Friday, September 14, 2012

Bomb threat at UT Austin

Today's morning has been quite eventful, and it is only 10:30am.  We got steady rain all yesterday evening and through the night, which in central TX is on its own very unusual.  After a morning run and breakfast, I headed into work as usual.  When I got to my desk, it was quiet as many Fridays are, people were just starting to come in and get things going.  I was getting settled at my desk when I received a text message from the University alert system.  We get these on a regular basis, so I didn't think much of it until I opened it:
Evacuation Due to threats on campus immediately evacuate all buildings get as far away from the buildings as possible.  Further information to come.
Okay, that seemed a little scary.  The text was poorly punctuated and I immediately thought, maybe it is a hoax?  I work in the top floor of my building, so my first thought was to alert my labmates, take my stuff and head to the main office where they would have more information.  None of my labmates who where in had read the text yet, and in the few minutes it took me to alert them, the building's emergency alarm system went off.  We all headed outside into throngs of people.

I have never been at UT during a campus wide evacuation before.  My building does get evacuated when gas alarms or chemical spills occur, but that is just one building and it is easy to move away from our building to a safe spot.  Two years ago, there was a shooter on campus, but then we were told to stay in our buildings and by no means go outside.  Today was different.  There was no where to go.  UT Austin has 50,000 students, not to mention thousands of staff members.

In a few minutes, Boyfriend and I found each other and agreed it was probably a bomb threat that would take a long time to be resolved and we should just go home.  About this time, UT Staff members were also telling students to go home.  So what happened?

This is a pretty serious bomb threat and I am glad UT reacted as it did.  You can see a news story here, but more information will likely come out over the course of the day.  This morning, a man claiming to be associated with Al Qaeda called into the University saying he had placed bombs all over campus and they would go off in 90 minutes.

At this point that is all I know.  I appreciate how quickly and efficiently the University contacted everyone and continues to update via text and email alerts.  It is certainly not easy to handle such a large body of students and staff, especially in an emergency.  Hopefully this is just a scare and nothing will come from it except a minor disruption to the work week.
In other news, I did get a run in this morning, 9 miles over hills in the rain.  I love running in the rain, especially when its been hot and humid.  What a reprieve!  Given the events of the day, I am even happier that I got a run in because the endorphins keep me calm and clear headed.

That is all I've got for now.


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  2. Wow, that's certainly a scary way to start your day! I'm glad the threat turned out to be a hoax, and that the campus officials reacted expeditiously. There's a wonderful book that I recommend to friends and family to "Gift of Fear" by Gavin Becker as the author provides a number of helpful tips for each of us to be aware of.

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