Members of the Campus Community,

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently completed a test of our emergency response and evacuation plans. The test included two components: a drill and an exercise. The drill (a test of our Illini-Alert emergency notification system) was initiated on Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. This drill was announced ahead of time by campus Massmail and an Eweek notice. The Illini-Alert system sent an email to the addresses of all active faculty, staff and students. Those who have registered alternate email addresses also received an email notification. Those who have registered a cellphone were sent a text message during this drill.

In an attempt to increase the speed and breadth of emergency communications, the campus increased Illini-Alert modes of emergency communication to include Facebook and Twitter. This multi-modal approach provides a robust communication engine that will continue to function successfully even if one system fails to work properly.

If you have not signed up to receive emergency messages through Illini-Alert, please visit to register.

The second component of the test was a tabletop exercise conducted Sept. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Champaign County Emergency Operations Center. The exercise was announced in advance in a campus Eweek notice. The tabletop exercise involved multiple bomb threats that affected campus buildings. The exercise scenario tested various components of the Campus Emergency Operations Plan, including evacuation procedures.


If a situation arises that poses a verified, imminent or ongoing threat to the safety, security or health of students or employees, a Campus Alert will be issued to expedite emergency response and/or evacuation procedures. The goal of a Campus Alert is to notify as many people as possible, as rapidly as possible, with adequate follow-up information as needed. Follow-up information will be available through the Illini-Alert emergency notification system on a case-by-case basis. If follow-up information is critical to the community, it may be disseminated using additional mechanisms at the discretion of the Executive Director of Public Safety or designee. Additional mechanisms may include public media outlets, NOAA emergency alert radios, Comcast Cable channel 7 (UI-7), #265-UIPD and/or the telephone alert directory. Campus Alerts are issued for incidents such as an active threat/shooter, major hazardous materials release, major fire, extended power outage, infectious disease outbreak, or a tornado that would directly impact campus.

The university has implemented a formal process that gives the on-duty U. of I. Police shift commander, Executive Director of Public Safety, and/or designee the authority to do the following:

'  Confirm a significant emergency or dangerous situation;

'  Develop the content and determine the appropriate segment(s) of the campus community to receive the notification;

'  Initiate some or all of the campus alert systems to send an emergency message to the campus community.

The process also stipulates that an immediate emergency message will not be sent if, in the professional judgment of authorities, the message would compromise efforts to assist a victim, or to contain, respond to or otherwise mitigate the emergency. It also authorizes the on-duty U. of I. Police shift commander, Executive Director of Public Safety, and/or designee to create and initiate the Campus Alert. The Executive Director of Public Safety and/or designee may also consult directly with Public Affairs to ensure an immediate, timely notification to the campus using the emergency notification mechanisms mentioned previously.


As required by federal and state law, the University of Illinois has a comprehensive emergency operation plan that details immediate response and evacuation procedures, including the use of electronic and cellular communication. The university's Campus Emergency Operations Plan includes information about Incident Management Teams, university operating status parameters; incident priorities; shelter-in-place and evacuation guidelines and overall command and control procedures. University departments are responsible for developing their own building emergency action plans and continuity of operations plans for their staff and areas of responsibility.

As a part of the comprehensive emergency operation plan for the university, regularly scheduled drills, exercises and follow-through activities are conducted annually. Minimally, tabletop exercises are conducted for various campus units identified as having emergency response responsibilities in order to test response and evacuation procedures. All exercises are documented and appropriate after-action-reports are completed and submitted to the state of Illinois for review pursuant to the Illinois Campus Security Enhancement Act. After-action-reports are completed detailing lessons learned, and follow-up items are identified with responsibilities assigned to appropriate campus entities. The university's Basic Emergency Operation Plan, which is compliant with the Illinois Campus Security Enhancement Act, is posted on the Division of Public Safety website to be used in conjunction with campus exercises.

