Professional emergency personnel gathered to guide RU's recovery from a simulated crisis in a state-mandated "tabletop" exercise in Heth Hall, on Tuesday, March 25. About 30 Radford University students mirrored the incident for a unique applied learning experience in the Emergency Management (CRJU 415) course, taught by Stephen Owen, professor of criminal justice.
Acting as responders to the scenario, which began with a chlorine leak from a wrecked tanker truck at the edge of the RU campus, the students were tasked with acting as the Radford University leadership team and neighboring agencies and devising a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP.) Making the transition from emergency response to recovery and understanding the issues to be confronted was the goal of the exercise.
"Collaboration was key to solving problems as there was a depth of people and perspectives involved," said Eric Reynolds, a senior criminal justice major who served as co-chief recovery officer.
Unlike their professional counterparts across the basement of Heth, Reynolds and his Co-Chief Recovery Officer Kayla Smith were able to prepare for the situation in class prior to the exercise. Smith, a senior criminal justice and psychology major from Rocky Mount, talked about feeling the pressure.