Exercise Benefits / Facts
The purpose of this exercise was to provide participants with an opportunity to work through the various challenges associated with consequence management in the hours and days following an explosion at the Student Union.
Campus Shield Exercise Initiative
The University Upheaval – A Consequence Management Tabletop Exercise is part of the national Campus Shield Exercise Initiative.
Tuesday – 1:07PM
It is Homecoming week and a bright, sunny and calm Tuesday afternoon. Student Union staff members are experiencing a normal day of activities. The dining hall and food court have a couple hundred late-lunch patrons. The adjacent conference center is hosting a symposium by the College of Business; numerous students, faculty, donors and VIP guests (business CEO’s) are in attendance. The Student Government Association and Student Activities offices are abuzz with the campus’ student leaders. Other Student Union operations, such as the bank, have a steady flow of customers.
Behind the scenes earlier that morning, an employee from ABC Food Distributors was unloading his delivery truck at the Student Union’s loading dock and moving pallets of foodstuff into the large refrigerated cooler that serves the dining hall and food court. As the employee pulls a motorized pallet jack off the truck, he slips and the jack slams into the wall, causing a large dent. The employee shakes himself off and proceeds to the cooler with a fully loaded pallet.
Unknown to the employee or anyone else, when the motorized pallet jack slammed into the wall it created a small kink in a natural gas line serving the kitchen. A small leak ensued that was not noticeable to the employee as he went back and forth finishing his delivery. Once the employee left, the loading dock area was closed off and remained unoccupied for the remainder of the morning. As such, no one detected the smell of the natural gas leak as it slowly accumulated in the Student Union’s warehouse.
Suddenly a large explosion occurs at the Student Union as the accumulated gas finally built up enough and reached an ignition source.
The University Upheaval Exercise was held on the morning of March 13, 2013, as part of the Higher Education Emergency Management Conference in Chattanooga Tennessee.