West Liberty holds safety summit
WHEELING – West Liberty University hosted major safety departments and first responders Wednesday at Wilson Lodge at Oglebay Resort, as it planned for critical incident scenarios to stay alert for possible future situations.
“The county has been working with West Liberty University on updating their emergency plans,” said Lou Vargo, Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Association Director. “The whole success to emergency planning at a university setting is a close coordination between the county with the first responders and the campus. That’s what we’ve been doing. Now we’re going to finalize that plan.”
No matter how minor or catastrophic the issue, the groups are collaborating to ensure a carefully-developed safety plan is in place. Three on-campus scenarios planned for discussion during the meeting were an explosion/fire, an active shooter situation and the outbreak of a contagious disease.
Another key benefit of holding such an event is the opportunity for leaders from the university and different safety organizations to meet each other prior to a possible campus emergency, according to Vargo.
Vargo, who helped organized the day’s events, attended the planning meeting, along with Wheeling-Ohio County 911 Director Theresa Russell, Wheeling Police Department Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, West Liberty Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bill Cox, Wellsburg Volunteer Fire Department Captain Tom Diserio, Wheeling Fire Department Chief Larry Helms, West Virginia Department of Highways representative Jim Mitchem, West Liberty Volunteer Fire Department Officer Debbie Dague and Town of West Liberty Police Chief Auggie Bankey.
“We’re always working to keep campus safe and this gathering will help us to plan and prepare for possible problems. Safety is on the top of our minds every day,” said Lt. Tom Hostutler, WLU campus police lead officer.
Also attending the meeting were officials with the West Virginia State Police and Chesapeake Energy Corporation.