WWU to host all-day emergency response training Dec. 16

Western will host and participate in an all-day emergency response training and exercise on Friday, Dec. 16 that will involve University Police, Bellingham Police, and Bellingham Fire Department personnel, as well as members of the Western staff and administration. The training will include as close to real scenarios with responders performing their duties as expected during a real incident.

The training will take place solely within the Performing Arts Center (PAC). Some first responders will be staging in VU 567 and then moving over to the PAC via the loading dock area throughout the training. The PAC and VU will have signage posted about the training on all doors, and sandwich boards will be placed to inform foot traffic of the event. The PAC will be closed all day for campus use, and all PAC building occupants have been notified well in advance.

In addition, during the afternoon a tabletop exercise will take place in Old Main. This exercise will involve various administrators and staff talking through issues and needs the campus community is expected to have following an act of violence incident. City partners will engage during the exercise to help improve realism and to better develop the relationships between the university and city's first responders.

Dec. 16 was chosen as the date so that the training occurred over intersession when the vast majority of students and employees are not on campus, limiting interruptions and inconvenience. Both of these types of events are important to prepare Western’s responders so that should such an incident occur they are better able to respond swiftly, appropriately and return the campus back to accomplishing its mission of educating its students.