SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently became the first higher education institution in the state to receive the Ready to Respond Campus designation from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). UIUC is one of nine campuses in Illinois that participated in a pilot of the Ready to Respond Campus program, an initiative aimed at enhancing campus safety, preparedness and response efforts.
IEMA also announced the statewide launch of the Ready to Respond Campus program. Participation in the program is voluntary.
“The Ready to Respond Campus designation represents the university’s strong commitment to ensuring the safety of their students, staff and visitors to this campus,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Attaining the designation isn’t easy, but UIUC officials were diligent in their efforts to meet the program’s rigorous standards. The Ready to Respond Campus logo tells current and prospective students and their parents that safety is a top priority on this campus.”
Monken presented the university with a metal sign bearing the Ready to Respond Campus logo. The university also can use the logo on official correspondence, websites, brochures and other media. The designation is valid for three years, at which time UIUC officials can submit updated documentation in order to renew its status.
“This is a fantastic statewide initiative that will benefit all participating institutions, and we are honored to be the initial recipient of the designation,” said Jeffrey Christensen, Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “The preparation we have been doing to earn it has strengthened our processes and approaches to address the unpredictable emergencies that could happen at a large and complex university.”
To achieve Ready to Respond Campus status, a college or university must meet criteria that address hazardentification, risk assessment and/or consequence analysis, operational planning, incident management, training and exercise. In addition, the campus must develop and maintain a violence prevention plan and implement a campus outreach and education campaign.
Monken said IEMA expects other schools from the pilot program to achieve the Ready to Respond Campus designation in the coming months. Schools that took part in the pilot program include Augustana College; Columbia College in Chicago; Heartland Community College; Parkland College; Moraine Valley Community College: Richland Community College; Southeastern Illinois College; and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
The Ready to Respond Campus program is the latest component of Illinois’ Ready to Respond effort. IEMA announced the Ready to Respond Community initiative in 2012 and plans to add Ready to Respond Schools K-12 and Ready to Respond Business.