Gas Leak Closes Eastern Campus
HIGHLAND HILLS – An emergency ensued after contractors severed an unmarked gas line, causing a campus-wide evacuation Tuesday afternoon at the Eastern Campus. Contractors were installing conduit for new “blue light” emergency phones in a campus parking area.
“The good news is that no one was hurt,” Interim President William Cunion said.
Campus police, Dominion Energy emergency services and Highland Hills police and fire all arrived quickly to evacuate the area and make repairs. The Ohio Utility Protection Service (OUPS) had marked existing lines before work began. But workers broke an unmarked line behind the Eastern Education Center. A loud bang and strong odor brought work to an immediate halt.
“You’re required to call them to try to minimize stuff like this happening,” Eastern Campus Plant Director David Duchnowski said of OUPS. “We don’t know how it (this line) didn’t get picked up.”
Cunion added that compounding the chaos of the sudden evacuation, some students never received the Tri-C emergency alert text. Many still arrived for class later that day.
The alert system is designed to notify all Tri-C students in an emergency, but only if the student’s information is updated and they have opted to receive alerts, according to Tri-C Strategic Communications Director Lisa Dobransky.
“If you didn’t get a notice yesterday (Tuesday),” Cunion said, “that means you’re not included in the system.”
Cunion and Dobransky both stressed the importance of updating personal information and opting into emergency notification services. Tuesday’s incident shows how important receiving alerts are and how dangerous it is to miss them.
A test for the emergency system is scheduled for mid-October, according to Dobransky. An email will be sent to everyone to check whether they received the alerts, which include a text, email and automated phone call. Students can also find emergency news posted to all Tri-C social media accounts and web pages.
Check Yourself: Are you in the Tri-C Emergency Alert System?
Did you receive a text alert on October 5 about a gas leak on the Eastern Campus? If you didn’t, that means you’re not part of Tri-C’s emergency alert system, according to Interim President William Cunion.
The emergency notification system is designed to alert students to school closures and emergencies. As winter approaches, having immediate notice of school closure due to bad weather is vital. And when it comes to emergencies, not having information can be especially dangerous.
Strategic Communications Director Lisa Dobransky suggests students update their information and make sure they have opted in to receive notifications. The school runs system checks throughout the year so students can see if they are in the system. The next one is scheduled for mid-October, so students should take advantage. A school-wide email will be sent alerting students to the test. They should receive a test text, email and automated phone call.
If you want to update your contact information and check your notification status now, log into My Tri-C Space and click on the blue box View/Update Personal Information. If you don’t see an Alert phone number listed on that page, click Add Number and select the Alert type. If you have any questions about the process, you can direct them to Tri-C Tech Support.