New emergency response guide may help save lives

Think emergency situations don't happen at Iowa State? Think again.

  • May 30, 2014: A fire ignites the mechanical penthouse at Sweeney Hall, causing extensive smoke and water damage in the building.
  • Nov. 4, 2013: A young man drives recklessly through Ames and onto campus, resisting police attempts to stop him. After revving the engine and ignoring police commands, he is fatally shot by an Ames officer.
  • Sept. 1, 2005: A tornado strikes central campus, destroying nearly 70 trees.

Campus emergencies are not a question of if, but when. Environmental Health and Safety wants all Iowa State faculty, staff and students to be equipped with the appropriate knowledge to handle such situations.

Be prepared for an emergency

Emergency response guide now includes a video

EH&S, in cooperation with Iowa State's department of public safety, dean of students Pamela Anthony, and the rest of the ISU Critical Response Team, have implemented an enhanced emergency response guide.  The information gives the campus community step-by-step instructions about what to do in the event of a fire, severe weather, an urgent situation (medical emergency, bomb threat, etc.) or violent incident (active shooter on campus).

One of the key components of the guide is an eight-minute video, narrated by university relations staff member Angie Hunt with an introduction by senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert. The video uses role-playing, with the help of Iowa State students and police officers, to show how the campus community should handle emergencies.

"We want people to be aware of what their response should be in any of these emergency situations," said Steve Simpson, director of emergency management.

While the video is not required viewing, Simpson strongly encourages faculty and staff to watch it.

"Following these guidelines can save lives," Simpson said. "Acting together can save lives."

Students also will view the video this fall during residence hall and Greek house meetings.

New signage

Another component of the enhanced guide is new signage in all classrooms that gives step-by-step instructions on what to do in the event of an emergency. Anyone may print the signs and post them in their offices or departments. Signage has always been displayed in campus buildings to inform people what to do in case of a fire or severe weather. The new signs offer more details on how to react to urgent and violent situations.

"We've always responded well to emergency situations here at Iowa State, but we want to continue to improve," Simpson said.