Emergency Response Quick Reference Guide

This reference guide is intended as a quick, hands-on list of procedures to be followed in specific emergency situations.

The purpose of this reference guide is to provide guidelines to assist persons in dealing with specific emergencies on campus. The guidelines are intended to better enable the university community in protecting life and property and minimizing the damage caused by emergency situations, as well as to promote awareness in responding to emergencies. This guide complements the Armstrong Emergency Operations Plan and the Armstrong Emergency Response Procedures Handbook for Faculty and Staff. The guidelines also apply to the Armstrong Center and Armstrong departments in the Savannah Mall.

Every student should familiarize themselves with the emergency procedures and evacuation routes in buildings they live in or use frequently. Students must be prepared to assess situations quickly but thoroughly, and use common sense in determining a course of action. They should evacuate assembly areas in an orderly manner when an alarm sounds or when directed to do so by emergency personnel.

Faculty and Staff
Every member of the faculty and staff should read and understand the university emergency plans and familiarize themselves with their emergency procedures and evacuation routes. Employees must be prepared to assess situations quickly but thoroughly, and use common sense in determining a course of action. They should follow emergency plan procedures to report fire or other emergencies that require immediate attention, and evacuate in an orderly manner. Faculty members are seen as leaders by students and should be prepared to direct their students to evacuate campus buildings in the event of an emergency when necessary.

Building Coordinator
Each building coordinator may be responsible for developing a building emergency plan. In the event of an emergency, the building coordinator may be asked to assist in coordinating a safe evacuation. The building coordinator may act as the liaison to the EOC.

Armstrong has in place BLAST, an emergency communication system designed to send vital messages to individuals' designated emergency phone numbers and e-mail addresses in the event of a disruption of normal campus operations or in the case of an emergency. For more information about BLAST, and the procedures for faculty, staff and enrolled students to update their BLAST information,click here. The Armstrong University Police Department is responsible for BLAST and for testing and evaluating this emergency system.


Power Outage
A major power outage is defined as power not being available to more than one building on campus. A minor power outage is defined as when a building or a part of a building has lost power. If you notice a power outage, report that outage to university police by calling 43333 or 912.344.3333.

If you find a fire, pull the nearest fire alarm and call 43333 or 911. Use fire extinguishers only if the fire is small (waste basket size), and you feel comfortable using the extinguisher.
To use the extinguisher:

  • Pull the pin.
  • Aim nozzle at base of fire.
  • Squeeze handle and spray in side-to-side motion.

Fire Emergency Response
In the event of fire alarm activation, all university personnel will immediately evacuate the building unless otherwise directed by authorized personnel. DO NOT use elevators in the event of fire.

  • Evacuate buildings immediately, using designated routes and exits.
  • Evacuation should be conducted in a quiet, orderly fashion, with no running or talking, to minimize confusion and allow for changes of orders to be heard.
  • When exiting a room, always use the back of your hand to test the door for heat. If the door is hot, do not open it. Change direction and find another exit.
  • Use stairways to evacuate. Do not use elevators.
  • Special care should be taken to assist disabled individuals in evacuating.
  • In a fire emergency, standard evacuation procedures should be followed:
    • If time permits, windows should be closed by a designated person.
    • The last person to leave the room should close the door.
    • University Police officers should go immediately to stations to guard doors and assist with evacuation and crowd control.
    • Smoke is the greatest danger in a fire, so be prepared to stay near the floor where the air will be less toxic. If necessary, crawl to exit.
    • If trapped on a second story or higher, hang an article of clothing out of the window to attract attention of bystanders or emergency personnel. IF WINDOWS ARE CLOSED, DO NOT OPEN A WINDOW UNLESS YOU NEED TO IN ORDER TO ESCAPE. OXYGEN CAN FUEL THE FIRE. Close doors and place material under them to prevent smoke from coming in. Anyone trapped in the room should remain close to the floor to avoid smoke.
    • If another person is on fire, yell: STOP — DROP — ROLL.
    • If you are on fire, STOP — DROP — ROLL.
    • During the evacuation, direct crowds away from fire hydrants, roadways and clear sidewalks immediately adjacent to the building. Ask bystanders to assist in watching windows, doorways, etc., for persons who may be trapped inside.

Hurricane Response Plan (abbreviated)
NOTE: The university will close when Chatham Emergency Management Agency announces "Voluntary Evacuation of the Islands." When the university is closing, all personnel should take time to record on their voice mails the following message:
"The university is closed due to Hurricane ______.
For information concerning Armstrong's reopening, please check Savannah broadcast media or call 912.344.2500." Students: Please check the student affairs web page for information on hurricane preparedness and evacuation.

Hurricane Watch— Conditions are favorable for some form of severe weather or other natural disaster to occur. Precautionary measures should be taken at this time.

Hurricane Warning — Severe weather or other forms of natural disasters actually pose an immediate threat to the area. Quick action to protect oneself is essential.

