Environmental Health & Safety Manual (EHS)

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Effective: 1/1/2010

Revised:   

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EHS 206: Emergency Notification

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Purpose

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This policy provides guidelines for the use and content of the variety of communication methods to disseminate information by Arizona State University (ASU) to the university community and other target audiences, in the event of a confirmed significant emergency. The communication levels identified below were developed from a communications standpoint and do not replace ASU Police standards of public safety threats. Nothing in this protocol is intended to limit the ASU Police Department from taking needed action to maintain a safe and secure university community, including issuing safety notifications and crime alerts

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Sources

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Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Public Law 110-315, Higher Education Opportunity Act
Arizona State University Emergency Operations Manual
Arizona State University Critical Incident Response Guidelines

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Applicability

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Tempe, Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix, and West campuses

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Definitions

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As used herein, “campus,” “campuses,” and “university community” refer to the four Arizona State University campuses: Tempe, Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix, and West

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Background

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Public Law 110-315, Higher Education Opportunity Act, Part 668.46 (g), “Emergency response and evacuation procedures”: An institution must include a statement of policy regarding its emergency response and evacuation procedures in the annual security report. This statement must include: [T]he procedures the institution will use to immediately notify the campus community upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of members of the university community occurring on the campus.

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Policy

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Upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health and safety of members of the university community occurring on campus, Arizona State University will employ a variety of communication methods to notify the university community.

ASU Police Department has the authority to issue emergency messages as they deem necessary to maximize public safety. The ASU Police will consult with the university’s Emergency Policy executive and the Office of Public Affairs as soon as possible thereafter, given their assessment of the situation to communicate emergency messages to the campus and greater community.

The ASU Police Department is the primary agency that confirms a significant emergency on campus through notifications from 911 calls or from personal observations by its officers or other security personnel. Other departments at ASU such as Environmental Health and Safety may also confirm a significant emergency.

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Procedures

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Target Audiences

A determination regarding what segment of the campus community will receive the notification shall be based on the nature, severity and location of the emergency. The same procedures will be used to notify the larger community.

Methods

ASU 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 the notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency. Depending on the nature of the emergency, methods that may be deployed include: door-to-door notifications; ASU Police patrol vehicle public address system; crime alerts; text messages; reverse 9-1-1; ASU Police media notification system; freeway electronic billboards; ASU home page messages; ASU news page messages; mass e-mail; media alert (TV, print, radio, Internet); emergency information hotline messages; Facebook postings; Twitter messages; RSS feed; MyASU Web page alerts; and digital bulletin board postings. Because each situation will present individual challenges, some or all of these communication methods will be used in an emergency. Follow-up messages to the university and to broader audiences such as parents and alumni will be sent as needed.

Procedures for Notification

Depending on the severity of the incident, the ASU Police Department has the authority to send emergency notification without prior approval. If the incident is a large-scale emergency, as determined by the incident commander (typically the top fire or police official), the incident commander will be responsible for making these decisions.

For messages other than those sent by the ASU Police Department, it is the responsibility of the Office of Public Affairs’ vice president, associate vice president, Media Relations director, or Police Media Relations officer to determine the content of the notification. Public Affairs will coordinate with the university’s Emergency Policy executive, ASU Web masters, university communicators, Student Affairs personnel, and other responsible parties to ensure proper implementation of the methods determined to be appropriate for the incident at hand. The communication method and message are approved by the university’s Emergency Policy executive or designee in consultation with the vice president of Public Affairs or designee.

Criteria and Communications

It is ASU’s intention to make the best decisions possible to ensure the safety of the university community based on the intelligence/information available at the time a decision is warranted. A case-by-case analysis should be conducted in determining whether or not to activate the emergency notification system. The criteria used to determine the appropriate communication response will include: location; police response; nature; potential effect on the university community; potential effect on the larger community; and the ability to contain the emergency/incident. The following communication options will be utilized during an emergency, with the university adapting accordingly to best fit communication needs at the time of the incident:

  • Send “ASU Alert” text message to reach students and faculty/staff
  • Post “ASU Alert” on ASU home page to reach mass public; replaces entire page and is divided into sections by audience: students/parents/faculty/staff/media
  • Post “ASU Alert” on MyASU Web page to reach students
  • Activate reverse 9-1-1
  • Distribute emergency bulletin to all media to air immediately
  • Send “ASU Alert” mass e-mail to reach students and faculty/staff
  • Record instructions on emergency information hotline
  • Send recorded message to media via police notification system
  • Post message on freeway electronic billboards
  • Activate public address system (police patrol vehicles)
  • Provide Twitter feed and update ASU Facebook pages
  • Update RSS feed
  • Post digital bulletin board messages
  • Give door-to-door notifications

All Clear Notifications

An “All Clear” message will be issued through the same communications methods used to announce that a particular emergency existed.

Testing

A test of the procedures outlined in this policy shall be conducted at least once each calendar year. An actual incident in which the emergency notification system was activated shall qualify as a test under this policy. Each test/incident shall be documented, to include: a description of the exercise/emergency, date, time and whether announced or unannounced. Residence halls will have evacuation procedures tests/drills at least semi-annually.

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Additional Information

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For additional information, see:

  1. ASU Emergency Planning

    and

  2. ASU Emergency Response Guide

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Cross-References

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For related information, see:

  1. EHS 204, “Facility Safety and Occupancy Limits”

    and

  2. the Police Department Policies and Procedures Manual: PDP 100, “Emergencies.”

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