Emergency preparedness conversation changes after Connecticut shooting, University of Central Oklahoma officials say

by Silas Allen Modified: January 10, 2013 at 10:24 pm •  Published: January 11, 2013

Nieves said institutions occasionally make changes in response to major emergencies.

Nieves' position, for example, was created in the wake of the 2007 campus shooting at Virginia Tech that left 33 dead, including the shooter, and 23 injured.

But Nieves said universities can't base all their emergency management training on recent incidents. If they focus all their attention on active-shooter training, for example, universities may leave themselves unprepared for other kinds of incidents.

The main objective behind a large-scale, multiagency exercise such as this one is to allow officials to get an idea of how well the university works with the city of Edmond, Nieves said.

The exercise also gave university officials a chance to see how well the university communicates internally, he said.

For the most part, Nieves said, coordination with city officials during Thursday's exercise was seamless, but officials saw a few internal communication issues.

Maj. Bill Brown, a spokesman for the Edmond Fire Department, said full-scale training such as Thursday's exercise is valuable because it shows a better example of how every agency would work in a real-life emergency.

The department's Hazardous Materials Response Team donned chemical suits and inspected West Hall during the simulation. Although the team conducts similar training fairly frequently, he said, that training isn't a substitute for larger-scale scenarios that involve many agencies working together.

“You can't put a price on this type of training,” Brown said.

“It's invaluable.”

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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