Emergency Preparedness Plan
(.pdf, 10 pages) posted 02/05/13
As a result of events that have occurred at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007 and other college campuses throughout the nation, it is imperative that Widener University students, staff, and faculty members understand the procedures Widener University has in place and how we respond and handle an emergency that occurs on campus.
The Campus Safety Department provides daily coverage of the Chester, Wilmington, and Harrisburg campuses. A Crisis Management Plan is also in place that includes procedures to initiate a rapid response by University personnel and external emergency responders. The Crisis Management Plan is initiated in the event of a serious crime, emergency, or threatening situation. Widener University takes all incidents affecting the safety of our students, staff, and faculty seriously and will react immediately.Providing a Safe Campus Environment
Widener University has devoted significant resources to provide a safe campus environment while also ensuring the safety of our community members. The Campus Safety Department consists of 81 officers working on 3 campuses. The officers on the Chester and Wilmington campus provide on-campus coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Officers on the Harrisburg campus are on duty during the time that the Law Library is open. There are no officers on the Exton campus. The officers patrol the campus thru the use of a foot, bicycle, T3, and vehicle patrol.
Campus Safety Officers on the Chester Campus are identified under Pennsylvania Law as "Special Officers" with the power to detain and arrest, whose authority is limited to the immediate and adjacent vicinity of university property. Campus Safety Officers on the Wilmington and Harrisburg campuses are identified under the Pennsylvania and Delaware Code as proprietary agents of the university whose authority is limited to the immediate and adjacent vicinity of university property. The officers of Wilmington and Harrisburg do not have the authority to arrest.
All departments maintain an excellent relationship with their respective local police departments (Chester Police Department, Delaware State Police, Susquehanna Township Police Department, and Exton Police Department).
All of Widener's officers receive mandatory on-the-job and in-service training and are instructed by the American Red Cross in first aid, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED).
Widener University promotes that “Safety is a Shared Responsibility.” We encourage the members of the campus community or any visitor to immediately report suspicious activity or an emergency to the Campus Safety Department. If an emergency requires the assistance of an outside agency, the Campus Safety Department will contact the appropriate organization as the situation dictates.You may report a crime to the Campus Safety Department on your respective campuses using the one of the following methods:
In person: Old Main
Phone number: 610-499-4200
In person: Concord Hall
Phone number: 302-477-2200
In person: Library
Phone number: 717-541-3948
In person: 825 Springdale Drive
Phone number: 610-499-4200
Widener University Crisis Response
When a serious incident occurs that causes an immediate threat to the campus, the first responders to the scene are usually the Campus Safety Officers, local police or fire department, and emergency medical services. These groups respond and work together to manage the incident. Depending on the nature of the incident, other Widener University departments and other local government agencies could also be involved in responding to the incident.
In the event of an emergency or dangerous situation, the Campus Safety Department should always be contacted. Officers will respond to assess the situation and determine what internal and external emergency response is required. Individuals can contact the Campus Safety Department using the phone numbers that were previously listed.
If there is confirmation of an immediate or ongoing threat, significant emergency or dangerous situation that poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of some or all members of the Widener Community, the President’s Office, Campus Safety, and Public Relations will collaborate to determine the appropriate segment or segments of the campus community to receive a notification. These offices will also determine the content of the message and if some or all of the emergency notification systems will be used to communicate the threat to the Widener Community or to the appropriate segment of the community. The President’s Office, Campus Safety, and Public Relations will, without delay and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system, unless issuing a notification will, in the judgment of the first responders (including, but not limited to: Campus Safety, local Police and/or the Fire and Emergency Medical Services), compromise the efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.
The University has the capability via the One Card System to control access to most buildings on campus. This is an access control system, not a security system, but it can regulate what buildings cardholders may enter.
In the event of a serious incident that poses an immediate threat to members of the Widener community, the University has various systems in place for communicating information quickly. Some or all of these methods of communication may be activated in the event of an immediate threat to the Widener campus community.
These methods of communication include:Widener Web Site
- Websites - widener.edu or law.widener.edu
- Critical information is posted on the University’s home page and may be viewed both internally (students, faculty, and staff) and externally (parents, alumni, and other constituents).
- Broadcast e-mails are sent to Widener students, faculty, and staff.
- Broadcast voice mails are sent to staff and faculty and can be accessed both on and off campus through their individual voicemail
- An information telephone line is available to receive updates about emergency situations and school closings. You can use the following numbers for your respective campuses: Chester campus (610-499-4600), Wilmington campus (302-477-2149), and Harrisburg (717-541-1941).
- Important emergency alerts, notifications and updates are sent to all registered devices, including cell phones and email accounts.
- Widener community members may register for this service thru the Widener website.
- Emergency messages will scroll across computer screens when logged into the University system.
Personal Interaction and Connection
- Campus Safety or other University staff will post emergency information or timely warnings on University facilities and in public areas.
- Campus Safety officers and other University staff can make personal contact with persons in buildings on campus.
- Many buildings on campus have a designated facility coordinator who will assist in building evacuation and notification.
A lockdown/shelter-in-place notification may come from several sources which include the Campus Safety Department, residence life staff, other University employees, or other University authority utilizing the University’s emergency communication tools.
No matter where you are, the basic steps to lockdown/shelter-in-place will generally remain the same. Should the need ever arise, follow these steps:
- 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.
- Locate a room to shelter-in-place. It should be:
- An interior room.
- Above ground level.
- Without windows or with the least number of windows.
- Shut and lock all windows and doors.
- Turn off air conditioners, heaters, and fans.
- Close vents to ventilation systems if you are able.
- Remain calm and silent.
- Silence any noise producing devices (radios, TV’s, cell phones, ect.)
- Make a list of the people in the room with you and ask someone to call the list into the Campus Safety Department so they know where you are sheltering.
- Await further instructions from emergency communications or the website.
- Follow the instructions of law enforcement or Campus Safety officers when you are rescued.
Campus-wide timely warnings are provided to give students, faculty, and staff timely notification of crimes and other events that may represent a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community and to heighten safety awareness. Timely warnings may also seek information that may lead to arrest and conviction of the offender when violent crimes against persons or substantial crimes against property have been reported.
The Campus Safety Department is responsible for issuing a timely warning when a crime is reported to or brought to the attention of the Campus Safety Department or other campus security authorities, and that crime represents a serious or ongoing threat to the safety of members of the University community. Information for timely warnings may also come from other law enforcement authorities. The Campus Safety Department will communicate with local police departments to ensure we receive immediate information in regards to threats to our Widener University communities. Every attempt will be made to issue the warning as soon as possible after the incident is reported to the Campus Safety Department; however, the release is subject to the availability of accurate facts concerning the incident. Timely warnings are initiated and/or approved by the Campus Safety Department and/or his or her designee and/or the combined efforts of the President and/or his or her designee, the Provost and/or his or her designee and/or the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and/or his or her designee and are distributed by the Campus Safety Department and/or his or her designee.
The Campus Safety Department may prepare a timely warning whenever a report is received of a violent crime against a person, a substantial crime against property or an emergency situation on or near campus that represents a serious or ongoing threat to the safety of students, faculty and staff. Crimes for which a timely warning may be appropriate include, but are not limited to: Murder, manslaughter, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, motor vehicle theft, hate crimes, violations of liquor and drug laws, and illegal weapons possession.
Testing and Evaluations
Widener University routinely examines the Crisis Management Plan to ensure the University remains current with the best practices. The Executive Team, Crisis Response Team, and Campus Safety Staff receive yearly training on crisis management and emergency preparedness. During these trainings, mock scenarios are created to walk thru different emergency situations that could occur and discuss potential outcomes. Members of emergency external agencies (Police and Fire) are also invited to attend these seminars. These trainings are designed to assess and evaluate the emergency plans and capabilities. These trainings are scheduled at least once a year. Communication technology is also tested at least twice a year to ensure it is in proper working order.
