IEMA Launches Ready to Respond Campus Initiative to Enhance Safety on Illinois Campuses

April 22, 2013


Nine Illinois Colleges to Participate in Pilot Program


SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today announced an initiative to enhance safety for students, staff and visitors on college and university campuses.  Nine colleges and universities will participate in a pilot of the Ready to Respond Campus program, with a full rollout of the program expected in January 2014.


“The Ready to Respond Campus program will recognize those institutions that meet rigorous standards for ensuring the safety of their students, staff and visitors,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken.  “The Ready to Respond Campus designation will let current and prospective students and their parents know that safety is a top priority on the campus.”
Schools participating in the pilot program include:
• Augustana College (Rock Island)
• Columbia College (Chicago)
• Heartland Community College (Normal)
• Parkland College (Champaign)
• Moraine Valley Community College (Palos Hills)
• Richland Community College (Decatur)
• Southeastern Illinois College (Harrisburg)
• Southern Illinois University (Carbondale)
• University of Illinois (Urbana/Champaign)
To attain the Ready to Respond Campus designation, colleges must demonstrate compliance with standards for hazard identification, operational and violence prevention planning, incident management, training, exercises and crisis communications/public education.  Templates are available if needed to help schools document compliance with the standards
Colleges and universities meeting the criteria will be designated a Ready to Respond Campus and can use the Ready Campus logo on official correspondence, websites, brochures and other media for three years.  They will be able to renew their Ready to Respond Campus designation by submitting updated documentation at that time.
“The Division of Public Safety at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is looking forward to participating in the Ready to Respond Campus pilot program,” said Lt. Todd Short, University of Illinois Police Department.  “We are strong advocates of this initiative and are encouraged by the number of higher education institutions in Illinois who are also participating.  This program will undoubtedly help campuses throughout Illinois respond more effectively during emergency situations.” 
“Parkland College's current safety and preparedness response systems put us in a favorable position to help pilot the Ready to Respond Campus program,” said Chief Von Young, Parkland College Police Department.  “Maintaining a safe, secure campus environment for students, employees and visitors has long been a primary concern at Parkland, so we are both ready and willing to cooperate with IEMA in ensuring that every college campus in Illinois is positioned to respond immediately and effectively to any emergency that threatens to interrupt its peace.”
“Richland Community College is excited about the opportunity to participate in the Ready to Respond Pilot Program,” said Dr. Gayle Saunders, Richland Community College president.  “Richland Community College makes the safety of our campus community a priority.  Participating in this program will help us maintain our commitment of safety and security to our students, staff, faculty and guests.”
The Ready to Respond Campus program is the latest component of Illinois’ Ready to Respond effort.  In 2012, IEMA announced the Ready to Respond Community initiative.
The program is endorsed by the Illinois Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (ICLEA) and supported by IEMA and the University of Illinois’ Center for Public Safety and Justice (CPSJ).