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2011 annual notice on campus safety, emergency notification reports


Campus Security and Fire Safety Report

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 27, 2011 – Virginia Tech is committed to assisting all members of the university community in providing for their own safety and security. 

The Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report (main campus) is available on the Virginia Tech Police Department website. Extended campus compliance reports are available at the same website. If you would like to request a paper copy of the report, you can stop by the Virginia Tech Police Department located in the Sterrett Facilities Complex or you can request that a paper copy be mailed to you by calling 231-6183.

The website and report contain information regarding campus safety and personal safety including topics such as: crime prevention, fire safety, Virginia Tech Police law enforcement authority, crime reporting policies, student conduct procedures and other matters of importance related to safety and security on campus including evacuation and emergency notification and response procedures. The report also contains information about crime statistics for the three previous calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Virginia Tech; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus.

This information is required by law and provided by the Virginia Tech Police Department.

Emergency Notification, Response and Evacuation Procedures

In conjunction with a test of Virginia Tech emergency procedures, the university provides information to the community regarding emergency notification, response and evacuation. The university will test the VT Alert system on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Emergency Preparedness and Response

Guidance for what to do in an emergency can be found on the Emergency Management website. The Virginia Tech Emergency Information Desk Reference can be found online and provides response guidance for students, faculty, staff and visitors for a many emergency scenarios. In an emergency it is important to remember three important things: do not take unnecessary risks; there is no substitute for remaining calm; and always use common sense.

Virginia Tech policy 5615, "University Safety and Security" describes the authorities and responsibilities to carry out programs and operations that promote safety and security of individuals and property and establishes an operational committee for coordination and oversight of university safety and security policies and procedures. It provides an overview of existing university safety and security policies and programs that demonstrate compliance with Sections 23-9.2:9-11 of the Code of Virginia and the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended.

The policy establishes the Safety and Security Committee which serves as a coordinating and policy body, with responsibilities for establishing the framework for an overarching university safety, emergency management, and security program for all Virginia Tech facilities. The committee also serves as the Emergency Response Policy Group as defined in Virginia Tech's Emergency Response Plan. The Emergency Response Plan is written as an all hazard plan providing guidance for the response to and recovery from an emergency.

Emergency Notification

VT Alerts is Virginia Tech's emergency notification system. In a campus emergency, Virginia Tech will use multiple information delivery methods to reach students, faculty, and staff because, at any given time, one form of communication might be better than another. In the event of an actual emergency, individuals must be aware of their surroundings and take immediate responsibility for their personal safety and security. Initial VT Alerts messages will provide basic information on what to do; further instructions and updates will be provided by subsequent VT Alerts messages or first responders. In depth information, when available, will be posted to the university homepage.

VT Alerts will deliver messages using some or all of the following channels:

  • The Virginia Tech homepage;
  • Broadcast e-mail to all vt.edu accounts;
  • Electronic message boards in classrooms;
  • Outdoor sirens;
  • VT Phone Alerts;
  • VT Desktop Alerts.

Virginia Tech maintains six outdoor sirens at the Blacksburg campus that can be heard across campus as well as parts of the Town of Blacksburg adjacent to campus.

VT Desktop Alerts is the newest notification method at Virginia Tech. VT Desktop Alerts sends a notice to your desktop or laptop computer, wherever you are as long as you are connected to the Internet. Users do not need to be on the campus to download the application or to receive the alert. However, to activate this service, the VT Desktop Alerts application must be downloaded to your computer.

Because VT Phone Alerts is intended to communicate urgent information to students, faculty, and staff on campus during an emergency, it is important that each subscriber carefully consider his points of contact. If a user includes parents, spouses, or others among your points of contact, it is suggested that you list yourself as the first point of contact. To review your account, visit the VT Alerts website and click on the "Manage Your Account" link.

Evacuation

Each occupied residence hall is required to conduct a quarterly fire drill in compliance with the Virginia statewide fire code. The purpose of the drills is to provide all residents and staff practice in the event there is ever a real fire or other evacuation emergency. The evacuation drills prepare building occupants for an organized evacuation in case of a fire or other emergency. Take the time to learn where the exits are and the egress routes from all the buildings you find yourself whether on or off campus. Be sure you know what to do when the fire alarm sounds, and always evacuate!

Shelter-in-Place

If an incident occurs and the buildings or areas around you become unstable, or if the air outdoors becomes dangerous due to toxic or irritating substances, it is usually safer to stay indoors, because leaving the area may expose you to that danger. Thus, to "shelter-in-place" means to make a shelter of the building that you are in, and with a few adjustments this location can be made even safer and more comfortable until it is safe to go outside.

A shelter-in-place notification may come from several sources, including Virginia Tech Police, housing staff members, other university employees, or other authorities. VT Alerts will be the primary means of disseminating the notification however other means of communication may also be employed.

No matter where you are, the basic steps of shelter-in-place will generally remain the same. Should the need ever arise, follow these steps, unless instructed otherwise by local emergency personnel:

  1. If you are inside, stay where you are. Collect any emergency shelter-in-place supplies and a telephone to be used in case of emergency. If you are outdoors, proceed into the closest building quickly or follow instructions from emergency personnel on the scene.
  2. Locate a room to shelter inside. It should be an interior room; above ground level; and without windows or with the least number of windows. If there is a large group of people inside a particular building, several rooms maybe necessary.
  3. Shut and lock all windows (tighter seal) and close exterior doors.
  4. Turn off air conditioners, heaters, and fans.
  5. Close vents to ventilation systems as you are able. (University staff will turn off the ventilation as quickly as possible.) 6. Make a list of the people with you and ask someone (housing staff, faculty, or other staff) to call the list in to Virginia Tech Police so they know where you are sheltering. If only students are present, one of the students should call in the list.
  6. Turn on a radio or TV and listen for further instructions.
  7. Make yourself comfortable.

This information is required by law and provided by the Virginia Tech Office of Emergency Management.