Emergency Notification and Response

Purpose

The purpose of this Emergency Notification and Response Policy (“Policy”) is to establish the University’s responsibilities and procedures for responding to emergency incidents and/or dangerous situations involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of Lynn University students or employees, including the issuance of notifications to the University community.

Policy

Lynn University is committed to immediately notifying the campus community of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on campus. In the event of an emergency situation, the University will use the emergency response and notification procedures and guidelines set forth in this Policy to notify members of the campus community of the emergency situation or immediate threat.

Defnitions

Emergency Notification—a communication triggered when there is confirmation of a dangerous situation or emergency with immediate impact to life or property at Lynn University.

Procedures/Guidelines

I. Emergency Notification

According to Lynn University Policy (Volume II: Section 2.5.3.1), the Office of Marketing and Communication (OMC) - and specifically the Public Information Officer - operate as the University’s crisis communication arm. In the event of a campus emergency, inclement weather event, or similar occurrence, working in collaboration with Campus Safety, the office will contact the campus community (faculty, staff and students, and those individuals they’ve registered as their emergency contacts) using the University’s timely warning and emergency notification systems as applicable.

The method(s) used for notification will depend on the seriousness of the incident, as determined by the Chief of Campus Safety (Incident Commander). Coordination between OMC and Campus Safety will occur based on the timeliness of the message needing to be shared.

A. Communication methods and operations

Methods: Emergency notifications will be sent to faculty, staff and students (or a subset of the group). All system directories are updated based on data entered into the Jenzabar system and maintained by IT Services. Various communication methods are available and include, but are not limited to, the following:

Email Alerts: Most common and usually in the form of a Campus Safety Update.

• Text Alerts: Typically used for imminent or more serious incident(s) that may be weather or emergency-related.

• Desktop Messaging: Temporarily “takes over” University computer systems to provide emergency message; typically, the same message communicated by email, voice, or text alerts.

• Voicemail Alerts: Used in conjunction with email and text alerts, if necessary.

• Public Address System: Outdoor campus-wide alert system that carries the same message as other alerts.

In addition to the above, the IMT may employ other methods for notifying those within the university community, including, but not limited to, cell phones, two-way radios, Campus Safety Officers, and other university personnel.

Operations:

• Blackboard Connect (email, text, voice communication) and/or Alertus (desktop, public address system) should be used if one of the following is true:

o It is determined that there is an immediate, imminent, and/or ongoing threat to the campus and/or community members, e.g., a building fire, severe weather, gas leak, bomb threat, active shooter, chemical spill, intruder/sexual assault.

o An event external to Lynn’s campus occurs that causes a campus-wide reaction: campus is locked down, evacuated, etc., e.g., police request campus lockdown due to external incident.

• When an incident is not deemed a threat, the proper mix of communications channels will be decided by the Chief of Campus Safety on a case-by-case basis.

o A targeted* use of Blackboard Connect and/or Alertus may be deemed necessary.

Specifically, if the incident creates fast-moving misinformation via word of mouth and/or social media, OMC staff may recommend an approach to address the rumors and reduce possible panic.

Additionally, a campus-wide email should be used in conjunction with other communications channels. If Blackboard Connect is used, the campus-wide email should be held until the incident is over. If it is determined that Blackboard Connect is not going to be used, then the campus-wide email should go out ASAP.

*A targeted deployment can also be used when an incident has occurred that, although initially believed to be a threat to the campus community, is quickly determined to be a false alarm.

B. University community

Official information will be made available as quickly as possible to the university Operator and to the entire campus community via the communication vehicles mentioned above. OMC, in cooperation with Campus Safety, will be prepared to issue the following types of alerts to the University community:

Emergency Notifications: Used to immediately notify the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on campus. The message would go to all University-owned cell phones and to the phones of any students or employees who have registered this information in Jenzabar. Two types of emergency notices are possible: Emergency Alert: Text message alert when there is imminent danger. Weather Alert: Text message alert about severe weather and/or weather closures.

Timely Warning Alerts: Depending upon the incident, this type of alert will be sent for Clery Act crimes reported to the Campus Security Authority (CSA) or local law enforcement occurring in specific geographical areas (on-campus, public property, non-campus) and representing a serious and/or continuing threat to students and employees, e.g., a robbery when no suspect is in custody.

If a text message alert is issued, alerts will also be sent via e-mail and in any other way deemed appropriate given the circumstances.

C. Public Information

University policy mandates that only certain administrators may speak on behalf of the university. OMC serves as the authorized spokesperson for the university. All public information must be coordinated and disseminated by its staff with assistance from other university departments and/or personnel. Under certain circumstances, the previously named administrators may designate others as spokespersons, such as the Chief of Campus Safety, the President, or the Vice President of Academic Affairs in certain situations.