After an emergency situation has occurred, the Executive Team and members of the Crisis Response Team will meet to discuss the performance of the University during the crisis.
Widener community members will be notified to evacuate a building in the event of a fire or other emergency by life safety devices (fire alarms, sprinklers, etc.) or one of the methods of emergency communication already listed. Widener community members participate in at least one evacuation drill each academic year. Widener community members are instructed to evacuate the building in a calm and orderly fashion.
Each University facility has a pre-designated assembly point on campus. Assembly points are the locations at which occupants of buildings should assemble in the event of an evacuation. The following campus assembly points are listed:Chester Campus
Building/Facility and Assembly Point
Old Main: Memorial Field
University Center: Kapelski Lot
Howell, Hanna, Turrell, Grasselli, Thayer, Cann: Old Main Circle
ACN: Memorial Field
Hyatt Hall: Memorial Field
Muller Hall: Memorial Field
Founders Hall: Memorial Field
Moll, Kapelski, Sharples Hall: Memorial Field
Metropolitan Hall: Memorial Field
Student Health Center: Memorial Field
Alumni Auditorium: Memorial Field
Kapelski Learning Center/Lecture Hall: Memorial Field
Wolfgram Library: Memorial Field
Kirkbride Hall: Memorial Field
Walnut Street Properties: Kirkbride Lot
Dixon North & South: Library Circle
Boettner Hall: Library Circle
New Hall: Library Circle
Widener Court North & South: Library Circle
Quick Center: Kapelski Lot
Bruce & Cottee Hall: Kirkbride Lot
Lathem Hall: 411 Lot
501, 503, 505, 507, 509, 511: 411 Lot
520, 522, 526, 528, Hannum House: Theater Widener Lot
1238 Potter Street: 411 Lot
1300 Potter Street: 411 Lot
Castle: 411 Lot
Manor: 411 Lot
Lipka Hall: 411 Lot
1700 Walnut Street: Kirkbride Lot
1730 Walnut Street: Kirkbride Lot
2129 Providence Ave: Balin Lot
301 E. 19th Street: Kirkbride Lot
Child Development Center: Kirkbride Lot
Widener Partnership Charter School: Charter School Lot
Wellness Center: Baseball Field
Schwartz Athletic Center: Baseball Field
Building/Facility and Assembly Point
Town Houses: Townhouse Lot
Concord Hall: Townhouse Lot
Shipley Hall: Townhouse Lot
Barristers Club: Concord Lot
Geesey House: Concord Lot
Bookstore: Concord Lot
Temporary Buildings: Concord Lot
Polishook Hall: Concord Lot
Passmore House: Townhouse Lot
Maintenance Building: Townhouse Lot
Law Building -3rd & 4th Floors: Townhouse Lot
Law Building -2nd Floor: Townhouse Lot
- Admissions: Townhouse Lot
- Student Affairs: Townhouse Lot
- Mezzanine – Institutes: Townhouse Lot
- Clinics: Townhouse Lot
Law Building - Library: Townhouse Lot
Law Building - Ground Floor: Townhouse Lot
Building/Facility and Assembly Point
Legal Information Center: Rear of the main parking lot
Student Activities Building: Rear of the main parking lot
Courtroom Annex: Rear of the main parking lot
Administration Building: Rear of the main parking lot
Building/Facility and Assembly Point
825 Spring Dale Drive: 825 Spring Dale Lot
Information about the Emergency Preparedness Plan will be published at the start of each academic year and posted on the Widener University Campus Safety website. Additional information about timely warnings, emergency notifications, and building and campus evacuations can be found on the Widener University website and within the Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report that is published prior to October 1st each year.
Evacuation drills are coordinated by the Campus Safety Department and Office of the Fire Marshal for all residential and academic buildings on campus. All tests that occur are documented by a Campus Safety Administrator or the University Fire Marshal. A description of the exercise, the date, start and end times, and whether the test was announced or unannounced are included.