Report Incidents

Dial 9-911 and 7911 from campus phones or 911 and 253-535-7911 from cell phones. Give the dispatcher the nature of the emergency, your name, phone number from which you are calling, and your location. Stay on the line and answer the call-taker’s questions to the best of your ability.

If outside, push the red button on an emergency blue phone or, when inside, push the help button at the Call for Help stations located in various buildings. Both of these methods have direct communication with Campus Safety.

All Hazards Plan

For more information about how PLU is prepared, please take a look at the PLU All Hazards Plan.

Bomb Threat / Explosion / Airplane Crash


Report all bomb threats to Campus Safety at 253-535-7911 or 7911 from campus phones.

The intended purpose of a threat is to interrupt normal operations. Nearly all bomb threats do NOT result in explosions or even finding actual bombs. Alternatively, those who wish to cause harm to others will rarely alert the target victims, so first notification will be the explosion.


Campus Safety will investigate the reported threat and may report it to local authorities. Campus Safety or local authorities may ask occupants to assist in the search for potential bombs, because the occupants know best what is normal or out-of-place in their own building.


A building evacuation may be ordered by PLU whenever there are sufficient facts to indicate the bomb threat is valid. The order to evacuate will be initiated by recognized responders using emergency notification methods.

Evacuees should put a building between the bomb (B3) and themselves. Regular evacuation assembly areas may not be the best place to go.

Phone Threats

Keep the caller on the phone as long as possible. Listen carefully to the caller and record the date and time of call, exact words of the caller, approximate age and sex, speech pattern or accent, emotional state, and background noises. Ask the caller:

  • When is the bomb going to explode?
  • Where is it right now?
  • What does it look like?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause it to explode?
  • Did you place the bomb?
  • Why?
  • What is your address?
  • What is your name?

Other Threats

If you see any suspicious object, report the location to Campus Safety. DO NOT HANDLE THE OBJECT! Clear the immediate area and prevent access until Campus Safety arrives.

Cell Phones and Radios

Please do not use cell phones or radios in the threatened area.


If an explosion or airplane crash occurs on campus, take cover under tables or desks to protect yourself against falling debris or glass. Leave the building as quickly as possible. Do NOT use the elevator. Stand away from windows and building facades. Do NOT block emergency response access roads. If Trapped Under Debris cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing. Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle, if one is available. Use a flashlight to signal rescuers. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust. Do NOT light a match. Do NOT move about or kick up dust.


Check in with your instructor, conference leader, resident assistant (RA), emergency building coordinator (EBC), or Campus Safety personnel and remain in place until instructed otherwise. EBCs and RAs may be in a green vest and/or holding an evacuation assembly area sign. Inform this person of others who you know did not escape the building or who left the campus.

Campus Evacuation / Reunification Area

Campus Evacuation

PLU may initiate a full or partial campus evacuation when it is either unsafe for students, guests, or employees to remain on site or basic services, such as sewer or power, cannot be provided over an extended period of time. PLU will also follow evacuation orders initiated by local response agencies.

Be prepared to evacuate. Take clothing, food, water, flashlight, and a first aid kit with you. Do not return until directed to do so by a recognized authority.


Tell the resident assistant or emergency building coordinator where you are going before you leave.


PLU may designate a reunification site for students and employees to meet family members after there has been a campus evacuation. The site location will depend on the scope of the incident that has caused the campus evacuation. See Notification and Information Resources section to learn how you can get reunification information.

Civil Disruption

Civil Disruption

Most campus demonstrations are peaceful and non-obstructive. Everyone should attempt to carry on business as normal. Avoid provoking or obstructing demonstrators.

If possible, use a telephone located away from the disturbance to call Campus Safety at 7911 from campus phones or 253-535-7911 using a cell phone, if any of the following conditions occur:

  • INTERFERENCE with normal operations of the university.
  • PREVENTION of access to offices, buildings, or other university facilities.
  • THREAT of physical harm to persons or damage to university facilities.

Alert all employees in the area to the situation. Shelter-in-place by locking all doors and securing files, documents, and equipment. Stand by for further instructions. If instructed to do so, cease operations and evacuate.

Individual Response to Criminal or Threatening Behavior

Report It

Report to situations that are life threatening to 911 (9-911) immediately. Have another campus member call Campus Safety at the same time or just after. This will allow Campus Safety to help expedite the response and initiate any campus procedures.

Report potential in-progress criminal activity and suspicious behavior to Campus Safety at 253-535-7911. Warn or tell others.

