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As part of its ongoing effort to maintain a safe learning and working environment, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has developed a new manual to ensure that the campus community knows what to do during various emergency situations.

The Emergency Procedures Guide, a spiral-bound, easy-reference handbook, provides step-by-step instructions on what one should to do when faced with potential emergencies such as bomb threat, chemical or hazardous waste spill, disturbance, fire, medical emergency, severe weather, active shooter and suspicious letter or package.

UW Oshkosh always has had emergency procedures in place; the manual serves as a helpful resource on the individual level, according to Vice Chancellor for Student Services Petra Roter.

“The Emergency Procedures Guide is a way of making sure that everyone knows what that plan is,” Roter said.

The guide will be distributed at the start of the fall semester to all University employees and will be on display in classrooms, administrative offices and residence halls.

A multichannel communications tool, the guide also will be available online for quick reference at www.uwosh.edu/emergency.

“Having a plan and providing that resource in an accessible and easy-to-read tool to the campus community are equally important,” said Jeanette DeDiemar, executive director of Integrated Marketing and Communications.

Added Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Tom Sonnleitner, “We now have a comprehensive collection of data and contact points. It’s a one-stop guide for handling emergencies and notifying the proper parties so that action can be taken.”

The Emergency Procedure Guide complements other campus safety initiatives. Last fall, UW Oshkosh conducted active-shooter training with University Police, the Oshkosh Police Department and the Winnebago Sheriff’s Department. It was the first training of its kind in Wisconsin.

The University also has assembled a Student At Risk Response Team (SARRT), which coordinates student-support resources to assist distressed students. The team’s primary focus is to develop strategies that address concerns regarding students’ wellbeing or behavior that is threatening or potentially harmful to them or others. The program has been cited as one of the first in the state. For more information about SARRT, visit www.uwosh.edu/couns_center/staff/SARRT.php.

Other safety projects in development for Fall 2008 include safe-walk and safe-ride programs for students on evenings and weekends as well as a service that would broadcast safety alerts simultaneously in several formats, including e-mail and text messages to mobile phones.

“The campus community is always working on different ways to evaluate and enhance some of the safety measures already in place,” Roter said. “Campus safety is a community effort. Everyone has to be involved with it.”

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