April 16, 2007

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations

VSU Prepared for Emergency Situations

VALDOSTA - As the nation watches news coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting, attention is turned to safety and crisis response on campuses everywhere. The administration at Valdosta State University is monitoring the situation and prepared for inquiries regarding this campus’s preparedness.

VSU has plans and policies in place for response and management during a crisis, and many important players have participated in continuing education to further prepare for the event of an emergency. The most recent educational opportunity was a week long class titled “Incident Command Systems” held in early March, which was facilitated by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Office of Domestic Preparedness and International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administration. Hosted at VSU, the class educated administrators and law enforcement personnel on key aspects of crisis management.

In addition, VSU has mutual aid agreements and plans for action with both the city of Valdosta and Lowndes County to further manage an emergency on campus. Other campus safety services include emergency phones and closed circuit surveillance at strategic places throughout campus.

According to Scott Doner, Director of University Police, VSU has taken precautions and made efforts to prepare for emergencies; however, it is important to remember that each event must be assessed individually and react in a way most appropriate. Doner works closely with Robert DeLong, Director of Environment and Occupational Safety, who is responsible for all areas of campus safety, excluding law enforcement. Both men assert the importance of addressing each situation individually and reacting accordingly.

Because timing is critical in the event of an emergency, campus safety personnel and VSU administration must rely on the students, faculty and staff to be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity to the VSU police.

“In the event of any suspicious activity, people should contact VSU police as soon as possible,” Doner said. “We will continue to maintain a high profile on campus.”

The police department can be reached through the emergency phones or by calling VSU police at (229) 333-7816 for non-emergencies and 259-5555 for emergencies.