The Safe and Secure Campus

When the Unthinkable Happens

An important component of an institution’s safety plan must include what students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus should do in the event of an emergency. This plan is applicable to active shooter/attacker situations, but also other situations as well, including the release of chemical, biological or radiological material or severe weather; any situation that poses an immediate hazard or threat.

“Sheltering in place” is a common response plan to emergent hazards. This should not be interpreted as “stay exactly where you currently are,” but instead as a procedure to determine the safest place to position yourself as quickly as possible during a hazardous situation.

As with other campus safety plans and procedures, it’s important to develop (and practice) guidelines for responding to emergent threats. Communicating your plan to the campus community is vital. Making information available on your institution’s website is one of the best options for sharing guidance for these situations. Although your plans need to be tailored to the geography and existing architecture and infrastructure of your campus, it may be helpful to review what other colleges and universities have in place when reviewing, planning and revising your own.

Here are some examples:

California State University, Fullerton
Fullerton, CA
“Shelter in Place, or Run/Fight”

Indiana University
Bloomington, IN
“Shelter in Place”

University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH
“Emergency Guide”

Wesleyan University
Middletown, CT
“Shelter in Place”

This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.

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