On Alert: Be cautious, be calm
University has increased its vigilance after the Department of
Homeland Security raised its terrorism alert level to orange,
the second-highest status, on Feb. 7. In addition, FBI director
Robert Mueller testified before Congress Feb. 11 that colleges
and universities may be particularly vulnerable to a terrorist
The situation has faculty, staff and students seeking guidance
about what to do and what not to do.
is important for all of us, as individuals and as institutions,
to be prepared in these perilous times, said Leonard Sandridge,
executive vice president
and chief operating officer of the University, as well as
director of the Universitys Critical Incident Management
Team. But it is also important that we continue to live
our lives, free of fear and operating as normally as possible,
as we go about our work and our studies.
need to put an orange alert in perspective.
an orange alert, the most important thing to know is that a terrorist
attack is a very low-probability event for you personally,
said U.Va. faculty member and psychologist Peter Sheras, who heads
the American Red Cross regional mental health team.
people should still be prepared. Marjorie Sidebottom, who directs
emergency management for the Medical Center, said people should
have an emergency kit and a plan, such as where to meet if separated
and where to go if evacuated.
University has an Emergency Operations Plan with the city of Charlottesville
and Albemarle County for regional disasters, as well as its own
Critical Incident Management Plan, which classifies levels of
emergency, notification, evacuation and relocation plans. Minor,
localized incidents are Level One, a major disruption is Level
Two and a disaster affecting the entire Grounds and surrounding
communities is Level Three. The Universitys critical incident
plan covers situations such as weather-related problems, bomb
threats, public demonstrations and infrastructure failures.
Universitys Emergency Web site http://www.virginia.edu/
emergency serves as a key resource for information,
planning and answering questions related to all types of emergencies
on Grounds. It provides a link to the Critical Incident Management
an incident, people need to talk about what they experienced while
being careful not to be re-traumatized. They should associate
with other people, not just be riveted to their televisions, Sheras
is also important to work out plans of what to do next.
try to remain calm around children.
frightens children most is not frightening situations but frightened
adults, Sheras said.
A disaster kit includes necessities such as first-aid supplies,
prescription medications, clothing, a battery-operated radio,
sleeping bags, food, bottled water, cash, important family documents
and tools. Marjorie Sidebottom, who directs emergency management
for the Medical Center, suggests always having a half or three-quarters
full gas tank, books or games for children and a prepaid telephone
dos and donts in an emergency
What to do:
common sense and give assistance as needed.
Call 9-911 or 911 on cell or non-University phones.
Evacuate buildings upon request of authorities, upon hearing an
alarm, or when remaining inside is dangerous.
Know the location of at least two emergency exits close to working/living
What NOT to do:
not use the telephone except to report the emergency situation.
not use elevators.
not jeopardize lives by attempting to save property.
not cross police barriers without authorization.
not exceed your training or knowledge rendering first aid.
U.Va.s Emergency/Critical Incident Web site
tips about what to do
The American Red Cross advises that in the event of an emergency:
to news broadcasts for instructions.
for injuries, give first aid and get help for seriously injured
you are home, check for damage using a flashlight. Check for fires
and sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If a leak
is suspected, turn off the main gas valve, open windows and get
everyone outside quickly.
off damaged utilities.
the family contact and otherwise stay off the telephone.
evacuated, listen to emergency instructions, wear long-sleeved
shirts, long pants and sturdy shoes, take disaster kit and pets,
lock the house, use designated travel
routes and avoid downed power lines. If there is no evacuation,
family members are advised to go to an interior room with the
disaster supply kit and listen to the radio for instructions.
addition, the Red Cross is advising that people learn basic first