PRP 5201 - Emergency Notification/Response and Evacuation

PRP 5201 - Emergency Notification/Response and Evacuation

Document History

Date Activity Organization
11/16/15 Issued as Interim Policy Vice President for Administration and Finance
11/16/15 Recommended General Administrative Committee
3/23/16 Endorsed University Forum
5/16/16 Issued University President

1. RATIONALE FOR POLICY

To ensure compliance with the Emergency Notifications/Response and Evacuation requirements of the Jeanne Clery Act specific to providing accurate and timely information of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on campus. To report emergencies on campus call Bloomsburg University Police at (570) 389-2211 or Columbia County 911.

2. KEYWORDS/DEFINITIONS

Clery Geography – Physical parameters defined by the Clery Act for the purposes of crime reporting, specifically:

A. On campus -
1. Any building or property owned or controlled by Bloomsburg University within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area and used by the university in direct support of, or in a manner related to, the university’s educational purposes, including residence halls.

2. Any building or property that is within or reasonably contiguous to paragraph (A) of this definition, that is owned by the university but controlled by another person, is frequently used by students, and supports university purposes (such as food or other retail vendor).

B. Non-campus - Any building or property owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the university; or any building or property owned or controlled by the university that is used in direct support of, or, in relation to, the university’s educational purposes, is frequently used by students, and is not within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area of the university.

Confirmation - When a University official has verified that an immediate threat exists. Confirmation does not necessarily mean that all the pertinent details are known or even available.
Designee - A person selected to carry out a role for a specific period of time.

Emergency Notification Committee - Identified persons who determine the need, content, and distribution of Emergency Notifications.

Immediate Threat - any situation that is currently occurring or presents an impending threat to the students, faculty, staff, and visitors on the campus of Bloomsburg University. Examples of such threats may include an approaching tornado, a raging fire, or active shooter.

Notification Systems - The BU Alert System (text, voice and email messages), outside emergency siren, public address systems, social media, and Safety website.

Official - Any person who has the authority and the duty to take action or respond to particular issues on behalf of the university.

Safety Alerts - communications provided to specific individuals for the purpose of providing those individuals with information deemed necessary to avoid undo concern or anxiety and promote safety.

Shelter-In-Place - If an incident occurs and the buildings or areas around you become unstable, or if the air outdoors becomes dangerous due to toxic or irritating substances, it is usually safer to stay indoors, because leaving the area may expose you to that danger. Thus, to "shelter-in-place" means to make a shelter of the building that you are in, and with a few adjustments this location can be made even safer and more comfortable until it is safe to go outside.

3. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Bloomsburg University, as a recipient of Federal Title IV student financial aid, is required to adhere to provisions of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policies and Campus Crime Statistics Act, commonly referred to as the Clery Act. The Clery Act requires all postsecondary institutions receiving Federal Title IV financial aid to issue Emergency Notifications to the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus.

4. POLICY

Emergency Notifications are provided when a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students, employees or others is occurring or about to occur on the Bloomsburg University campus. Bloomsburg University has adopted the same emergency response and evacuation procedures for the following non-campus residential buildings, all located in the town of Bloomsburg;
Trinity House 115 East 3rd St.
Trinity House 253 Iron St.
Kile Apartments 235 Catherine St.
Kile Apartments 148D East Main St.

Emergency Notifications will contain information pertaining to the threat or emergency such as location, timing, safety and evacuation procedures. Safety and evacuation procedure examples include sheltering-in-place, avoid an area, and vacate building(s) or campus. Notifications may include available information directing recipients to safer locations and shelters. Updates will be provided as necessary. Emergency Notifications will withhold information that will identify victims.

A. Communications Process

Bloomsburg University’s process for communicating emergency information to the campus community includes, but is not limited to, the BU Alert System, a siren/outside public address, the Safety website, and social media. There is also a clearly identifiable link to notifications on the University Police website. As determined by the Emergency Notification Committee, Emergency Notifications may be issued using some or all of the above communication systems.

1. Communications to Students
Students are automatically enrolled in the BU Alert System and will be sent text, email, and phone messages based on the information provided in their student account. Students can log into the system and add any phone numbers they would like to use to receive voice and/or text alerts, such as their parent/guardian cell phones.

The parent/guardian cell phone and the parent/guardian email address entered on student accounts under the Emergency Contact Information page are specifically NOT included in the warning system by default.

