coordinated by an IU planning committee. 

Fletcher said this isn’t the first or last full-scale exercise for IU Bloomington. In the past, exercises have simulated tornado strikes and hazardous material emergencies. IUEMC conducts a number of different exercises each year targeting different audiences. Most IU employees, for example, are familiar with fire drills and tornado drills.

“We hope that shootings and other tragedies never happens here, but the only way you know you can respond is to train and to prepare so you can respond to any hazard,” Fletcher said.

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