Western Carolina University, along with several state and regional emergency response agencies, will conduct a disaster preparedness exercise on the Cullowhee campus Tuesday, May 17.
The exercise, which will involve a simulated “active shooter” incident on campus, is being held to help law enforcement agencies, emergency responders and university officials evaluate current plans, policies and procedures relating to emergencies and disaster. It is a capstone to a series of exercises that the university has gone through over the last several years, said Shane Stovall, WCU’s director of emergency services.
“This exercise has been designed to look at how we, as a community, would respond and recover from an incident of this nature,” Stovall said “Many of the drills that are done relating to active shooters focus on response to the shooter, but we are going to take it one step further and look at our recovery plans for handling the aftermath of such an event. The drill is designed to be a no-fault environment that will educate and provide opportunities to improve our response and recovery plans that we develop for multiple potential hazards.”
Full-scale exercises, such as the activity planned for May 17, use role players in simulated incidents that occur in real time, Stovall said. An actual action is required in order to handle the incident, and equipment and personnel are deployed as if the incident were actually occurring, he said.
In addition to personnel from WCU, the exercise will involve the State Bureau of Investigation, Jackson County Office of Emergency Management, Cullowhee Volunteer Fire Department and Harris Emergency Medical Services. The exercise will be facilitated by EnviroSafe Consulting, a Burlington-based company specializing in helping organizations in their preparedness, emergency response and regulatory compliance programs.
A few areas on campus will be closed during the day of the exercise.
For more information, call the WCU Office of Communications and Public Relations at 828-227-7122.