Out of an abundance of caution…where’d you go?
On Saturday night, a dorm room went up in flames. No, my up-and-coming hip-hop friends didn’t just drop their latest mixtape. There was an actual fire in one of the residence hall dorm rooms. Thankfully, no one got hurt. But where was that usual text message and email telling everyone to stay away from the area while emergency personnel responded?
The only way I knew something was going on was when I saw a post on social media of the fire from a friend. That, plus the fact my car was blocked by emergency vehicles in the parking lot.
The last time I was alerted, via text message, about an emergency situation going on on campus was on Aug. 4—there was a power outage. The time before that, when there were actually students on campus, was in April—another power outage situation.
Earlier this semester, a fire broke out on the roof of the chemistry building. The building was evacuated and the fire was put out. But I guess that was not important enough to notify the general public to stay away, as well.
What’s the point of having an emergency management system if you’re not going to use it to it’s full capacity? It’s as if you don’t want the student journalists at Stony Brook to have a leg up on breaking news. Or it’s that you only think power outages are the only emergencies we should know about when chances are, we would already be experiencing the outage ourselves even before receiving your message about it.
Ok, I understand, Office of Emergency Management, maybe texting isn’t your thing. You’re more of a social media butterfly—alerting everyone of your presence through an avalanche of tweets and Facebook posts. But no tweets, and no Facebook posts either about the dorm room fire over the weekend. The last tweet was a series of emojis trying to convey the weather and how I should feel about it on Nov. 19.
In this day in age, where communication is key in all emergency situations, the Stony Brook Office of Emergency Management has repeatedly shown to have failed us. The safety of all students, faculty and staff should be the top priority for our emergency management personnel. If OEM can’t even handle notifying us of a couple of fires, how would they react to something a lot worse?