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SDSU administrators consulting during the drill are (from left) Eric Hansen, Police Chief Josh Mays, Robert Schulz SDSU administrators consulting during the drill are (from left) Eric Hansen, Police Chief Josh Mays, Robert Schulz

Emergency Drill Part of Renewed Emphasis on Campus Safety

The three-hour exercise tested SDSU's preparedness for a major earthquake.
By SDSU News Team

It is 9:12 a.m. on Dec. 12, 2018, just two days before the start of final exams at San Diego State University. A magnitude 6.9 earthquake strikes the nearby Rose Canyon fault with shaking that lasts for 20 seconds. There are preliminary reports of widespread damage throughout San Diego. At SDSU, multiple buildings are damaged, power is out to the campus, roadways are impassible and the trolley station has sustained significant damage.

This was the scenario facing SDSU’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff during a drill in November. At the direction of President Adela de la Torre, about 55 members of SDSU’s EOC response team assembled in the Aztec Student Union to work through a three-hour exercise designed to test the campus’ readiness for a major earthquake. Also attending the exercise were evaluators from other California State University campuses, the City of San Diego and the University of California Davis who were there to assess the campus response.

The exercise was part of SDSU’s renewed emphasis on campus safety and emergency preparedness with a goal of testing the emergency response systems already in place and evaluating procedures for possible improvement. Many of the staff members are in new roles, and it was their first time participating in a large-scale exercise.

The EOC and its team have expanded over the years to provide emergency response support to the campus for major incidents ranging from active shooter incidents to earthquakes and wildfires. As part of the campus emergency operations plan, supplies, equipment and personnel have been pre-identified for use during an emergency. Priorities for the EOC during this exercise included life safety, building damage assessments and business continuity.

SDSU has an agreement in place with the Red Cross, which provides stores of emergency supplies on campus and has, during past emergencies, set up temporary shelters in Peterson Gym and the Aztec Recreation Center.
Participating departments included Business and Financial Affairs, Facilities Services, Housing and Residential Education, the SDSU Research Foundation, University Police, Graduate Affairs, the Provost’s Office, the campus C.E.R.T. Team and others.

The most recent exercise was designed and managed by campus Emergency Services, which hosts other training exercises throughout the year. The Campus Safety Training Series includes training in active shooter response, CPR and AED use, hands-on fire extinguisher use and emergency tourniquet training. Members of the campus community can request this training at no cost by contacting Lamine Secka, director of Emergency Services, at

In light of recent earthquakes in Indonesia and the tragic wildfires throughout California, Secka encouraged all Aztecs to take some basic preparedness steps.

“It is important to have at least three days of food and water, both at home and at work, and it doesn’t hurt to add supplies to your car,” Secka said.  “Make sure you know where your nearest evacuation points are and refer to the Emergency Services website for additional tips on emergency response.”

In addition, members of the campus community can find emergency supplies through Ready America using the following discount code: