This week’s shooting at Lone Star College in Houston and the possible threat near ACC’s Rio Grande Campus each highlight the importance of emergency preparedness on campuses. ACC wants to make sure students and employees know how to deal with all emergencies and are ready to act should the need arise.
ACC designates the third week of each semester as Emergency Preparedness Week to inform and remind the ACC community about emergency procedures and to test the college’s Emergency Alert notification system.
Take a moment to review the emergency information below, which includes lessons learned from previous Emergency Preparedness Weeks. Remember, ACC’s Emergency Website details what students and employees should do in various emergency situations, including a bomb threat, an evacuation, or an armed individual on campus.
Also, don’t forget to sign up to receive Emergency Alerts via text or voicemail. State law requires all students and employees to provide emergency contact information or complete an opt-out process. Log in to Online Services to sign up for alerts or opt out. Follow ACC on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on critical information.
Mobile alerts are just one way ACC communicates in a crisis. The college has an extensive emergency communications system for rapidly sharing critical information with students, employees, and others on campus. Depending on the level of the threat, ACC may use some or all of these communications channels:
• Phone, text, and email alerts
• Electronic message boards and speakers located throughout campuses
• Web updates (homepage and emergency page)
• Social media outreach (Twitter and Facebook)
• Emergency call boxes
• Help Center alerts
• Media communications
• Scrolling banners on ACC’s cable channel
Campus safety plans and emergency procedures posters
Even if you spend just a few hours on campus each week, don’t be caught unaware. Review the campus safety plan posted in each classroom to learn exits, locations of automated external defibrillators, rescue assistance areas for those who can’t use the stairs, indoor locations for severe weather, and your campus rally point(s).
Campus safety plans generally accompany emergency procedures posters, which should be in all classrooms. If a classroom is missing a safety plan, contact the campus manager’s office. This information also is on ACC’s new mobile website — bookmark the site on your phone.
Fire alarm systems
The fire alarm system for each building is separate from the emergency message boards and other components of ACC’s Emergency Alert notification system. When you hear an alarm, exit the building — don’t wait for information to scroll across the message board.
Pinnacle Campus employees and students please note: Fire codes mandate that high-rise buildings be evacuated in stages. Evacuation procedures are detailed on posters in Pinnacle Campus classrooms and elevators. See the informational poster here (PDF).
Doors: Close, don’t lock
Closing doors slows the spread of fire, but locking doors makes first responders’ jobs more difficult. Please don’t lock doors.
You may have a favorite stairwell and be unaware of others. In previous drills, back-ups occurred when too many people exited by one stairwell. Check your campus safety plan for alternate stairwells and use them regularly to become familiar with them. Remember, the best way out may not be the same as the way in.
Rally point locations
Locate the rally point(s) where students and employees gather during a building evacuation. Look for rally point signs as you arrive or leave campus. Rally points also are noted on campus safety plans.
Why do rally points matter? Gathering during an evacuation helps ACC and first responders determine who is missing and might need help. Students should report to their professor; employees to their supervisor. Remain at the rally point to receive further instructions. Rallying also benefits pedestrians and first responders trying to get equipment on site. Don’t jeopardize someone else’s safety by moving your vehicle.
At the rally point you can find out whether the evacuation was because of a nuisance alarm and classes will resume, or whether damage will prevent the building from being used and you should head home.
Visit ACC’s Emergency Website for more information about the topics above and complete emergency information.
posted in: ACC Newsroom, Current Students, Current Students Feature, Faculty and Staff Feature