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Emergency Response Procedures

Emergencies, disasters, accidents, and injuries can occur at any time and without warning. Make sure to prepare in advance for an emergency. It is important to remain calm and act quickly, but taking the right action is crucial.

The following general reminders will help you be prepared for any emergencies:

  • Know the location of at least 2 campus phones.
  • Be familiar with 2 emergency exit routes.
  • Know where the nearest fire alarm pull station is located.
  • Know where the nearest safe shelter area is located.
  • Know where the Automated External Defibrillators are located.

Note: For medical emergencies, the University’s standard procedure is to contact paramedics and dispatch Public Safety Officers to the scene. The Wellness Center does not handle emergency responses. For minor/non-emergency injuries and illnesses, the person may be brought to the Wellness Center during normal business hours.

Elmhurst University utilizes the following communication methods to advise the campus of an emergency:

  • EC-Alert: Sign up to receive a text message, a voicemail and an email when an emergency arises on campus. To register, visit the Public Safety website, or visit this QR code.
  • Emergency Broadcast System (EBS): There are over 200 speakers inside and outside buildings on campus that will alert you with a tone and a message about an emergency.
  • Outdoor Tornado Warning Sirens
  • Campus Email
  • Campus Webpage
  • Posted Alerts on Doors

In the event of an incident on campus or to report a crime:

  1. For crimes in progress, call police at 9-1-1, or 9-9-1-1 from a campus phone, and call Public Safety at 630-617-3000, or ext. 3000 from a campus phone. Remain calm and stay on the line until you are sure the emergency responders know where to find you and/or the emergency.
  1. Be sure to advise the dispatcher of your location; your location is not automatically sent to first responders. Know the name of the building you are in and the room number of the emergency.
  1. Be prepared to provide pertinent information which should include:
    • Type of criminal activity, emergency or suspicious activity
    • Exact location of the criminal activity, emergency or suspicious activity
    • Description of individuals involved
    • Number of injuries or casualties
    • Information on the presence or use of weapons
  1. Public Safety will send officers to assist you and will convey this information to the appropriate emergency services.
  2. File confidential reports here.

Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) are located in the following locations on campus:

  • A.C. Buehler Library – 1st floor, on the north wall, before the security detectors.
  • Circle Hall – 1st floor, on the wall adjacent to the Admissions Office entrance.
  • Frick Center – 1st floor, behind information desk.
  • Hammerschmidt Chapel – 1st floor, on the south wall next to the main entry doors.
  • Lehmann Hall – Lower level, in the north vestibule by the elevator.
  • Mill Theatre – 1st floor, on the north wall as you enter the main entrance.
  • Niebuhr Hall – Lower level hallway, between the east and west entrances of the Wellness Center.
    *Please note: This unit is only accessible during Wellness Center hours.
  • A. Faganel Hall/Tyrrell Fitness Center – 1st floor, across from the elevator, by the ice room.
  • Schaible Science Center – 1st floor, across from the elevators.

To access and use an AED:

  • Go to any wall-mounted AED location and pull the cabinet door open. An alarm will sound, and Public Safety will be automatically notified that the AED has been removed.
  • Use of an AED begins by turning the unit “ON” by pressing the power button. The AED will utilize voice-prompts to direct the use of the AED. AEDs will not administer a shock unnecessarily.

In the event of a tornado watch or warning:

  • A tornado watch is issued whenever weather conditions are favorable for a tornado. Campus community members should remain attentive to any weather developments or weather warnings.
  • A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted in the area.
  • Once notified, remain calm and move to a designated Severe Weather Shelter Area or other place of safety (lowest level of a building, interior area away from windows, hallways, or windowless stairwells).
  • Lead students/employees, following directions posted in the room for Tornado Evacuation. Stay indoors, away from windows and large unsupported ceilings. Account for everyone in your room.
  • If outside, take shelter inside the nearest building, and go to the lowest floor within the building.
  • After the storm has passed and there is no immediate danger, an Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) message of “ALL SECURE” will be sent. Remain in your shelter area, unless it is unsafe to do so, and call Public Safety at ext. 3000 to report any injuries or damage to buildings. A second “ALL CLEAR” EBS message will be sent when it is safe to be outside again; wait for the “ALL CLEAR” before leaving your shelter area.
  • If the building is severely damaged, evacuate the building as soon as possible after the storm has passed. Avoid re-entering any structurally compromised buildings or attempting any rescue operations.

In the event that you are not on campus, monitor the local news reports and EC Alert for further instructions. You may call the Department of Public Safety at 630-617-3000 to find out more about campus closures. Continue to monitor local weather and news media outlets to determine if there is a continued threat of more tornadic activity in the immediate area. If necessary, seek additional safe shelter areas.

Prior to a severe weather event, familiarize yourself with the different terminology about weather activity. The urgency of your response may be dictated by the type of weather and related weather alert. The National Weather Service is a reputable source to receive weather forecasts and information. While the Elmhurst University Department of Public Safety actively monitors the weather and potential effects on campus, each individual person should also monitor the weather.

Common Alerts and Terms

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms to develop with the potential to produce tornadoes, high winds, hail, and heavy rain.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: A thunderstorm has been sighted in the general area and everyone is advised to seek shelter immediately.
  • Winter Storm Watch: Potential for heavy snow or significant ice accumulations.
  • Winter Storm Warning: A storm is producing heavy snow or significant ice accumulations.

In the event of severe weather:

  • If possible, stay inside your building.
  • If you are outside, immediately seek shelter in a building to avoid injury from debris.
  • Move away from exterior doors and windows.
  • Do not use telephones and plumbing fixtures.
  • Do not use your cell phone.
  • Avoid using and unplug appliances from electrical outlets.
  • Seek information and instruction via EC Alert if you are on or near campus.

Keep the following items nearby:

  • Flashlight
  • Cellular telephone
  • Weather radio, preferably with battery power

Preplanning is essential when working with chemicals and other hazardous materials. Know what substances are in your work area, the dangers they present, and how exposure should be handled.

  1. To report an incident, call Public Safety at 630-617-3000, or ext. 3000 from any campus phone. Be prepared to explain:
    • Location and type of spill
    • Injuries
    • Approximate amount of material involved
    • Any identifiable chemical reaction
    • Who was in contact with spilled substance
  2. If there is a spill or leak in your area, equipment or processes containing hazardous materials should be halted and the area evacuated. Close doors to contain the situation until trained responders arrive or you have knowledge that opening doors and windows to ventilate area is appropriate. If a determination has been made to contain the area, contact Facilities Management at ext. 3180 or Public Safety at ext. 3000 to shut off the ventilation system.
  3. Account for everyone in the room and compile a list of all individuals who might have been contaminated by the spill.
  4. If direct contact is made with a spilled substance, immediately remove contaminated clothing. Flush any point of bodily contact with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Report the injury to Public Safety at ext. 3000.

After evacuating the immediate area:

  • Avoid contact with others in the process.
  • Provide as much information as possible, including the type of hazardous material (if known), location, and the number of affected people.
  • Have a person available that has knowledge of the incident and the laboratory to assist emergency personnel.
  • Do not leave the immediate area until trained responders arrive, in case decontamination is required.
  • Do not return to the area of the hazardous material exposure until the area is deemed safe by the fire department, Public Safety or other appropriate, authorized personnel.

Become familiar with the areas you use, such as your classroom spaces, residence hall room, offices, cafeteria, recreational facilities and parking lots. Before an incident occurs, know several evacuation routes, where to take shelter depending on the emergency, and locations of campus emergency phones.

  1. Stay calm. Do not make the situation worse. Do not let people take foolish chances. Others will respond as you do. Set the example.
  2. Control the flow of information. Evaluate what is most essential and forward only that information. Have a plan to disseminate: Who, what, when, where, how, etc.
  1. If you find yourself in charge of an area, delegate duties. Clearly communicate your needs and trust others to do their part. 
  1. Use plain language during a crisis. Everyone will be under stress. Keep things simple and straightforward. 
  1. Talk to each other. Discussing what could happen and how to respond prepares us for a crisis.
  1. Remember personalities. Stress, fear, fatigue and anger might be present in those around you. Stay calm and attempt to calm others around you.

Elmhurst University has a committee of individuals who are prepared to address, mitigate, respond to and recover from various potential emergencies on campus.  The Campus Emergency Action Team (CEAT) is a group of Elmhurst University senior administrators who are trained to quickly assess emergencies that may or have affected campus, and they are prepared to utilize campus resources to assist local, state, and federal responders in addressing the needs on campus, depending on the size and location of the crisis.

In the event of a minor power outage on campus:

In the event of utility failure (electrical, plumbing/flooding, gas leak, steam line break, ventilation problems, elevator failure, phone outage, etc.) call Facilities Management at 630-617-3180 or ext. 3180 from any campus phone, or call Public Safety at 630-617-3000 or ext. 3000 from any campus phone.

If phones are not working, University email or cellphones may be of assistance.

Remain in place until notified by Public Safety to leave, or until the utility failure is over. Exit hallways, exit stairs, or exit doors should be used to evacuate while emergency lights are on.

While the campus is equipped with emergency generators, emergency lighting is temporary and is not intended to continue building operations.

In the event of a major campuswide outage:

  • Elmhurst University has emergency generators that will restore power to some areas of campus.
  • Remain calm.
  • Follow all instructions given to you by Public Safety and/or other authorized personnel.
  • If evacuation is required, refer to the evacuation portion of this document and assist persons with physical mobility issues or disabilities.
  • Laboratory personnel should discontinue all experiments, unplug equipment, including computers, and secure all chemicals and gases used in the laboratory, prior to evacuation.
  • All chemicals should be stored in their original and secure locations. Fully close fume hoods. If this is not possible or natural ventilation is inadequate, evacuate the laboratory until the power is restored.
  • Do not use candles, lighters, or other types of open flames for illumination purposes.
  • Turn off all light switches.

If you are trapped in an elevator:

  • Tell occupants to remain calm and explain that you are getting help.
  • Contact Public Safety by calling 630-617-3000 or use the elevator emergency phone to call Public Safety at ext. 3000.
  • Stay near the elevator and continue communicating with the elevator occupants until Public Safety, Facilities Management or other assistance arrives, provided it is safe to stay in the building.
  • Do not try to pry open the elevator doors or have people exit a trapped elevator car.

Bomb Threat

Most bomb threats are received by telephone. Document as many details as possible, including:

  • Any caller ID number displayed
  • Exact date and time of the caller
  • Exact words of the caller
  • Note the caller’s voice, especially any distinguishing descriptors

Critical questions to ask include:

  • When is the bomb going to explode?
  • Where is the bomb?
  • What does it look like?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause it to explode?
  • Did you place the bomb? If YES, where? If NO, who did?
  • Why did you place the bomb?
  • Where are you calling from?
  • What is your name and address?
  • Additional remarks?

In the event you receive or overhear a bomb threat:

  1. Immediately call Public Safety at 630-617-3000, or call ext. 3000 from a campus phone. Provide as much information as possible from the bomb threat call.
  1. Do not use cellphones if a bomb is suspected or located.
  1. Immediately examine your area for any unusual or unfamiliar items. Do not handle, move, or touch suspicious items, but report them to Public Safety or the police.
  1. Move to a safe location and wait for Public Safety or first responders. Public Safety or police will make a determination as to whether an evacuation is warranted based on the assessment of the threat level.

Biological Threat

  1. Do not shake, open, or empty a suspicious package.
  1. Evacuate the room and close the door. Make a list of all people who were in the room, and anyone who was in contact with the item.
  2. Immediately call Public Safety at 630-617-3000 or call ext. 3000 from a campus phone. Provide as much information as possible about the biological threat.
  3. Wash any exposed skin areas with soap and water. Remove any contaminated clothing and seal it in a plastic bag. Remain in the area until first responders determine whether there is a need for decontamination.

