OCCC evacuation drills a success

Planned evacuation drills that took place at all OCCC campuses the morning of Tuesday, June 10, were a success, said OCCC’s Police Chief James Fitzpatrick. Evacuation drills, as well as fire drills and shelter-in-place drills are conducted annually as a Department of Education requirement, he said.

“We do three primary drills that we consider our three potential threats,” Fitzpatrick said. “One is for having to get out of the building in a hurry, an evacuation.

The other two he said, are severe weather drills where everyone is moved to safer areas within the college, and a shelter-in-place drill that takes into consideration any immediate threats to those on campus such as a shooter.

Fitzpatrick said he is satisfied with the response from the student body and faculty during the evacuation.

“Everyone responded very well to this drill,” he said. “We don’t have any complaints with anybody. The student body was excellent and the cooperation was outstanding.”

Students and faculty were directed out of the buildings by Emergency Response Team members to the safer areas outside of the building to the Faculty Circle. That team is made up of faculty and staff who are trained to help out with the drills and also, in the event of a real emergency.

Emergency Planning and Risk Management director Marlene Shugart also was pleased with the drill.

“I think it went extremely well,” Shugart said. “Our main objective was to have a safe evacuation drill. I think we achieved the safety of the drill.”

Shugart said an evacuation drill is not quite the same as a fire drill.

“If we have an evacuation notice go out, that [students and faculty] are to evacuate the campus, it will not be for a fire,” she said. “It will be from a gas leak or a chemical spill or anything of that sort that [requires] an evacuation of the building.”

Overall, students and faculty felt the evacuation drill was a success.

“[It was] good,” said Chris Ferrara, electrical engineer major. “I got to miss class and I feel like it was very well organized.”

Biology Lab Supervisor Virginia Hovda said everything occurred on time, as outlined in an email sent out last week, and everyone cooperated.

“We had good radio communication where it was necessary, and all the students, faculty and staff were excellent in their cooperation,” Hovda said.

For more information on upcoming drills and risk management, contact Shugart at 405-682-1611, ext 7148, or email at marlene.l.shugart@occc.edu.

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