Note the Following Characteristics of a Suspicious Person

  • Height /weight
  • Hair color / length
  • Glasses
  • Facial Hair
  • Shirt, jacket color & style
  • Pants color & style
  • Shoes color & type
  • Type of property, weapon
  • Distinguishing Features: Tattoo, Scar, Birthmark

Employees are Required to Report the Following

  • A life-threatening situation that is in progress, such as a physical confrontation.
  • Acts of violence or threats in the workplace or other conduct reasonably indicating that violence is eminent.
  • Restraining orders that list the university as a restricted location.

Survival Strategies

Do not attempt to apprehend or interfere with a criminal or violent individual except to protect yourself. When faced with a life-threatening situation, you may consider the following actions to survive.

Go inside the nearest building. If you can not safely get inside a building, use bushes, trees, walls, and benches to conceal yourself. This does not work if the violent individual knows you are there.

Run or Crawl Away
If you think you can safely make it out of the area, then do so. If you decide to run, do not run in a straight line. Try to keep objects, such as trees, garbage cans, buildings, and cars, between you and the hostile person.

Play Dead
If the intruder is causing death or physical injury to others and you are unable to run or hide, you may choose to assume a prone position and lay as still as possible.

Your last option, if caught in the open and in close proximity to the intruder, is to fight back. This is dangerous, but depending on your situation this could be your last option.

If you are caught by the intruder and are not going to fight back, obey all commands and avoid eye contact.

Speak to the captor or threatening person in a calm voice.

Shelter in Place

Atmospheric (biological, chemical, radiological, volcanic) Threat

Close sources of fresh air, such as windows, fireplace dampers, and ventilation systems, when possible, and do not use the elevator. Do NOT move in and out of building. If the threat is severe, relocate within the building to an upper floor away from exterior doors and windows. Select a room(s) which is easy to seal and, if possible, has a water supply and access to restrooms. If you smell gas or vapor, hold a wet cloth loosely over your nose and mouth and breathe through it in as normal a fashion as possible.

Other Actions

If available, take a radio or television to the selected shelter room to track emergency status. Keep telephone lines free for emergency responders. For instance, do NOT call 911 to find out what is going on. Maintain secure position until notified by recognized emergency responders that it is safe to move.


drop cover hold on banner

If Indoors…

  • DROP under a desk or sturdy table. Stay away from windows, outside walls or doors, filing cabinets, bookcases, overhead fixtures or objects that may fall or collapse. Alternatively, stand along an interior wall or in a doorframe.
  • COVER your head and neck with one arm until the shaking stops.
  • HOLD ON to the desk or table. If it moves, move with it. Close your eyes to protect them. Wait for the motion to cease and for any falling objects to land before you attempt to move.

If Outdoors

  • Move away from buildings, trees, street lights, and utility wires. Beware of falling debris from buildings and trees.
  • If you are driving, slowly pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires. Stay in the vehicle until the shaking stops.

After An Earthquake

Gather your belongings, such as keys, coat, medication, emergency and first aid kits. Replace the telephone receiver in its cradle. Look around to see if others are in need of assistance.

Exit the building and check in at the evacuation assembly area, which can be found on the Emergency Assembly Area Map on the Documents and Forms Page. Do NOT use the elevator. Wait for instructions from emergency responders, emergency building coordinators, or resident assistants. Do NOT re-enter until directed to do so by recognized responders.


Be prepared for aftershocks, which can cause further damage. Be aware that electricity, gas, and phones may not work. Broken gas and electrical lines may pose a hazard. Refrain from making calls to free up lines for emergency workers.


Check in with your instructor, conference leader, resident assistant (RA), emergency building coordinator (EBC), or Campus Safety personnel during emergencies and remain in place until instructed otherwise. EBCs and RAs may be in a green vest and/or holding an emergency assembly area sign. Inform this person of others who you know did not escape the building or who left campus.

If Trapped Under Debris

Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing. Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle, if one is available. Use a flashlight to signal rescuers. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust. Do NOT light a match. Do NOT move about or kick up dust.

Fire / Building Evacuation


Before opening the door, feel the upper portion of the door or the doorknob. If it is not hot, brace yourself against the door and open it slightly. If you encounter heat or heavy smoke in the corridor, close the door and stay in the room. Seal the cracks around the door with clothing, tape or other material, soaking them in water when possible. Hang an object out of the window, such as a shirt, jacket, or anything that will attract attention.

If your clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP, and ROLL. Stop running. Drop to the floor. Roll to smother the fire.