  • The University Police Department will begin assisting personnel in leaving the campus and checking each building to make certain that it is empty and secure. When the decision is made by the president to close the campus, if the storm is classified as 1 or 2, all students and personnel, with the exception of University Police officers, must vacate. Storms classified as levels 3, 4, or 5 require total evacuation.
  • Under no circumstance will any students be allowed to remain in campus residence halls.
  • For students/employees with no other means of transportation, some CAT bus routes will operate on a schedule announced after Warning and Mandatory-Full Evacuation orders are issued. Evacuees will be transported by CAT to the Savannah Civic Center to board school buses for transport to inland shelters.

Tornado Response Plan
Tornado Watch— is issued when weather conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms that are capable of producing tornadoes. A tornado watch therefore implies that it is also a severe thunderstorm watch. A tornado watch must not be confused with a tornado warning.

  • Be particularly alert for the sound of roaring winds and/or large hail.
  • Because of the large numbers of people on campus, dismissing classes is not recommended.

Tornado Warning— is an alert issued by government weather services to warn an area that a tornado may be imminent. It can be issued after either a tornado or funnel cloud has already been spotted, or if there are radar indications that a tornado may be possible.

  • Be particularly alert for the sound of roaring winds and/or large hail.
  • Because of the large numbers of people on campus, dismissing classes is not recommended.
  • University Police will announce the warning either with bullhorns or through the BLAST emergency communications system.
  • Individuals should move off streets and inside a building with doors shut and windows down.

Tornado Emergency — is issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) when a large, violent tornado is expected to impact a populated area. Since information about the tornado and its exact path is often ascertained after the initial tornado warning is issued, this designation is usually added to the Severe Weather Statement (SVS) that is used to follow-up a tornado warning.

  • Be particularly alert for the sound of roaring winds and/or large hail.
  • University Police will announce the warning either with bullhorns or through the BLAST emergency communications system.
  • Individuals outside immediately move off streets and inside a building with doors shut and windows down.
  • Faculty, staff, and students in trailers or modular buildings on campus immediately vacate buildings and go to permanent structures.
  • Those in permanent structures close doors, interior and exterior, and move to interior room or hallway on lowest floor. Seek refuge in doorway, interior hallway, under desk or table, on lowest floor of the building.
  • Stay away from windows and exterior doors.
  • If outdoors and unable to get to shelter, seek ditch or depression in the ground and lie flat on the ground. Caution: Avoid power or utility poles as they may be energized. Be aware of potential for flooding. Use arms to protect head and neck.
  • Stay out of automobiles. If caught in a vehicle, get out of the car and take shelter in a nearby building. If shelter is not available, lie in a ditch or crouch near a strong building. Be aware of potential for flooding.

Tornado: Classroom Response
When the Tornado Emergency is received, if there is sufficient time to take shelter:

  • Evacuate classrooms into hallways, restrooms and away from windows and exterior doors quickly, quietly and orderly.
  • Professors should be the last out of the room and check to make certain that all students have evacuated.
  • Special care should be taken to assist disabled students in evacuating.
  • Persons should take position for greatest safety by crouching on knees, head down with hands locked at back of neck and should use anything available to protect their heads.

Flood Emergency Response
In the event that students and staff are unable to leave campus because of flash flooding or rising water, all personnel should move to the second floors of classroom buildings.

Natural Gas Leaks
Natural gas leaks are rare occurrences but nevertheless are extremely dangerous. Natural gas leaks are identified by the smell of rotten eggs or a hissing sound.
In the event of a natural gas leak:

  • Do not turn lights on or use telephones or fax machines.
  • Evacuate the building.
  • From another location, contact Facility Services, 912.344.2545
  • If a leak occurs after 5 p.m., call University Police, 912.344.3333
  • Remain outside building until authorities allow reentry.

Hazardous Materials
Any spillage of a hazardous chemical or radioactive material will be reported to University Police immediately, 912.344.3333.

  • Evacuate affected site immediately. Do not walk on or touch any spilled substance. Try to stay upstream, uphill and upwind of accident.
  • Cover mouth with cloth while leaving the area. From another location, contact Facility Services, 912.344.2545.
  • If spill occurs after 5 p.m., call University Police, 912.344.3333.
  • Do not reenter area for any reason. Remain outside affected area until authorities allow reentry.

Violent or Criminal Behavior

  • In the event of violent, hostile, or criminal behavior, leave the immediate area if possible, and direct others to do so.
  • Immediately contact the University Police Department, 912.344.3333. Dial 43333 from a campus phone or from any emergency call boxes around campus.
    • Tell dispatcher your name, location, telephone number and details of what is happening.
    • If the offender has weapons or is suspected of having weapons, take cover immediately using all available concealment. Close and lock doors when possible to separate yourself and others from any armed offender.

Note: The University Police Department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is a state police agency with the same arrest powers as any other state agency or city and county police agency. Its jurisdiction is Board of Regents property and 500 yards beyond BOR property.

