SSU Plans for Evacuation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/27/03

SSU Plans for Evacuation

A Coastal Empire university is laying out plans in case Savannah becomes a target for terrorism. Savannah State administrators hope those plans are never tested, but say with Savannah's large military population, there's always a chance. SSU is already starting to tighten up security around campus now, and has plans for everything up to and including evacuation, if necessary.

"Obviously a lot of students are worried about it," said junior Tynesha Ansine. "They feel that Savannah's a major target for terrorism, so I think it's a good precaution to take."

Administrators talked with students this week, laying out their plans for campus security, ranging from ID badge enforcement to possibly locking down the perimeter to keep out through traffic.

"We have a responsibility to move to maximum levels of safety under any set of circumstances," said Carlton Brown, the university's president. "And once you decide to do that, it is only prudent to make sure that your population is made fully aware of the measure you're taking, why you're taking them, and what your next steps will be."

Many of the students on campus don't think it's ever going to become much of an issue, but they're glad that the school is thinking ahead.

"Because our safety is their highest concern, and whatever they decide to do, I believe in it and trust them," said freshman Christopher Barsh.

Should they consider a threat to be serious enough, the school's even prepared to evacuate the entire campus.

"It was a concern, but if you're going to pray, don't worry. So if you worry, don't pray. But I choose to pray, so I don't worry about it," said freshman Jennifer Mathis.

If the department of homeland security does move to an alert level of red, the first thing SSU may do is strictly enforce things like ID badges, close the campus to traffic, and make sure that all buildings have just one entrance or exit. Evacuation will only happen as a last resort.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

 

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