Evacuate the building when the fire alarm sounds or when you are directed by emergency responders to do so. Occupants may also initiate an evacuation by warning others of a hazard in the building or by pulling the fire alarm. Not all buildings have pull stations.


Please check-in with your instructor, conference leader, resident assistant (RA), emergency building coordinator (EBC), or Campus Safety personnel during emergencies and remain in place until instructed otherwise. EBCs and RAs may be in a green vest and/or holding an emergency assembly area sign. Inform this person of others who you know are not on campus, or did not escape the building; especially those you know to have a disability.

Mobility-Impaired Evacuation Procedures and Recommendations

Pacific Lutheran University
Evacuation Procedures and Recommendations
Mobility-Impaired Students

Pacific Lutheran University has developed a policy to outline the university’s response procedures during a building evacuation concerning mobility-impaired students. This policy also contains recommendations for these individuals during the evacuation. Central Pierce Fire and Rescue (CPFR) was consulted for the development of this policy.

These procedures are designed to address evacuations where the student would normally need to rely on the use of the elevator to exit the building. At anytime a student is capable of evacuating without assistance they should do so.

Evacuations from a Residence Hall

Upon activation of a fire alarm students with mobility issues are encouraged to remain in their residence hall room. Residential Life staff (primarily Resident Assistants, “RA’s”) will begin to evacuate the building by verbally notifying all students of the evacuation as they themselves exit the building. The RA should try to make confirmation that the student with the mobility issue is present in their room. Once at the Assembly Area the RA should notify Campus Safety and/or CPFR personnel that there is a mobility-impaired student in the building and provide the location. If the RA was not able to confirm the presence of the student this information should still be passed on to Campus Safety/CPFR.

Evacuations from Administrative or Academic Buildings

Upon activation of a fire alarm students with mobility issues are encouraged to remain in their classroom. The Faculty member should evacuate the class and take note of the student with the mobility issue. Once at the Assembly Area the Faculty member should notify Campus Safety, EBC (Emergency Building Coordinator) and/or CPFR personnel that there is a student with mobility issues in the building and provide the location.

General Considerations

If the student is not in their residence hall room or a classroom when the alarm is activated it will be their option to move into a room or into an open area (lounge or lobby) to await CPFR assistance. The student is encouraged to find a place of refuge near a window in case communication or extraction is necessary. Staging in a hallway during an evacuation may be hazardous due to the congestion from evacuating occupants.

The student with the mobility issue may also choose to call 911 directly during the evacuation. They should communicate with 911 their specific location, identify themselves as a mobility-impaired student and request assistance with the evacuation.

Elevators will not operate when a fire alarm has been activated. Once an alarm is activated the elevator will return to the ground floor and open its doors. If the alarm activation is coming from the ground floor the elevator may stop on the second floor to prevent exposing the occupants to a potential hazard.

Drill Participation

The university conducts annual evacuation drills. The residence halls drill twice a year (Fall and Spring semester). The rest of the campus buildings participate in a single annual evacuation drill. Mobility-impaired students are exempt from participating in the full evacuation when they are located on a floor requiring the use of the elevator. These drills are an internal drill with no assistance provided by CPFR. These students are encouraged to participate to the fullest extent they are able on their own.

Hazardous Spill or Release


Report spills or releases of hazardous materials (chemical, biological, radiological) to Campus Safety at 253-535-7911. Also, advise the supervisor of the department. Be prepared to tell Campus Safety:

  • Whether anyone is injured or at risk of being injured
  • Whether the spill is controlled (e.g. Is it on fire or still spilling?)
  • The location of the spill
  • The name of the material
  • How much has been released


Evacuate and limit access to the affected release area to prevent further contamination of others. Move to a safe area outside that is crosswind or upwind or to another area inside that is on a separate ventilation system to avoid exposure to fumes.


If a hazardous material is spilled or splashed on a person, immediately wash the material from the victim and remove any contaminated clothing. Eyes, if contaminated, should be flushed immediately with water. Use the emergency showers and eyewash stations located in hazardous material areas.

Persons who are potentially exposed to a spill or release should report to emergency personnel at the site and give name, phone number, and address.


Be prepared to give emergency responders the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the released material and to stand by for further instructions. You may be asked to join the incident command as a technical specialist.

Inclement Weather

Cancellation of Classes & Activities

In extreme weather situations, classes may be canceled and/or the university closed. A determination will be made by 6 a.m. for morning and afternoon classes and activities, and by 1 p.m. for evening classes and activities.

Weather-induced closure or schedule change information is available three ways: 1) on-line at the PLU homepage and at FlashAlert.Net, 2) by calling 1.877.322.0872, and 3) by following local broadcast news reports.

