VOLUNTARY EXERCISE: There was a Voluntary Disaster Exercise on September 18th, 2019 - Focusing on a Chemical Emergency

Chemical Incidents

Voluntary Disaster Exercise: There was a voluntary disaster exercise, on Wednesday September 18th, 2019, beginning around 9:00AM, focusing on a community-wide chemical release.

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 a limited capacity in this exercise, in a manner that normally does not affect the typical operations of the University. We would like to continue to expand our participation, by encouraging everyone, who is able and willing, to voluntarily participate in the community-wide Annual CSEPP Exercise.

You can be more involved by either, pausing and reviewing your building emergency response guides located at https://emergency.eku.edu, or by moving to one of our enhanced shelter-in-place buildings. (See below for more information.) Taking a moment to review your individual building emergency response guides (either alone, with your class, or with fellow peers) will help you be better prepared to react and respond to various emergencies. Individuals within the enhanced shelter-in-place buildings will activate their systems and practice their plans.  Please note that there will be no operational impact to any of these buildings during the exercise. You may see signage being placed and various classes and employees and students actively participating. You are welcome to join and become familiar with the process of moving to a building and seeing first-hand how our systems operate as designed and installed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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, stores approximately 2% of the nation’s original chemical weapons stockpile. The type of chemical agents stored there are GB (sarin, a nerve agent), VX (another nerve agent), and Mustard (a blister 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. We believe that greater participation in these exercises is warranted, through the end of the chemical demilitarization process, which is anticipated to take about 3 years to complete.

The community-wide Annual CSEPP Exercise is scheduled for Wednesday, September 18th, 2019. We will not know the exact start time for the community-wide Annual CSEPP Exercise, but it typically begins around (or after) 9:00AM. The exercise will begin 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, will be used to start the exercise. If you are able to participate, you can begin your exercise play when you hear the sirens or when you receive the Public Safety Test/Exercise Alerts.

When this exercise begins, please encourage your students, faculty, and staff to participate by following the instructions given by our Division of Public Safety, through Rave, our primary mass notification system.

If you are able to participate, you can move to any one of our Enhanced Shelter-In-Place (ESIP) Buildings. These include:

Alumni Coliseum

Combs Building

Perkins Building

University Building

Whitlock Building

Model Gymnasium

(Note: Model Gym is reserved for the Model population's use during all exercises)

Click below for an infographic about chemical incidents:


Follow this link for a map showing the ESIP Buildings:


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

More information can be found at:


And our Chemical Release Response Manual:


Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) and the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP)

Madison County is divided into zones, so that protective action recommendations and decisions can be made in the specific areas affected by a chemical incident at the Blue Grass Army Depot. Eastern Kentucky University is primarily located within two zones. Richmond Campus north of the EKU Bypass is located in Zone 2E and Richmond Campus south of the EKU Bypass is located in Zone 2D. Other EKU facilities in Madison County include Meadowbrook Farms located in Zone 1C, White Hall State Historic Site located in Zone 3A, and Central KY Regional Airport located in Zone 3D. In the event of a chemical release, modeling software is used to determine the path of the release. Any zones that are affected in the model are recommended to shelter-in-place until the chemical agents have dissipated. The affected areas might then be relocated according to set protocols by Madison County EMA/CSEPP.

The CSEPP program has modified certain Richmond Campus buildings to be used as Enhanced Shelter-in-Place (ESIP) buildings. These buildings have had sensors placed on the doors as well as an automated system that shuts down the HVAC system and closes all the dampers in the building.

The ESIP/CPS Control Panels can be found in the following locations:

Alumni Coliseum - 2nd Floor Rm 208

Combs Building - 1st Floor North East Closet

Perkins Building - First Level Main Lobby

University Building - 3rd Floor by 323A

Whitlock Building - 1st Floor Room 151

Model Gymnasium - Lower Level Room 151

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


Instructions for operating the Collective Protection Systems (CPS) in these buildings include:

Move everyone into the protected area when notified that a hazardous event has occurred.

Please assist individuals with functional and access needs to the shelter areas.

Manually close and latch all perimeter doors and windows.

Start the ESIP/CPS system by pushing the red start button on the face of the control panel. Any individual may activate the system when needed. EKU Public Safety officials may not be in your ESIP building.

Keep all windows and doors closed.

Remain in the protected area until notified that the hazard has been cleared.

After being notified that the hazard has cleared, stop the ESIP/CPS system by pushing the red start button again. Any individual may deactivate the system when the all clear order is given. EKU Public Safety officials may not be in your ESIP building.

Perimeter doors may now be opened. Exit outside.

Individuals may be directed to relocate out of the affected area.

In order to maintain EKU continuity of operations, and to make a safe community response as fast as possible, we have extended the concept of an automatic, default, Protective Action Decision (PAD), used at Model Laboratory School and Burrier Child Development Center, of Sheltering In Place (SIP), to all EKU facilities in Madison County. On Richmond Campus (Zones 2E and 2D), individuals would go to an Enhanced Shelter In Place (ESIP) Building, without delay, and activate their Collective Protection Systems (CPS). At other locations, like Meadowbrook Farm (Zone 1C), White Hall State Historic Site (Zone 3A), and Central Kentucky Regional Airport (Zone 3D), individuals would Shelter In Place using SIP Kits. The prompt to Shelter In Place would be any mass notification made, about a community-wide hazardous materials incident, through the Advisor Alert Radios (Voice Message), the Outdoor Siren System (Alternating High/Low Wail), and/or the EKU Emergency Notification System Alert Methods. Updated information, such as exactly where a chemical plume is anticipated to go, what zones are truly affected, and when the plume is projected to arrive, would be disseminated when that information becomes available.

Although building occupants can activate their Collective Protection Systems immediately, and close all windows in their buildings, the doors should remain unlocked for as long as possible to permit other community members to come and shelter in the ESIP Buildings. Remember that we may not know, initially, exactly where the chemical plume is anticipated to go, and it may not affect our zones at all, but you do not want to waste valuable time, in moving to enhance shelter locations, if the plume does come our way. The doors to the ESIP Buildings should be locked, by the building occupants, if and when the chemical plume is scheduled to arrive in our Zones 2E or 2D. You will be updated on whether the plume is anticipated to move toward the Richmond Campus, and the times that the plume would arrive and depart, through EKU (Rave) Alert/Updates. 

If you cannot go to an ESIP building you should shelter in place with a shelter in place kit.

Published on August 19, 2019