Campus Evacuation Procedures

How and when does SU notify the campus community of emergency response and evacuation procedures?

Shippensburg University’s emergency preparedness planning includes information about university operating status parameters; incident priorities and performance expectations; shelter in place and evacuation guidelines; and local contingency and continuity planning requirements. Individual university departments are responsible for developing contingency plans and continuity of operations plans for their respective staffs and areas of responsibility. Members of the SU Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) assist departments in creating their plans. The university annually conducts various emergency response exercises, such as table-top exercises and field exercises, and the emergency notification systems are tested on a regular basis. These tests are designed to assess and evaluate the emergency plans and capabilities of the institution.

On November 10, 2015, Shippensburg University conducted an emergency preparedness exercise in Old Main room 203. The exercise followed a functional format. Functional exercises simulate real emergencies. During this exercise, no live resources were deployed in the field. Instead, exercise participants were given a scenario and then challenged to complete objectives associated with it, by using scenario-based discussion and applying real-life procedures that have been developed by individual university departments. Participants included the SUDPS, the President's Office, Provost's Office, Student Affairs, Human Resources, Information and Technology, Administration and Finance, Facilities, Communications and Marketing and External Affairs.

SUDPS officers and supervisors have received training in incident command and responding to critical incidents on campus. When an incident occurs that causes an immediate threat to the campus, the first responders to the scene are usually University Police. Once they respond, they typically work with members of the Shippensburg Borough police and fire departments, and the Pennsylvania State Police to manage the incident. Other local, state, or federal agencies may also be involved in responding depending on the nature of the incident.

General information about the emergency response and evacuation procedures for SU are publicized each year as part of the institution’s Clery Act compliance efforts.

All members of the university community are notified on an annual basis that they are required to notify the SUDPS of any situation or incident on campus that poses a significant emergency or danger that may involve an immediate or ongoing threat to the health and safety of the campus. SUDPS is responsible to respond to and summon the necessary resources to mitigate, investigate, and document any situation that may cause a significant emergency or dangerous situation. In addition, SUDPS will respond to such incidents to determine if the situation does pose a threat to the community. If it is determined that there is a threat, the appropriate university officials will immediately notify the campus community or the appropriate segments of the community that may be affected by the situation.

How and when does SU inform the campus about an immediate threat and what is the SU policy on notifying the campus community of an emergency?

The Shippensburg University Crisis Communications Plan and the Emergency Notification Systems Protocols cover official mass communication methods to ensure effective and efficient communication and provide accurate and timely emergency notifications and information to the campus community for situations that are considered a danger or an emergency.

When SUDPS confirms that an emergency or dangerous situation poses an immediate threat to the health or safety to some or all members of the campus community, the Director of Public Safety will determine the content of the message and will use some or all of the systems described below to communicate to the campus community, or to the appropriate segment of the community, if the threat is limited to a particular building or segment of the population.

A member of the Department of Public Safety will inform the Executive Director for University Communications and Marketing of any dangerous or emergency situation of which it is aware that may present an ongoing or continuing threat so that the campus community may be alerted. This notification includes any incident that poses a serious threat to the campus community that is reported to the university, whether the incident occurred on campus or at a nearby off-campus location. In these situations, a “Safety Alert” will be issued to all university members through multiple communication methods. The Director of Public Safety 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 judgment of the first responders (including, but not limited to SUDPS, Shippensburg Borough Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, and/or Shippensburg fire and emergency medical services), compromise the efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

The university relies on a series of varied communication methods to provide information during an emergency or dangerous situation. These communication methods include, but are not limited to, emergency text messaging system, e-mail, change websites to reflect information, outdoor/indoor public address systems, emergency broadcast system (EBS) on campus radio/TV stations, computer screen pop-up system, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Use of the text alert system is the first method used in all life-threatening situations and the information sent to all registered users. Other information, such as a description of the event(s), a description of suspects and related pertinent crime prevention information may also be provided. The name of any victim(s) will be omitted from any emergency or timely warnings that are issued.

Initial emergency communications will be sent immediately and will convey only the most critical information. Details will be carried on the university’s homepage, which will be updated as circumstances dictate.

Shippensburg University’s Crisis Communications Plan is part of the university’s overall planning in response to various possible emergencies. While each crisis is different, this plan provides guidelines for the various methods the university will use to communicate with our constituencies, which include but are not limited to students, faculty, staff associates, administrators, parents, alumni, and external groups.