Faculty to Notify Students

Faculty who are unable to travel safely to campus when classes are NOT canceled should communicate quickly with students by leaving an alternate greeting on your voice-mail extension. Please inform your students beforehand, if you will be communicating this way.

Emergency Kits

All faculty, staff and student commuters are encouraged to keep emergency kits in their vehicles, including a sleeping bag and overnight bag. It is also a good idea to keep a flashlight and other supplies handy in your resident hall room or office.

Stranded on Campus?Olson-snow-150x150

Non-residential students or employees needing temporary housing during hazardous weather may contact Campus Safety at 253-535-7441. Students or employees will be offered a temporary stay in an empty residence hall room or lounge. Bedding is NOT available.

Infectious Incident


Report possible air or foodborne illness to the PLU Health Center at 253-535-7337. The Health Center may consult with the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) to investigate the incident. PLU will follow the direction of TPCHD.

TPCHD may recommend cohorting, isolation, quarantine, or social distancing to mitigate the spread of illness among the PLU and larger Pierce County community. This may result in re-locating sick individuals to shared spaces, canceling conferences or games, or closing campus.

Reduce Infection

Take care by washing hands frequently, getting vaccinated when possible, and disinfecting shared surfaces like desks and doorknobs. When sick, self-isolate (stay at home) and drink lots of fluids. People with complicating health factors should consult with their physician initially by phone.

Campus Response to Violence on/near Campus

Lock Down and Stay in Place

Campus Safety personnel can initiate two different increased levels of security when a violent incident is active on, adjacent to or near campus. The level of security is based on the circumstances and proximity to campus.

Incidents near campus
Campus Status: Stay in Place
Activate Emergency Speakers
Message: “PLU Alert, Stay in Place. Police activity near campus. Stay in Place.”
Send PLU Alert Message
Text: “PLU Alert, Stay in Place. Police activity near campus.”
Voice: “PLU Alert, Stay in Place. There is police activity near campus. Stay indoors. This is not a drill.”
Turn all exterior card swipe access doors to Card Only access.
Manually lock other exterior doors.
Place notices at entrances. Use Stay in Place signs.
Activate TV EAS message
Text: “PLU Alert, Stay in Place. Police activity near campus. Stay in Place. This is not a drill.”
Campus activity
Classes will continue as normal.
The next class will not begin until the security status has changed.
Stay within the buildings until advised.
Window blinds may remain open.
Increase alertness and try to limit activity in open spaces near entrances.
If you are outside seek safety inside. Card swipe buildings are still accessible.
Updates on the incident will be communicated via PLU Alert.

Violent incident on or immediately adjacent to campus
Campus Status: Lock Down
Activate Emergency Speakers
Message: “PLU Alert, Lock Down. Police activity on or adjacent to campus. Lock Down.”
Send PLU Alert Message
Text: “PLU Alert, Lock Down. Police activity on/adjacent to campus.”
Voice: “PLU Alert, Lock Down. There is police activity on or adjacent to campus. Seek safety. This is not a drill.”
Turn all card swipe access doors to Locked.
Manually lock other exterior doors.
Place notices at entrances. Use Lock Down signs.
Activate TV EAS message
Text: “PLU Alert, Lock Down. Police activity on or adjacent to campus. Seek safety. This is not a drill.”
Campus activity
Students, staff and faculty should secure themselves in the nearest room.
Remain quiet (turn phones to silent).
Close blinds and cover windows.
Stay secured until advised. The next class will not begin until status has changed.
If you are outside – seek safety (i.e., go to your car, leave campus, hide nearby)
All campus buildings are locked. Card access is not available.
Updates on the incident will be communicated via PLU Alert.

Other reminders during a Lock Down

  • SHARE the alert message. Use judgment about the safety of doing so.
  • MOVE indoors and to secure classrooms or offices within the building, if it is safe to do so.
  • Be aware that campus buildings will be locked. FIND a safe location to go or hide when locked out. For example, get in your car and drive away, go inside another business, or hide behind a bush.
  • LOCK interior doors or block them with classroom furnishings or door wedges, if possible.
  • CLOSE windows and blinds, COVER exposed windows, and TURN OFF lights.
  • STAY calm, quiet, low, and out of sight.
  • DO NOT OPEN exterior doors for any reason until an “all clear” is received.
  • DO NOT USE the telephone system to request information.
  • COMMUNICATE specific, known threats to 911 or Campus Safety by phone, 253-535-7911, or email,
  • ASSESS the situation and be prepared to move.
    • Be alert if the fire alarm is activated. It likely indicates there is a fire and you should evacuate. It may also be triggered by the perpetrator in order to push a crowd into a target area. Evaluate the situation to judge your response.