In cases of emergencies, those individuals with mobility impairments, who are not on the ground floor, may need assistance with building evacuation.

During an emergency that requires the evacuation of a building, it may become necessary for everyone to exit the building to remove themselves from a potential hazard or danger. Examples of hazards and emergencies include:

  • Fire
  • Earthquake
  • Explosion
  • Construction
  • Smoke/Gas

On a campus, there may be people inside a building who may or may not have mobility challenges that allow them to be able to easily and quickly move to an exit or area of egress. In some cases, this may be further complicated by people on floors above ground level. As a result, it may be necessary for people to move as close as possible to an emergency exit and await rescue assistance.

Ambulatory Individuals

Ambulatory individuals are those with disabilities that might impair rapid building evacuation. Examples include:

  • People who are blind or have limited eyesight
  • People who are hard of hearing or deaf
  • People whose mobility is restricted by use of walking devices or crutches

Assistance to ambulatory individuals can be provided by guiding them to a stairwell, waiting until a clear passage is established, and helping them down or up the stairs to the designated evacuation area.

Non-Ambulatory Individuals

Non-ambulatory individuals are those with disabilities that require the use of wheelchairs. To assist those individuals:

  1. Move the individual near the stairwell and await assistance if there is no immediate danger within the vicinity of the stairs.
  1. If assistance is needed, contact Public Safety at ext. 3000 and provide as much information as possible. Most importantly, provide the individual’s location. Ask another person who is evacuating to inform first responders that a handicapped person requires evacuation assistance at that location.
  1. If the hazard becomes life-threatening, move the individual into a room and close the door. If evacuation is deemed necessary, attempt to gain volunteer assistance and proceed to evacuate by way of the established route. Inform Public Safety at ext. 3000 immediately of the individual’s new location.

Areas of Refuge

Some buildings may have designated Areas of Refuge, with a sign stating that the area has been designated as such. An official Area of Refuge location has a call button and callbox in the area. When a call button is depressed, the central alarm panel is alerted that a person is in need of assistance at that specific location. First responders will be directed to that area to assist the person(s) as needed.

It may be necessary to contact emergency responders at 9-1-1 or Public Safety at 630-617-3000, or ext. 3000 from a campus phone, and provide them with location information for people who need additional assistance.

Lockdown on Campus

During certain emergencies, it may become necessary to announce a lockdown of campus buildings. When this occurs, the Department of Public Safety can cause all external doors to lock and prevent anyone from accessing buildings, regardless of whether they have an access card or not. This is an emergency action that can allow the campus to be inaccessible by an outside entity, and in certain cases, this action may be used to deter someone from outside the campus community from entering a campus building.

If a lockdown is ordered:

The Department of Public Safety will notify the campus community by activating the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), which activates the emergency callboxes in and on campus buildings to allow internal and external campus community members to hear the message. The Department of Public Safety will also send an EC Alert to all registered users that a campus lockdown is being activated.

Upon hearing this alert, campus community members are urged to:

  • Seek shelter in a nearby building until the situation is handled, and Public Safety has issued an “All Clear” message.
  • Report any suspicious person(s) and circumstances immediately to Public Safety at 630-617-3000 or ext. 3000 from any campus phone.
  • Refrain from allowing unknown people into a building, unless you know that person is a member of the campus community.
  • Remain inside, away from doors and windows until there is an “All Clear” message broadcast by Public Safety.
  • Move to a secure area, such as an office or classroom, where you can close and lock the doors.

Faculty/Staff Instructions During Lockdown

In the event of a “lockdown,” Public Safety will activate the “lockdown” announcement over the EBS speaker boxes, located in each building, and Public Safety will send an EC Alert. Those who have signed up for the campus notification system will receive an e-mail, text, and/or phone call indicating the same. The automatic door locking system will be activated. You should take cover in a secure room until indicated by the “All Clear” notification through the campus EBS. Reassure your students and keep them calm. Once Public Safety has determined that the lockdown situation is cleared, an “All Clear” message will be sent through the EBS and EC Alert.

