Complete emergency response guidelines for various types of emergencies are disseminated to employees each fall. These are available on line at www.bsu.edu/prepared.
Communication and Notification in an Emergency
In the event of an emergency on campus, the university relies on an array of communication tools to keep the campus community informed and relay safety instructions. University Marketing and Communications is the only campus office authorized to disseminate official information about campus emergencies to the campus community. The modes of communication include the following and vary with the nature and severity of the situation.
Campus sirens: The sirens may emit a continuous three-minute sound warning. Please note that the sirens are tested at 11 a.m. each Friday.
Emergency alerts: Text messages and e-mails sent when immediate, specific action in response to a situation is needed. To subscribe, go www.bsu.edu/emergencytext.
Public safety notices: E-mails sent when no specific action to a situation is required but information may help raise awareness or mitigate rumors.
Ball State home page: In the event of an emergency, the home page would be one of the first places university officials would post official information for all audiences. Should www.bsu.edu become unavailable during an emergency on campus, the university may post information on the site http://ballstate.info.
Campus voice mail: As part of the emergency notifications process, official information also will be delivered to campus voice mailboxes.
The above tools are the official sources that help ensure safety and mitigate rumors and speculation. Be aware that the university does not use social media as a form of official communication in the event of an emergency or public safety situation. University faculty and staff should not discuss or post about emergency situations on social media accounts that belong to Ball State. Before discussing or forwarding messages about emergency situations, please check the official communication sources listed above to ensure the accuracy of the information.
In a crisis situation, accuracy and timing are critical, and the public needs to rely on one official, accurate source for its information. The primary source for Ball State is our website, www.bsu.edu, and our emergency alert system. Please direct requests from the media to University Marketing and Communications at (765)285-1560, and refer other external calls seeking information to the Ball State home page.
Severe Weather Communications
When the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, Ball State will post pertinent information on www.bsu.edu and send a text message to subscribers of the university’s emergency text messaging system. Continue to monitor the weather via radio or television until the tornado warning has been lifted for your area. The university sends text alerts for tornado warnings only. To receive notifications about other types of weather watches, warnings, and advisories, you may want to explore free alert services such as those offered by www.weatherchannel.com and www.emergencyemail.org. You may also check the current weather in Muncie.
Tornado Watches and Warnings
A tornado watch means that weather conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has actually been sighted in the surrounding area. Emergency warning sirens are activated when there is a tornado warning. Check the current weather in Muncie. Starting March 2012, systems began automatically publishing alerts to bsu.edu in the event of a tornado watch or warning. Automatic alerts were performed on March 12, March 23 and May 1, 2012.
Emergency Warning Sirens
If a tornado warning has been issued and you are inside:
If a tornado warning has been issued and you are outside:
Opt-in Text Messaging
Ball State offers an opt-in text message service that enables students, faculty, and staff to sign up to receive emergency information from the university via their cell phones. To subscribe to this service, go to http://www.bsu.edu/emergencytext.
The Department of Public Safety is responsible for determining when an emergency exists, which segments of the campus to notify, and through which means, as well coordinating with University Marketing and Communications on the content of any messages. When a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students and employees is confirmed to exist, the Department of Public Safety will take into account the safety of the community; determine what information to release; and begin the notification process without delay unless, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, such notification will compromise efforts to assist a victim, respond to the emergency, or contain or mitigate the emergency.
The entire campus will be notified when the potential exists for the majority of the community to be affected by an emergency situation, or when a situation threatens the operation of the campus as a whole. If the threat is limited to a segment of the population, notification may be limited to that segment, but additional segments of the population will be notified as assessment of the situation reveals a need to do so. Once the campus community has been notified, University Marketing and Communications will notify the neighboring community by updating local media outlets.
The university has two modes of communication: Public Safety Notices are sent when information may benefit the campus community to help raise awareness, mitigate rumors, and convey official information. They are sent when no immediate action is necessary. Emergency Notifications are sent when there is imminent danger on campus and immediate and specific actions can improve safety. When the safety of the campus community is in jeopardy, clear and quick communication is the university’s top priority. The goal of the communication is to first preserve human safety.
Director of Public Safety Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Director of Housing & Residence Life Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management Residence Hall Directors Dissemination of Information
Once it has been determined that an imminent danger situation exists, the Emergency Notification System is activated. Information—including safety instructions for students, faculty, and staff—will be made available to the campus community through e-mail, opt-in text messaging, voice mail, the Ball State Web site, and local radio and TV stations. University Marketing and Communications is the only campus office authorized to disseminate official information about campus emergencies to the campus community. Updated information about the situation will be posted on the Ball State Web site (www.bsu.edu) as available.
The university tests its emergency notification protocol and technical systems no fewer than three times per year. The university conducts emergency response exercises each year, such as table top exercises, field exercises, and tests of the emergency notification systems on campus. These tests are designed to assess and evaluate the emergency plans and capabilities of the institution. In addition to regular testing of email/text communication, public address, sirens (tested each Friday at 11:00 a.m.), etc. emergency response/evacuation tests during 2012 included:
To be prepared for an emergency, Ball State community members are expected to recognize the sound of the evacuation alarm, know at least two ways out of the building from regular workspace, and know the predetermined meeting location for their units as appropriate.
When Ball State community members hear the evacuation alarm or are verbally instructed to begin evacuating a building, they should:
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