Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures
CSU’s Emergency Management unit plans and coordinates the mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery of natural and man-made disasters occurring on or near CSU campuses. This work is a cooperative effort among all university aspects, departments, and divisions including police, academics, student government, Facilities Management, Athletics, and local fire, law enforcement, and public safety agencies.
Colorado State University conducts emergency response exercises each year, including tabletop exercises, field exercises, and emergency notification systems tests to assess and evaluate university emergency plans and response. The university tests its notification systems once per semester. Notification system tests help the university prepare for emergencies and dangerous situations.
The university will publicize its emergency evacuation procedures in conjunction with one of these tests through the university‐wide online newsletter sent via email. The university annually schedules these drills and exercises by its emergency manager communicating with local agencies, university departments and residence hall staff. Annex U (Exercises) in the emergency response plan (http://policylibrary.colostate.edu/policy.aspx?id=561) describes different types of exercises, how they are set up, rules and procedures and needs assessments. CSU documents, for each test, a description of the exercise, the date, the time and whether it was announced or unannounced. Documentation is available from the Emergency Manager (970-491-6425).
The Colorado State University Police Department and Public Safety Team have received training in responding to critical incidents on a campus.
When a serious incident occurs on a campus, CSUPD is usually the first emergency responder on scene. Depending upon the nature of the incident, Fort Collins Police Services, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Poudre Fire Authority and Poudre Valley Hospital Emergency Medical Services, CSU Environmental Health Services, or federal agencies may respond.
Colorado State University’s emergency response plan emergency response plan (at https://safety.colostate.edu/emergency-response-plan/) will help the community respond to hazards that may affect safety, health, and university operations. The plan describes the planned response to emergencies and delineates the roles and responsibilities of departments, divisions, and agencies that are expected to help protect life and property on campus. It also describes how the university works to reduce or eliminate threats to life and property.
Major university emergencies will be coordinated from an Emergency Operations Center. The Emergency Operations Center will oversee and support field operations, with the Public Safety Team making strategic decisions.
Every employee is responsible for:
- Helping notify the university about risks in buildings and on university grounds, and educating colleagues about risks in their areas.
- Knowing and understanding the building safety plan for buildings they primarily occupy.
- Learning the locations of exit routes, exit stairwells, pull stations, fire extinguishers and automatic external defibrillators, called AEDs.
- Knowing and posting emergency phone numbers.
- Participating in all fire drills, treating every alarm as an actual emergency and evacuating a building during an alarm.
- Learning the needs of anyone for whom you are responsible who may need assistance during an emergency.
- Knowing rally point locations.
- Calling 911 immediately during an emergency.
The university’s emergency response plan is available online. As part of that plan, each building on a campus is required to have a building safety plan. Building safety plans contain specific evacuation procedures for that building.
In general, evacuation procedures include:
- Faculty who are teaching classes at the time of an emergency are responsible for the orderly evacuation of class participants and should be the last one out of the classroom to verify evacuation for responders.
- DO NOT take time to turn off computers, printers or office lights. Close, but DO NOT lock, office door and windows.
- Gather your personal belongings if it is safe to do so. (Reminder: take prescription medications out with you if possible; it may be hours before you are allowed back in the building.)
- Exit the building through the closest exit. DO NOT use the elevator.
- All personnel should be familiar with exit paths for their areas. Refer to your floor plan and be familiar with the shortest path possible and a secondary exit.
- Proceed in an orderly manner as quickly as possible to the nearest exit and then to the designated rally point. Be alert for individuals with disabilities or injuries who may need assistance. However, under no circumstances should an individual risk or jeopardize his or her personal safety attempting to rescue another person. All occupants who are physically incapable of exiting the building without assistance should go to the nearest stair tower or area of refuge and await rescue. Notify the building proctor or responding emergency personnel of any known individual that may be unable to independently exit the building.
- Stay at the designated rally point until you are instructed to leave. This way an accurate head count can be taken. Faculty and lab assistants are responsible for the students. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrant areas and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel.
- Upon arrival of CSUPD police or other first responders dependent on the location of the emergency, the proctor will assist them in as requested or directed. Poudre Fire Authority staff or Colorado State University police will clear the building, checking elevators, areas for the physically disabled and laboratory areas.
- Emergency alarms being turned off DOES NOT mean the building is clear and safe to re-enter. They are silenced so that emergency response personnel can communicate with each other. DO NOT RE-ENTER THE BUILDING for any reason until instructed to do so by fire department, Environmental Health Services, or police officials. In case of a full campus evacuation:
- Evacuate as instructed in emergency announcement.
- Leave by vehicle unless instructed otherwise.
- Do not return to the area until instructions are received saying it is safe.
- Move to designated rally points if unable to go home or if you are instructed to do so.
- Also see the evacuation procedures for fire emergencies described in the section on fire safety in Campus and Evacuation Procedures.
Lightning Detection and Warning System
CSU employs a lightning detection and warning system on its main Fort Collins campus. The sensor constantly monitors atmospheric conditions within a two‐mile radius that can cause lightning and triggers a horn when conditions that create a danger of lightning exist. The horn “red alert” alarm activates a strobe light on the assembly that begins intermittently flashing, and one 15‐second blast from the horns is sounded in all directions that can be heard 700 yards away. This serves as a warning to those within hearing distance to seek appropriate shelter for the duration of the red alert period.
All outdoor activities must cease during red alert periods, and everyone in the area should seek shelter immediately. Appropriate shelter includes surrounding buildings, automobiles, and, when one of those is not available, dense woods or low‐lying areas. When the danger has passed (a minimum of 10 minutes after the original alarm), an all‐clear signal is given – the strobe light will stop flashing, and three separate, five‐second blasts from the horns will sound. After the all‐clear signal has sounded, it is safe to resume outdoor activities. However, good judgment should still govern, and if the conditions do not appear to be safe to resume activity, wait until conditions improve.
More information about the system is available by emailing EHS@colostate.edu or calling 970‐491‐4749.
The lightning system’s horns and strobe lights are tested the first Tuesday of every month at about 9 a.m.