In the event of a serious incident that poses an immediate threat to members of the SU community, the university has various systems in place to communicate information quickly. The main objective of the plan is to provide information quickly and effectively to appropriate audiences. The plan is reviewed periodically to ensure that it meets the needs of the campus community and is current with changing technologies.

The university will issue an “all clear” message to convey the university’s return to normal operations to all faculty, staff and students via university assigned e-mail accounts, the university’s website, and text message to “SU Alert” subscribers.

Anyone with information about criminal and/or inappropriate activity that may warrant notification to the campus community should contact the University Police Department at (717) 477-1444 or in person at the University Police Department in Reed Operations Center (Building #13 on campus maps). All information received will be analyzed by the SUDPS to determine the threat level of the incident to the campus. Anyone with information regarding an incident reported through a “Safety Alert” is encouraged to report that information to the appropriate law enforcement agency as noted in the alert.

SUDPS officers conduct safety presentations for new students during orientation programs at the beginning of each semester. Presentations regarding safety, crime prevention and security issues are available to all faculty and staff, and student organizations throughout the year. Safety, security, and crime prevention information is also available in brochures from the SUDPS office in Reed Operations Center. The SUDPS includes a Crime Prevention Specialist who conducts education programs year round to campus community members. Programs conducted in 2015 by the Crime Prevention Specialist include: active shooter response, alcohol education, hazing prevention, drug presentations, RA drug training, violent intruder response, and Rape Aggression Defense (RAD). Criminal incident information is available 24 hours a day from the department’s daily incident log to those persons requesting this information.

On-campus Emergencies (Police)
Department of Public Safety Reed Operations Center
(717) 477-1444 or ext. 1444
On-campus Emergencies (Fire, Medical) DIAL 911
Off-campus Emergencies (Police, Fire, Medical) DIAL 911
Shippensburg Borough Police Dept.
60 West Burd St., Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 532-7361
Pennsylvania State Police
Carlisle Barracks, 1538 Commerce Ave., Carlisle, PA 17013
(717) 249-2121

What are the campus evacuation procedures?

Evacuation plans are posted on every floor in all academic buildings and residence halls. The campus community is encouraged to become familiar with these plans in the event of an emergency evacuation. The evacuation notification may be mechanical (fire alarm system) or verbal (police or emergency personnel). Upon notification, proceed to the nearest stair tower to exit the building (do not use elevators). Once outside of the structure, move away from the entrances to allow emergency personnel to gain access. Public Safety will instruct you where to go (alternate facility, re-entry). Never re-enter a structure without approval from emergency services personnel (SUPD, fire services).

In the event of an outside danger or hazard, (weather, hazmat, human threat) building occupants may be instructed to shelter in place. Public Safety will provide notification to the affected building(s) and provide instruction of what measures to take (move to a lower level, lock door and stay in classroom/office).

Persons with Disabilities Evacuation Procedures

Persons with special needs should become familiar with the building evacuation plans. Procedures for academic buildings require the individual to go to the nearest stair tower and wait for assistance (faculty should stay with student until relieved by emergency personnel). If you have a cell phone, call police at 477-1444 and give them your location in the building. Residence hall procedures are similar. Go to the nearest designated stair tower and wait for assistance from the residence life staff. If you have a cell phone, call police at 477-1444 and give them your location in the building. If you are not able to go to a stair tower, call police from your room and give them your location. Wait until help arrives (residence staff or public safety) to assist you with exiting the building.

Testing of Emergency Procedures and Evacuation

Fire Drills and emergency evacuations are practiced annually, (fall semester) in all academic buildings. Inspections of fire systems are exercised monthly to assure system integrity for emergency conditions (evacuations are not done at these times). A minimum of three fire drills are conducted in each Residence Hall each semester and include a full evacuation of each building. Head counts and evacuation times are documented.

The purpose of evacuation drills is to prepare building occupants for an organized evacuation in case of fire or other emergency. During the drill, occupants practice drill procedures and familiarize themselves with the location of exits and the sound of the fire alarm. In addition to educating the occupants of each building about the evacuation procedures during the drills, the process also provides the University with an opportunity to test the operation of fire alarm system components.