Emergency Response and Evacuation Policy

It is the policy of Berea College that upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation which poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of any segment of the campus community the institution will, without undue delay, undertake measures to notify the community of the dangers present. Such notification applies to a wide range of emergency situations such as imminent threat from violent crimes, gas leaks, highly contagious viruses, tornados or hazardous chemicals release incidents.

The Director of Public Safety, or other appropriate official, acting as Emergency Coordinator will confer with the designated Emergency Response Director (i.e., the President of the College or designee) to determine whether a confirmed situation exists requiring an immediate Emergency Notification to be issued. The Emergency Director or designee and the Emergency Coordinator will determine content and distribution of the notification, depending upon the nature and extent of the situation. Other appropriate officials of the institution, including the Vice President for Student Life, will be consulted as time permits and as appropriate in determining emergency confirmation, content of notification messages and appropriate communication modes. Determination as to appropriateness of campus-wide evacuation rests on approval by the Emergency Director or designee.

When determination is made that an imminent threat exists, the Department of Public Safety will immediately convey emergency notification of the dangers present unless, in the professional judgment of the responsible authorities, doing so would compromise efforts to assist a victim, or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

Notification methods, depending upon the nature and extent of the emergency and populations at risk, may include but are  not limited to a combination of the following: activation of emergency outdoor sirens with tonal and voice capabilities; notification through the e2Campus Emergency Alert system which includes phone text messages, email and voice mail for both cell and land line phones;  campus email; messages posted on the college’s web page;  fire alarms; phone trees for residence hall staff, divisional personnel, and building contact persons;  posted notices in prominent areas of campus; vehicle loud speakers; and notification by word of mouth. Once Emergency Notification has been made, the institution does not also issue a Timely Warning Statement on the same situation. The institution will issue appropriate follow-up communication, as needed, advising as to the status of the situation and concerns deemed relevant to the campus population.

Employees and Residence Hall staff should make themselves aware of physical limitations of students and coworkers which could impede their timely egress from buildings. Persons in these roles should notify available emergency response personnel of the location of the person and nature of limitations.

The emergency response plan will be tested annually and the campus community will be advised of the outcome of the test. These tests can take different forms and may be announced or unannounced. The tests are intended as learning experiences for responders and the community at large.