SMU maintains a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan that meets local, state, and federal standards. The SMU Response Plan describes the protocols, resources, response partners, and organizational structure that will activate to address any man-made, natural, or technological disruption that might interfere with normal University activities.
The Response Plan is designed to obtain the swiftest specialized emergency assistance for the protection of life and property at all three SMU campuses. The effectiveness of emergency and disaster response plans depends on high skill levels among all those who will execute the plans. This requires training and exercise, both within the University community and with external response partners.
SMU voluntarily complies with federal standards of responder training. In addition, the University provides all critical personnel with regular, specialized training that encompasses their emergency response roles and responsibilities.
The University tests emergency plans and capabilities in three ways:
- Drills: such as evacuation and sheltering;
- Exercises: which test not only University-specific emergency response capabilities, but those of our external response partners as well;
- Real Events: When an unplanned incident such as a power disruption or a severe weather event occurs, the University leverages these incidents by activating emergency response plans and testing University personnel and equipment during the real-time situation. SMU also makes use of mass gatherings on campus (> 8,000 people) to exercise critical personnel, resources, and response plans in a proactive, precautionary mode, to ensure a successful event experience for all participants.
Subsequent to every drill, exercise, or real event, SMU gathers all of the responders involved in the incident and conducts a debriefing session. These debriefing sessions are candid examinations of the plans, protocols and resources utilized during the incident. Elements of the incident response that were successful and supportive to consequence-resolution are examined to ensure their sustainability; unsuccessful elements become the basis for a University Post-Event Improvement Plan, which includes recommendations, along with role and resource-based tasks to be completed within specific timelines.