Emergency Preparedness & Safety

Emergency Procedures

This Emergency Procedures Guide has been designed to provide a basic contingency manual for the University Administration in order to plan for campus emergencies. While this guide does not cover every conceivable situation, it does supply the basic administrative structure and guidelines necessary to cope with most campus emergencies.

Campus emergency operations will be conducted within the framework of existing University guidelines. Any exceptions to these crisis management procedures will be conducted by, or with the approval of, those University Administrators directing and/or coordinating the emergency operations.

All requests for procedural changes, suggestions, or recommendations will be submitted in writing to the Director of Public Safety for review who will in turn submit it to the Campus Emergency Preparedness Committee. All changes recommended by the Committee will be submitted in writing to Administration for evaluation and adoption.

Download the Campus Emergency Preparedness Guide (PDF)

Emergency Preparedness Tips

The University places a high priority on the personal safety and security of everyone on the Southeast Missouri State University campus, and communication plays a critical role during emergency situations. Southeast uses a multi-layered toolbox for providing information to faculty, staff and students during emergencies and crimes that occur close to or on our campuses. Those avenues of communication include the following:

Emergency Mass Notification

Southeast employs an emergency mass notification system called SE Alerts. It is a powerful platform that can send notifications via a mobile app, text messages, emails, computer desktop notifications and telephone voice mail. SE Alerts is an opt out system that will send messages to students, faculty and staff during situations of urgent need and during times that pose a threat to the campus community. Visit semo.edu/SEalerts to verify your number on file with the University and to add up to four additional personal, spouse, family or parent emails to receive notifications.

Computer Desktop Notification

Computer desktop notifications allow the University to send messages to all computers connected to the University network almost instantly, informing constituents at the main and regional campuses with SE Alerts messages.

SE Alerts Website

The official SE Alerts emergency website for the University is semo.edu/SEalerts. All available confirmed information will be posted on this website as soon as it is available. Faculty, staff and students who receive SE Alerts text messages and emails will be directed to this website for additional information.

Southeast Homepage

Watch for the yellow alert bar at the top of the University’s website, semo.edu, which will convey important emergency communication during critical events.

Closings Website

When University operations are closed during urgent events, such as winter weather or utility outages, visit semo.edu/closings for specific information on operating hours of campus facilities. The website will note whether facilities are operating on normal hours, limited hours or are closed for various academic and campus life areas, computer labs, dining facilities, regional campuses and off-campus education sites.

Portal

The Southeast portal, located at portal.semo.edu, can be accessed by all students, faculty and staff. Emergency notifications will be posted under the Announcements section.

Regional Television & Radio Stations

The following television and radio stations in the region serve as outstanding resources for current news and emergency information. Their channel information, dial positions and websites can be found here.

Outdoor Warning-Siren System/Indoor Emergency Announcement System

The Department of Public Safety will sound a siren in the event of a tornado warning. The outdoor warning system also may be activated with voice announcements during emergency situations. These announcements are conveyed via a public address system. The indoor emergency announcement system allows emergency messages to be deployed inside residence halls and select academic buildings. Indoor systems are networked with the outdoor warning system and are deployed the same way as the outdoor system with the same messages.

Telephone Voice Mail

The campus telephone voice mail system allows for mass messages to be sent to campus landline phones in faculty and staff offices.

Direct Ring Emergency Phones

Southeast has installed direct ring RED emergency telephones on each floor of every academic building. In case of an emergency, faculty, staff or students can use the RED phones as a direct link to the University’s Department of Public Safety.

In addition, there are approximately 30 BLUE light Emergency Call Boxes along the Lighted Corridor and other locations around campus. Anyone with a genuine emergency may use the BLUE call boxes by pressing the red “HELP” button on the call box.

Evacuation Routes & Quick Reference

Evacuation route signs are posted in University buildings to aid with building evacuation. Also posted near the evacuation routes are emergency quick reference charts that provide basic response and guidance for common emergencies.

Social Media

SE Alerts Facebook

SE Alerts is the official SE Alerts emergency social media Facebook account for the University to inform and alert the campus community. It can be found at facebook.com/SoutheastAlerts. This official account will be monitored during emergency situations by University officials.

SE Alerts Twitter

SE Alerts is the official SE Alerts emergency social media Twitter account for the University to inform and alert the campus community. It can be found @SoutheastAlerts. This official account will be monitored during emergency situations.

Contacting Police and Emergency Preparedness

From a University Extension

To contact University Police, fire or ambulance, dial 911.

For Information or Routine Business

To contact the Department of Public Safety at Southeast, dial (573) 651-2215.

From a Cell Phone

Because cell phones will not always connect to the closest 911 call center, it is recommended to program the University Police 24-hour Emergency Number into your cell phone: (573) 651-2911. Call this number to report a campus emergency or crime from your cell phone to ensure the quickest response.

