Police Department Manual (PDP)

[horizontal rule]

Effective: 1/1/2010

Revised: 3/1/2016

[horizontal rule]
[ASU logo]

PDP 101–03: Emergency Notification

[horizontal rule]


[horizontal rule]

In the event of a confirmed significant emergency, to provide guidelines for the authority, 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

[horizontal rule]


[horizontal rule]

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, § 668.46, “Institutional Security Policies and Crime Statistics

Public Law 110-315, “Higher Education Opportunity Act”

Arizona State University Emergency Operations Manual

Arizona State University Critical Incident Response Guidelines

[horizontal rule]


[horizontal rule]

Tempe, Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix,West, Thunderbird, and Lake Havasu campuses

[horizontal rule]


[horizontal rule]

As used herein:

Campus, Campuses, and University Community
refers to all ASU campuses as listed in Applicability.

ASU Alert
used to communicate primarily life-threatening situations to the ASU community through a variety of methods, including text messaging.

ASU Advisory
used to communicate primarily non-life threatening situations to the ASU community that may have a substantial impact on university operations (i.e., road closures, building closures, etc.).

“All-Clear” Notifications
messaging used to signify the conclusion of the Alert/Advisory.

[horizontal rule]


[horizontal rule]

According to Public Law 110–315 “Higher Education Opportunity Act” and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 34, §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—(1) The 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.”

[horizontal rule]


[horizontal rule]

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. Upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on campus involving an immediate threat to the health and safety of members of the university community, ASU may employ a variety of communication methods to notify the university community. The intent of emergency messaging and timely warnings is to provide information that enables members of the community to protect themselves.

Note: The communication levels identified below were developed from a communications standpoint and do not replace ASU Police Department (ASU PD) standards of public safety threats. Nothing in this protocol is intended to limit ASU PD from taking needed action to maintain a safe and secure university community, including issuing safety notifications and crime alerts

ASU PD is the primary agency that confirms a significant emergency on campus through notifications from 9-1-1 calls or from personal observations by its officers, the sworn police officers of another agency, or other security personnel. Other departments at ASU, such as Environmental Health & Safety may also confirm a significant emergency.

Without delay, and as soon as information is confirmed, while taking into account the safety of the community, ASU PD will determine the content of the notification and activate/send it unless, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, a message would compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to or otherwise mitigate the emergency. Responsible authorities include but are not limited to command-level personnel (i.e., police chiefs, commanders, lieutenants, battalion chiefs, etc.) from either law enforcement or fire agencies responding to the incident. If a command-level person is not available, the decision will be made by the highest ranking ASU officer (the “officer in charge”), in consultation with other first responders as long as the consultation does not unduly delay the notification. Thereafter, ASU PD will consult with the university’s emergency policy executive and the Office of Public Affairs as soon as possible.

[horizontal rule]


[horizontal rule]

Information will be sent as soon as possible upon notification and confirmation of a situation occurring on campus that poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of students, employees, or visitors.

Authority for Activating Notification

For all situations, the ASU PD has the authority to send emergency notification without prior approval.

The ASU PD has the authority and responsibility to send notifications and will determine how much information is appropriate to disseminate. In addition, the Office of Public Affairs, in consultation with ASU PD and executive staff, also has the ability to craft and send messaging, most often for non-police related events, as follow-up to an emergency incident, or when Police Dispatch is overwhelmed and cannot send emergency messages because of call volume.

For messages other than those sent by the ASU PD, it is the responsibility of the Office of Public Affairs’ vice president, associate vice president, or Media Relations’ director, or their designee, to determine the content of the notification. To ensure proper implementation of the appropriate methods for the incident at hand, Public Affairs will coordinate with:

  • the university’s emergency policy executive
  • ASU PD
  • ASU Web masters
  • university communicators
  • Student Affairs personnel


  • other responsible parties.

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.

Alert/Advisory Activations

A determination/decision as to whether or not to activate the emergency notification system should be conducted on a case-by-case analysis. ASU PD initiates the notification system and puts into effect an ASU Alert or ASU Advisory.

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


  • ability to contain the emergency/incident.

According to The Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting, use of the emergency notification system might be relevant during:

  • outbreak of serious illness(es), such as meningitis or norovirus
  • extreme weather conditions that might be approaching
  • fire(s)
  • act(s) of violence (ongoing)
  • gas leak(s)
  • terrorist incident(s)
  • armed intruder(s) or incident(s) involving deadly or dangerous weapon(s)
  • civil unrest
  • explosion(s)


  • nearby chemical or hazardous waste spill(s).

Target Audiences

First responders, primarily members of the ASU PD, will determine what segment of the campus community will receive the notification based on the nature, severity, and location of the emergency. Registered parties of the mass notification system can customize their accounts to a specific campus. However, life threatening situations will be conveyed via an ASU Alert to all ASU and affiliated e-mail addresses. Follow-up information for life-threatening and other situations will be sent using the mass notification system upon confirmation of the information.

Furthermore, follow-up messages to the university and to broader audiences, such as parents and alumni, will be sent as needed.


A variety of methods for relaying information can be used and is driven, somewhat, by the incident. Because each situation will present individual challenges, some or all of these communication methods will be used in an emergency. Methods that may be used to notify the community may include:

  • door-to-door notifications
  • ASU PD patrol vehicle public address system
  • crime alerts
  • text messages
  • reverse 9-1-1
  • ASU LiveSafe mobile app
  • 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
  • Google+
  • Twitter messages
  • RSS feed
  • My ASU Web page alerts


  • digital bulletin board postings.

All-clear” notifications/messaging will be sent to signify the conclusion of the Alert/Advisory.

System Testing

A minimum of one test will be performed annually.

Note: An actual emergency or use of the system for a scheduled event is not considered a test of the system.

[horizontal rule]

Additional Information

[horizontal rule]

For additional information, see:

  1. ASU Emergency Planning


  2. ASU Emergency Response Guide.

[horizontal rule]


[horizontal rule]

For related information, see:

  1. PDP 100, “Emergencies”


  2. the Environmental Health and Safety Policies and Procedures Manual—EHS 204, “Facility Safety and Occupancy Limits.”

  skip navigation bar

PDP manual | ASU policies and procedures manuals | Index of Policies by Title | PDP manual contact | Police Department Web site

Back to Top

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional