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Emergency Procedures Guide

American University's Emergency Procedures Guide is a list of actions for community members to follow in certain scenarios. This list not exhaustive and reflects best practices in emergency situations.

If there is an accident or illness on campus, call American University Police Department (AUPD) at 202-885-3636 (x3636 from a campus phone) or any emergency blue light phone and tell the dispatcher:

  • That you need an ambulance.
  • Your location, including building name and room number.
  • Your floor and specific location.
  • Important details about the accident or illness (e.g., extent of injury).


After calling the dispatcher:

  • Do not move the injured or ill person unless they are under life-threatening circumstances, such as a fire.
  • If possible, have someone meet the AUPD officer at a designated location.

If the person is unconscious, retrieve the building Automated External Defibrillator ("AED") (if equipped). Activate the AED and follow the voice prompts.

Upon discovery of smoke or flames:

  • Remove or notify people in danger.
  • Activate the fire alarm.
  • Contact AUPD at 202-885-3636 (x3636 from a campus phone) and provide them with the following information:
    • Your name
    • Exact location of the fire or emergency
    • Size and type of fire (i.e., small, large, garbage can, chemical, etc)
  • If unable to contact AUPD, dial 911.
  • lf you have been trained and feel capable of doing so, with another person's assistance, use a fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire.
  • Evacuate the building using the nearest safe exit or stairwell.


Upon activation of the alarm, you are expected to:

  • Secure or take personal belongings (including your wallet, cell phone, and ID).
  • Close all internal doors. Do not lock doors.
  • Proceed in a calm, orderly manner to the nearest stairwell exit.
  • Enter the stairwell, move to the right on the stairs, proceed down the stairs, and exit the building at the ground level.
  • Congregate outside in the designated evacuation meeting point or other area as directed by AUPD. You may be asked to relocate to a location remote from campus.
  • Keep streets, fire lanes, and walkways clear for emergency responders.
  • Return to the building when permitted to do so or comply with other instructions given by AUPD.

A chemical spill emergency is defined as a release of hazardous chemicals that could threaten human health or the environment.

If you discover a chemical spill:

  • Do not attempt to clean up a spill yourself, unless you are trained and equipped to clean up the chemicals involved.
  • Alert others and evacuate the room or area, if appropriate.
  • Close and secure the room if possible.
  • Report the spill to AUPD at 202-885-3636 (x3636 from a campus phone) and provide the dispatcher with the following information:
    • Building name and location
    • Floor and room number
    • Any details regarding type of spill
    • Any injuries
  • Do not return to the evacuated building unless you have been told to do so by AUPD.

Know two ways out of classrooms, offices and other areas you frequent as well as the location of fire alarm pull stations.

If you need to evacuate the building:

  • Remain calm and exit the building in an orderly manner.
  • Evacuate the building using the nearest safe exit or stairwell. Do not use the elevators.
  • If unable to self-evacuate, Shelter-in-Place (see above) as if for a fire emergency in a room with an exterior window and operable door. Close all doors and windows and report your location to AUPD by calling 202-885-3636 (x3636 from a campus phone) or by activating the Rave Guardian app.
  • Notify AUPD when you exit the building if someone needs assistance. Be sure to identify the person's location.
  • Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in imminent danger (e.g., a fire).
  • Never try to walk through smoke-filled or other imminently hazardous areas. If you see or smell smoke in the stairwells, close the door and use a different exit.
  • Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrants, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.
  • Return to the building when permitted to do so or comply with other instructions given by AUPD.

In certain emergency situations the campus community may be advised to "Shelter-In Place" to avoid or minimize exposure to outside risks. Risks could include chemical or radioactive releases and some weather-related emergencies.

Upon Direction to Shelter-In-Place:

  • If you are inside, stay where you are. If outside, go to the nearest campus building.
  • Collect any supplies (including a cell phone) to be used in case of emergency.
  • Evacuate only if your building is damaged or you are directed to do so by emergency personnel.
  • Shelter-In-Place in an interior room, above ground level, and with the fewest windows.
  • Shut and lock all windows (locking will form a tighter seal) and close exterior doors.
  • Make a list of all the people with you and your location. Retain until asked for report by AUPD.
  • Monitor social media, e-mail, AU's main page, or your phone for an AU Alert. Turn on a radio or television and listen for further instructions.
  • Make yourself comfortable.

