Sunday, August 31, 2008

If I Have to Train Myself and My Students On How to Deal with an Earthquake, an 'Active' Shooter, and Letter Bombs, I Won't Be Able To Teach Biology!

A reader from Southern Illinois University sent us this note and the accompanying Emergency Response Guide. The faculty member writes: "I have received no emergency preparedness training. I do not know CPR or the Heimlich maneuver and I do not have a cell phone. I do not acknowledge the right of the administration to place any item on my syllabus and I do not appreciate their attempt to shift their legal liability on to me with this cover their ass policy."


Dear Faculty,

As you prepare for the start of classes next week, I want to remind you that according to University policy you must discuss emergency preparedness issues with each of your classes. To make this easier, I have pasted the emergency procedure clause that must be included in its entirety in your syllabus. In addition, I have attached a pdf of the Emergency Response Guide. Please present the first page of this guide as a slide on the first day of class. Thank you for your cooperation in this important matter.

We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for study and work. Because some health and safety circumstances are beyond our control, we ask that you become familiar with the SIUC Emergency Response Plan and Building Emergency Response Team (BERT) program. Emergency response information is available on posters in buildings on campus, available on BERT's website at, Department of Safety's website (disaster drop down) and in Emergency Response Guideline pamphlet.

Know how to respond to each type of emergency. Instructors will provide guidance and direction to students in the classroom in the event of an emergency affecting your location. It is important that you follow these instructions and stay with your instructor during an evacuation or sheltering emergency. The Building Emergency Response Team will provide assistance to your instructor in evacuating the building or sheltering within the facility.

samples from the guide.

Active Shooter:
  • Go to the nearest room or office.
  • Close and lock the door. If there is not a lock on the door, try to quickly barricade the door or block the door with something.
  • Cover the door windows.
  • Keep quiet, silence cell phones, and act as if no one is in the room.
  • DO NOT answer the door
Suspicious Letter or Package

  • Call 911.
  • DO NOT handle the package.
  • Leave the room and close the door.
  • Wash hands.
  • Identify & isolate all who came in contact.
  • DO NOT go to emergency room.