Tragedy in Connecticut and Preparedness at UCSF

Chancellor Extends Condolences in School Shooting and Urges UCSF Community to Sign Up for WarnMe

December 17, 2012

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, on Monday issued a letter to the campus community about the tragedy in Connecticut. Here is her entire message:

Dear Colleagues:

Over the last few days, we have learned more fully the extent of the devastation caused by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. UCSF extends our condolences to the community of Newtown, Conn., especially to those who are grieving the loss of their children, friends, teachers, school administrators and neighbors.

WarnMe: UCSF's Mass Notification System

In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2009, the UCSF Police Department and Emergency Management Division launched the WarnMe system to notify the campus community of imminent dangerous or life-threatening situations, such as an active shooter, gas leak, fire or earthquake.

Sign up to receive voice, email and text alerts at warnme.ucsf.edu.

An incident like this could raise concerns about our own community and preparedness at UCSF. I want to assure you that the UCSF Police Department continues to enhance the equipment, training, and exercises for our police officers to respond to threats, including an active-shooter incident. For example, we are installing warning devices in classrooms and high-traffic campus locations.

We also have strengthened our ability to warn affiliates, faculty, postdocs, staff, students and trainees, using the WarnMe mass notification system. If an imminent threat to life and safety were to occur, the UCSF police would activate the WarnMe system and alert members of the UCSF community on their individual cell phone and other registered phone numbers.

I encourage every one of us to take a few minutes right now to register with the WarnMe system if you have not done so already.

For more information about how we are preparing for emergencies, please visit the UCSF Police Department website at police.ucsf.edu.

Advice for Speaking with Children

Many of us also may want advice in regard to helping children cope with what they hear about this tragedy and how to best answer their questions. I encourage you to visit UCSF.edu and read the advice provided by UCSF’s Patricia Van Horn, JD, PhD, Director, Division of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at San Francisco General Hospital. Links to additional sources of information also are provided there.

It is my wish that as we continue to grapple with the news from Connecticut, each of us finds moments of joy, peace and hope this holiday season.

Sincerely,                                                                                                     
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH
Chancellor
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor