The immediate notification capability of the emergency mass notification process is designed to assist the College in determining the content of the notification and initiating the notification system without delay, taking into account the safety of the community, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible institutional authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency situation/incident.
The Executive Director of Public Safety or their DPS or CERT Designee (see list of CERT members identified within the annual report) may initiate the College’s emergency mass notification processes during extremely violent or hazardous incidents that pose immediate danger or threat to the health and safety of campus community members wherein Public Safety personnel need to notify campus community members immediately in order to reduce the likelihood of casualties or injuries.
Immediate notification to the campus about a confirmed seriously violent or extremely hazardous incident or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health and/or safety of students or staff occurring on the campus or near the campus can be accomplished through a variety of communications methods, but the use of the emergency cellphone text/voice messaging, all campus email, and/or alert siren would be seen as the most common and quickest form of communications under these circumstances. Confirmation typically involves the response and assessment of DPS officers, college officials, local police, or emergency responders. As previously stated, notification will occur for these types of incident situations as described unless the notification will compromise efforts to assist a victim(s) or contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.
In the event of an emergency, an effective campus-wide communications process is vital in order to provide the greatest safety possible for the campus community. As part of its Emergency Management Operations Plan, the College has adopted a formalized procedure for issuing emergency alerts to the campus community. When on-duty Public Safety officers become aware of a situation which may warrant the issuing of an emergency alert, the on-duty Public Safety Officer confirms (through response, investigation, or collaboration with emergency responders) that there is a significant emergency and then immediately contacts the Executive Director of Public Safety or their designee, who quickly evaluates the situation to determine if an alert is warranted, the content of the notification message and the appropriate segment or segments of the campus community who will receive the notification. In situations where an imminent threat is present, the Executive Director of Public Safety or their designee has the ability and authority to issue an alert without delay and without further consultation with any other College official.
In situations lacking the presence of an imminent threat, the Executive Director of Public Safety or their designee consults with the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students and/or other members of the Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT) prior to an alert being issued. The College, based on the judgments of members of the Public Safety Department and the CERT team will endeavor to immediately notify the campus community (or appropriate segments separately and distinctly impacted) upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or staff occurring on or near the campus. A threat is imminent when the need for action is instant, overwhelming and leaves no moment for deliberation. Such situations may include, but are not limited to, a hazardous materials incident requiring sheltering in place or evacuation, an active shooter on or near campus, or a shooting incident on or near the campus. Follow-up notices/communications will be provided as necessary during an active incident and may be provided by the Executive Director of Public Safety or a member of CERT. When a threat is neutralized or effectively removed, campus community members will be appropriately informed via all or some of the aforementioned communications methods.
When the emergency mass notification system (EMNS) is activated using the siren, email and cell-phone text/voice messaging, college officials will notify campus community members of the emergency situation, its exact location, and will most likely request community members to protect themselves by evacuating the affected area if it is safe to do so and/or by employing the “shelter-in-place” concept. Local police, emergency responders, officials at the Lutheran Seminary, and select borough officials are also alerted via text messaging of any actual on-campus emergency that poses a threat to campus and/or the immediate local borough community.
"Shelter-in-place" means to take immediate shelter wherever you happen to be at the time of a “shelter-in-place” notification – in campus housing, in privately owned housing near campus, in an academic or administrative building, etc. Community members should remain in a “shelter-in-place” status until the all clear is communicated by emergency response personnel via an emergency rapid communications system(s). College authorities may instruct campus community members to "shelter-in-place" if a condition exists that is potentially life threatening and has an immediate threat to the health and personal safety of the campus community. Immediate threats would include, but are not limited to: active shooter incidents, mass violent acts, tornadoes, terrorist attacks, and hazardous materials incidents.
How to Shelter-In-Place
- If you can safely evacuate a potentially dangerous or hazardous situation, do so immediately. If you cannot safely evacuate and you are inside, stay where you are. Collect any emergency shelter-in-place supplies and a telephone to be used in case of emergency. If you are outdoors, proceed into the closest building quickly or follow instructions from emergency personnel.
- Locate a room to shelter inside. It should be:
- an interior room;
- above ground level; and,
- without windows, or with the least number of windows.
- If there's a large group of people inside a particular building, several rooms ay be necessary.
- Shut and lock, if possible, all windows (tighter seal) and close exterior doors. Doors and windows may need to be barricaded, if possible.
- Turn off air conditioners, heaters, and fans.
- Close vents to ventilation systems as you are able.
- Make a list of people with you and ask someone to call the list into DPS to inform them where you are sheltering.
- Turn on a radio or TV and listen for further instructions.
- Make yourself comfortable.