Below is a list of emergency communications plans from campuses of various sizes, case studies and lessons learned, and guidelines which may be relevant to emergency preparedness planning for First Responders, 9-1-1 Call Centers / PSAPs, Hospitals, and other public safety organizations.
- Small University (< 5,000)
- Medium University (5,000-15,000)
- Large University (>15,000)
American University operates a campus alert system, AU Campus Connect, that provides students, faculty, and staff with text alerts during an emergency. An online Emergency Management Plan also identifies specific types of emergencies and the protocol and procedures that will be followed should any of these situations occur.
Cornell University provides all members of the school community with a comprehensive Emergency Plan (made available online). This plan establishes an emergency leadership structure and defines the responsibilities and roles of campus officials. Emergency communications are sent out via e-mail, text and voice messages, and public address systems.
Emory University utilizes their Emergency Notification program in order to alert students, staff, faculty and visitors of an emergency affecting the school community. This program includes outdoor sirens/public address system, text and email messaging services, Emory Cable TV banner/messages, etc. In addition, the Campus Emergency Guide is available to download via the Emory Emergency webpage.
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University has multiple primary and secondary methods of communicating with the campus community. Primary methods include sirens, radio, and computer network pop-up windows. Secondary methods include Seminole cable television, press releases, Facebook and MySpace pages. Florida State University Alerts is an opt-out e-mail and text message alert system.
Kent State University Campus Emergency Management Plan
Kent State's plan outlines how the campus will prepare, respond and recover from different types of emergency situations.
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University's Emergency Text Messaging Alert system page provides information on how students, staff, and faculty can opt-in to the system. Louisiana State University also provides technical information on how the text message system works, with information on the average delivery rate, message length, and delivery failure probabilities.
Middlebury College uses the Emergency Web Alert System and the AlertFind Messaging System to inform the campus community of an imposing threat. Through these systems, campus officials can update the College's primary website with new information, send out text messages to all registered students, and update a web feed specific to emergency situations.
Ohio Wesleyan University
Ohio Wesleyan University uses the Connect-ED® emergency contact system to notify the campus community of urgent situations. In the event of an emergency, Connect-ED will send a message to all registered users via cell phone, e-mail, and/or text message. Procedures for extreme weather occurances are also available via the OWU Campus Safety website.
Purdue University's Integrated Emergency Operations Plan
Purdue University's plan provides guidance, organizational structure and direction on preparedness, response and communication disciplines.
State University of New York Oswego, Oswego, New York
State University of New York Oswego (and other SUNY campuses) are part of the NY Alerts system, an opt-in emergency messaging service offered through New York State Emergency Management Office. The system allows e-mail, telephone and text messages to be sent automatically to members of the campus community who have provided their contact information.
Towson University provides several electronic resources to help students and faculty manage emergency situations. All students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to utilize the campus escort service, an emergency text message notification system, and blue light emergency phones. In addition, training videos and printable emergency plans are available via the University Police website.
Tulane University utilizes several communication resources in order to contact students, faculty and staff in crisis situations. All students and employees can receive voice and text message notifications during an emergency. In addition, the Emergency Notices website provides the phone number for an alert hotline and emergency plans for different crisis siuations. If students are displaced from campus, the university will provide updated information on the Emergency Notices website.
University of California Berkeley Emergency Operations Plan
University of California Berkeley plan details how the University activates its Emergency Operations Center when necessary to facilitate the response and recovery from any emergency
University of California Los Angeles
UCLA utilizes the BruinAlert™ system to deliver official information during an emergency or crisis situation. In the event of an emergency, BruinAlert™ will send email and text messages to those who have registered their cell phones within the system. Additional notification systems include outdoor sirens, UCLA cable television, a personalized AM radio station, and network pop-up banners. Finally, UCLA provides several emergency plans for different threats via the Emergency Management website.
University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
The University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana uses a mass notification software program called UI-Emergency. This system sends messages via text, cell phone, email, and/or land line phone to all members of University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana community. All faculty, staff, and students are pre-enrolled in the UI-Emergency system using their campus email address. Additional contact information may be registered online via the campus emergency page: http://emergency.uiuc.edu.
University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
The University of Maryland uses three means of notifying the campus community of emergencies: text messages and e-mail messages via UMD Alerts (opt-in subscription); an early warning siren system; and Alertus Notification Beacons (Beacons are an integrated siren, strobe, and message display device mounted on walls). The University of Maryland's Emergency Preparedness page also provides a link to an instructional video for students on how to respond to emergency alerts on campus.
