Emergency Evacuation Protocol

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In recent history, there have been two emergencies at Lehigh University that have resulted in major extended power outages across campus. As a result of these emergency situations, procedures and policies have been developed to provide a plan for such cases in the future. In addition to policy, facility upgrades have been made to help better prepare in case of future power outages. Each building is equipped with a generator that will provide power to emergency lighting and smoke detection equipment. These items have been put in place to improve the process so that evacuation may not be necessary, but the following protocol is in place should evacuation become needed.

An emergency evacuation protocol is in place to ensure resident safety and security in time of crisis. If evacuation becomes necessary, the University will do its best to communicate with residents and to be as accommodating as possible. If an emergency evacuation of Graduate Housing is deemed necessary, the following protocol outlines the emergency response:

  • Preparation before an emergency arises
  • Conditions under which an evacuation would be necessary
  • Communication plan in case of emergency evacuation
  • Evacuation procedures
  • Resident preparation for evacuation
  • Reentry procedure

Before an emergency happens

Before an emergency happens, it is important to know about the various means of communication we will employ to inform you that an evacuation is necessary:

Sign up for LU Alerts: http://www1.lehigh.edu/emergency/prepared

Check Lehigh’s emails regularly

Bookmark this page: www.lehigh.edu

Follow us on Twitter: @LUHousing

Conditions under which an evacuation would be necessary

A variety of emergencies may require Graduate Housing to be evacuated for an extended period. These emergencies include:

  • Fires
  • Extended power outages and emergency power is not available
  • Natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding)
  • Emergency maintenance needs (e.g., floods)
  • Other unforeseeable incidents

Each type of emergency requires a different response from the University and the residents. The severity of the emergency is assessed by multiple entities within the University. Decisions about evacuation are made with resident safety and security at the forefront of reasoning. Fire safety is often the most common concern when an emergency arises that may require evacuation. Due to the variety of possible responses, communication is important in each of these situations.

Communication plan in case of emergency evacuation

If a situation arises that requires evacuation, the University will try to communicate in a number of ways:

  • LU Alert
  • Electronic communication, including the Lehigh University website (main page), Social media (Facebook and Twitter), email
  • Door-to-door, in person communication from staff wearing Lehigh identification
  • Postings on main doors and under apartment doors
  • University Call Center

This communication will include the following information:

  • Why you are being evacuated
  • Time when all residents will need to be vacated, providing as much time as possible to gather belongings
  • Location of temporary shelter or find accommodations on their own if they choose
  • Transportation options to the temporary shelter

Evacuation Procedures

1.  Communication to residents as listed above.

2.  Residents may report to the designated temporary shelter.

3.  After the designated evacuation time, the buildings will be checked for safety and security by University staff and to ensure all residents have evacuated the facility.

Resident Preparation for Evacuation

Prior to evacuating your apartment, please consider the following:

· Prepare to be gone at least 3 days. Pack clothes, toiletries, baby supplies, and medicines.

· Bring identification and keys with you.

·  Bring pillow, blanket and snacks along if possible. If cots are available in the temporary shelter, it is unlikely that bedding will be available. Food will also be supplied, but for your comfort you can   bring non-perishable snacks.

·  Bring books and academic materials.

·  Bring laptops/portable devices, cellphones, and chargers.

·  Unplug electronics (e.g., computers, lights, etc.) The refrigerator and stove can stay plugged in.

·  Be sure the stove/oven is turned off and the heat (in cold months) is at a moderate level.

·  Remove any items in the hallway outside your apartment to avoid trip hazards and easy evacuation.

Often it is not possible to allow reentry to the building for safety reasons, so it is important to be prepared for an extended time away.

Reentry Procedure

After the emergency has been resolved, University staff will need to recheck the buildings to ensure all emergency systems are functional. Residents will not be permitted to re-enter the building until University staff have inspected the facility.  This will be done as soon as possible, regardless of the time that power has been restored.

Once the University has determined the Facility is safe to enter, residents will be informed via all previously discussed methods that they are able to return to the facility.  Transportation from the shelters will begin immediately. 

Communication will be mostly electronic: Lehigh University website, Facebook, and Twitter. Please check these pages for the most up-to-date information.