  • Remain calm.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Walk to assembly areas and tell others to do the same.
  • Offer to help those who need assistance.
  • Once outside, stay away from the building.
  • Do not return to the building until an all clear is given.
  • Do not leave unless you have told someone you are leaving.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of fire extinguishers and pull stations in your building and how to use them. Pull stations and exits are marked on the building evacuations routes, posted in the building.
  • In the event of a fire or when a building alarm sounds, IMMEDIATELY evacuate the building.
  • When evacuating, close all doors to confine a fire and reduce oxygen – DO NOT LOCK THE DOORS!
  • Smoke is the greatest danger in a fire. Stay near the floor where the air is more breathable when evacuating a smoke filled building.
  • When evacuating, move quickly to the nearest exit and tell others to do the same.
  • ASSIST PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN EXITING THE BUILDING! DO NOT USE ELEVATORS DURING A FIRE.
  • Once outside, move to an assembly area away from the affected building and check in with an assembly area coordinator or co-worker. Keep the streets and walkways clear for responding emergency vehicles and personnel.
  • If requested, assist the University Department of Public Safety and/or the Building Coordinator.
  • DO NOT RETURN TO AN EVACUATED BUILDING unless directed to do so.
  • Refer to the Building Coordinator for emergency procedures specific to your building.

NOTE: If you become trapped in a building during a fire and a window is available, place an article of clothing (shirt, coat, etc.) outside the window as a marker for emergency personnel. If the room has no window, lie near the floor where the air is more breathable. Shout at regular intervals to alert emergency personnel of your location.

  • During an earthquake, remain calm and quickly follow these steps: DROP to the floor COVER head and neck HOLD ON until the shaking stops
  • If indoors, stay there. Quickly move to a safe location near the structural strong points of the room such as under a strong desk, a strong table, or along an interior wall. Protect yourself from falling objects. Avoid taking cover near windows, large mirrors, hanging objects, heavy furniture, heavy appliances or fireplaces. EXIT THE BUILDING ONLY AFTER THE SHAKING STOPS.
  • If outdoors, move quickly away from buildings, utility poles, and other structures. Caution: Always avoid power or utility lines as they may be energized.
  • If you are driving, slow down smoothly and stop on the side of the road. Avoid stopping on or under bridges and overpasses, or under power lines, trees and large signs. Stay in your car.
  • After the initial shock, evaluate the situation. Check for injuries; attend to injuries if needed, help ensure the safety of people around you. If emergency help is needed, call the University Department of Public Safety at extension 911. Protect yourself at all times and be prepared for after-shocks.
  • Damaged facilities should be reported to the University Department of Public Safety and the Building Coordinator. Note: Gas leaks and power failure create special hazards. Please refer to the sections on Utility Failures.
  • ASSIST PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN EXITING THE BUILDING! Remember that elevators are reserved for their use only. DO NOT USE ELEVATORS IN CASE OF FIRE.
  • Once outside, move to an assembly area away from the affected building and check in with an assembly area coordinator or co-worker. Keep the streets and walkways clear for responding emergency vehicles and personnel.
  • If requested, assist the University Department of Public Safety and/or the Building Coordinator.
  • DO NOT RETURN TO AN EVACUATED BUILDING unless directed to do so by the University Department of Public Safety or the Building Coordinator.
  • Refer to the Building Coordinator for emergency procedures specific to your building.

Know the definitions

Tornado Watch

This means tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information. Consider a reliable weather app for your mobile device.

Tornado Warning

This means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

Examples of Safe Sheltering

In an office building or high-rise building: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building -- away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

In a residence hall or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.

In a theater or arena: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. (It is safer to get the car out of mud later if necessary than to cause a crash.) Get out and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from any cars (which may roll over on you). Lie flat and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges or overpasses, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.

In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Go to the basement and shelter under sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench) or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not shelter below them. They may fall through a weakened floor and crush you.

In a house with no basement: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.

In a mobile home: Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast. If there is a sturdy permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you.

Know the signs of a tornado

Weather forecasting science is not perfect, and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Here are some things to look and listen for:

  • Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
  • Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base -- tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!
  • Hail or heavy rain followed by either extreme calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen.
  • Day or night - Loud, continuous roar or rumble which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder.
  • Night - Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.
  • Night - Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning -- especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.

Practice before the storm

As the likelihood of spring-time severe weather approaches, the Department of Public Safety reminds you that now is the time to practice a response to tornado and severe thunderstorms. Doing so is an important step to minimize and prevent injury and even death during a severe storm. Be prepared wherever you are. At work, become familiar with the locations of restrooms and other interior safe areas. Determine the shortest way to get to a safe area. Make sure to stay away from windows. At home, have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of dwelling in which you live. Be familiar with the safety tips that follow. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds. Practice a family tornado drill at least once a year. Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster. Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g., mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc.) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds' notice. When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy. Turn on local television, radio or NOAA Weather Radio and stay alert for warnings. Forget about the old notion of opening windows to equalize pressure.