University of Miami
The University of Miami utilizes their Emergency Notification Network to send out urgent messages through"multiple communication mediums including: voice messages to cell, home and office phones, text messages to cell phones, email messages, emergency notification sirens, public address and loudspeaker messages in some dormitories and other buildings. Planning guides are also available for emergencies such as hurricanes, bomb threats, chemical spills, etc.
University of Mississippi
The University of Mississippi emergency information page provides instructions for students in case of a campus emergency, severe weather conditions or pandemic outbreak.
University of New Hampshire
The University of New Hampshire is able to contact students and employees through many different communication mediums. In the event of an emergency, the UNH public alert system will emit sirens followed by a verbal warning message. Furthermore, UNH Alert is a system that allows students, faculty, staff, and parents to receive a text message in the event of an emergency. These messages can be sent to a variety of devices; however individuals must register in order to receive alerts.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill recently launched Alert Carolina to educate the campus community about what to do in an emergency and where to find safety-related information and resources. In an emergency, University of North Carolina will send a text message to students, faculty and staff who have registered their cell phones in the opt-in system. In addition, University of North Carolina will utilize voice mail, campus email, television, and local media to share emergency information.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech)
VT Alerts is Virginia Tech's urgent notification system, comprised of a variety of methods by which the university can contact students, faculty, and staff. VT Alerts uses several methods to reach the campus community, including text messages, phone calls, online instant messages, and emails. During an emergency, VT Alerts, an opt-in service, cycles through all points of contact until a confirmation receipt is issued from the user that the emergency message was received.
Case Studies and Lessons Learned:
Department of Education: Emergency Management for Schools
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS) sponsors Emergency Management for Schools training to provide support to school staff and administrators to enhance their preparedness efforts. On this site, viewers can access four one-hour webcasts, each featuring one of the four phases of emergency management.
International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA): Strengthening Communications Between Campus Public Safety and Federal, State, & Local Emergency Responders (pdf)
This report is a result of collaboration by IACLEA staff members which researches and presents information to its members and to campus emergency management teams to enhance effective communications before, during, and after any critical campus emergency response effort.
National Association of Attorneys General: Task Force on School and Campus Safety, September 2007 (pdf)
The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Task Force on School and Campus Safety report includes specific recommendations that address threat assessment, protocols for dealing with the mentally ill, information sharing among law enforcement agencies, and crisis response planning and communications.
North Carolina Department of Justice Report of the Campus Safety Task Force, January 2008 (pdf)
The North Carolina Department of Justice Task Force report suggests strategies for making North Carolina college and university campuses safer. The panel also recommended that North Carolina start a Center for Campus Safety to help colleges and universities keep up with new threats and the latest technology and training.
Report to the United States President On Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy, June 2007 (pdf)
In response to the shootings at Virginia Tech, President George W. Bush directed the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, and Department of Justice to meet with educators, mental health experts, law enforcement and state and local officials to discuss issues raised by the shootings. The report includes recommended actions that local, state and federal authorities can take to prevent another such tragedy.
State of Florida Gubernatorial Task Force for University Campus Safety, May 2007
The State of Florida Gubernatorial Task Force Report highlights several key areas of improvement, including increased communication among local and university law enforcement, university and college faculty, staff and students, and state and federal partners who could assist in the event of an emergency. The Report also recommends that each college and university ensure that its emergency and critical incident plans are up-to-date, comprehensive, and regularly exercised.
State of Illinois Campus Security Task Report to the Governor, April 2008 (pdf)
The Illinois Campus Security Task Force Report includes proposals to require emergency response and violence prevention plans on college campuses. The report also includes detailed guidance for college administrators and security officials in the areas of response, mental health, and legal issues.
Virginia Community Colleges Report of the Chancellor's Emergency Preparedness Review Task Force (pdf)
In 2008, the Chancellor of Virginia's Community College System requested an internal review of emergency preparedness procedures and recommendations for improvement. Two of the chapters focus on emergency planning and notification systems in a commuter environment.
Virginia Tech Review Panel
The Virginia Tech Review Panel was charged with investigating a broad range of issues relating to the mass tragedy. The panel conducted a review of education laws, public safety and health procedures, and mental health systems. PDF versions of Report.
National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities: Disaster Preparedness and Response
This site consists of a database of journal articles, news stories, studies and guidelines on emergency planning for campuses.