Emergency Preparedness


Westminster College is committed to developing and administrating a comprehensive emergency management program for our college community. Our policy is to create a culture of preparedness so that emergencies, if they arise, are managed efficiently and effectively.

Read the Emergency Management Plan

Emergency Management Training

Emergency Communication Tools

Westminster uses Regroup as its Emergency Notification System (ENS) provider. We use the ENS to transmit brief and urgent messages to the campus community as quickly as possible. Depending on the nature of the emergency, notifications may be received as text messages, phone calls, or emails.

The ENS is one of the first tools we use to inform students, staff, and faculty of an emergency situation or threat on campus. For this reason, we strongly recommend that keeping your contact information up to date.

The campus loudspeaker system—Giant Voice—is used to broadcast audible messages, instructions, or alarms to the campus at large.

College personnel who have been assigned specific roles in emergency situations will use radio communication, bullhorns, and other equipment to communicate in the event of an emergency.

In the event of an emergency, updates will be available on the Westminster College webiste and social media pages.

Facebook

Twitter

In the event of an emergency that is not confined to the campus but might affect campus, local television, radio, and online news providers are a good source of information.

Personal Emergency Communication

Wesminster recommends that all members of the campus community prepare individual emergency communication plans with their families. The basic steps to creating a family communication plan are:

  1. Collect information.
    Create a paper copy of contact information for family members, as well as other important information like schools, employers, and doctors.
  2. Share.
    Make sure that all family members carry a copy of the plan, and that another copy is available at a central location in all of the family members' homes.
  3. Practice.
    Arrange for regular practice activations of the family communication plan and make changes as necessary.

Emergency Survival Strategies

Evacuation is the act of immediately leaving a potentially hazardous location due to an imminent or impending threat to life or health.

If a fire alarm sounds or you are ordered to evacuate a building:

  • Stay calm. Do not rush or panic.
  • If it is safe to do so, gather essential belongings before evacuating. These should include medication, personal identification, wallet, keys, and cell phone.
  • On your way out of the building, close (but do not lock) doors and windows in your immediate area.
  • Proceed to the nearest, safest exit. Do not use elevators
  • Once outside, move quickly to the designated assembly point for the building.
  • Report in. Student should report to their instructors. College employees should report to their supervisors. If neither of these apply, report directly to the building guardian. The campus community may receive an ENS message requesting that individuals self-report their status by replying to the message.
  • Follow all instructions given to you by emergency response personnel (incident commander, Campus Patrol, law enforcement, and emergency medical personnel).

If your disability prevents you from evacuating a building or other area on your own, stay calm.

  • Move to an area of refuge (an exterior closed stairwell).
  • Ask others in the process of evacuating to notify building guardians, Campus emergency responders, or emergency response services of your status and location. Respond to ENS messages requesting status reports with the most appropriate option.
  • Follow all other evactuation instructions as possible.

It is recommended that you become familiar with the location of emergency exit routes and areas of refuge for buildings in which you work, teach, and attend class. Work with your coworkers, fellow students, and instructors to determine the best methods to assist you in the event of an emergency. You can also contact Disability Services at 801.832.2289, and take steps to prepare by:

  • Learning alternate exit routes and the location of areas of refuge.
  • Identifying a "buddy" to assist you.
  • Keeping extra medication, assistive devices, etc. on hand.
  • Wearing medical alert tags to inform emergency responders of pertinent health conditions.

Sheltering-in-place is the act of going or staying indoors when a situation occurs that may be a threat to life and health.

If you receive instructions to shelter-in-place:

  • If possible, quickly gather necessary supplies (food, water, medication, etc.).
  • Go inside or stay inside the building.
  • If possible, make your way to an interior room or corridor with no windows.
  • In the event of an emergency involving a person acting violently, move to a room that can be locked or barricaded, if it is safe to do so.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Do not leave the building until given the all-clear by the incident commander.
  • Follow all instructions given to you by emergency response personnel (incident commander, Campus Patrol, law enforcement, and emergency medical personnel).

If your disability prevents you from getting to a building or shelter area on your own, stay calm.

  • Move to the safest area of the building that is readily accessible to you.
  • If the emergency situation requires that you move to an inaccessible area of the building, ask others to notify emergency responders of your status and location so that they can assist you.
  • Follow all other shelter-in-place instructions as possible.