D. Individuals and Groups Outside of the Campus Community

Means of notification may also occur, including dissemination of the notification to off- campus emergency contacts (i.e., Boca Police Department, fire rescue, etc.), the media, parents/guardians, or other methods Other designed to effectively notify the campus and broader community.

The University procedures on how it confirms that there is an alert/emergency notification must be issued is first through the report to Campus Safety made by the victim(s), the witnesses, or a third parties. Once the incident information is obtained, the Campus Safety Officer or dispatcher receiving the information will immediately assess the severity of the information and advised the on-duty supervisor. If it is determined to be an serious and urgent matter requiring campus alert notification the on-duty supervisor will immediately contact the Asst. Chief and Chief of Campus Safety explaining the totality of the circumstances. The Chief of Campus Safety will determine the need for an alert based on the information provided and the criteria set forth in DOE guidance. If an alert notification is warranted, the Chief of Campus Safety will immediately contact the points of contact within the Marketing and Communications department and provide those facts and circumstances of the particular incident. Marketing and Communications staff, along with the Chief of Campus Safety, will draft and review the content of the alert notification. Once the alert/emergency notification content is finalized, the Chief of Campus Safety will initiate the notification system to disseminate the information quickly and widely to the Lynn community (Marketing personnel may assist with various forms of communication portions of the notification system upon the Chief of Campus Safety’s request).

Title of the Person(s) and Organization carrying out the above tasks are as follows: Campus Safety team:

Chief of Campus Safety (Event and Emergency Management team Incident Commander) Asst. Chief of Campus Safety

Campus Safety Captain, Lieutenant and/or Sergeant

Campus Safety Dispatchers

Marketing and Communications team:

Marketing and Communications Director (Event and Emergency Management team Public Information Officer)

Public Relations Manager

A responsibilities chart for the key members has been established for critical incidents as well as the protocol for the response.



Color Key: Blue = Campus Safety Responsibility

Green = Communications

Responsibility Orange = Joint Responsibility

Blackboard Connect/Alertus emergency notification systems will be used if one of the following is true:

• It is determined that there is an immediate, imminent and / or ongoing threat to the campus and / or community members. Examples include an active shooter, armed intruder, bomb threat, building fire, chemical spill or gas leak.

• An event external to Lynn’s campus occurs that poses a significant and / or ongoing threat to the community surrounding and including Lynn. For example: the police request a campus lockdown due to an external incident near the campus.

Upon the Campus Safety Team confirming that one of the emergency situation exist, the team will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the Blackboard Connect/Alertus emergency notification systems, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

A targeted “outreach” message can also be used when an incident has occurred that although initially believed to be a threat to the campus community is quickly determined to be a false alarm. Outreach messages predominantly are received via email, but can also be distributed as text messages or voicemails.

Students and employees are encouraged to keep their emergency contact information up to date for the timely warnings/emergency notifications. To update contact information, click on “Emergency Contact Information” on under “Quick Links” on the left-hand side of my.lynn.edu.

Note: Users must be signed in to use this function.

II. Emergency Response

Campus Safety confirms and actively responds to all on-campus dangerous or emergency incidents. Specifically, the Critical Incident Management Plan establishes an organizational structure for response to emergencies that cause a significant disruption of “normal operations.” The plan reflects Lynn’s effort to coordinate response internally and with external agencies (i.e., city, county, etc.).

The Incident Management Team works with individual departments and personnel to develop and/ or refine plans and procedures that meet specific University needs. This effort includes annually updating first-responder information and reviewing current plans and best safety practices. These plans may be tested through periodic tabletop exercises. Specifically, pre-designated Incident Command personnel may meet in a selected conference room to walk through the planning process and develop scenarios to test the plan (i.e., chemical spill). These scenarios allow personnel to work through tough issues to test the plans and response procedures.

Furthermore, the Department of Housing and Residence Life holds quarterly fire drill evacuations. These drills provide residents with a chance to familiarize themselves with evacuation routes and meeting points. Campus Safety, Auxiliary Services, and the Department of Housing and Residence Life use these drills as a chance to test systems and egress situations.

Lynn additionally conducts one test exercise or drill annually to test the emergency response procedures. In conjunction with or prior to the test, the University’s emergency response and evacuation procedures are made available on my.lynn.edu. In addition, the university documents the test it performs each year, describing the exercise, the date/time. and whether it was announced or unannounced. Such documentation is retained by the university for a period of seven years.

III. Alarm Response Procedures

Fires, explosions, bomb threats, and chemical spills are among the occurrences that may require emergency evacuation of University facilities. The continuous sound and flashing of fire alarm horns and strobes, in any University owned, leased or operated facility, is the evacuation signal. Everyone who is alerted by this alarm is required to evacuate the facility as quickly and as calmly as possible.

