Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures - Do You Know What To Do During a Community-Wide Chemical Emergency?

Exercise on 9/20/2023

An Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures Test was scheduled and conducted on 9/20/2023 at 8:56AM as part of CSEPP (the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program).

We used our exercise notifications (EKU Alerts) to provide our community members with public information about chemical and other emergencies.

Every year, the Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) / Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) conducts a community-wide disaster exercise. This community-wide exercise is evaluated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and it is meant to test emergency response and evacuation protocols within and around Madison County. In the past, Eastern Kentucky University participated in the exercise, by convening our crisis management team, to discuss emergency operations, and actions, in a manner that normally does not affect the typical operations of the University. We did so again this year, and we continued our participation, by encouraging everyone, who was able and willing, to review and consider how they would protect themselves during an emergency. We sent our Environmental Health & Safety team to the Madison County EOC to serve as education liaisons. And our Emergency Management & Security team facilitated tabletop discussions, with the Crisis Management Team, in our Incident Command Center on the Richmond Campus.

Everyone can be more involved by either, pausing and reviewing the Emergency Action Plan or the Chemical Release Response Manual located at https://emergency.eku.edu, or by reviewing the information links at the bottom of this page. Taking a moment to review our plans (either alone, with your class, or with fellow peers) will help you be better prepared to react and respond to various emergencies. Please note that there will be no operational impact to our facilities during the exercise.   

The Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program is a joint venture between the United States Army and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist state and local governments to improve emergency planning and preparedness in communities near chemical weapons storage sites.

The Blue Grass Army Depot, in Madison County Kentucky, stored approximately 2% of the nation’s original chemical weapons stockpile. The last chemical weapon stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot was destroyed July 7th, 2023. Hazardous materials remain at the site, however, and the next step of the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) project is the closure phase, which is anticipated to take an additional three to four years. This includes disposal of secondary wastes, and other activities, during which the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program will continue. CSEPP communities have been recognized nationally for their abilities to respond to emergencies of all kinds.

The Annual CSEPP Exercise was scheduled for Wednesday, September 20th, 2023. We did not know the exact start time for the exercise, but it typically begins around (or after) 8:30 AM. The exercise began with a test of the outdoor warning siren, and the indoor alert FM radio,  systems. The Steady High Wail Test Tone, rather than the Chemical Alternating High/Low Wail, was used to begin the exercise. We also performed tests of our EKU Alerts system along with the exercise.

You should know that if a chemical release occurred at the Blue Grass Army Depot, or elsewhere in the county, emanating from industry or transportation, you might be given instructions, to move to any one of our Enhanced Shelter-In-Place (ESIP) Buildings. These include:

·         Alumni Coliseum

·         Combs Building

·         Dizney Building

·         Perkins Building

·         University Building

·         Whitlock Building

·         Model Gymnasium (Note: Model Gym is reserved exclusively for the Model population's use)

Click here for an infographic about chemical incidents.

Click here for a map showing the ESIP Buildings.

Click here to watch our EKU community-wide chemical release response video here.

Click here to watch what you should do, off the EKU Richmond Campus, elsewhere in Madison County.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this important exercise.

Published on August 14, 2023