2. Communications to Employees

Employees are not automatically enrolled in the BU Alert System. Participation in this service is voluntary for BU employees. Employees are not required to sign up for any type of notifications, but those who do may choose to be notified by voice, text and/or e-mail. While participation is voluntary, employees are strongly encouraged to sign up for at least one method of notification.
To sign up, log into the system at http://rave.bloomu.edu and use your HuskyID (full BU Email address {username@bloomu.edu}) and your login password.

New employees are provided written instructions from Human Resources on the process of signing up to receive Emergency Notifications and time is allotted for them to do so.

Bloomsburg University is not responsible for charges applied by cell phone providers.

B. Expiration of Issued Emergency Notification

All notifications and alerts will expire two weeks after issued. If a continuing threat exists, a new notification or alert will be released.

C. Emergency Notification Committee and Procedures
The Emergency Notification Committee is responsible for determining the appropriateness of issuing an Emergency Notification. The Director of Bloomsburg University Police and the Assistant Director Communications/Media Relations, Marketing and Communications make up the Emergency Notification Committee. In a situation when one or both committee members are not available, they may assign designees. For redundancy, there are also pre-designated alternates, listed below.

Primary Committee Member - Director of BUPD
Alternate 1 - Assistant Director of Police
Alternate 2 - Sergeant/Officer in Charge

Primary Committee Member - Assistant Director for Communications/Media Relations, Marketing and Communications
Alternate 1 - Director of Sports Information, Athletic Marketing and Promotions/Assistant Director Marketing and Communications
Alternate 2 - Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications

The issuing of Emergency Notifications will be decided on a case-by-case basis in light of all the known facts, including confirmation and circumstances surrounding the situation.

Bloomsburg University’s Emergency Notification Committee will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgement of the Emergency Notification Committee, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

1. Identification of Threat/Emergency
Identification of an emergency may be obtained from any of the following: law enforcement data and intelligence, firsthand knowledge of police personnel on scene, news outlets, weather websites, and/or public health sources.

2. Determination of Need and Dissemination
Upon confirmation of an emergency by a university official, information is shared with the Emergency Notification Committee. A determination is made by the committee, who would usually communicate via phone, whether an Emergency Notification will be issued and the information it will contain. If an agreement is not reached within the committee, the Director of Police or designee or alternate will make the final decision. The notification is written by the representative from Marketing and Communications and if time permits, reviewed by the police representative. Marketing and Communications is responsible for disseminating the notification.

In extreme instances when it would not be practical to use the Emergency Notification Committee or communication could not be established, the police shift sergeant or officer in charge will make the determination as to the issuance and content of the notification. The notification would then be sent by police dispatch personnel.

3. Action
Depending on the nature of the emergency, students and employees may be directed to a safe location, advised to shelter-in-place, evacuate the campus and/or be provided with other pertinent safety information. Additionally, campus buildings may be secured and utilities adjusted accordingly.

4. Outside Notification
If there is a need to disseminate emergency information to individuals and/or organizations outside of the campus community, it will be handled by the office of Marketing and Communications. Requests for assistance from outside emergency responders are handled by the BUPD.

D. Emergency Response and Evacuation

To prepare for emergency situations on campus Bloomsburg University has emergency plans and tests them regularly.

1. Annual Drills

A regularly scheduled test, designed for evaluation of emergency response and evacuation plans, and containing measurable goals, is conducted which includes drills, exercises and follow-through activities every year.

2. Evacuation Drills

Evacuation drills are conducted each spring and fall semester for all occupied campus buildings. Students, faculty and staff learn the locations of emergency exits in buildings and are provided guidance about direction they should travel and gather when exiting each building for short term evacuations.

3. Long Term Evacuations

Long term evacuation locations are not publicized as they are subject to a number of factors including: time of day, location of building being evacuated, nature of the emergency, and availability of designated evacuation areas.

4. Records

Records of tests and drills include: a description of the test, the date and times it started and ended, and if it was announced or unannounced. All test records are kept for seven years.

E. Training

All resident students are provided shelter-in-place and evacuation training during their Wing Meetings every semester. Residence Life staff are trained in these procedures and act as an ongoing resource for the resident students.

All faculty and staff are trained at employee orientation on shelter-in-place and evacuation procedures. Evacuation and shelter-in-place information is provided to students and employees each year via email.

F. Safety Alerts

In circumstances that the Emergency Notification Committee determines an incident does not meet Emergency Notification standards, they may decide to issue a Safety Alert using one or more of the notification systems. The Jeanne Clery Act does not require a Safety Alert, however, Bloomsburg University has elected to provide this service as a commitment to keep the campus community informed and promote safety.