When calling Campus Safety, follow the dispatcher’s instructions and answer their questions as you are able. Prepare to provide information about your location, the nature of the incident, a description of people involved, your name, and your phone number. Stay on the phone and seek safety until the dispatcher or a uniformed officer tells you otherwise.
Indoor and Outdoor Call for Help stations can also be used to call for assistance. At a help station, press the help button to connect directly to Campus Safety.
University Emergency Procedures
For more information about how PLU is prepared, please take a look at the PLU All Hazards Plan.
The intended purpose of a threat is to interrupt normal operations. Nearly all bomb threats do not result in explosions or the presence of actual explosives. Alternatively, those who wish to cause harm to others will rarely alert the target victims, so the first notification will be the explosion.
Campus Safety will investigate the reported threat and may report it to local authorities including the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. 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 Campus Safety whenever there is sufficient evidence indicating a bomb threat is valid. The order to evacuate will be initiated using emergency notification methods such as the building fire alarm and PLU Alert!
Evacuees should put a building between the reported bomb and themselves. Regular evacuation assembly areas may not be the best place to go.
Keep the caller on the phone as long as possible. Listen carefully to the caller and record the date and time of call, their exact words, an approximate age and sex, speech pattern or accent, emotional state, and any 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 are you doing this?
- What is your address?
- What is your name?
If you see any suspicious object, report the location to Campus Safety. DO NOT HANDLE ANY SUSPICIOUS OBJECT! Clear the immediate area and prevent others from entering the area until Campus Safety arrives.
Cell Phones and Radios
Please do not use cell phones or radios within the threatened area, except to call Campus Safety.
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 until rescuers locate you. Use a flashlight or whistle to signal rescuers, if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of airborne particles. 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 a Campus Safety officer and remain in place until instructed otherwise. EBCs and RAs may be wearing 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 PLU campus.
PLU may initiate a full or partial campus evacuation when it is either unsafe for students, guests, or employees to remain on site or when basic services, such as sewer or power, cannot be provided over an extended period of time. PLU will also follow all evacuation orders declared by local emergency agencies.
Be prepared to evacuate. Take essential clothing, food, water, a flashlight, and a first aid kit with you. Do not return to campus until told to do so by a recognized authority.
Tell your Resident Assistant (RA) or Emergency Building Coordinator (EBC) where you are going as you leave campus.
PLU may designate a reunification site for students and employees to meet family members after a campus evacuation. The site location will depend on the scope of the incident that has caused the campus evacuation. See the Emergency Notification & Information Resources section to learn how to receive reunification information.
Most campus demonstrations are peaceful and non-obstructive. Everyone should attempt to carry on business as normal. Avoid provoking or obstructing demonstrators.
- INTERFERENCE with normal operations of the university.
- OBSTRUCTION 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 of the situation. Stay 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 the area.
Report criminal activity (e.g. theft, rape, assault) and suspicious or threatening behavior by calling 7911 from a campus phone, 253-535-7911 from a mobile phone. If the incident is life-threatening or occurred off-campus, call 911 first. Warn or tell others in the area.
Note the Following Characteristics of a Suspicious Person
- Height / weight
- Hair color / length
- Facial Hair
- Shirt, jacket color & style
- Pants color & style
- Shoes color & type
- Type of property, weapon
- Distinguishing Features: Tattoos, Scars, Birthmarks
All employees are required to immediately report the following:
- Any life-threatening situation in progress, such as a physical confrontation.
- Acts of violence or threats in the workplace or other conduct indicating that violence is eminent.
- Title Ⅸ reportable offenses, including sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault. Learn more about Title Ⅸ here.
- No-Contact order violations that list the university as a restricted location.
Do not attempt to apprehend or interfere with a criminal or violent individual except to defend yourself. When faced with a life-threatening situation, you may consider the following actions to survive:
- Run or Crawl Away
If you think you can safely make it out of the area, do so. If you decide to run, do not run in a straight line. Try to keep cover and concealment objects, such as trees, garbage cans, buildings, and cars, between you and the hostile person.
- Hide or Play Dead
Go inside the nearest building. If you can not safely get inside a building, use bushes, trees, walls, and benches to conceal yourself. This only works if the violent individual does not know you are there. 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. Use improvised weapons and work with others to take down the hostile individual no matter what.
If you are caught by the intruder and are not going to fight back, obey their commands and avoid eye contact. Obey all commands of emergency personnel when they arrive on scene. If you are a hostage, continue to speak to the captor or threatening person.
- 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.
- Move away from buildings, trees, streetlights, 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, and emergency kits. Replace the telephone receiver in its cradle. Look around to see if others need assistance.
Exit the building and check-in at the evacuation assembly area, which is listed on the Emergency Assembly Area Map. Do not use the elevator. Wait for instructions from emergency responders, emergency building coordinators (EBCs), or resident assistants (RAs). Do not re-enter the building until directed to do so by emergency responders.
Be prepared for aftershocks, which can cause further damage. Be aware that utilities such as electricity, gas, and telephones may not work. Broken gas and electrical lines may pose a hazard. Refrain from making phone calls to free up lines for emergency workers.
Check in with your instructor, conference leader, resident assistant (RA), emergency building coordinator (EBC), or a Campus Safety officer during emergencies and remain in place until instructed otherwise. EBCs and RAs may be in a green or neon yellow 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 flashlight or whistle to signal rescuers, if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of airborne particles. Do not light a match. Do not move about or kick up dust.
If you see smoke or fire in a building, activate the fire alarm at a red pull station, exit the building, and call 911 to provide additional information. If you see smoke or fire outside of a building, call Campus Safety at 253-535-7911 or activate a Call for Help station.