If possible:

  • Lock/barricade the door.
  • Shut windows and window coverings.
  • If there is a hazardous incident, turn off all heating, air conditioning units, and/or fans. Tape off or block all vents, cracks, or openings.
  • In a laboratory, reduce all operations to a safe condition as quickly as possible. Fume hoods should have vents in closed position.
  • Sit/crouch out of sight from doors and windows.
  • Take a roll call of occupants in your room.
  • Turn off the lights and remain quiet and calm.
  • Stay in contact using the Internet, if available, for situation updates.
  • Do not evacuate for a fire alarm unless instructed by authorized personnel.
  • Do not open the door for anyone.

Shelter-in-Place remains in effect until lifted by authorized personnel.

  • An “ALL SECURE” EBS message means the threat or emergency is over but it is not safe to leave your shelter area. Remain where you are.
  • An “ALL CLEAR” EBS message means you are able to leave your shelter area.
  • The campus will receive an “ALL CLEAR” from the Emergency Broadcast System. Public Safety or other authorized personnel will unlock the door to notify you when the emergency has passed.

Responding to an Active Shooter Event

In general, how you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the event. Keep in mind there could be more than one shooter. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and use these guidelines to help plan a strategy for survival. An active shooter is a person who is actively threatening lives or is prepared to threaten lives in a populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms, and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. These dynamic situations evolve rapidly, demanding immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to innocent victims. Below are guidelines for faculty, staff, and students who may be caught in an active shooter situation.

Run, Hide, Fight

If you can escape, get out and find a safe place—RUN.

  • Help others escape if possible; leave belongings behind; take your cell phone if it is handy.

If you cannot escape, find a place to conceal yourself—HIDE.

  • Lock and barricade the door to the room; if you can’t find a room, hide behind a large object; silence your cellphone and remain quiet.

As a last resort and only if your life is in danger—FIGHT.

  • Act with physical aggression; use improvised weapons; commit to your actions; attempt to incapacitate the shooter.

If the shooter is outside the building:

  • Turn off all lights and close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Close all window blinds and curtains.
  • If you are able to do so safely, contact police at 9-1-1 or Public Safety by dialing 630-617-3000 or ext. 3000 from a campus phone.
  • If you are able to do so safely, get all individuals on the floor, out of sight and out of the potential line of fire.
  • If you are able to do so safely, move to a central area of the building and remain there until an “all clear” instruction is given by Public Safety, identifiable police officers, or via EC Alert.

If the shooter is inside the building:

  • If it is possible to flee the area safely and avoid danger, do so.
  • If you are able to do so safely, contact police at 9-1-1 or Public Safety by dialing 630-617-3000 or 3000 from a campus phone.
  • If flight is impossible, move out of the hallway and into an office or classroom.
  • Lock all doors and secure yourself in your space. Barricade the door with anything that is heavy and moveable.
  • Silence your cellphone, and turn off any radios, TVs and computer monitors.
  • Close all window blinds and curtains, and stay away from windows.
  • Get down on the floor or under a desk and remain silent; get all individuals on the floor, out of sight and potential line of fire.
  • Wait for an “all clear” instruction given by Public Safety or directions from identifiable police officers, or more information via EC Alert.

If the shooter enters the classroom:

  • Consider what active response options you have, and act decisively.
  • Move quickly to either escape the room or disrupt the shooter by throwing objects at them to allow people to leave quickly.
  • Attempt to get the word out to other students, faculty, and staff.
  • If you are able to do so safely, contact police at 9-1-1 or Public Safety by dialing 630-617-3000 or 3000 from a campus phone.
  • Do not attempt to bargain or negotiate with the shooter(s).
  • Do not challenge the shooter(s). If flight is impossible, attempt to overwhelm the shooter by throwing objects at them, yelling and moving quickly to disorient and distract the shooter so that you and others can escape.
  • Put distance between yourself and the offender; if possible keep an escape route behind you.
  • Seek additional information and instruction via EC Alert.

