Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures
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 helps 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 describes different types of exercises, how they are set up, rules and procedures and needs assessments. The exercise needs assessment covers the exercise priorities relative to campus hazards. 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 Management Coordinator (970-491-6745).
The Colorado State University Police Department and Public Safety Team have received training in responding to critical incidents on campus.
When a serious incident occurs on 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, available at https://safety.colostate.edu/emergency-response-plan/, will help the community respond to hazards that may affect safety, health, and campus 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 campus 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:
- Surveying buildings to proactively mitigate and plan for emergencies
- Helping notify the university about risks in buildings and on campus grounds, and educating colleagues about risks in their areas
- Knowing and understanding the building safety plan for the 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 at http://safety.colostate.edu/emergency‐response‐
plan.aspx. As part of that plan, each building on campus is required to have a building safety plan. The building safety plan contains 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 at all 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 in an attempt 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 University police, the proctor will assist them in whatever manner they request or direct. Poudre Fire Authority staff or the 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 are able to communicate with each other. DO NOT RE-ENTER THE BUILDING for any reason until instructed to do so by fire department, EHS, 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 campus until instructions are received saying it is safe.
- Move to designated campus 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 on Campus and Evacuation Procedures.
Thor Guard Lightning Detection and Warning System
CSU employs a lightning detection and warning system on its main Fort Collins campus, called Thor Gard. 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 Thor Guard system is available by emailing EHS@colostate.edu or calling 970-491-4749. Please note that the Thor Guard system’s horns and strobe lights will be tested the first Tuesday of every month at about 9 a.m.