Workplace Violence Prevention

  • Be aware of what is going on around you at all times. Awareness is a proven method for increased personal safety.
  • Tell your supervisor/instructor when you notice unusual or suspicious behavior.
  • Refer employees exhibiting inappropriate behavior to Human Resources, 912.344.2587.
  • Refer students exhibiting inappropriate behavior to Student Affairs, 912.344.2582 or Armstrong Counseling Center, 912.344.2560.
  • Do not hesitate to call University Police, 43333 for help.

Hostage Situation
If taken hostage, or if you witness another person being taken hostage:

  • If possible, call University Police at 43333 or 912.344.3333. Supply as many details as possible including number of persons involved, description, weapons, etc.
  • Observe captors; try to memorize physical traits, voice patterns, clothing or other details.
  • Do what you are told without argument. Avoid appearing hostile.
  • Do not attempt to negotiate or argue.
  • Do your best to appear calm, and try to get others to remain calm. Tell them to do what they are told.
  • Try to maintain eye contact with the hostage taker at all times.
  • Do not make sudden moves. If you must go to bathroom/need medications/first aid, ask your captors.
  • Displaying some fear may work to your advantage.
  • If forced to present terrorist demands to authorities, state clearly that the demands are from your captors. Avoid making a plea on your own behalf.
  • Try to stay low to the ground or behind cover from windows or doors, if possible.
  • DO NOT attempt escape unless there is an extremely good chance of survival.
  • Be prepared for evasive action in the event the police make entry. Often they will shout instructions. Follow them immediately.

Bomb Threat Emergency Response
If you are the person receiving a bomb threat via telephone, remain calm and talk to the person as long as you can.

All receptionists, administrative assistants and other personnel who typically answer telephones at Armstrong should keep a "bomb threat notification card" in their desks. (See the Armstrong Emergency Response Procedures Handbook for Faculty and Staff for more detail.) Wave the bomb threat notification card in the air to get the attention of someone in the area. Give the card to the first person to respond to you. The card gives a complete description of what is taking place and the procedures to follow. The Armstrong Emergency Response Procedures Handbook for Faculty and Staff covers this issue in detail. The person receiving the call should try to obtain as much information as possible. Listen to what the caller is saying and do not interrupt. Take down the entire message. If possible, try to keep the caller on the line and try to gather further information.
If you receive a bomb threat, CONTACT UNIVERSITY POLICE AT 43333 FROM ANY CAMPUS PHONE OR 912.344.3333.

Suspicious Packages/Mail
All staff and faculty are required to immediately report any suspicious packages or objects found on campus to the University Police, 912.344.3333. Possible warning signs:

  • Wiring
  • Noise coming from the envelope or package
  • Weight of the package or letter is odd for its size
  • Liquid or powder leaking
  • Chemical odor or odd stains present
  • Excessive packaging

In the event of a suspicious package/mail:

  • Do not handle it.
  • If you suspect that the package could be explosive, evacuate the area and call University Police, 912.344.3333, from a secure location.
  • Avoid the use of radios and cell phones near any suspicious envelope or package. Radio waves can detonate an explosive device.
  • If the letter or package has already been opened and powder or other substance has spilled from the package or letter, do not clean it up. Leave it where it is, evacuate the area, and call University Police, 912.344.3333.
  • If someone opening a suspicious package is covered with a possible chemical agent, the contaminated individual should evacuate to an isolated area, away from other personnel who were not exposed.

Serious Health Concerns
A growing concern among students and faculty alike is the increase in infectious diseases such as meningitis. Common symptoms are: stiff neck, severe headache, high fever, sensitivity to light, sleepiness, confusion and seizures. Blood infections may cause fever and rash. For immediate concerns regarding serious health issues, call the Armstrong Student Health Center, 912.961.5726; or the Chatham County Health Department and Immunization Clinic, 912.356.2441.

For questions or concerns regarding students with disabilities, call Disability Services, 912.344.2744.

Civil Disturbances
Most campus demonstrations are peaceful and people not involved should attempt to carry on business as usual. Avoid provoking or obstructing demonstrators. Should a disturbance occur, call the University Police at 43333 or 912.344.3333.

If a disturbance seems to threaten the occupants of the building, report it immediately to the University Police and take the following actions:

  • Alert all persons in the area of the situation.
  • If necessary to evacuate, follow directions from police.

Possession of Firearms or Other Weapons
The Georgia Criminal Code, Section 16-11-127.1, makes it a felony to possess a weapon in, on or within 1,000 feet of the campus. "Weapon" means and includes all firearms, switchblade knives and all knives having a blade of two or more inches, martial arts devices, clubs or other bludgeon-type instruments, stun guns or tasers. This policy excludes classroom work authorized by the teacher and does not apply to sports equipment, law enforcement training courses or military training programs. The provisions of this code do not apply to duly authorized personnel.


University Police
(Dial 43333 from any campus phone or call box)

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