Disaster Preparedness & Recovery

Florida College Campus Holds Its First Full-Scale Exercise

Local first responders join Seminole State College officials to test the campus’s emergency readiness.

About 50 first responders, college administrators and staff members at Seminole State College of Florida’s Heathrow Campus responded to a 911 call reporting an explosive device on Oct. 19, as part of a drill to test the campus’s readiness.

“This is the first functional, full-scale exercise we’ve done at a school, K-12 or higher education,” said Alan Harris, emergency manager for the Seminole County Office of Emergency Management, in a statement.

The goal of the exercise was to test the emergency plan, communication and the Incident Command System. Seminole State’s communication team posted updates to the campus emergency hotline, website and social media sites during the event. Students on campus were not notified of the test beforehand, but participants wore colored vests and took action as they would if a similar event occurred.

First responders from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, staff from the Seminole Office of Emergency Management and the Seminole County Department of Public Safety joined the Seminole State College Emergency Response Team in the drill, which was planned for months. 

“It’s essential that we know how to respond quickly and effectively to emergency situations,” said Dick Hamann, Seminole State’s chief information officer, in a press release. “Conducting exercises like this, with the cooperation of agencies in Seminole County and other areas, increases our preparedness and helps to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff, which is our top priority.”

The Heathrow Campus serves as a college campus and a regional economic development office. The three other college campuses in the county will participate in similar exercises in the future.

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