In the event of an emergency, an effective Campus-wide communications process is vital in order to provide the greatest safety possible for the College community. As part of its Emergency Management Operations, the College has adopted a formalized procedure for issuing immediate notifications to the campus community.
The immediate notification capability of the emergency mass notification system is designed to assist the College in immediately notifying the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on or near the campus that involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. A threat is imminent when the need for action is instant, overwhelming, and leaves no moment for deliberation. Such situations would include, but are not limited to, a hazardous materials incident requiring shelter-in-place or evacuation, an armed intruder on or near campus, an approaching tornado, or a fire actively raging in a campus building.
The College will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system to the appropriate segment or segments of the campus community, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate an emergency.
Immediate notification to the campus can be accomplished through a variety of communications methods, but the use of the emergency cell phone text/voice messaging, all campus email, select in-building audible voice notification devices, and/or alert siren would be seen as the most common and quickest forms of communication under these circumstances. Confirmation typically involves the response and assessment of DPS officers, college officials, local police, or emergency responders.
When on-duty Public Safety officers become aware of a situation that may warrant the issuing of an immediate notification, 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 an Associate/Assistant Director of Public Safety, who quickly evaluates the situation to determine if an alert is warranted, develops the content of the notification message, and then identifies the appropriate segment or segments of the campus community who will receive the notification. The Executive Director of Public Safety or an Associate/Assistant Director of Public Safety has the ability and authority to issue an alert without delay and without further consultation with any other College official. Notification message content is determined based on the type of incident, the context with which it is occurring, and the immediate danger or threat to the campus community and the need to advise campus community members to take action. The College will endeavor to make such notification sufficiently specific so as to enable recipients to take an appropriate response to the threat. Pre-canned messages have been prepared as part of the emergency notification system to aid in rapid communication processes. In situations lacking the presence of an imminent threat, the Executive Director of Public Safety or an Associate/Assistant Director of Public Safety consults with the President, 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.
Follow-up notices/communications will be provided as necessary during an active incident and may be provided by the Executive Director of Public Safety, an Associate/Assistant 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 acts of violence, tornadoes, terrorist attacks, or 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 may 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.