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Northwestern to Host Emergency Training Exercises

Only a test: Emergency personnel will practice responding to hazardous lab accidents

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Usually, if you see something amiss on campus, you should say something. But not this time.

Northwestern University and the Evanston Fire Department (EFD) will practice responding to simulated hazardous materials emergencies during a three-day training session in July.

In a first-of-its-kind event, the University will host a series of practice drills July 28 to 30 on the Evanston campus, providing emergency personnel the chance to respond to realistic laboratory emergencies at the Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road.

Northwestern community members take note: This is only a test.

Three emergency scenarios have been planned – one on each day – in a teaching laboratory in Tech. Each drill will present some combination of hazards, from chemical spills and broken glass to fire and contaminated air. Actors will play the roles of victims and witnesses, and they will interact with response personnel from Northwestern University Police, the Office for Research Safety (ORS) and the EFD.

“Time spent planning for and practicing response efforts is important for the University and the community,” said Michael Blayney, ORS executive director. “Our training work together builds skills, familiarity and relationships that can make an essential difference in an actual emergency.”

Emergency rescue operations will be staged outside Tech near the loading dock of the Hogan Biological Sciences Building. The staging area will provide direct access for fire personnel to practice entry into a lab while causing minimal disruption or alarm to the campus community.

Other participating external responders will include members of the North Shore Hazardous Materials Team and Division 3 of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), bringing together for the first time at Northwestern a broad array of personnel from across the north suburban area to practice their specialized skills in responding to dangerous chemical emergencies.

There will be no road closures, building evacuations or alarm activations during the sessions. The entire event will be limited to the ground floor of Tech along the NG, KG and EG corridor and the staging area on Tech Drive between Tech and Hogan.

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