College plans safety exercise next month

Publication Date

As part of its emergency response planning, the College will conduct a shelter-in-place exercise on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

The drill will begin at 1 p.m. and last approximately 15 minutes. The school’s emergency communication system will be activated and a message will be sent via text, phone or email indicating that the drill is in progress. A message will also be broadcast over the campus’s outdoor loudspeakers.

All members of the campus community, including faculty, staff and students, are requested to participate in the drill. This will allow the College to evaluate its protocol, personnel and emergency communication system in the event of an active intruder.

In short, shelter in place means stay where you are if indoors and go inside the nearest building as quickly as possible if you are outdoors. Once inside the building, go into an interior room, close the door, and lock or otherwise secure the door if possible. Stay away from windows and wait for further instructions.

Campus Safety officers and members of Union’s Emergency Response Team will be positioned around the campus to assist.

Specific instructions on what to do when the drill is underway will be shared in the coming weeks.

“Preparation, planning and early intervention are critical for any emergency situation,” said Chris Hayen, director of Campus Safety. “We often conduct evacuation drills based on fire or other building interruptions. It’s important that we do this particular drill, which focuses on actions recommended to avoid detection by an intruder.”

The College routinely examines its Emergency Response Plan, which includes procedures that strive to ensure a rapid response to an unanticipated emergency situation. A core group of the Emergency Response Team, comprised of senior College administrators, members of Campus Safety and others, review and assess the College’s emergency plan and communication strategies.

Campus Safety also works closely with local law enforcement, including the Schenectady Police Department and the FBI, to address safety concerns.

In addition to live drills like the upcoming shelter in place, Union has conducted tabletop exercises with leadership teams as part of its emergency preparedness.

“No college is immune to the threat of any sort of violence,” Hayen said, “so we must take steps to be prepared.”

For more information about what to do in an active intruder and other emergency situations, please visit the Campus Safety's website.