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


SMU implements new emergency awareness campaign

In the case of an emergency, SMU will be ready to take action. SMU has created a new program in order to prepare students for any emergencies that may arise.  SMU AWARE devised a three-step program for students called “KNOW WHAT TO DO.”

The program was created for the sole mission of wanting people to know what to do in case of emergency.

“We want people to know the simple things that they can do to protect and save their lives if any emergency happens on campus,” Lee Arning, Director of Emergency Preparedness, said.

The program was initially created as a part of the National Preparedness Month and breaks emergencies into three categories: Evacuation, Lockdown and Shelter in Place.

Emergencies have occurred at several universities over the past year, which brings up the need for the program. There have been three university shootings, hurricanes and tornadoes that have hit universities.

“When you KNOW WHAT TO DO, you’ve learned core skills that could literally save your life whether you experience a severe weather event, a hazardous chemical release, a fire, or a shooter on campus,” Arning said.

SMU is located in the “tornado alley,” which is a reason for this program. In just April and May, there were 750 tornados in the United States. Most of these occurred in tornado-prone areas such as Texas. With “KNOW WHAT TO DO,” students will now be prepared in case of a tornado.

The program is also critical for SMU in case a shooter comes on campus. One of the steps of the three-step program is teaching individuals what to do in case this situation arises.

“When a shooting occurs, police must gather and then get into special protective gear before they can enter. But we all know that shootings take place in a matter of seconds,” Arning said.  “Therefore you have seconds to decide what you can do to save your life because sometimes waiting for help isn’t an option.”

SMU is the only known university that has created such a program according to Kristie Vento, principal of inChorus Marketing and Promotion.

“I don’t believe there are any other universities that have implemented such a program, which makes SMU very forward-thinking in this effort,” Kristie Vento said.

There are various colleges that have printouts to prepare students, but SMU is one of the only schools that have used the events and one-on-one interactions with students.

“SMU regularly conducts evacuation and shelter-in-place exercises for all of our buildings, where some schools only do exercises for their residence halls,” Arning said.  “Our exercises are another opportunity to inculcate the “KNOW WHAT TO DO” messages.”

The next event for “KNOW WHAT TO DO” will take place in the spring. The program may highlight Shelter-In-Place because it will be right around the severe weather season. However, there will be ongoing evacuation and shelter-in-place exercises throughout the semester.

Students have had firsthand experience with the precautions, due to drills while living in the dorms.

“It reassuring to know that there is a plan of action in case our lives are in danger,” junior Erin McKie said.

To learn more about SMU’s preparedness plan, visit

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