IEMA’s Ready to Respond Campus Program

On Monday, Elgin Community College (ECC) became the first suburban college to receive the Illinois Emergency Management Agency's (IEMA) "Ready to Respond Campus" designation, according to The Daily Herald.

This program is designed to enhance campus safety, preparedness and response to all types of hazards. Introduced in February of 2014, the designation has only gone to five schools, although officials expect more schools will apply, said the Herald.

Occurring so shortly in the aftermath of the community college shooting in Oregon, the awarding of this designation is another reminder of the importance of campus safety and preparedness. "(The designation) lets the public know that this is a safe school for people in the community to send their students. We met all the criteria to allow us to respond to any type of crises that could occur on our campus,” said ECC Police Chief Emad Eassa.

Although school shootings represent the most high profile of emergencies, the program is intended to demonstrate a school's preparedness of a wide variety of potential disasters — from tornadoes and flash flooding to disease outbreaks — and emphasizes communication with community first responders, students and staff, according to The Herald. "We're just trying to give a framework for colleges to try to achieve the highest level of preparedness for any type of event,” IEMA spokeswoman Patti Thompson told the paper.

For those interested in more details on the IEMA "Ready to Respond Campus" designation, whether as an applicant, or for development of similar programs, additional details are available at the link below