When notified of an immediate danger, AUPD will lockdown all exterior doors to on-campus buildings and will issue an AU Alert stating "Security Threat: Campus Lockdown." Exterior doors will secure and will only be able to be opened by emergency personnel. However, doors will always allow you to exit a building from the inside.

  • If you are inside and are not in immediate danger, stay where you are. Remain quiet and calm, and monitor social media, e-mail, AU's main page, or your phone for an AU Alert.
  • If you are outside, leave campus. Leave campus as quickly as possible by foot, public transportation, or driving. Monitor social media, e-mail, AU's main page, or your phone for an AU Alert.
  • Evacuate your building only if you are directed to do so by emergency personnel.
  • Shelter in an interior room, without windows. Shut and lock all doors.
  • If in a classroom, secure the classroom door and block any windows to the hallway.
  • Stay quiet, silence phone ringers, and stay out of sight.
  • Make a list of all the people with you and your location. Retain until asked for a report by AUPD.

Prepare

  • Know two ways out of classrooms, offices and other areas you frequent.

Be aware of your surroundings

Get out of the danger area

  • Follow the instructions from “Run, Hide, Fight” training here.
  • If you are inside and are in immediate danger, exit as quickly as possible. All campus buildings will be locked and only accessible to emergency personnel. Choose your route, think unconventionally, be quiet!
  • If you are inside and are in immediate danger and unable to exit, hide. Remain quiet and calm, and monitor social media, e-mail, AU's main page, or your phone for an AU Alert. Be prepared to exit if the opportunity arises. Block doors and windows and conceal yourself. Turn off cell phone ringers.
  • As a last resort, if you are in immediate danger, fight!
    • Create chaos
    • Swarm the attacker
    • Move the weapon away from potential victims
  • If you are outside, leave campus. Leave campus as quickly as possible by foot, public transportation, or driving. Monitor social media, e-mail, AU's main page, or your phone for an AU Alert.
  • Evacuate your building only if you are directed to do so by emergency personnel or if you are in immediate danger.
  • Shelter in an interior room, without windows. Shut and lock all doors.
  • In a classroom, lock the classroom door and block any windows to the hallway.
  • Make a list of all the people with you and your location. Retain until asked for a report by AUPD.

If you witness violent, disturbing, or suspicious behavior, you should call AUPD at 202-885-3636 (x3636 from a campus phone). When calling, tell the dispatcher:

  • Your name and affiliation
  • Location of the incident or observation
  • Description of the observation or behavior
  • Why you think the behavior is disturbing or suspicious

If the person causing the violence or disturbance has left the area, call out for help, render aid to victim(s), call 202-885-3636 (x3636 from a campus phone) immediately or notify AUPD through the Rave Guardian phone application. Community members can find more information about Rave and how to download the application at:
https://www.american.edu/finance/publicsafety/Crime-Prevention-Programs.cfm

All AU community members should program 202-885-3636 (x3636 from a campus phone) into their phones to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Emergency blue-light phones are located throughout campus. Activating the phone will call AUPD as well as activate the strobe light to signal an emergency at your location.

Attempt to keep the caller on the telephone for as long as possible. Questions to ask: (Use this worksheet to record the answers)

  • When will the bomb go off?
  • Where is it located?
  • What type of bomb is it?
  • What type of explosive is it?
  • Why are you doing this?
  • Who are you?

Exact language of the threat:
Date:________ Time of Call:__________ Gender:__________
Approximate Age: ______ Race:_______

Speech (Check all that apply):

Rapid

Normal

Sincere Deep Excited Calm

Accented Loud Intoxicated Angry

Background Noises (Check all that apply):

  Factory

  Trains

  Quiet

Additional Observations: ______________________________________

Call received by: ____________________________________________

Suspicious Package
If you receive a suspicious package:

  • Do not open or handle the package unnecessarily.
  • Call AUPD immediately at 202-885-3636 (x3636 from a campus phone).

AUPD will respond immediately and evaluate the threat.

During weather-related emergencies like tornados, hurricanes, and severe thunderstorms, the greatest danger is from falling debris, trees, and broken glass from the high winds associated with the storm.

Upon Direction to Shelter-In-Place:

  • If you are inside, stay where you are. If outside, go to the nearest campus building. Collect any supplies (including a cell phone) to be used in case of emergency.
  • Evacuate only if your building is damaged or you are directed to do so by emergency personnel.
  • Shelter-In-Place in an interior room, above ground level, and with the fewest windows. Shut and lock all windows (locking will form a tighter seal) and close exterior doors.
  • Make list of all the people with you and your location. Retain until asked for report by AUPD.
  • Monitor social media, e-mail, AU's main page, or your phone for an AU Alert. Turn on a radio or television and listen for further instructions.
  • Make yourself comfortable.

