The Illinois Emergency Management Agency announced on Feb. 20 that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the first university to receive the the agency's Ready to Respond Campus designation.
UIUC and eight other Illinois campuses were part of the pilot program, which was aimed at strengthening campus safety, preparedness and response efforts.
IEMA said the Ready to Respond Campus program is ready to roll out to the rest of the state, and participation in the program is voluntary.
"The Ready to Respond Campus designation represents the university's strong commitment to ensuring the safety of their students, staff and visitors to this campus," IEMA Director Jonathon Monken said. "Attaining the designation isn't easy, but UIUC officials were diligent in their efforts to meet the program's rigorous standards. The Ready to Respond Campus logo tells current and prospective students and their parents that safety is a top priority on this campus."
A metal sign showing the Ready to Respond Campus logo was presented to university officials.
To receive the status, an institution of higher education must have identified hazards, completed a risk assessment or consequence analysis, have operational planning, incident management and training for staff and faculty. The campus must have an updated violence prevention plan and implement a campus outreach program.
The designation is valid for three years, after which university officials can submit new documents to renew the status.
"This is a fantastic statewide initiative that will benefit all participating institutions, and we are honored to be the initial recipient of the designation," Jeffrey Christensen, the executive director of Public Safety and Chief of Police for UIUC, said. "The preparation we have been doing to earn it has strengthened our processes and approaches to address the unpredictable emergencies that could happen at a large and complex university."
IEMA said it plans to also create Ready to Respond Schools K-12 and Ready to Respond Business programs.