Campus Emergency Situations

This area of the Emergency Preparation Guidelines site is designed to provide planning and emergency response guidelines for the campus community in the event of a serious threat, crisis, or emergency that might occur on or near college property.


Active Shooter

If you hear shots or see weapons or if you receive an alert for an active shooter, follow the "RunHideSurvive" emergency procedure:


If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate.

·       Evacuate whether others agree to or not.

·       Leave your belongings behind.

·       Help others escape if possible.

·       Call 911 when you are safe.


If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.

·       Lock and/or blockade the door.

·       Turn off the lights.

·       Silence your cell phone.

·       Remain very quiet.

·       Hide behind large objects out of the shooter's view (your hiding place should provide protection if shots are fired in your direction, but not trap or restrict your options for movement).


As a last resort, and only if your life is in danger:

·       Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.

·       Act with physical aggression.

·       Improvise weapons.

·       Commit to your actions.

When law enforcement personnel arrive, remain calm and follow instructions.
It's important to keep your hands visible at all times and avoid pointing or yelling. Help for the injured will soon be on its way.


Power Outage

If you experience a power outage:
  • Call Public Safety at 717-358-3939 to report the problem.
  • Provide assistance to others in your immediate area who may be unfamiliar with the space.
  • If you are in an unlighted area, proceed cautiously to an area that has emergency lights.
  • If you are in an elevator, stay calm. Use the emergency button to alert Public Safety.


Campus Violence

Campus violence often begins with inappropriate behavior or signs. When detected report this information to authorities, it may help prevent its occurrence. The following information may be helpful in detecting or anticipating campus violence and help to create a safer, healthier campus for everyone.

Threats - direct or implied
  • Physical conduct such as pushing, shoving, or striking that harms or has the potential to harm people or property.
  • Conduct that harasses, disrupts, or interferes with another individual's performance.
  • Conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment.
Potential Warning Signs
  • Verbal, nonverbal, or written threats
  • Fascination with weapons or violence
  • New or increased stress at home or work
  • Expressions of hopelessness or anxiety 
  • Defiant or insubordinate behavior
  • Dramatic change in work or academic performance
  • Destruction of property
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Externalization of blame
Risk Factors that Contribute to Campus Violence
  • Termination of employment
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Ongoing conflicts between employees
  • Domestic or family violence
  • Financial problems
Campus 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 when you notice unusual or suspicious behavior.
  • Workplace violence training is offered by Public Safety and the Counseling Center throughout the calendar year.
  • Call Public Safety at 717-358-3939 for help.
  • Remember: A safe workplace is everyone's responsibility.
If violence occurs or there is an immediate threat of violence:
  • Leave the area immediately if possible.
  • If leaving the area is not possible, lock yourself in a secure area.
  • If possible, call Public Safety at 717-358-3939 or dial 911.
  • Provide the dispatcher with as many details as possible.


Bomb Threat or Suspicious Object

If you receive a telephone bomb threat:
  • Listen carefully. Be polite and show interest. Try to keep the caller talking so that you can gather more information about the device, the validity of the threat, or the identity of the caller. Listen carefully for background noises.
  • Note the phone number of the caller if your telephone has a display.
  • Gather as much information as possible. If possible, use the Bomb Threat Checklist to question the caller in a polite and non-threatening manner.
  • Upon completion of the call, immediately call Public Safety at 717-358-3939 or dial 911.
  • While the call is still fresh in your memory, complete the Bomb Threat Checklist and send to Public Safety.
  • Remain available to answer questions.
  • If the threat was received by another individual and he/she is relaying information to you, use the Bomb Threat Checklist to gather as much information as possible.
  • A suspicious object is defined as any package, parcel, container, or other object out of place or unusual for that location and cannot be accounted for, or because a threat has been received.
If you find a suspicious object:
  • A suspicious object is defined as any package, parcel, container, or other object out of place or unusual for that location and cannot be accounted for, or because a threat has been received.
  • Do not touch the object.
  • Move people away from the object.
  • Do not use portable radio equipment or cell phones within 100 feet of the suspicious object.
  • Immediately call Public Safety at 717-358-3939 or dial 911.
  • Follow the officer's instructions precisely.
  • Do not attempt to evacuate the building without the authorization or assistance of emergency personnel. Do not pull the fire alarm.  Current emergency management guidelines caution against automatic evacuation. In most cases, people are likely to be more secure in their offices, laboratories, or classrooms than in hallways that have not been searched or outdoors where an actual threat may be even more likely to exist.
  • If a search of the building is conducted, you and other staff may be asked to accompany Public Safety officers during the search since you are more likely to notice something out of the ordinary in your own area or facility.


Demonstration or Disturbance

Not all demonstrations are unlawful. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that certain activity is protected under the U.S. Constitution. However, any demonstration on campus property that interferes with the educational function of the institution or in which violence, property damage, or other such behavior occurs is unlawful.

If you have a question about whether a demonstration is unlawful, call Public Safety at 717-358-3939.
If a disturbance appears to threaten the safety of faculty, staff, or students:
  • Immediately call Public Safety at 717-358-3939 or dial 911.
  • If possible and appropriate, lock doors to isolate the disturbance.
  • Take steps to protect your own safety and the safety of other faculty, staff, and students.
  •  Encourage people to leave the area.


Hostage Situation

If you are involved in a hostage situation:
  • If possible, call Public Safety at 717-358-3939 or dial 911.
  • Supply the dispatcher with as many details as possible, including number of persons involved, description of hostage takers, weapons displayed, threats made, etc.
  • Do not attempt to negotiate or argue with the hostage taker.  Follow their instructions precisely.
  • Remain calm.
  • Encourage others to remain calm and to do what they are told.


Suspicious Mail or Package

Characteristics of Suspicious Letter or Package

Some typical characteristics, which in combination may trigger suspicion are:
  • Restricted marking such as "Personal" or "Special Delivery."
  • No return address or one that cannot be verified as legitimate.
  • A city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address.
  •  Unusual weight based on size.
  • Lopsided or oddly shaped, strange odors, oily stains, crystallization, protruding wires, rigid or bulky, excessive tape or string, or if the package is making a noise.
If you receive a suspicious letter or package:
  • Do not try to open it.
  • Isolate it.
  • Call Public Safety at 717-358-3939.
If you open a parcel containing suspicious material or alleged to contain suspicious material:
  • Immediately set it down where you are.
  • Do not move the suspicious material.
  • If any of the contents or a substance spills out of the letter or package, do not try to clean it up and do not brush off your clothes as this could disperse material into the air.
  • If the material is corrosive or presents an immediate danger, wash or rinse your hands.
  • Close the door to the area where the suspicious parcel was opened and do not allow others to enter the area.
  • Call Public Safety at 717-358-3939.
  • Remain at the scene to answer questions from emergency service personnel.
  • If anyone enters the closed area in which the suspicious letter or package is located, that person should also remain at the scene.