UNC-Chapel Hill to conduct emergency preparedness drill on Aug. 10
Part of ongoing efforts to enhance campus safety in collaboration with local responders
(Chapel Hill, N.C.— July 31, 2015) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will conduct a full-scale emergency preparedness planning drill near Municipal Drive and the main Carolina North Forest entrance on Monday, Aug. 10, between about 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The drill, coordinated annually by the University’s Department of Public Safety, will involve multiple campus departments related to safety, operations and administration, as well as law enforcement officials and first responders from Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County.
“Emergency planning drills are vital to our every-day efforts to enhance campus safety and prepare for a variety of potential scenarios,” said Jeff McCracken, UNC-Chapel Hill’s director of public safety. “This exercise in a controlled learning environment will provide invaluable feedback about our current response plans and inform our ongoing collaborative work with community partners.”
The drill site is on University property about two miles north of the main campus off the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Municipal Drive. The exercise will be confined to buildings and grounds near the Carolina North Land Management and Trail Information Office, which will be closed on the day of the drill.
Municipal Drive will remain open during the drill, and Carolina North Forest users will have access to the main parking lot and gravel road leading to the trail area. UNC Department of Public Safety officers will be available to provide Carolina North Forest maps upon request on site. The drill will not affect traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Emergency vehicles and personnel will be visible in and around the University property near the Carolina North office and nearby buildings. Uniformed officers and other first responders will use training equipment during a simulated response as if there were an actual emergency on campus. People near the drill site may see actors or hear loud noises including mock gun fire. Police officers will be stationed around the perimeter of the drill area, which will be clearly marked. Signage also is planned in the area.
Although the drill date intentionally falls between the end of summer classes and back-to-school activity to minimize confusion, University officials are communicating proactively about the drill in advance with the campus community, local governments and community agencies so people are not surprised or think the events they see or hear are real. OC Alerts, which provides Orange County residents with emergency and severe weather news, will also notify residents within a one-mile radius of the drill site. Orange County 911 officials also are aware of the drill.
The University will not activate normal campus emergency communications, including sounding the emergency sirens and sending text messages, during the drill. For more information about safety procedures and related issues on campus, please visitalertcarolina.unc.edu.
The federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act requires universities to annually test emergency response procedures. UNC-Chapel Hill tests the operation of the emergency sirens at the beginning of each fall and spring semester. The next test is scheduled on Aug. 26. Campus officials regularly update response and communications plans based on lessons learned during the annual full-scale drill, the siren tests and actual events.