In partnership with 19 local agencies, St. Cloud State University conducted a full scale emergency campus exercise July 19 to train and better prepare the local community for an actual campus wide emergency.
“This was a complex exercise with several different components operating simultaneously. St. Cloud State was only one of the locations in a truly community-wide exercise,” said Jennifer Furan Super, associate director of Public Safety at St. Cloud State.
About 400 participants, including local area emergency responders, hospital employees, volunteers and St. Cloud State employees played the the roles of players, victims and observers during the three hour exercise.
The exercise included two scenarios including an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion and a hostage situation. Through the scenarios, the investigation led the St. Cloud Police Department to Stearns Hall where they found IED materials and a homicide.
“Practicing and simulating events like this are crucial to ensuring our response to actual large scale incidents and ensuring we are providing the best public safety possible,” said Jeffrey Oxton, assistant chief of the St. Cloud Police Department.
St. Cloud State is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for its students, employees and guests. The safety of campus is a top priority.
“St. Cloud State is far better prepared for an actual emergency than we were just a few years ago. However we still have things to learn and practice,” said Furan Super.
The day was successful before it began due to the collaboration between departments in planning and the commitment from all the participating agencies.
During the exercise, public information officers from different agencies also monitored simulated social media channels to help control, assess and provide information updates as it became available.
“The St. Cloud area is fortunate to have like-minded organizations that have made dedicated efforts to work together and place public safety as the highest priority,” said Oxton. “This large exercise came together because of these collaborative efforts and ultimately furthered the ability of all participating entities to serve our community and respond to any emergency.”
Representatives from 14 colleges and universities from around Minnesota were on hand to observe the event with select individuals being evaluators.
“Seeing what this community is capable of when we work together demonstrates the utmost value in community collaboration and partnerships,” said St. Cloud State Interim President Ashish Vaidya. “There were lessons learned in all aspects of the exercise that we will continue to improve on, but the level of communication and cooperation between agencies was definitely a success.”
Local participating agencies
- St. Cloud Police Department
- St. Cloud Fire Department
- Stearns County Communications Center
- Stearns County Sheriff’s Office
- Waite Park Police Department
- Sartell Police Department
- Sauk Rapids Police Department
- St. Joseph Police Department
- Minnesota VA Health Care System Police Department
- City of St. cloud Emergency Management
- St. Cloud Hospital
- Gold Cross Ambulance Service
- Minneapolis Bomb Squad
- Metro Bus
- Life Link
- Allina Health Ambulance
- CentraCare Health Ambulance
- Regional EMS Coordinator