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Be prepared with a Departmental Emergency Response Plan

Dark clouds over Normal

Dark clouds over Normal, seen from the sixth floor of Milner Library. (Creative Commons license photo from Wikimedia user ParentingPatch)

Being prepared for an emergency is a key element in preparing students, faculty, and staff for managing a campus crisis. Deliberate and thoughtful planning is crucial for preparing university employees on how to react when faced with an emergency.

A well prepared Departmental Emergency Response Plan (DERP) lies at the heart of these preparations. The original DERP template was designed in September 2013 and addressed a set of four basic response actions as they related to fire, tornado, medical emergencies, and evacuations.

Earlier this spring, a revised plan template and corresponding emergency response guide flip chart was rolled out and is now available on the Environmental Health and Safety website for departmental use. Additional types of emergencies have been added to the plan, along with corresponding response protocols for building evacuations, medical emergencies, tornados, acts of violence, and other responses (bomb threat, chemical spill, explosion, and earthquakes).

The DERP template includes standard emergency response measures that apply to all departments, but also allows for customization as departments may differ in organization structure, geographical layout, or business functions that may require special attention. Departmental plans need to be comprehensive and detailed to the extent that personnel generally know how to respond to different types of crises, understanding that unique circumstances will dictate specific response actions. For departments that manage assembly occupancies, venue specific emergency response plans must also be developed.

Directors and department heads are responsible for developing their individual DERP, ensuring it is maintained, up-to-date and personnel are trained annually. Those designated in the plan with special responsibilities will warrant additional training.

If departments would like assistance in developing their DERPs or providing the training, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at (309) 438-8325.

 

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