For more information about tornado safety, visit the National Weather Service online at: https://www.weather.gov/safety/tornado.

National Weather Service Headquarters is kicking off its Spring weather safety campaign. Safety information can be found at https://www.weather.gov/wrn/spring-safety.

  • Any spill of a chemical or radioactive material is to be reported immediately to the University Department of Public Safety at extension 911.
  • Be specific about the nature of the material and the location. Responders trained in chemical spill containment techniques will be contacted.  They will begin containment immediately.
  • Risk assessment should be conducted immediately. Stop, look, listen and think before taking any action.
  • Do not walk into or touch spilled liquids, airborne mists or solid chemical deposits. Try not to inhale gases, fumes or smoke.  Cover the mouth and nose while evacuating.
  • If asked to evacuate the area, do so immediately and contact DPS at extension 911 from a campus phone. Move quickly to the nearest exit and tell others to do the same.
  • ASSIST PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN EXITING THE BUILDING! Remember that elevators are reserved for their use only. DO NOT USE ELEVATORS IN CASE OF FIRE.
  • Once outside, move to an assembly area away from the affected building(s). At a minimum distance of 1,000 to 1,500 feet UPHILL and UPWIND of the spill area.

  • Check in with an assembly area coordinator, co-worker, or Building Coordinator.
  • Keep streets and walkways clear for responding emergency vehicles and personnel.
  • If requested, assist the University Department of Public Safety and/or the Building Coordinator.
  • DO NOT RETURN TO AN EVACUATED BUILDING unless directed to do so by the University Department of Public Safety or the Building Coordinator.
  • Only persons trained in chemical spill containment techniques should begin spill containment. DPS should be notified of the containment actions and kept apprised of the process.
  • A Decontamination Station may be set up near the spill site. If you have been contaminated by the spill, report for decontamination as soon as possible.
  • Anyone who may be contaminated by the spills should avoid contact with others as much as possible. These persons should follow the procedures for removing the contamination as directed by trained personnel. 
  • Required first aid and contaminate removal should only be conducted by trained personnel.

 

            A situation may arise where emergency responders will tell you to ‘shelter in place.’ This means that the emergency situation at hand is such that it is safer for you to stay indoors and take sheltering precautions, than to evacuate the area. If this occurs, close and lock all exterior doors and windows; close vents, fireplace dampers, and interior doors.  If your building contains a pre-selected haz-mat shelter room, go to that room. This room should be above ground and have the fewest openings to the outside. 

            Turn off air conditioners and ventilation systems. In large buildings, set ventilation systems to 100 percent recirculation so that no outside air is drawn into the building. If this is not possible, ventilation systems should be turned off.  Seal gaps under doorways and windows with wet towels or plastic sheeting and duct tape. Seal around window and air conditioning units, exhaust fans, stove and dryer vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting, wax paper or aluminum wrap. Use material to fill cracks and holes in the room, such as those around pipes. If gas or vapors could have entered the building, take shallow breaths through a cloth or a towel.  Avoid eating or drinking any food or water that may be contaminated. Remain in the shelter until emergency responders tell you that it is safe to leave. If a medical emergency occurs while sheltering, contact DPS for immediately for assistance.

If an injury or illness occurs, immediately call 911. Describe the nature and severity of the medical problems and the location of the victim.

The Department of Public Safety will initiate First Responders and respond to the incident.

 

 Remember to:

  • Keep victim still and comfortable. DO NOT MOVE THE VICTIM.
  • Ask victim, “Are you okay?” and “What is wrong?”
  • Check breathing and airway. Give rescue breathing if necessary and capable.
  • Control serious bleeding by direct pressure on the wound.
  • Continue to assist the victim until help arrives.
  • Look for emergency medical I.D., question witnesses, and give all information to the Department of Public Safety. Professional medical care should be sought after first aid is given.
  • Remain on scene until first responders arrive.

Mouth to Mouth Resuscitation

Poisoning and Overdose

  • Determine what substance is involved and how it was taken.
  • Stay with the victim and assist as necessary.
  • If choking, lower the victim’s head, and keep their airway clear.

Fainting and Unconsciousness

  • Have the victim lie or sit down and rest.
  • Keep the victim comfortable, not hot or cold.
  • Ask or look for emergency medical alert bracelet.
  • Treat other injuries as necessary.
  • Check to see if the victim is breathing, and ensure airway is clear.

Burns, Thermal and Chemical

  • Flood chemical burns with cool water.
  • Cover the burn with dry bandage.
  • Keep the victim quiet and comfortable.

