While extreme emergencies are not common, it is important to know how to respond to them in case an emergency does happen on campus.
There is a committee of faculty and staff members who create the plans for what we will do in case of an emergency. The committee includes Chris Abrams, interim vice president for enrollment management and university marketing; Dave Burnip, director of campus safety; the director of human resources; the director of university relations; and faculty representation.
Students, faculty and staff will be alerted of an emergency and advised on what they should do through an emergency response system called Malone Alert.
“We’ll use that emergency response system that we have that sends out emails, text messages and voice mails to people’s cell phones as well as it creates an immediate post on the front page of our website,” Abrams said.
Faculty and staff have access to all information of what will happen in case an emergency does occur, but for safety reasons, the general public does not have access to this information and students will only be given specific instructions if an emergency occurs.
Students can add, change or exclude their contact information from Malone Alert. Information on how to do so is located on the intro page of the student tab on Malone Xpress.
In the event of a fire, everyone in the building must evacuate.
Abrams said, “If it ends up being a situation where there is so much damage to the building that it can’t be entered again once we’ve taken care of the situation, everyone who’s in a close enough radius that they feel like they could go home for a little bit of time, we would ask them to do that, but our place to go if we needed accommodations for a large group of students would be First Friends Church.”
There is a tornado siren close enough to campus that it can be heard. Messages will also be sent through Malone Alert to give further instructions to students, faculty and staff.
“It’s an immediate response,” Burnip said. “The same stuff from kindergarten we practice—we want to go to the lowest level, we want to go to the interior areas away from windows. We have specific areas we say to stay away from, such as the wellness center because it’s all windows.”
All of the resident directors and resident advisors have been trained on where students should go in their residence hall.
“If there was so much damage after a tornado, if it actually hit our campus, then the rendezvous point would be First Friends Church,” Abrams said.
Other Natural Disasters
In the event of any other natural disasters, the Malone Alert system will be used to notify students, faculty and staff of what they should do and if there are any areas on campus they should avoid.
If a chemical spill were to occur on campus, students, faculty and staff will be given instructions through the Malone Alert system.
If there was an extensive chemical spill or the spill lasted for an extended period of time, students who live nearby would be asked to go home. Students who live further away from campus would go to First Friends Church.
“Chances are, if we’re having a chemical spill on this campus, it would probably be somewhere around Timken Science area, so the need to necessarily evacuate PGB—unless it caused an explosion and got into the air and all that kind of stuff—would be slim,” Abrams said. “But if we had the same kind of fire or something that happened in downtown Canton, then we would evacuate.”
If an active shooter were to come onto campus, instructions will be sent out through Malone Alert.
“We have begun instituting locking classroom doors from the inside,” Abrams said. “We would immediately contact the Canton Police Department.”
No further information could be given regarding what will happen if there were an active shooter on campus.
“Some of the other things I don’t want to be out there for public consumption for someone who may have ill intent,” Abrams said.
In the event of a bomb threat, everyone will be asked to evacuate the area of the threat.
“Immediately, it’s a 911 call,” Burnip said. “We’d immediately evacuate the area and get people out of there. That’s going to kind of be handed over to a local police department that has the facilities to do that. Once we’ve gotten everyone out of the area, it’s their protocol for a bomb call.” [pullquote]“We’ll use that emergency response system that we have that sends out emails, text messages and voice mails to people’s cell phones as well as it creates an immediate post on the front page of our website,” Abrams said.[/pullquote]
The response taken in the event of a utility failure depends on the extent of the failure. If the utility failure is short term, students can remain on campus, but for a long term failure of electricity or heat, students will need to relocate.
“We would send people home that we could and then get people to a shelter area, whether that’s First Friends, or another resident hall or our gym if there was power there,” Burnip said.
Students will be notified through Malone Alert if they need to leave campus.
Death on Campus
If a student, faculty or staff member dies on campus, it may not constitute an emergency, but it is a situation which could cause panic.
“If someone dies, then at that point the process isn’t how we save them—they’ve died,” Abrams said. “That piece is a lot more about who facilitates the removal of the body, how we articulate things to our campus, and what kind of service or memorial we would have for the student, faculty, or staff member.”