2012 Clery Emergency Response and Evacuation Testing

| November 21, 2012

From Dan Pesold, director, Public Safety:

As required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, colleges and universities are required to publicize emergency and evacuation procedures in conjunction with at least one test of the plan per calendar year. We are required to advise if the test was announced or unannounced, provide the date, time, location of the event, and a brief description of the test.

East Residence Hall Fire Drill – Unannounced

EAST RESIDENCE HALL-Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

OBJECTIVE:  This drill was designed to simulate an actual critical incident and to test the effectiveness of Webster University’s evacuation and emergency notification procedures when a fire alarm was pulled.  We also took the opportunity to test our Crisis Response Team’s capability to respond to the incident.

GOALS:

  1. Effectively implement timely communication to appropriate parties on/off campus (Public Safety, Webster Groves Fire (WGFD) and Police (WGPD); Residence Life, Crisis Response Team and Administrative Council.
  2. Test the effectiveness of our communication policies through the use of cell phone, land line phone, emergency text messaging system and IP phone system.
  3. Test Residence Life Emergency Procedures
  4. Test and evaluate the effectiveness of our emergency evacuation procedures
  5. Provide simulated feedback to campus community on short and long term solutions.

Additional announced Fire Alarm drills were conducted at:

  1. WEST RESIDENCE HALL-Wednesday, October 24, 20112 at 4:00 pm
  2. WEBSTER VILLAGE APARTMENTS-October 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm
  3. MARIA Hall-October 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm.

Tabletop Exercise (Train Derailment with chemical spill)-Announced

  • Friday November 16,  2012 from 12:00 – 2:00 pm
  • Loretto Hall Room 301
  • This exercise was used to test the University Crisis Response Plan in the event of a train derailment with chemical spill behind the East/West Residence Hall.

Test of Webster University’s Emergency Text Messaging System (ALERTS)-Announced

  • Tuesday October 16, 2012
  • At 10:00 am, a text and/or an e-mail message were sent to all users who have signed up for the service advising it was just a test of the system.  Messages were delivered within 1-5 minutes after activation.

Test of the IP Phone System – Announced

  • Conducted on all buildings from Monday October 15 thorough Wednesday October 17, 2012.
  • Next planned test in December of 2012.

 

Summary of the University’s emergency response and evacuation plan (as published in the Annual Security Report) 

The link to the entire Annual Security Report http://webster.edu/publicsafety/crime_reports/webg.pdf


EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES

In the event of an actual emergency, which poses an immediate threat to members of the Webster University community, the University has systems in place for communicating information quickly to those individuals. Some or all of these methods of communication may be activated in the event of an immediate threat to the campus community. These methods of communication include network emails; IP telephone systems and the use of the emergency text messaging system (WEBSTER ALERTS).  Students should take responsibility for regularly checking their Webster University email account.  In order to receive campus wide email announcement, students must have a university email account. Student email accounts are set up with the student upon acceptance to the university.

If the Department of Public Safety confirms that there is an emergency or dangerous situation that poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of some or all members of the Webster community, DPS and The office of Public Affairs will collaborate to determine the content of the message and will use some or all of the systems described above to communicate the threat to the Webster Community or to the appropriate segment of the Webster community, if the threat is limited to a particular building or segment of the population.

DPS and the Office of Public Affairs 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, DPS, Webster Groves PD and Fire and other emergency response services), compromise the efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

After initial notifications are made in an emergency situation, Webster University will continue to update the community via the methods described above and may post updates on the Webster University website at http://www.webster.edu.

All emergency notification systems are tested on an annual basis by the Information Technology Department in conjunction with DPS and may or may not be announced.  All information concerning these tests is stored with the University Information Technology department.


WEBSTER ALERTS (EMERGENCY TEXT MESSAGING SYSTEM)

Webster Alerts is a campus alerts service that keeps you up-to-date on the latest campus information. Webster University has partnered with e2Campus to offer this service FREE to students, faculty, and staff. Using this service, Webster sends out text messages and/or emails containing emergency announcements and weather-related school closing information when necessary. Although optional, you are strongly encouraged to sign up for Webster Alerts. Reminders and instructions for setting up an account with Webster Alerts are sent out by the Informational Technology department 3-4 times a year.