As with evacuations, pre-planning can help to ensure your safety during an emergency that requires you to shelter-in-place. Contact Disability Services at 801.832.2289 for assistance with pre-planning, and work with your coworkers, fellow students, and instructors to determine the best methods to assist you in an emergency.

Some emergency situations that require sheltering-in-place could mean a delay in receiving assistance from emergency responders. It is important to have a kit ready to use in case help is days away.

Ready.gov recommends that the following basic supplies be included in your disaster supplies kit:

  • Water—one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food—at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert.
  • Flashlight.
  • First aid kit.
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps.
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.

Specific Emergency Situations

If you observe a fire, report it immediately. If the fire is small (about the size of a wastepaper basket) and can be extinguished quickly and safely, activate the fire alarm by operating the nearest pull station, then use a fire extinguisher.

If you choose to use a fire extinguisher, make sure that you have a clear exit path and enough room to fight the fire (maintaining a distance of about 8 feet).

To use a fire extinguisher, follow the PASS method:

  1. Pull the locking pin.
  2. Aim at the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze and hold the discharge lever.
  4. Sweep from side to side.

Fire extinguishers are intended to control incipient-stage fires only. If you completely discharge a fire extinguisher and the fire is not under control, evacuate immediately. Ensure that the fire alarm has been activated, call 911 and Campus Patrol (ext. 2525), then report to the building guardian and provide them with any information you have about the fire.

It is rarely the ground motion of an earthquake that directly causes injury or death. The real danger comes from falling objects, broken windows, shrapnel, and other hazardous conditions caused by the earthquake.

Remember the earthquake survival strategy “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.”

  • Get as low to the ground as possible.
  • Avoid bookshelves or other objects stored at height.
  • Take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture and cover the back of your head with one arm, while holding onto the furniture with your other hand.
  • Evacuate the building after the earthquake, if it is safe to do so. Make your way to the nearest earthquake assembly point.

For individuals who use mobility aids such as wheelchairs, remember “Lock, Cover, and Hold On.” Lock the wheels of mobility devices, cover the back of your head with both arms, and wait for the earthquake to pass.

Earthquake Survival Outdoors

If you are outside during an earthquake:

  • Don't try to rush indoors while the earthquake is in process.
  • Try to get into as open a space as possible.
  • Drop, cover, and hold on, protecting your head and neck with both arms.
  • Wait for the earthquake to stop before trying to move, and be aware of hazards which may have been created by the earthquake (downed power lines, broken gas lines, etc.)
  • Make your way to an assembly point and check in with the building guardians.

If you are driving during an earthquake:a re

  • Do not try to exit the vehicle.
  • Stop driving as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid parking near gas stations or under trees, bridges, overpasses, or power lines.
  • Wait for the earthquake to stop before trying to move the vehicle. It may bnot be safe to continue driving. If you can drive, use extreme caution and avoid any areas of the road that appear to be damaged. Avoid bridges and ramps altogether.

An active killer or active shooter is an individual who is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined or widely populated area. The weapons involved can include firearms, knives, and even motor vehicles.

Employ the "Run, Hide, Fight" strategy:

Run

  • If there is a safe path, attempt to escape. Go in the opposite direction of the active killer for as far as you can.
  • Escape whether others around you agree to follow.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others proceed escape if possible.
  • Prevent others from entering the area.
  • Call 911 when you are safe.

Hide

  • If you cannot escape, act quickly and quietly to find a hiding place out of view of the active killer, one that does not restrict options for movement.
  • Lock and/or barricade the door.
  • Silence your cell phone and other devices which may make noise.
  • Hide behind large objects, such as furniture.
  • Stay quiet.

Fight

  • As a last resort, and only if your life is in danger, attempt to incapacitate the active killer.
  • Act with physical aggression.
  • Improvise weapons.
  • Commit to your actions.

When law enforcement arrives in response to the active killer:

  • Remain calm. Follow any instructions they give you.
  • Put down any items you may be holding in your hands (keys, cell phone, bags, etc.).
  • Raise your hands and spread your fingers.
  • Keep your hands visible at all times.
  • Avoid quick movements. Don't attempt to grab or hold onto the officers for safety.
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or directions when evacuating.
  • Know that help for any injured persons is on the way

If you need to call 911 to report an active killer, provide them with the following information:

  • Location and number of active killers.
  • Physical description of the active killers.
  • Number and type of weapons used by the active killers.
  • Number of potential victims at the location.