Act Quickly and Decisively

  • GET OUT! If there is a safe escape route, run to the nearest exit without running in a straight line.
  • CALL OUT! Call 9-1-1 or 9-9-1-1 from a campus phone.
  • HIDE OUT! If you’re unable to get out safely, hide in an area where you are well-hidden and well protected.
  • KEEP OUT! Lock yourself in a room, turn off all lights, barricade door with heavy furniture, and turn off all noise-producing objects (includes cell phone). Stay quiet.
  • SPREAD OUT! Do not huddle in groups or hide in the same places. Hide under desks and behind large furniture.
  • TAKE OUT! As a last resort, if shooter comes into your area, do whatever it takes to survive. Distract and overwhelm the shooter by getting everyone to throw books, backpacks, chairs, and desks. Survival may require you to fight back!

Reporting Suspicious Individuals

  • Do not approach a suspect; report a suspicious-looking and/or armed individual to police at 9-1-1 or Public Safety by dialing 630-617-3000 or ext. 3000 from a campus phone.
  • Give your location, name, and reason for calling.
  • Be ready to supply a physical description of the individual: age, weight, hair color and length, clothing, facial hair, and any other distinguishing features.
  • If a vehicle is involved, and you are able to do so safely, attempt to get the vehicle make, model, color, license plate number, and last known direction of travel.
  • If you are able to do so safely, contact police at 9-1-1 or Public Safety by dialing 630-617-3000 or ext. 3000 from a campus phone as quickly as possible while monitoring the location of the person.

What to Expect from the Police During an Active Shooter Event

Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area where shots were last heard. Their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers may be in teams or alone; they may be dressed in regular patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment. The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, or handguns, and may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation.

Regardless of how they appear, REMAIN CALM. Follow the instructions the officers have given you. Do not be afraid of the police officers. Put down any bags or packages you may be carrying and keep your hands raised and visible at all times; if you know where the shooter is, tell the officers.

The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured people; rescue teams composed of other officers and emergency medical personnel will follow the first officers into secured areas to treat and remove injured persons.

Remember that even after you have moved to a safer location or outside, the entire area is still a crime scene; police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is fully under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Until you are released, remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate.

Elmhurst University Response

During an active shooter event, Elmhurst University will attempt to retrieve as much information and work with the police and first responders as much as possible. Our main priority is to ensure the safety of the campus community and assist police and first responders with addressing the shooter(s), victims, and securing campus buildings and property.

The president and Elmhurst University leadership will work quickly to:

  • Utilize appropriate emergency notification options on campus to inform the campus community.
  • Coordinate and cooperate with local law enforcement to ensure the incident is addressed quickly and effectively.
  • Tend to any affected or injured students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
  • Gather and provide information to the students, faculty, and staff in a timely manner.
  • Account for all involved or potentially involved individuals.
  • Provide information to families and parents on the best way to contact and reunite with their students.
  • Work to restore safety and operational control of the campus.
  • Provide timely information, in conjunction with the police department, on updates to the events that have occurred, as well as information on how and when classes and campus operations will respond and resume.

Fire Drill Instructions

The purpose of fire drills is to ensure the efficient and safe exit of the facility. Practicing procedures for order and control are the primary purposes of the fire drill. The campus community should familiarize themselves with the exit routes from the rooms in which they have classes, reside, or work.

Note: All alarms should be treated as a real emergency.

Faculty and staff should:

  1. Turn lights off.
  2. Close all windows and secure all doors after the room is clear.
  3. Immediately move students from the classroom to a designated evacuation area.
  4. Stay with the class while outside and take attendance.

Students should:

  1. React seriously, but remain calm and quiet and go immediately to a designated exit.
  2. Walk when leaving the classroom.
  3. WALK, DO NOT RUN to an area away from the building.
  4. Stay with the class and listen for further directions from the instructor.
  5. Await the “ALL CLEAR” from Public Safety before returning to the building.
  6. Return to your classroom in an orderly manner.