Before opening the door to leave the room, 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, soaked in water if possible. Hang an object out of the window, such as a shirt, jacket, or anything that will attract attention. Call 9-911 from a campus phone or 911 from a mobile phone to report that you are trapped in the room.
If your clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP, and ROLL. Stop running, drop to the floor, and 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 activating the fire alarm at a pull station. Not all buildings on campus have fire alarm pull stations. To view the Campus Building’s Assembly Map click here.
Please check-in with your instructor, conference leader, resident assistant (RA), emergency building coordinator (EBC), or a Campus Safety officer during emergencies and remain in place until instructed otherwise. EBCs and RAs may be in a green or neon yellow 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 with disabilities.
Procedures for responding to various spills at PLU can be found in the Spill Response Protocol document.
Report all spills or releases of hazardous materials (chemical, biological, radiological, etc.) to Campus Safety at 253-535-7911. Also advise the department supervisor if nearby. Be prepared to tell the dispatcher:
- 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 there is a large spill indoors, activate the fire alarm at a pull station and exit the building.
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 for at least 15 minutes. 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 provide information such as their name, phone number, and address.
Safety Data Sheets
Be prepared to give emergency responders the Safety Data Sheet (SDS, formerly 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 if you are knowledgeable about the substance.
Cancellation of Classes & Activities
In extreme weather situations, classes may be canceled and/or the university closed. A determination will be made by 6:00 a.m. for morning and afternoon classes and activities, and by 1:00 p.m. for evening classes and activities.
Weather-induced closure or schedule change information is available three ways:
- Online at the PLU homepage and at FlashAlert.net
- The PLU Weather Closures and Emergency Information Line at 1-877-322-0872
- Local television and radio news broadcasts
Faculty to Notify Students
Faculty who are unable to travel safely to campus when classes are not canceled should communicate quickly with students by sending an email and/or leaving an alternate greeting on your telephone voicemail extension. Please inform your students beforehand how you will communicate with them when canceling class.
All faculty, staff and commuter students are encouraged to keep an emergency kit 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?
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.
Report possible air or foodborne illness to the PLU Health Center at 253-535-7337 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 your risk of infection by washing your hands frequently, getting vaccinated when possible, and disinfecting shared surfaces such as desks and doorknobs. When sick, self-isolate (stay at home) and drink plenty of fluids. People with complicating health factors should consult with their physician initially by phone.
Campus Safety may initiate a campus-wide emergency lockdown when there is an imminent threat to the PLU community. Occupants may also initiate a lock down to protect themselves from a perceived threat. If you see a threat requiring a lockdown, move to safety first, then call Campus Safety at 7911 from a campus phone or 253-535-7911 from a mobile phone. Some buildings also have blue lock down pull stations that can be activated.
If you see or hear a PLU Alert message indicating a lockdown, do the following:
- Share the alert message to those in your immediate area. Use judgment about the safety of doing so.
- Move to a secure area, if it is safe to do so:
- If you are inside: Move to a secure room such as a classroom or office. Lock or barricade the door, close the window shades, and turn off the lights. Get low on the ground and move to the least visible area of the room.
- If you are outside: Move away from campus as quickly as possible, stay low, and hide behind natural concealment such as foliage, vehicles, and structures. Be aware that all campus buildings will be locked and your LuteCard will not unlock any doors.
- Stay calm, quiet, low, and out of sight.
- Silence your mobile phone and disable vibration alerts.
- Do not open any doors for any reason until an “all clear” signal is given by PLU Alert or uniformed officers.
- Do not call Campus Safety or other departments to request information. Important information will be broadcast using PLU Alert.
- If you have specific information about an ongoing threat, call 911 from a mobile phone or 9911 from a campus phone to inform responding agencies.
- Do not approach or talk to officers unless they tell you to do so. Officers are highly trained to find and stop the threat before aiding victims.
- Assess the situation and be prepared to move.
- Be alert if the fire alarm is activated. It may indicate that there is a fire in the building requiring evacuation. It may also be triggered by an attacker in order to draw a crowd into a target area. Use your best judgment and be ready to move if necessary.
During a lock down, designated personnel in each building will lock doors that are not controlled by the LuteCard access system. LuteCard access doors will be locked remotely for all cards.
Stay in Place
Campus Safety may initiate a campus-wide stay in place order when there is a potential threat near the PLU community, but is not an imminent threat. If you see suspicious activity requiring a stay in place order, move to safety first, then call Campus Safety at 7911 from a campus phone or 253-535-7911 from a mobile phone.
If you see or hear a PLU Alert message indicating a Stay in Place order, do the following:
- Move to a secure building:
- If you are outside, move into the nearest building. The doors will be locked, but you may use your LuteCard to get inside. If you do not have a LuteCard, leave campus and seek safety.
- If you are inside, make sure that the external building doors are closed and locked. Internal doors may remain unlocked.
- Continue with classes/business as usual. You do not need to close the window shades or turn off the lights. When a class period or meeting ends, stay inside and do not leave the building until an “all clear” signal is given.
- Do not call Campus Safety to request information. Remain alert to changing conditions and be ready for updates from PLU Alert.
Atmospheric (biological, chemical, radiological, volcanic, etc.) Threat
Close sources of fresh air, such as windows, fireplace dampers, and ventilation systems, 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 that is easy to seal and, if possible, has a water supply and restrooms access. If you smell gas or vapor, hold a wet cloth loosely over your nose and mouth.
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.
Some incidents that impact the university may draw the attention of the local media. Please direct the media to Marketing & Communications.
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.
Pacific Lutheran University
Evacuation Procedures and Recommendations
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Door locks will default to the locked position. Contact Campus Safety for access.
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.
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.