The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


National Preparedness Month comes to a close

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Recent shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C., along with other threatening incidents across the U.S., serve as a wake-up call for SMU students, faculty and staff to pay more attention to campus emergency preparedness, SMU officials said, particularly since September is National Preparedness Month.

The month was given the designation by the Department of Homeland Security following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, according to SMU’s Office of Police and Risk Management Emergency Manager Lisa Morris, who said it is exceedingly important that the student body and faculty at SMU recognize both the potential dangers and ideal course of action one should take should they find themselves in a dangerous situation.

“Students are an important partner in their own safety so we urge students to take the warnings seriously. It is important to know what to do when an emergency alert is issued,” Morris said.

SMU Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer Anita Ingram encourages students to watch the six-minute “Run, Hide, Fight — Surviving an Active Shooter” video online, and to “take a look around your classrooms and offices. Think about where the exits are, and where you would hide if you needed to.” She stresses that the goal of this preparation is not to scare anyone, but rather to empower students to do all that they can to stay safe and protect themselves.

According to Kim Cobb, director of SMU Media Relations, the main goal of the Office of Police and Risk Management in observation of National Preparedness Month is to empower the SMU community to take care of themselves during
an emergency.

To encourage this preparedness, an active shooter simulation was held in McFarlin Auditorium Sept. 10. According to Cobb, roughly 200 students and staff members “watched the ‘Run, Fight, Hide’ video together, and then used what they learned to react to a simulated scenario involving an armed man in the auditorium.”

This was followed by a question and answer session with the Office of Police and Risk Management, where participants were able to share lessons they learned during the simulation.

Participant and SMU sophomore Abby Persky said that although she feels safe on SMU’s campus, she now feels more prepared. “Shots were fired literally seconds after our tutorial video from a stairwell in the side of the auditorium. Most people just fled the scene and kept their composure,” Persky said.

“Being instructed on how to do something is very different than experiencing it,” Emergency Manager Lisa Morris said. “So I am a firm believer in putting together drills that simulate various emergency scenarios…A drill like this helps increase people’s confidence and speed up their response time.”

SMU wants to make sure that it reaches every student and faculty member in the event of an emergency.

The Emergency Management team has instituted a system that reaches the campus community through every possible outlet including cell phones, text messages, emails, sirens, public address systems, websites and even
social media.

“The best thing you can do, and I’m not just talking to students, is to make sure that we can communicate with you during emergency,” advised Lee Arning, SMU’s director of emergency preparedness.

Persky’s advice to the Office of Police and Risk Management is that they “keep information coming as they gather it. The more details people have the better.”

Kim Cobb encourages students to take just a few minutes out of their day to update their contact information on access.SMU and watch the short videos found at that provide instructions on what to do in case of bad weather, an evacuation or a lockdown.

“Those easy steps — updating contact information and watching the videos — will ensure that you know what to do in the event of an emergency, and will help SMU reach you by cell phone or text to send you a warning,” Cobb said.

If personal safety isn’t enough of an incentive to watch the videos, the Office of Police and Risk Management has been holding a contest on the SMU Twitter page (@SMU) to get students more comfortable with SMU’s emergency procedures.

Every Wednesday in September, The Office of Police and Risk Management asks a question about one of the online videos, and the first person to tweet the right answer receives a Starbucks gift card and a T-shirt.

Wednesday will be the last round of the contest.

More information on SMU’s plans for emergency preparedness can be found at:

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