PSU Emergency Procedures Update--What is 'Shelter-in-place'?

Greetings,

I am taking this opportunity to address questions and share updates about campus safety at PSU.

We recently received questions about classroom safety guidelines in the event of violent or criminal behavior. In an emergency it is important that you rely on information communicated to you, your training, and your best judgment.

The PSU Emergency Procedures Plan provides the following information:

VIOLENT OR CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR ON CAMPUS:

Guidelines for responding to a situation with the potential for shooting violence

Evacuate to a safe area away from the danger, and take protective cover. Stay there until assistance arrives.

  • Notify anyone you may encounter to do the same.
  • Call University Police at 535-2330 or 911 and give the following information to the dispatcher:

1. Your name

2. Location of the incident (be as specific as possible)

3. Number of, identification or description of shooter(s), if known

4. Your exact location

5. Injuries to anyone, if known

No matter what the circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active shooting situation, make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind.

If activity is outside your building:

1. Go to a room that can be locked. Close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights.

2. If your room can’t be locked, barricade the door with furniture; or determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and secured.

3. If possible, get everyone on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the building.

4. One person in the room should call 911 and tell the dispatcher what is taking place.

5. Remain in place until the police or a faculty member or campus administrator known to you gives the “all clear.”

If shooter is in the same building you are:

1. Go to a room that can be locked. Close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights.

2. If your room can’t be locked, barricade the door with furniture; or determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and secured.

3. If possible, get everyone on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the room.

4. One person in the room should call 911 and tell the dispatcher what is taking place.

5. Remain in place until the police or a faculty member or campus administrator known to you gives the “all clear.”

If shooter enters your office or classroom:

1. Try to remain calm. Dial 911, if possible, and alert police. If you can’t speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what’s taking place.

2. It might be possible to negotiate with the shooter; however, attempting to overpower the shooter with force should be considered a last resort, and only after all other options have been exhausted.

3. If the shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place and do not touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter.

This information is available online at: plymouth.edu/emergency/procedures/crime.html.

We have also added information about classroom and building safety guidelines called “Shelter-in-Place.” The following guidelines have been developed based on best practices.

SHELTER-IN-PLACE:
Suggestions on how to respond if you encounter a natural or man-made threat that places you in harm’s way

Note: When a fire alarm sounds you are to immediately evacuate the building.

There are several types of incidents that could occur on or near campus which are unpredictable, and your immediate response depends on the situation you face.

The best practice, at least initially, or until you can get detailed information about the nature of the emergency, is to follow the concept of “shelter-in-place.” In other words, if you are already indoors, stay where you are! Then, as soon as you can, call University Police at 535-2330 and give the following information to the dispatcher:

1. Your name
2. Location of the incident (be as specific as possible)
3. Your exact location
4. What you can see/hear/smell
5. Injuries to anyone, if known

If the threat originates from inside your building:

1. Activate the building alarm.
2. Once the building evacuation alarm is activated, leave by the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same.
3. Once outside, proceed to a clear area that is at least 500 feet away from the affected building. Know your designated area assembly points.
4. Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by Fire or Police personnel on the scene.

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The President’s Cabinet has also charged the Emergency Communications Committee with having additional safety communication methods identified and operational by the beginning of the Fall Semester. Updates about these plans will be distributed later this spring.

The Emergency Communications Committee is also planning to make presentations in the fall—beginning with Faculty Week in August—to update the campus on the University’s emergency procedures.

Please take the time to review this information and the complete set of PSU Emergency Procedures which is available online at: plymouth.edu/emergency/index.html.

You can sign-up for PSU Alert—the University’s emergency text alert system—online at: plymouth.edu/alerts/index.html.

Please contact me with questions or comments.

Regards,
Chris Williams
Director of Public Relations

535-2476
cwilliams@plymouth.edu