Members of the larger community who are interested in receiving information about emergencies on campus can also sign up for the emergency text message system and can access the Webster University website to obtain information and updates in the event of an emergency on campus.


EMERGENCY RESPONSE

All members of the Webster University Community are encouraged to notify the Department of Public Safety of any situation or incident on campus that involves a significant emergency or dangerous situation that may involve an immediate or on-going threat to the health and safety of students and/or employees on campus. The Department of Public Safety along with the Webster Groves Police Department has the responsibility of responding to, and summoning the necessary resources, to mitigate, investigate, and document any situation that may cause a significant emergency or dangerous situation.

In addition, the Department of Public Safety has a responsibility to respond to such incidents to determine if the situation does in fact, pose a threat to the community. If that is the case, Federal Law requires that the institution immediately notify the campus community or the appropriate segments of the community that may be affected by the situation.

The University has developed a Crisis Management Plan that includes information about the University‘s response to emergency situations.  The plan includes information about crisis response teams, incident priorities, communications, performance expectations, shelter in place, evacuation guidelines and local contingency and continuity plans.

Individual departments and/or building mangers on campus are responsible for developing contingency plans and continuity of operations plans for their staff and areas of responsibility under the umbrella of the Crisis Management Plan. Webster University’s Public Safety officers; crisis response teams and the crisis management team have received training in the Incident Command System and Responding to Crisis Incidents on campus and undergo refresher training annually.

The University conducts at least one tabletop exercise each year with our crisis response teams and tests the emergency notification systems on campus in the fall and in the spring in conjunction with our Information Technology Department. These tests are designed to assess and evaluate the emergency plans and capabilities of the institution.

The institution has general evacuation guidelines in place, in the event that all or just a segment of the campus needs to be evacuated. The plan would be affected by a myriad of factors, including the type of threat, the occupancy of the other buildings and areas of the campus at the time of the incident, etc.

Therefore, specific information about a multi-building or area evacuation cannot be shared with the campus community in advance. Most classrooms and/or office complexes on campus have evacuation maps posted within that identifies the route to take to reach a safe area within the building should the threat require a shelter in place (described in the next paragraph), or the route to take to reach safety outside the building in the event the threat requires building evacuation.  Students are encouraged to take a moment to identify these routes at the areas on campus they frequent.

Webster University also expects members of the community to follow the instructions of first responders on the scene, as this type of evacuation would be coordinated on-site. In some emergencies, you may be instructed to “shelter-in-place”. If an incident occurs and the buildings or areas around you become unstable, or if the air outdoors becomes dangerous due to toxic or irritating substances, it is usually safer to stay indoors, because leaving the area may expose you to that danger.

Thus, to “shelter-in-place” means to make a shelter of the building that you are in, and with a few adjustments this location can be made even safer and more comfortable until it is safe to go outside. This means that if an incident occurs and the building you are in is not damaged; stay inside in an interior room until you are told it is safe to come out.

If your building is damaged, take your personal belongings (purse, wallet, access cards, etc.) and follow the evacuation procedures for your building (close your door, proceed to the nearest exit, and use the stairs instead of the elevators). Once you have evacuated, seek shelter at the nearest University building quickly. If police, public safety or fire department personnel are on the scene, follow their directions.

General information about the emergency response and evacuation procedures for Webster University are publicized and is made available on the Department of Public Safety website.  The plan can be downloaded via the Webster University Connections portal.

Brochures of these procedures can also be obtained at the Department of Public Safety currently located at 572 Garden Avenue.

EVACUATION DRILLS

Fire evacuation drills are conducted in the fall of each year for East/West Hall, Maria Hall and Webster Village Apartments.  This is a coordinated effort between DPS, Webster Groves Fire Department and Webster University Student Affairs and Residential Housing personnel. Specific procedures for these drills are described in the Residential Housing section of this report.  In addition, the University Center conducts evacuation drills in conjunction with the same departments and agencies.

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