In the wake of this week’s tragedy at Virginia Tech, many people have been asking questions about emergency procedures and preparedness on our campus.
At the University of Michigan, we have numerous emergency preparedness plans in place on campus and continually are reviewing and updating them. Many emergencies are addressed in the U-M Emergency Procedures Flipchart – which can be found posted in your building. Additional emergency resources and tips can be found in the annual Campus Safety Handbook. Hard copies can be obtained from any DPS office as well as on their website.
Some questions that have been asked this week are easy to answer, while others quite honestly are not. There is no one simple answer as to how a particular emergency situation would be handled. Each situation is different and usually requires a tailored response. However, our police officers and emergency responders have been and continue to be trained to appropriately respond to a variety of scenarios. Specifically, our campus police officers have been specially trained to address active shooter situations. They have been issued special equipment and regularly conduct refresher training. They also conduct training with other local law enforcement agencies and have mutual aid agreements in place with local and federal agencies to access additional personnel if necessary.
We are a large public institution that is geographically spread out and highly integrated into the nearby community. While it is virtually impossible to “shut down” the entire campus, we are prepared to isolate and restrict areas of campus as necessary. As you know, as a public institution, most campus buildings are open to the public during the day. Some buildings, however, have restricted areas. Our residence halls are locked 24-hours a day and require an authorized key card to gain entry. Areas of some academic and research buildings have restricted spaces, as of course do our hospitals. Additionally some of our buildings have card-reader systems that can restrict access.
We have numerous communications vehicles at our disposal to alert our community. These include, but are not limited to: Email; website; mass media; crime alert distribution (email to which the public can request to be added, website, hard-copy fliers); two-way radios carried by police and security, University bus drivers, Facilities and Operations staff and some building facility managers; bull-horns on police cars; the city’s CodeRed phone call system; outdoor emergency warning sirens; unit phone trees; as well as door-to-door visits by police and/or staff. Each situation will be different but we plan to use a variety of communications vehicles to notify our community in the event of an emergency.
What students/staff/faculty can do:
- Be aware of their surroundings (limit use of iPods and phones while walking on or off campus)
- Report suspicious behavior IMMEDIATELY to police
- Don’t ignore the systems that are in place—fire alarms, automatic door locks, outdoor emergency sirens, broadcast messages, etc.
- Keep your directory listing updated with current cell phone numbers and contact information as well as emergency contact information
We will continue to work with the Facilities Users Network (made up of campus facility managers and operations staff) to review, revise and enhance our emergency preparedness. If you have questions about emergency procedures, please review the DPS website, contact your facility manager or call the Department of Public Safety at 763-3434. Public safety is everyone’s responsibility. Let’s work together to help keep our campus safe.