AU Press Releases

AU conducts mock emergency drill with assistance from local fire/police

Alfred University, in conjunction with local fire companies and police, recently took a tabletop emergency drill concept one step further by conducting a full incident response simulation.

The simulation, a fire in Barresi Residence Hall, required a full response from the Alfred A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Co. and Ambulance Squad, with support from Alfred Station, Andover, and Almond as well as the Alfred Police Department and Alfred University Emergency Response Team.
AU student volunteers assisted as actor-victims resulting from the pretend fire. Emergency responders dealt with two fatalities, five burn and smoke inhalation victims, and 73 uninjured, displaced students.

The credibility of the student actors along with a smoke-filled Barresi Hall, courtesy of a smoke machine employed by Crandall Hook and Ladder, set the stage for a realistic response situation, said Cherise Haase, environmental health and safety manager at Alfred University who helped to coordinate the emergency drill.

This practice event also served as a test of Alfred University and local emergency service’s ability to use the National Incident Management System (NIMS) organizational structure, added Haase.

The incident command post was established in front of the Franklin Olin Building within view of the incident site, with AU emergency response team members establishing their respective operation rooms in the Olin building. Liaisons relayed essential information between the multi-agency incident commanders on scene and John Dougherty, AU Public Safety Chief, incident commander at Olin. Operational objectives and situation updates were communicated to the AU response team, and team members executed specific strategies in order to achieve the objectives. The operational period of two hours was compressed to 15 minutes, and response teams reported their status to Dougherty at the designated intervals.

Haase noted a short de-briefing followed the drill with strengths and weaknesses summarized and documented. Strengths, weaknesses and recommendations resulting from the simulation will be discussed during a more detailed de-briefing at some point in the near future.

The drill was largely a success, reported Haase, bringing to light potential problems that may exist in the event of an emergency, which will allow for internal changes to be made the campus response while enabling better communications with local responders.

Alfred University is looking to host another drill in the near future that will encourage more participants.