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

How to Respond to Chemical Incidents

An Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures Test/Exercise was conducted on 9/14/2022 from 9am to 11:55am.

CSEPP (the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program)

Would you know what to do during a community-wide chemical emergency?

Every year, the Madison County Emergency Management Agency/Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (EMA/CSEPP) conducts a community-wide disaster exercise. This 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. Eastern Kentucky University participated in the exercise, by sending our Environmental Health & Safety team to liaise with the Madison County Emergency Operations Center, and on the Richmond Campus, by convening our Crisis Management Team at our Incident Command Center, and discussing emergency operations and decision making, in a way that did not affect the typical educational operations of the University. We continued our participation, also, by encouraging everyone, who was able and willing, to review and consider how they would protect themselves during a CSEPP emergency.

Prior to this exercise, on 3/23/2022, a relocation exercise, for the Model Laboratory Schools (8th grade only, representing about 10% of student population) was conducted. This exercise tested the capacity of relocating students and faculty, using buses, to transport individuals from EKU to their designated reception center in Fayette County.

During the September exercise, we informed our community that, "You 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 article. 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."  

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 type of chemical agent stored there is GB (sarin, a nerve agent). CSEPP communities have been recognized nationally for their abilities to respond to emergencies of all kinds. A chemical weapons destruction facility has been constructed and demilitarization operations are currently underway. The chemical demilitarization process is anticipated to be complete in 2023.

The community-wide Annual CSEPP Exercise was scheduled for Wednesday, September 14, 2022. We did not know the exact start time for the community-wide Annual CSEPP 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 advisor alert radio, systems. Westminster Chimes, rather than the chemical alternating high/low wailing siren, was used to start the exercise. We performed a test of our EKU Alerts system along with the siren test.

We should all know that if a chemical release occurred at the Blue Grass Army Depot, you would 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

EKU Community-Wide Chemical Release Response Video (What you should do on the EKU Richmond Campus)

Madison County Shelter In Place Video (What you should do off the EKU Richmond Campus elsewhere in Madison County)

Thank you to all who participated in the exercise, or took the time to review these very important emergency plans. Your participation helps to keep our entire community safe and healthy.

Published on August 31, 2022