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Evacuation Policy and Procedures

Evacuation emergencies include fires, hazmat and explosion emergencies (when evacuation is directed by emergency personnel), natural gas leaks, unplanned utility outages, bomb threats and other situations in which emergency personnel direct evacuation of a building. In the event of fire or other evacuation emergencies at Susquehanna University, all persons in the affected premises must evacuate. Occupants will be notified of a fire or other evacuation emergency by a fire alarm signal, which may be a bell or a horn, depending on the building. Initial emergency notifications may also be followed by e-mail, text messages, outdoor public address system and phone communications (voice mail) if appropriate.

If occupants discover a fire or smell smoke, or discover any other hazardous emergency condition in a campus facility, immediately activate the building fire alarm and call the Department of Public Safety (DPS) at 570-372-4444 and/or 911. As occupants evacuate the building, they should calmly alert others in the affected area that they must leave and may take only important personal possessions that are in their immediate vicinity, if they can carry such items without risk to themselves or others. Items occupants may take include coats, valuables, medicines, purses, wallets and keys. Occupants should also take any pets with them. Occupants should never try to retrieve items in another location in the building.

Building occupants are not required or encouraged to fight fires and may only use a fire extinguisher when they are designated and trained to do so. Any individual designated and trained in the proper use of a fire extinguisher and confident in his or her ability to cope with the hazards of a fire may use a portable fire extinguisher to fight incipient fires (no larger than a waste basket). Any such efforts must be terminated when it becomes obvious that there is risk of harm from smoke, heat or flames.

Upon hearing a building fire alarm signal, occupants should evacuate immediately unless they have specific emergency responsibilities designated. Occupants should close windows and the doors behind them, and use the nearest safe exit, but NOT use any elevators. If caught in smoke or heat, one should stay low where the air is better, and attempt to reach a safe exit or area of refuge.

Occupants should check the door with the back of their hand and if the door or doorknob to the hallway is hot, they should not open it, as fire may be on the other side. If occupants are unable to leave a room or office due to heat or heavy smoke in the hallway, other obstructions, or physical disability, they should try to put a cloth or towel under the door to help prevent the entry of smoke. They should call 911 and the Department of Public Safety at 570-372-4444 and give the exact location so that emergency personnel can be directed appropriately.

Individuals should assist those who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing or mobility impaired as needed and immediately inform the nearest emergency responder of the individual’s location. Individuals who have a disability that may impede their exit from a building in an emergency are encouraged to inform their supervisor of the nature of their disability in advance so that emergency evacuation procedures can be developed that will ensure their safe evacuation from the workplace.

Occupants should know the location of all exits from a building. All exits in residence halls are marked with EXIT signs.

Occupants should leave the building and assemble in the designated area assigned for a building, where individuals will not hinder the approaching emergency response personnel and apparatus. Students and employees should attempt to account for individuals that are known to be in the building, including all visitors. Any missing individuals should be reported to the DPS or emergency personnel. In addition, public safety staff will conduct a sweep of all floors if sufficient personnel is available and it is safe to do so.

Individuals should wait for DPS officers or emergency personnel to determine when it is safe to return to the affected building. Even though the alarm may stop, the building may not be safe to re-enter. If re-entry to the building in not imminent, occupants will be directed to proceed to another location. 

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