The University’s “Zero Tolerance Fire Alarm Response Protocol” demands that all facility occupants respond to the alarm signal by immediately initiating the evacuation procedures outlined below:

Conclude activities immediately.

• Follow facility EXIT signs to the nearest safe exit. Do not use elevators! Special care should be taken with some footwear, such as clogs, that could hamper rapid and safe descent

• Walk briskly down stairs. Do Not Run! Stay on the right in order to allow emergency response personnel clear access up the stairs, along the left side.

• As you approach the landing of each floor, allow evacuees from that level to enter the stairwell.

• If evacuation becomes difficult via a chosen route, because of smoke, flames or blockage, re-enter the facility on a safe floor. Continue evacuation via the nearest safe exit route.

• Once you have exited the facility, move away from the building. Stay clear of the building and exit doors!

• Do not, under any circumstances, re-enter the facility unless authorized by a Campus Safety Officers, fire department personnel, or until a recognized University authority broadcasts the “All Clear” directive.

Responsibilities

1. Chief of Campus Safety: Based on the scope and impact of an occurrence or life safety threat, the Chief of Campus Safety may authorize the notification of the Incident Management Team (IMT) and/or activation of the Event and Emergency Management Plan (EEMP).

2. Employees, Students, and Facility Occupants:

a. Shall familiarize themselves with the University’s, and their units, emergency response procedures.

b. Shall cooperate with University Campus Safety Officers, fire department personnel, and designated emergency response personnel charged with responding to, or investigating an occurrence or any other life safety threats.

c. Shall notify Campus Safety and/or activate the nearest fire alarm pull station to alert others if a life safety threat, such as the presence of smoke or flames is detected.

d. Shall notify the Campus Safety of any individuals with mobility limitations who intend to take refuge in stairwells or specific areas for rescue assistance.

3. Campus Safety:

a. Shall immediately dispatch an officer to the facility reported as the location of occurrence.

b. Shall confirm transition of the alarm to Red Hawk and that BRFD has been notified by Red Hawk.

c. Shall provide subsequent notification to the following:

i. Auxiliary Services or Auxiliary Services or on-call personnel;

ii. Director of Auxiliary Services;

iii. Select members of the Incident Management Team (IMT), as appropriate (based on building involved).

d. The responding officer, upon arrival at the building from which the alarm originated, shall conduct a threat evaluation by attempting to verify the existence of a fire or life safety threat.

e. Whenever it is possible to clearly establish that the signal/situation under evaluation is a “False Alarm”, the officer shall immediately notify the Dispatcher, who will immediately notify the Fire Department and other agencies.

f. If a fire or life safety threat is suspected or verified, the officer shall immediately notify the Dispatcher of his or her observations. The Dispatcher shall immediately relay this information to the Fire Department and other emergency response agencies and shall provide as much relevant additional information as is available.

g. Fire alarms shall not be silenced unless/until the threat evaluation has been completed by the responding personnel of the BRFD.

h. Fire Department Personnel are the only persons authorized to silence, or to grant authorization to silence a fire alarm.

4. Facilities Management:

a. Shall respond to the appropriate location, upon receipt of notification from the Campus Safety Dispatcher.

b. Auxiliary Services personnel shall remain accessible and await the authorization from the Campus Safety or Fire Department Personnel to silence or reset fire alarm and other building systems that may require reactivation.

c. Shall maintain University fire alarm system at optimal functional effectiveness.

d. Shall assure that timely and widespread notification is provided to the University community regarding any and all scheduled testing of the fire alarm system in any University facility.

5. Housing and Residence Life Staff:

a. Shall familiarize themselves with the University’s emergency response procedures.

b. Housing and Residence Life staff members who are in the alarm location shall immediately evacuate the building. While exiting the building, each staff member shall knock on each door and loudly alert all residents to evacuate.

c. Once outside of the building, all Housing and Residence Life staff shall assist with crowd control and moving the evacuated persons to the designated gathering area.

d. Shall cooperate with University Campus Safety Officers, fire department personnel, and designated emergency response personnel charged with responding to, or investigating an occurrence or any other life safety threats.

e. Shall notify Campus Safety and/or activate the nearest fire alarm pull station to alert others if a life safety threat, such as the presence of smoke or flames is detected.

f. Shall notify the Campus Safety of any individuals with mobility limitations who intend to take refuge in stairwells or specific areas for rescue assistance.

IV. Persons with Disabilities

It is the responsibility of each person with a physical limitation, likely to impair their ability to safely and independently evacuate a building at the time of an emergency, to make the necessary arrangements with the ADA Coordinator, and/or Campus Safety to provide assistance as may be appropriate to facilitate their safe and timely evacuation of University facilities at the time of an emergency.

To learn more about this policy or the supporting procedures, please contact Campus Safety.

Policy updated on: Oct. 24, 2018