Emergency Response & Evacuation Procedures
Every member of Oklahoma Christian University has the right to study, work and conduct his or her activities in an environment free of violence. Yet, the possibility of a major violent incident occurring at Oklahoma Christian University campus is real.
Oklahoma Christian University is committed to providing and maintaining a “safe campus community.” We will accomplish this through the development of policies, regulations and programs aimed at addressing how students, faculty, staff, administration and visitors can stay as safe as possible during a potential or actual threatening situation.
Oklahoma Christian University has developed a Critical Incident Response or Emergency Preparedness Plan. The purpose of this type of plan is to serve as a guideline for developing and implementing an effective, efficient and timely response to any crisis or emergency affecting the university community.
A timely response would be necessary if there is an "immediate" threat that also encompasses an imminent or impending threat. Some examples include an outbreak of illness, extreme weather conditions, gas leak, terrorist incident, armed intruder, bomb threat, civil unrest or rioting, explosion, chemical or hazardous waste spill.
An important component within these plans aimed at helping to ensure the safety of individuals on campus is the development of an appropriate lockdown procedure that details what an institution should do during a potential or actual violent incident. Violence is broadly defined as any incident or act of aggression that could result in injury to a person, or damage to property and includes abusive and threatening behavior (e.g. a situation involving an individual armed with knife, gun or explosives).
The purpose of initiating a lockdown procedure at Oklahoma Christian University is to:
- Protect students, faculty, staff, administration and visitors from a threat;
- With the assistance of police, isolate a dangerous situation; and
- Depending on the situation, facilitate an organized evacuation from a dangerous area.
The role of Oklahoma Christian University community members and the provision of appropriate training
It is essential that students, faculty, staff, administration, visitors, police and other emergency response personnel understand what is expected of them during the time that a “lockdown situation” is initiated. This means that each person needs to be aware of what occurs during the lockdown process and what instructions are to be followed.
As police will be responding to criminal activity, it is imperative that university lockdown procedures be developed in consultation with university and local police to ensure that both the administration of the institution and the police have clear and defined roles during an emergency situation.
The best way to ensure an understanding of the role of each individual is through training. For example, may postsecondary institutions provide training to facility, students, staff and administration at the beginning of each semester that review the existing lockdown procedure within the university. This may occur in the classroom setting, through a web-based training module or other methods that the institution deems appropriate. Another tactic a number of postsecondary institutions have utilized is working closely with campus/local police and emergency response agencies in the development and implementation of mock incidents and/or drills that simulate a violent criminal activity on the campus. Generating specific scenarios and simulations allows both the campus and neighboring community with an opportunity to test policies and procedures to help ensure the appropriateness of the specific response initiated.
While there is no hard rule regarding the practicing of drills relating to lockdown procedures, best business practices recommend to practice the lockdown procedure twice a year: once during the fall semester and once during the winter semester. Many use the summer to hold drills that involve campus/local police and the community’s emergency response teams.
Communicating the Initiation of a Lockdown Procedure
The Oklahoma Christian University community should be made aware or be notified that a violent incident is occurring on campus in a variety of ways. This can include one or more of the following methods:
- E-mail blast
- OC Notify text message
- TV, LED Monitors or computer monitors indicating a lockdown process is in effect;
- Messaging on campus computers and campus safety and security website;
- Public affairs or media announcements
It is important to note that messages broadcasting through these various mediums will instruct individuals that the institution is moving into lockdown procedure.
Initiating lockdown procedures
Plans must include identifying the importance of locking down and securing a campus or an area as quickly as possible. In doing this, it is important that the members of university community:
- Remain calm and encourage others to remain calm;
- Provide assistance where required (e.g. helping those who may have a physical disability or those who may have language comprehension difficulties);
- Immediately cease all activity (teaching, group work, meetings, recreational activity);
- Dial 911 and be ready to provide and report as much information as possible.
Lockdown procedures classroom/other secure areas
- Institution plans should provide clear procedures to be used in implementing a lockdown procedure involving classrooms or other deemed secure.
- If you are unable to exit the building safely and are in a hallway or open/common area find a classroom, office or an area where you are comfortable and feel safe to enter. If it is safe to do so, gather together as many people as you can that are within your immediate area of contact and provide shelter for them in a classroom, office or an area where you feel safe.
- Once in an office or classroom, ensure that the door is closed and locked/barricaded. Turn lights off and cover all windows if possible. Keep back from windows, doors and lay flat on the floor and take adequate cover/protection behind decks and filing cabinets. Try to remain quiet and silence cell phones or devices that can generate noise. Do not answer the door. Do not leave the classroom until you have heard that an “all clear” message has been given by the institution or that local police have indicated that the incident has been cleared and it is safe to come out from behind cover.
- Procedures should outline certain exceptions when they specifically relate to the threat at hand. For example, if you are in a secure area and see or suspect a violent incident occurring, you can use your cell phone, a computer or telephone in the room to relay your specific location (i.e. your building name and office room number). Where possible, identify the number of people at your location, report injuries if any, and most importantly describe the assailant(s) - what they look like, what they are wearing, the direction they are traveling.
- Once local police arrive on scene and are assembled, campus police and administrative staff should have on hand accurate floor plans of all buildings on campus. These plans form an important component of the lockdown procedure.