Severe Bleeding and Wounds

  • Apply direct pressure on the wound.
  • Use a clean cloth or hand.
  • Elevate the injured body part.
  • Apply pressure to the artery, if necessary.
  • Add more cloth if blood soaks through. DO NOT remove cloth from the wound.
  • Keep pressure on the wound until help arrives.

Choking

Use the Heimlich maneuver

  • From behind, wrap your arms around victim’s waist.
  • Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against victim’s upper abdomen, below the ribcage, and just above the navel.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into victim’s abdomen with a quick, upward pressure. Do not squeeze the ribcage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands.
  • Repeat until object is expelled.

If the victim is unconscious:

  • Place victim on back.
  • Kneel astride victim’s hips, facing the victim.
  • With one of your hands on top of the other, place the heel of your bottom hand on the abdomen, below the rib cage and just above the navel.
  • Use your body weight to press into the victim’s abdomen with a quick, upward pressure.
  • Repeat until object is expelled.

Heart Attack

  • Give CPR as necessary, only if you are trained to do so.
    - Information for CPR training can be found on the Red Cross website https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr
  • Keep the victim comfortable, not hot or cold.
  • Ask or look for emergency medical alert bracelet.

Fractures and Sprains

  • Keep the injured area immobile until first responders arrive.

Shock

  • Keep victim flat. (This places less demand on the body than sitting or standing.) If victim is vomiting, turn the head to one side so the vomit will go outside of the patient’s mouth.
  • If there are no head or chest injuries or any difficulty in breathing, then raise the lower part of the body 8-12 inches. If the victim complains of pain because of this, discontinue.
  • Loosen any tight clothing, particularly about the neck.
  • Keep the victim warm (to prevent loss of body heat) but avoid sweating.
  • Speak soothingly and reassuringly. Create a feeling of confidence in recovery. Speak calmly. Do not cause unnecessary questioning, movement, or noise.
  • Do not give water if the victim is unconscious or nauseated. Do not give water if medical care will arrive within 30 minutes. If medical care will be delayed longer than 30 min, then give only small sips and not enough to cause nausea. Do not give any alcohol.
Download the Emergency Quick Reference

Outdoor Siren System

(3-Minute Steady Sound)

When you hear a steady 3-minute sound from the sirens, a tornado is imminent. A tornado has been sighted on radar by the National Weather Service or by a weather spotter. Immediate action is required.

If indoors, seek shelter in the lowest level of the building. Interior hallways are preferable. Stay away from windows.

If outdoors, take cover in the nearest ditch or low area away from power lines and trees. Do not stay in a car or attempt to outrun a tornado.

(3-Minute Repeated Broken Tones)

If the evacuation of a building becomes necessary, the siren will sound with repeated broken tones that continue for 3 minutes. This means you should evacuate as quickly as possible. In these instances, the sound of the siren may be followed by public address messages.

Things to remember about building evacuations

  • Be familiar with marked exits from buildings you frequent.
  • Learn where the building assembly areas are. They are marked on building evacuation routes.
  • Remain calm as you walk to the building assembly areas. Tell others to do the same.
  • Help those in need of assistance.
  • Once outside, move away from the building to the assembly area.
  • Do not use elevators in case of fire.
  • Do not return to an evacuated building unless directed to do so.
  • Do not leave the scene unless you have told someone you are leaving. Missing persons can become a serious concern.

For additional information regarding building evacuation, contact your building coordinator.

If you hear a series of short pulse tones, you should listen for either a recorded voice message or a live message to follow.

In the event of severe thunderstorm warnings for Cape Girardeau County or dangerous lightning, the sirens will sound with short pulse tones followed by a recorded message. If possible, tune to the local weather broadcasts when you hear the voice messages.

You also may hear these short pulse tones for other types of emergencies. When warranted, the sirens will sound and will be followed by a public address message. Because these messages are "live," they may be difficult to hear and understand. Listen carefully as the message will be repeated.

The outdoor emergency siren system at Southeast is designed to provide an alert to severe weather and other impending danger. The National Weather Service and/or storm spotters and local emergency management agencies initiate all siren alerts.

The sirens are tested on the first Wednesday of the month at noon. During testing, you will hear the short pulse tones and a voice message announcing the test. The 3-minute tornado siren will then sound.

Download the Outdoor Siren Brochure

Contact

Parking:
(573) 651-2310
parking@semo.edu

Police:
(573) 651-2215
dps@semo.edu

Transit:
(573) 986-6187
transit@semo.edu

Emergency Operations:
(573) 651-2547

Street Address
1401 N. Sprigg
Cape Girardeau, MO

Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 7275
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701

Map
Nonstructural Mitigation Brochure
Fire Safety Brochure
Emergency Preparedness and Safety Brochure

Emergency Preparedness Links

Readiness Tips
Fire Safety Tips
Central US Earthquake Activity
National Weather Service Forecast Office
The American Red Cross