U. of I. police officers and supervisors have received training on the National Incident Management System, which includes use of the Incident Command System. This federally mandated training is designed to assist first responders in responding to and managing critical incidents. If a serious incident occurs that causes an immediate threat to campus, personnel from the University of Illinois, Urbana and Champaign police departments, Urbana and Champaign fire departments, PRO Ambulance and ARROW Ambulance will usually be the first on scene. Personnel from these agencies typically respond and work together to manage a critical incident. Depending on the size, scope and seriousness of the incident, other university departments and/or other local or federal agencies could also be involved in the response.

Evacuation drills are coordinated by University Housing, Code Compliance and Fire Safety and local fire departments each semester for all university residence halls to ensure that emergency response and evacuation procedures are tested at least twice each year. Prior to conducting drills, university housing residents are provided emergency evacuation information. Additionally, evacuation routes are posted on the doors of resident hall rooms. Residents are not told in advance about the designated locations for long-term evacuations because those decisions are affected by time of day, location of the building being evacuated, the availability of the various designated emergency gathering locations on campus, and other factors such as the location and nature of the threat. In these cases, university housing staff and/or first responders on scene will communicate information to students regarding the developing situation or any evacuation status changes. In addition to educating occupants about the evacuation procedures during the drills, the process also provides the university an opportunity to test the operation of fire alarm system components.

Evacuation drills are evaluated by university housing staff, Code Compliance and Fire Safety and local fire departments to review egress and behavioral patterns. Reports are prepared by participating departments that identify deficient equipment so that repairs can be made immediately. Recommendations for improvements are also submitted to the appropriate departments/offices for consideration.

Students who reside in university residence halls receive information about evacuation and shelter-in-place procedures during their first floor meetings and during other educational sessions they can participate in throughout the year. University housing staff members are trained in these procedures as well and act as an on-going resource for the students living in residential facilities.

Shelter-in-Place Procedures

There may be emergencies that arise that do not afford people the opportunity to evacuate from their location. During these types of emergencies, sheltering-in-place may be necessary. Sheltering-in-place means to stay inside a known, safe area to avoid adverse conditions in an exterior environment. Examples of emergencies where the shelter-in-place option may be necessary and/or preferred include severe weather (tornado) or a situation involving an active shooter. This may also include a fire emergency for persons with disabilities who are not able to leave the building on their own or if the elevator is recalled during a fire.

Basic Shelter-in-Place Guidance

If an incident occurs that does not present a safe opportunity to evacuate, find an immediate place of safety and stay there until it is safe to leave. This may include locking the door(s) or barricading the ingress/egress point(s) of the area you are occupying. It may also include covering the windows to decrease visibility of the occupied area.

If an incident occurs where a shelter-in-place option is not possible, leave the area immediately following the evacuation procedures for your building. Follow the directions of police and/or fire personnel if they are on scene of the incident.

How You Will Know to Shelter-in-Place

A shelter-in-place notification may come from several sources, including the U. of I. Police Department (by means of the Illini-Alert emergency notification system), the Office of Public Affairs, other university employees or other authorities utilizing the university's emergency communications tools.

How to Shelter in-Place

If an incident occurs where sheltering-in-place is the best option, follow these steps, unless instructed otherwise by emergency personnel:

These steps should only be followed if safe to do so:

'  Once aware of the emergency, seek or remain in a location deemed safe from the affected area.

'  Once within a safe area, attempt to secure the space in whatever reasonable manner is applicable.

'  Stay in the area of safety and remain quiet, unless making noise would be beneficial to your safety (for example, to increase the likelihood of rescue or recovery).

'  Stay away from objects that may lead to higher risk of injury.

'  Do not leave the area of safety until you are notified that the emergency is no longer a threat to personal safety.

The Division of Public Safety hopes this information is useful to all those who work, study and visit our campus community.

Lieutenant Todd Short
University of Illinois Police Department/Office of Campus Emergency Planning


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