Emergency alerts went out, radios squawked and first responders gathered at the scene of a simulated chemical spill emergency exercise successfully conducted Oct. 10 at Stanislaus State.
Operation Science Spill tested a full-scale campus and community response to a hazardous material incident in Naraghi Hall.
“Practicing emergency response during a planned exercise is a great way to put ourselves to the test,” said Laura Rodriguez-Mascorro, Stan State safety and risk management emergency and continuity coordinator. “These are great opportunities to learn what our response and recovery efforts could be. They also serve to test our ability to overcome such an event by establishing relationships in advance with our surrounding agencies as well as relying on trained personnel to assist in a time of need.”
The date coincided with the semester’s non-instructional day. No classes were disrupted, but students, faculty and staff working in the building participated in the exercise by practicing a building evacuation. Student actors played contaminated victims. Roughly 90 first responders, Stan State students, faculty, staff and administrators participated in the five-hour exercise.
The simulation tested inter-agency communications, equipment coordination and procedures, from the initial request for activation of the Emergency Operations Center to decontamination measures exiting the scene. The debriefing session that followed included critiques by first responders, Emergency Operations Center staff, the University Executive Policy Group, evaluators and observers from other CSU campuses and Stanislaus County agencies.
Stan State conducted the full-scale exercise in partnership with Turlock Fire, Turlock Police, Modesto Fire, Stanislaus County Consolidated, Emanuel Medical Center, Mountain-Valley Emergency Medical Services, American Medical Response, Stanislaus County Office of Emergency Services, Stanislaus County Department of Environmental Resources, Turlock Irrigation District, Sonoma State University, Chico State University, Stan State’s University Police, Safety & Risk Management, Office of Information Technology, School of Nursing, College of Science, Building Marshal & Monitors, Emergency Operations Center team and President’s Office.
The day also included a routine test of the StanAlert emergency notification system, sending a test message as text, call or email to the entire campus community using their chosen mode of communication.
Per the California State University Emergency Management Program Executive Order 1056, a full scale emergency exercise is required at CSU campuses every five years. A full scale exercise takes place in real time, creating a high-stress environment. Employees treat real people and use emergency equipment in the field, coordinating many agencies. The exercises include testing of mutual aid and assistance agreements and activating the Emergency Operations Command. In 2013 Stan State conducted an exercise testing the University and community response to an active shooter incident.