Lockdown procedure: open area
- Plans should recognize that open areas including cafeterias, libraries, hall ways and other open areas of Oklahoma Christian University are the most difficult to quickly and effectively secure. All options should be considered in determining the best course of action to take to secure the safety of individuals in these areas. This may include exiting people outside of the building. Consider the safety of the larger group verses the safety of a few.
- Procedures also need to address members of the university community who are outside of a classroom, building or campus where the lockdown procedure is being carried out. The procedures should suggest that students who are outside of the incident should not enter the school. They should move as far away as possible from the building under lockdown and wait until further notice/direction is provided by campus police. Procedure may also indicate a specific staging area for students and staff to meet. Notice can also be given to leave the site immediately and to access the universities website for further information.
- Lockdown procedure should also clearly state what individuals should be doing if they are at a different location from where the lockdown has been initiated. In this instance, students and staff should be advised not to call the location that is in lockdown, but to wait for information and situation updates that the university will provide on its website or through other means (e.g. e-mail).
Procedure to End a Lockdown
- Oklahoma Christian University should outline procedures relating to ending the lock down process.
- It is important to remember that during a lockdown, depending on the situation, it may be a number of hours before anyone can be safely evacuated. It is important to be patient and remain calm. Most procedures indicate the importance of staying in a secure place until either a general announcement is made by designated university officials, or a room to room visit from local/campus police and /or school administrators with appropriate identification is made so that occupants of a locked room know that “all clear” messaging is authentic.
- An essential part of the lockdown procedure is the review and evaluation of the event and the lockdown process that occurred by those who participated in the incident. This may range from formal debriefings with students, faculty, staff and administrators as to how the process was carried out, as well as reports from campus/local police and others who responded to the incident.
- Depending on the seriousness of the event that took place and if injuries or loss of life occurred, it may mean initiating counseling and trauma service for those involved in the event.
- In all cases the procedure should take into consideration effective ways of communicating with the university community (i.e. students, faculty, staff, administrators and the greater community) about what occurred during and after the incident, as well as the steps, if necessary, that need to be taken to enhance existing practices and procedures.
- Once a lockdown procedure is implemented at Oklahoma Christian University, it will be extremely important to initiate procedures that facilitate the ways and means to communicate with students, staff, faculty, the media, parents and others.
- That is why it is extremely important to make sure that the universities lockdown procedures clearly address communication issues.
- The communications plan should look at what needs to be in place before, during and after a lockdown procedure is implemented. This can include preparing key media lists, templates, voice mail and text messages before an event occurs. It also means making sure that the executive team members can be contacted and that the institution has identified an internal and external spokesperson.
- Lockdown procedures should have a component that specifically outlines a process for dealing with the print and electronic media. This includes identifying that once local police are on the scene they are responsible to address the media with respect to the criminal incident and the police response to it.
- Specific questions relating to the institution (students, staff and school safety concerns) should be addressed by the Director of Communications.
- It should also be noted that any statements issued to the media should ensure that the statement/news release is seen by both the police and school officials.
- Post-lockdown communications are equally as important. The communications plan should outline steps the university should take to provide further information to stakeholders and to answer stakeholder questions. These events can take the form of town hall meetings with members of the executive board as well as individual discussions with counselors at the institution. It is important to encourage feedback from participants in order to help enhance and refine the existing communication plan.
Review of Lockdown Procedure Plan
It is recommended that after each drill/simulation or real event that takes place at the Oklahoma Christian University campus, a review of the event by the university’s administrators be conducted to include outside authorities. This evaluation technique will help inform that the current process in place by reviewing what went right and what areas need to be reviewed to improve existing measures.
Oklahoma Christian University
EMERGENCY LOCKDOWN PROCEDURES
The following procedures should be followed when a threat or intruder is inside the Oklahoma Christian University facility or on campus property:
- Vice President, Dean of Students will immediately initiate and announce the lockdown of the location on campus. The announcement will be repeated several times.
- Remain calm. Encourage others to remain calm.
- Immediately cease all activity (i.e. teaching, group work, meeting etc)
- Enter the nearest classroom, office or secured space.
- Lock or barricade all doors where possible. Card access doors will be locked during a lockdown, but can be opened from the inside.
- Turn off all lights, computers, projectors or any other devices that may indicate a room is occupied.
- Draw curtains and lower blinds where practical to do so. Stay away from all windows and doors.
- Sit on the floor or crouch under or behind desks and bookshelves where possible so as to be as invisible as possible.
- Turn off all cell phones. Calls to 911 should be made only if specific information becomes available regarding the location or conduct of the intruder or if the status of the emergency changes.
- Be as quiet as possible.
- DO NOT respond to anyone at the door until “all clear” is announced or if you are certain it is safe to do so (i.e. if police are at the door).
- VP, Dean of Students will provide additional information and direction over OCNotify when appropriate including notice of termination of the lockdown.
- If you are directed to leave your secured area, assist others in moving as quickly as possible.
- Should the fire alarm be activated during lockdown, wait for further direction on the OC Notify system before taking action.
Lockdowns may be initiated in non-threatening circumstances to keep people away from areas where there may be a medical emergency or other disturbance.
This lockdown procedure applies to the entire community at Oklahoma Christian University.