Stay in Place vs Lock Down Visual Flow Chart

Individual Response to a Violent Confrontation

PLU encourages the concept of Run, Hide, Fight. Watch the video in the link to better familiarize yourself with this response.

Run – Hide – Fight

Medical Emergency

Injuries or Illness

Report urgent, life threatening injuries or illnesses to 9-911 from campus phones or 911 using a cell phone. in addition, report the incident to Campus Safety at (253) 535-7911. Give your name, phone number, the campus location of the victim, and describe the nature and severity of the medical problem.

Campus Safety will dispatch a first aid trained staff member to initiate care and meet EMS to facilitate access to the victim’s location.

First Aid, CPR, AED Trained?

Provide care to the level for which you have been trained until emergency service personnel arrive to relieve you. First Aid kits and automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are located throughout campus. Current lists of AED and First Aid locations are available on the EHS website.

Protect yourself when caring for others by using the CPR shield and gloves provided in the first aid kits.

Emergency Response First Aid Information

Utility Failure

Report Failures

During business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday), report gas, power, water, sewer, and elevator failures to Facilities Management at 253-535-7380.

Report telecommunication failures to the Telecommunications Help Desk at 253-535-7525.

Report all card access failures and utility failures during non-business hours to Campus Safety at 253-535-7911.

Building Evacuation

Campus Safety may evacuate the building based on a safety assessment (time of day, building and weather conditions, how localized or widespread is the outage).

Power Outage or Electrical Failure

Have a flashlight and extra batteries available. Emergency lighting may activate during a power outage. It will last about 20 minutes and is intended to assist with evacuation.

Turn off computer equipment to prevent damage when the power is restored.

If there is an electrical short in a piece of equipment, shut off electricity or pull the plug.

Elevator Failure

If you are trapped in an elevator, use the emergency phone in the elevator to notify Campus Safety. If outside a stalled elevator, tell the people inside that help is being summoned. Then call 253-535-7911. Stay with the trapped persons until help arrives.

Plumbing or Sewer Failure/Flooding

Shut off water and/or contain flooding, if possible. Shut off and unplug all electrical equipment. Vacate and secure the flooded area. Wash immediately, if you have been splashed with sewer water.

Gas Leak

Warn others. Evacuate and secure area. Eliminate sources of flame or spark. DO NOT SWITCH ON/OFF LIGHTS OR ANY EQUIPMENT. Electrical arcing can trigger an explosion!


Be aware that a telephone system failure may prevent dialing 9-911 from campus phones. Please report incidents in person to Campus Safety located in Harstad Hall.

Card Access

Door locks will default to the locked position. Contact Campus Safety for access.

Volcanic Activity


Stay indoors until the ash has settled, unless there is a danger of the roof collapsing from the load of ash. If possible, close doors, windows, and ventilation (chimney vents, furnaces, air conditioners, fans, and other vents).

Ash Fall Safety

Use a dust mask or hold a damp cloth over your face to help with breathing. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Use goggles and wear eyeglasses instead of contact lenses.

Mount_Rainier_over_TacomaCampus Evacuation

Be prepared to evacuate. PLU will follow evacuation orders initiated by local response agencies. Take clothing, food, water, flashlight, and a first aid kit with you. Avoid river valleys and low-lying areas. Stay away from areas downwind from the volcano to avoid volcanic ash. Avoid driving in heavy ash fall unless absolutely required. If you have to drive, keep speed down to 35 MPH or slower.


Tell the resident assistant or emergency building coordinator where you are going before you leave campus.

Media / Essential Personnel / NIMS


Some incidents that impact the university may draw the attention of the local media. Please direct the media to University Communications.

Essential Personnel

All Employees are considered essential personnel and are expected to respond to the incident. Personnel may be released through the chain of command that is activated to respond to the incident, which may be different than the employee’s regular leadership structure.

Department heads should assess their organizational needs and define “essential” personnel based on those needs before an incident occurs. Consider varying levels or severity of response and recovery as you define essential personnel.

Incident Command System (ICS) & the National Incident Management System (NIMS)

PLU has adopted and uses an incident command system during emergencies in an effort to facilitate coordination within PLU and with local, state, and federal response agencies.

As a result, employees and students should anticipate a very different decision-making process with different personnel and authorities than during normal operations. Some will recognize ICS from the military or fire services.