Bomb threats may be received in a variety of ways. In all cases, staying calm, documenting evidence of the threat, and contacting Campus Patrol (ext. 2525) are the first priorities. If you receive a bomb threat by:

Phone Call

  • Remain calm and get as much information as you can.
  • Ask someone to discreetly notify Campus Patrol, if possible.
  • Take note of the following information:
    • Time when the call started and time when the call ended.
    • The caller's exact words, as close as possible.
  • Ask questions:
    • Where is the bomb and when will it explode? Which building and room number?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • What does the bomb look like?
    • Why has the bomb been planted?
    • Did you plan the bomb?
    • Where are you calling from?
    • Pay attention to the caller's characteristics, such as accents, young/old, man/woman, deep voice/high voice, calm/nervous, and any background noises.

Voice Mail

Do not delete the voice mail. Transfer the message to Campus Patrol.

Email

Do not delete the email. Save a copy to your computer and forward it to Campus Patrol.

Written Threat

Handle the note as little as possible. Pass the document on to Campus Patrol.

A civil disturbance is a disruptive event caused by a group of people, either on campus or adjacent to campus. These can include riots, protests, demonstrations, or illegal parades. They might include actual or potential violence or other crimes, either immediately or as a result of escalation.

If you observe a civil disturbance:

  • Report it to Campus Patrol (ex. 2525)
  • Call 911 if someone has been injured as a result of the civil disturbance.
  • Avoid actions or responses which may escalate potential or actual violence.
  • Evacuate or shelter-in-place as instructed. If sheltering-in-place, secure the area, shut down computers and other equipment.

In the event of a death on campus or during a college-sponsored event:

  • Call 911 immediately, then contact Campus Patrol (ex. 2525).
  • Campus Patrol will notify law enforcement and other agencies, as applicable.
  • Follow any instructions given to you by Campus Patrol or law enforcement.Comply with all applicable procedures and requirements.
  • The president or other appropriate college personnel will notify the decendent's family.
  • Seek support from the Counseling Center or Employee Assistance Program, as needed.

In the event of an explosion:

  • Evacuate the area if it is safe to do so.
  • Call 911 from a safe location as soon as possible, then contact Campus Patrol (ex. 2525).
  • If it is not possible to evacuate, get under a sturdy desk, table, or other piece of furniture to protect yourself from debris.
  • If you are trapped in debris, try to let others know your location (use your cell phone, or tap on a wall or pipe).
  • If you have evacuated, do not enter the building (even to rescue others) until the all-clear is given by the incident commander.
  • Follow all instructions given to you by emergency response personnel (incident commander, Campus Patrol, law enforcements, and emergency medical personnel).

In case of flooding, move indoors and stay there unless there is potential danger from the flood. Shelter-in-place on the upper floors if it is safe to remain in the building. Avoid contact with flood water as much as possible.

  • Contact Campus Patrol to report the flooding, and call 911 if you observe any imminent danger from the flood.
  • Use extreme caution around electrical appliances or outlets near any leaks or flood water.
  • Take only essentials steps in preventing water damage, like covering items with plastic sheeting or moving small ojects out of danger.
  • If it is safe to do so, secure vital equipment, records, and hazardous materials. Shut down all non-essential electrical equipment.
  • If you must evacuate a building, do not enter it again until it has been cleared by Campus Patrol.

The first priority in the event of food-borne illness is to get appropriate medical care. Call 911 in the event of severe illness.

  • Contact Campus Patrol (ext. 2525) or Student Health Services (ext. 2239).
  • Gather as much information as possible about the food-borne illness, symptoms, when it occurred, and what was eaten immediately before.
  • Follow instructions given to you by Campus Patrol, Student Health Services, other college emergency personnel, or medical professionals.

Hazardous materials incidents can involve chemicals (liquid, solid or gaseous), radioactive materials, or biologically hazardous materials. The most common type of hazardous materials emergency is an accidental spill or release.