For information on weather-related school closings:
Go to www.american.edu or call 202-885-1100.

Earthquakes are sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of underground rock. Earthquakes can cause buildings to collapse and cause heavy items to fall, resulting in injuries and property damage.

Preparation
Know the safest places in your office, work area or living unit. These areas should be away from heavy furniture, appliances, fireplaces, and large panes of glass (windows, mirrors, etc) and should be in an inside corner of a room.

During an Earthquake

  • If you are indoors, DROP to the floor. Take COVER under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture. HOLD ON to it and be prepared to move with it.
  • If you are in a wheelchair, lock your wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops.
  • If you are blind or have low vision, keep in mind that earthquakes cause items to fall and furniture to shift. Regular sound clues may not be available. Move with caution.
  • Always protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, or whatever is available.
  • If you are outside, get into the open, away from trees, buildings and power lines. Be watchful for falling glass and building debris. If you are already outdoors, stay out there.
  • Do not get in a doorway. You are safer under a table.

After an Earthquake

  • Expect aftershocks. Most of these are smaller than the main earthquake, but some may be large enough to do additional damage to weakened structures.
  • Check yourself for injury and provide assistance to others if you have training.
  • Do not enter damaged buildings. If in a damaged building, go outside and quickly move away from the building.
  • If you are trapped, cover your mouth. Send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting so that rescuers can locate you.
  • Monitor social media, e-mail, AU's main page, or your phone for an AU Alert. In addition, listen for local news reports via battery operated radio or television for emergency information and instructions.
  • Lock your valuables or take them with you. Install the AU personal safety app, Rave Guardian, from the Apple or Google Play store.
  • Some of app's features include:
    • Panic button with a direct immediate connection to campus safety that provides GPS location and personal profile information.
    • Listed of designated personal guardians who are friends, roommates, and family who will be notified if the Rave Guardian timer is not deactivated before it expires. 
    • Tip texting for anonymous crime tip reporting and two-way communication via SMS or mobile app.
  • Use lighted pathways at night and know locations of emergency blue phones.
  • Take a self-defense course with AUPD. Sign-up at: www.american.edu/self-defense
  • Immediately report access and locking hardware issues to AUPD: 202-885-3636 (x3636 from a campus phone)

AU will keep the campus community informed and provide instructions on what to do, but you should be prepared for any emergency. Know the locations of fire extinguishers, AEDs, emergency phones, and other safety equipment.

The following personal items may help in the event of an emergency:

  • OneCard (AU ID Card)
  • Cell phone (preprogrammed with all important contact information) and, charger
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Water
  • Nonperishable food (e.g., canned fruit, energy bars, etc)
  • Can opener
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Required over the counter and prescription drugs
  • List of allergies or medical information
  • At least one set of undergarments and clothing to change into (stored in a waterproof bag)
  • Soap

The university encourages accurate and prompt reporting of all suspicious persons/actives and crimes to AUPD and the appropriate external law enforcement agencies (i.e., MPD, etc), when the victim of a crime elects to, or is unable to, make such a report. We strongly urge you to program your cell phone with AUPD's emergency number: (202) 885-3636

Criminal offenses should be reported immediately to AUPD. Emergencies, potential criminal actions, or suspicious activities can be reported by:

  • Calling 202-885-3636 or, from any on-campus telephone, extension x3636
  • Using an emergency blue-light telephone.
  • Using a red emergency telephone located in classrooms and at residence hall front desks.
  • Visiting the AUPD headquaters or by telling a uniformed AUPD officer.
  • Making a confidential report to officials at the Counseling Center, Student Health Center, or Kay Spiritual Life Center or through the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP).
  • Making a confidential report through AUPD's Anonymous Tip Web page at: www.american.edu/finance/publicsafety/tips.cfm
  • Using the Rave Mobile Safety Guardian App for iOS and Android devices. Community members can find more information on how to download the Rave Mobile Safety Guardian application at:
    https://www.american.edu/finance/publicsafety/Crime-Prevention-Programs.cfm

Members of the campus community can receive information about crimes that have occurred on campus by: