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Southeast Missouri State University ready for emergencies

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Emergency programs, procedures and equipment have Southeast Missouri State University public safety officials believing the school is well prepared for any emergency, even terrorism.

"We are lucky here," said Doug Richards, director of public safety at Southeast. "We have been upgrading our campus emergency preparedness plan for years."

Southeast has closed-circuit cameras located around campus that allow campus police to monitor activity throughout the university. Southeast installed emergency warning sirens on campus a year and a half ago. The outdoor sirens also can be used as loud speakers to inform students and employees about a particular emergency, Richards said.

The university has conducted emergency disaster drills in recent years, including evacuating buildings.

Southeast even has satellite telephones that can be used should its regular communications system go down, Richards said.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, had many institutions rushing to upgrade security, he said. But Southeast already was upgrading its emergency preparedness plan before terrorism became a household word.

"We haven't had to scramble," Richards said.


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