Give Now

2014 Archives

Know what to do

SMU uses National Preparedness Month to teach emergency awareness, response

Know What To Do

In A Lockdown Emergency

If You Need To Evacuate

If You Need To Seek Shelter

August 28, 2014

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU is asking the campus community to take an active role throughout September, National Preparedness Month, to learn how best to respond to potentially dangerous campus emergencies.

During National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the U.S.  Department of Homeland Security, the University’s Emergency Management team will help students, faculty and staff plan for their own safe response in the event of a campus emergency. Some of the most important resources can be found online at, including FAQs and three short videos that instruct how to react if the University issues an alert to lockdown, evacuate or seek shelter.

Students, faculty and staff will receive information in September through email, web and social media messages focused on recommended emergency responses to a variety of threats. In the event of a real emergency, the campus would be instructed through these same channels to lockdown, seek shelter or evacuate.  Drills will be conducted in buildings across the campus and emergency personnel will test communications equipment, sirens and radios.

SMU will produce an experiential exercise open to the campus community that allows students, faculty and staff to experience a simulated incident involving a campus “attack” by an armed assailant.  It is designed to not only instruct participants on what might happen in a campus attack, but also to allow them to understand how adrenalin, misperceptions and personal choices can alter the outcome of such situations.

The simulation exercise is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, in the Hughes Trigg Theater. It will be open to anyone with a current SMU ID.

“This simulation can be unsettling, but it’s designed to be,” said Lisa Morris, SMU emergency management specialist.  “Participants tell us that the sights and sounds and rush of emotions they experience make them realize just how much they need information on responding to an emergency. “

SMU will begin its participation in National Preparedness Month on Tuesday, Sept. 2, and the campus will be encouraged in subsequent weeks to view three short safety videos posted at   The information campaign the second week will focus on how to respond to a “lockdown” message, and will include the armed assailant simulation on Sept. 9.  The third week will focus on responding to instructions to “seek shelter” and the fourth week will focus on instructions to “evacuate.”

A Twitter contest will award Starbucks gift cards throughout the month to students who view the emergency videos and are first to answer related questions Tweeted from @SMU. And every member of the SMU community will be encouraged to make sure that their cell number is registered correctly through access/My SMU so they can be reached in an emergency. 

“We take emergencies very seriously on this campus,” said Anita Ingram, SMU associate vice president and Chief Risk Officer. “The potential for tornadoes is something we deal with every spring in North Texas.  And, unfortunately, every campus in the United States needs to be prepared to respond to an armed assault.

“What we know from experience – our own, and those of other universities that have dealt with emergency situations – is that information, training and practice can save lives,” Ingram said.