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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The campus telephone voice mail system allows for mass messages to be sent to campus landline phones in faculty and staff offices.
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 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.
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 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.
To contact University Police, fire or ambulance, dial 911.
To contact the Department of Public Safety at Southeast, dial (573) 651-2215.
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.
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.
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.
This means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Mouth to Mouth Resuscitation
Poisoning and Overdose
Fainting and Unconsciousness
Burns, Thermal and Chemical
Severe Bleeding and Wounds
Use the Heimlich maneuver
If the victim is unconscious:
Fractures and Sprains
(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.
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.