Emergency Preparedness Safety Day intended to help students take proactive approach to well-being

September 20, 2012  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University and Tippecanoe County safety officials will show off their latest resources and interact with university students on the Purdue Centennial Mall on Wednesday (Sept. 26) to promote campus safety awareness.

The university's third Safety & Emergency Preparedness Day also will include testing of all layers of the Purdue Alert system at 10 a.m. It's all part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's annual National Emergency Preparedness Month, which takes place each September.

"Our campus community of nearly 40,000 students and about 55,000 people in all is very much like a city of its own, and it's important that everyone knows the resources that are available to them and how we can all help keep each other safe," said Ron Wright, emergency preparedness director. "Campus safety in terms of using police, fire or any number of other resources is not just a reactive process. There are things students can do to ensure safety so that there is no emergency in the first place, and we encourage them to at least come through the area on Centennial Mall and to feel free to stop by the booths and tables and talk to any of our emergency officials."

Purdue's police department will bring its canine unit out for demonstrations and will have its alcohol awareness car on site. Subaru of Lafayette will bring a drunk simulator - a windows based program in which participants use a steering wheel and pedals to drive a car on a computer screen. Inputs can be made to allow for alcohol consumption, and the computer simulates driver reactions.

Additionally, Purdue's fire department will display the university's Mobile Command Center and show its latest equipment. The Recreational Sports Complex will promote CPR and lifeguard classes among other programs. Purdue's Radiological and Environmental Management team, the Office of the Dean of Students, Purdue Student Government, Purdue wellness center, the American Red Cross and Tippecanoe County Health Department will be represented.

The Purdue Alert test will include sirens and will be used to ensure that the various layers of the system are working properly and to simulate a live situation for practice, Wright said. The alert system includes campus-wide emailing, text messaging, the Purdue home page, sirens, and alert systems in the residence halls and on Boiler TV. The alert posted to the Purdue homepage will state:

"This is the semi-annual TEST of the Purdue emergency warning notification system. This test simulates a level 1 incident.  No action is necessary. However, we do recommend that everyone reviews the Your Campus Your Safety annual security report at http://www.purdue.edu/police/pdf/YourCampus.pdf.  The publication contains emergency information, and important fire & crime statistics. A paper copy is available at the Purdue Police Department."          

If there is inclement weather, the siren test will be canceled.

To register to receive emergency text message notifications, go to http://www.purdue.edu/securepurdue, click on "Change My Emergency Contact Number," enter your Purdue account name and password, click on "Emergency Contact Information" and enter your cell phone number. Verizon Wireless subscribers are recommended to update the network information in their cell phones quarterly to help ensure they will receive the text messages. To do so, call *228 ("star" 228) and select option 2, "Update Roaming Capabilities." No action is necessary for other wireless carriers.

Wright recommends that the campus community take time to do four things to help prepare for emergencies:

* Review the Emergency Procedures Guide (EPG) that provides "how to respond" information for natural and human-caused incidents. An electronic version is located on the Emergency Preparedness website. Additionally, the EPG is also on the Purdue smartphone app under the safety section.

* Review their Building Emergency Plan to ensure they know evacuation routes and shelter-in-place locations.

* Review the Purdue Alert procedures.

* Develop an individual plan. 

Purdue police Chief John Cox also reminds the campus community of the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the police department at 765-494-8221, police@purdue.edu, or the WE TIP Hotline at 800-782-7463. If it is an emergency, call 911 or use any of the more than 300 emergency telephone boxes (blue light phones) on campus.

Purdue's police department advocates the Department of Homeland Security's "If You See Something, Say Something™" campaign to raise public awareness and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious behavior and situations like an unattended backpack in a public place or someone trying to access a restricted area or any other situation you feel is not quite right.

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu

Source: Ron Wright, 765-494-0446, rdwright@purdue.edu

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