The Augusta University community was shocked and saddened by the tragic events at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home last Friday. We mourn the loss of Ms. Jazna Timmons, and we are grateful for all of the first responders who arrived so quickly on the scene.
The Augusta University Police Department provides leadership, support and training to prevent the loss of lives and property damage during an emergency. Officers, along with members of the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPaR) coordinated the response on Friday.
This incident should encourage our campus community to review CEPaR’s website and our emergency notification protocols. Specifically, this is a good time to review the contact information you have listed with Augusta University to ensure it is current. When it comes to keeping your contact information current, Joe Webber, director of CEPaR, offers this advice.
“Check it often,” he said. “I like to tell people to look over that information at least once a semester, if not two times.”
It is also important to make sure you have listed a number that is capable of receiving text messages. Text messages are delivered more quickly because they require less bandwidth. In the event of an emergency, the traditional response, which is to take out a cell phone to start calling family and friends about what is happening on campus, can prevent some phones from receiving or making calls with potentially life-saving information.
“If there was one thing I could stress to students, staff and faculty on all of our campuses, it would be to sign up for our text message alerts,” Webber said.
“We send the alerts out to give students, faculty and staff the information we have,” said Jim Lyon, Augusta University police chief. “We want them to be aware that something is happening and give them enough information so they can take action.”
It is important to remember the system is not just used for events that occur on our campuses. Alerts are also sent out when emergency situations happen in the vicinity of any of Augusta University’s four campus locations.
During an emergency situation, the university’s emergency notification system, along with Jagwire, Augusta University’s website and Augusta University’s social media accounts are your best source of up-to-date information.
“When an emergency notification is made, please refrain from calling the AU police department unless you have an actual emergency or have specific information about the incident,” Lyon said. “Unnecessary calls impede the ability of the police department to respond to the emergency. Regular updates will be provided through our notification system, Jagwire and the University’s website.”