In an effort to enhance emergency preparedness, officials from Lewis University teamed up with members of the Will County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), the Will County Health Department, and the Village of Romeoville in a functional exercise held Aug. 14 at the Romeoville Emergency Management Agency’s Operations Center.
Participants in the exercise were from several Lewis University departments including administration, student services, health services, campus police, facilities and public information. Supporting municipal agencies included the Romeoville EMA, Fire, and Police departments and the Lockport Fire Department.
Deon Pillard, chief deputy director of the Will County EMA, was responsible for designing and implementing this exercise which evaluated campus personnel’s emergency response capabilities.
“Lewis’ campus emergency planning team gave an exemplary performance during this drill,” Pillard said. “The exercise simulation team presented a variety of potential scenarios that can, and often do, occur in an emergency event and the Lewis team handled each scenario with professionalism and efficiency.”
More than 80 inject messages were delivered to the simulated Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during the exercise. Each message required special action by one of more of the participants during the exercise.
“I was impressed with the effective communication amongst the players in this exercise,” Pillard said. “The Lewis team worked well together in identifying which department was best equipped to handle which scenario and successfully completed the necessary actions. And, what’s even more impressive is how well they handled the given scenarios presented to them; they were tough scenarios and the team certainly delivered. Their emergency plans are in order and they proved that with each scenario.”
Joe Falese, senior vice president of student services at Lewis University, said the emergency training exercise was beneficial for all players. He said the relationship between the university and the Will County EMA is an important part of the institution’s emergency preparedness program.
“Lewis’ participation in this functional exercise was tremendously valuable,” Falese said. “This exercise reaffirmed that Lewis’ plans are on track and we also learned areas where we can improve.
“Preparation drills like this are critical in the business of education,” he added. “We are responsible for providing quality education in a safe and secure environment. With a student population of 6,700, we take this responsibility very seriously.”
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