  • Contact Campus Patrol (ex. 2525) to report the spill. Call 911 if anyone has been injured as a result of the spill.
  • Do not walk into or touch any spilled material.
  • Avoid inhalation of vapors, fumes, or gases by staying upwind of the spill. Do not assume that spilled material is harmless due to absence of odor.
  • Chemical spills may create conditions for fire or explosion. Turn off all possible sources of ignition in the area, if it is safe to do so.
  • Isolate the area by closing doors and windows.
  • Do not attempt to clean up the hazardous material, especially without any training.
  • Evacuate or shelter-in-place as instructed by the incident commander, Campus Patrol, or external emergency services.

Infrastructure failure can include the failure of utilities such as electrical power, water, gas, or telephones.

  • If there is any potential for danger based on the specific nature of the infrastructure failure, evacuate the area.
  • Call 911 if anyone has been injure, and contact Campus Patrol (ex. 2525) to notify them of the situation.
  • Follow any instructions given to you by Campus Patrol, other college emergency personnel, or the persons involved in making the necessary repairs.

The first priority is to seek appropriate medical care for all affected individuals. Call 911 in the event of severe illness.

  • Contact Campus Patrol (ext. 2525) or Student Health Services (ext. 2239).
  • Gather as much information as possible about the illness, symptoms, when it occurred, and possible causes.
  • Follow instructions given to you by Campus Patrol, Student Health Services, other college emergency personnel, or medical professionals.

In the event of actual or predicted snow or ice storms, the provost or their designee will evaluate the conditions of roads and walkways, and decide whether or not to cancel or postpone classes or other college activities due to weather. In making this decision, the provost may consult Maintenance, Campus Patrol, or other college personnel as appropriate.

Any cancellations or postponements will be communicated to the campus community. This communication may be accomplished through use of the ENS.

The maintenance department will take appropriate steps to remove snow and ice.

  • Stay in a warm secure location.
  • Avoid traveling if it is not safe to do so.
  • If walking on an icy or slippery surface, take short steps or shuffle. Keep your weight centered over your feet and "walk like a penguin."

A suspicious package or mail item is one that:

  • Has no address, or a suspicious or odd address.
  • Is oddly packaged (excessive tape or string).
  • Is unexpected or from an unfamiliar source.
  • Has suspicious or threatening messages on it.
  • Shows signs of stains, discoloration, crystallization, or powder on the outer packaging.

If you encounter something that you believe may be a suspicious package or mail item:

  • Do not move, touch, or carry the suspicious package any more, regardless of its condition or location.
  • Notify the Mail Services Manager (ext. 2692) and Campus Patrol (ext. 2525).
  • If it is safe to do so, close the area where the package was received or is being stored.
  • Evacuate if instructed to do so, and follow any instructions given to you by the Mail Services Manager, Campus Patrol, other college emergency personnel, or external emergency services.

If a tornado, derecho, or other dangerous high wind is imminent, the ENS will be activated.

  • Move to the lowest level of the building, if possible. Do not use the elevators.
  • Go to an area of safety such as a room or corridor in the innermost section of the building.
  • Avoid windows and large open spaces.
  • Close all doors, including main corridors, making sure they latch firmly.
  • Crouch near the floor or under sturdy furniture. Cover your head.
  • Follow instructions given to you by the incident commander, Campus Patrol, other college emergency personnel, or external emergency services.

If you are outdoors and cannot go inside a building, stay away from windows, telephone poles, and electrical utility poles. Seek a low-lying area (such as a ditch or ravine) and lay face down with your hands covering your head and neck.

Violent incidents can include events such as acts of terrorism, assaults, violent campus intruders, violence resulting from a civil disturbance, sex offenses, violent crime, or workplace violence.

In the event of a violent incident:

  • Call 911 and then Campus Patrol (ext. 2525).
  • Provide information about the incident, including what is happening and where, who is involved, type(s) of weapon involved (if any), and whether anyone has been injured or killed.
  • Evacuate the area as quickly as possible, if it is safe to do so.
  • Shelter-in-place if it is not safe to evacuate, or if instructed to do so.
  • If sheltering-in-place, move as far away from the incident as you can. Lock/barricade the doors, take cover behind solid objects, turn off lights, close all blinds or shades, and silence cell phones.
  • Keep the area secure until otherwise directed by the incident commander, Campus Patrol or law enforcement.