Resident students should:

  1. React seriously, but remain calm and quiet and go immediately to a designated exit.
  2. Walk when leaving the residence hall.
  3. WALK, DO NOT RUN to an area away from the building.
  4. Stay with the class and listen for further directions.
  5. Await the “ALL CLEAR” from Public Safety and Housing and Residence Life staff before returning to the building.
  6. Return to your residence hall in an orderly manner.

If there are any concerns related to the alarm system, please notify the Department of Public Safety immediately to advise of the situation.

In the event of a fire, remember RACE:

Remove anyone from immediate danger.

Activate the fire alarm by pulling the nearest fire alarm pull station, then call the fire department at 9-1-1.

Contain the fire by closing doors.

Evacuate the building.

Always treat a fire alarm as a serious and actual emergency—evacuate immediately!

Campus buildings are equipped with fire alarm and fire suppression systems which will activate at certain temperature levels or smoke conditions. Many small fires will require that a fire alarm pull station be activated.

Fire Inside a Building

  1. EVACUATE the building immediately and ACTIVATE the Fire Alarm, if it is not already sounding.
    DO NOT USE ELEVATORS.
  2. Assist those people with limited mobility in exiting the building or going to an area of refuge; direct people to exits.
  3. CALL 9-1-1 as soon as possible.
  4. Do not attempt to put out any fire, no matter how small, before sounding the fire alarm or calling for help.
  5. After evacuating the building, MOVE AWAY from the building to an area that is out of the way of any first responders and clear of any fire department personnel and equipment; be prepared to move to an alternate location if the immediate area becomes unsafe.
  6. KEEP CLEAR of any roadways, fire lanes, hydrants, and walkways so that emergency crews can easily approach the scene.
  7. If trapped in a room or building during a fire, wet and PLACE A CLOTH or towel around and under the door to prevent smoke from entering. Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire. Be prepared to signal someone outside of your location. DO NOT BREAK WINDOWS UNTIL NECESSARY; oxygen may fuel the fire, and smoke from outside may flood into your area.
  8. If caught in smoke, drop to your hands and knees and CRAWL toward exit. Stay low, as smoke will rise to the ceiling. Take shallow breaths and filter your breathing through a shirt or towel.
  9. SHOUT for help at regular intervals to alert fire personnel of your location.
  10. STAY CALM and do not panic.
  11. If forced to advance through flames as a last resort, hold your breath, move quickly, and cover your head with a jacket or blanket. Keep your head down and eyes closed as much as possible.
  12. Faculty, staff and supervisors should account for anyone who was in their class or work area.
  13. Notify the Office of Public Safety 630-617-3000 or ext. 3000 from any campus phone.

Fire Outside a Building

  1. Evacuate the area immediately.
  2. Call 9-1-1.
  3. Do not attempt to put out any fire, no matter how small.
  4. Move to an area away from the fire and out of the way of any first responders and fire department personnel and equipment.
  5. Faculty and staff should account for anyone who was with them or in the area.
  6. Notify the Office of Public Safety at 630-617-3000 or ext. 3000 from any campus phone.

Fire Extinguisher Use

Evacuation is always the first action during a fire. However, if the fire is small and appears controllable, using a fire extinguisher may be an option to combat a fire.

When using a fire extinguisher, remember PASS:

Pull the pin from the fire extinguisher.

Aim the fire extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the handles together.

Sweep the spray from side to side across the base of the flames.

If the fire is not extinguished after the first fire extinguisher is used, EVACUATE the building or area immediately. DO NOT attempt to use a second fire extinguisher.

Mental Health Concerns

Any individual experiencing a mental health crisis, emotional instability, or distress of any kind is encouraged to obtain professional assistance from the Elmhurst University Wellness Center at 630-617-3565 or ext. 3565 from any campus phone. The Wellness Center provides emergency and ongoing counseling with appointment availability from 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

If the mental health concern is an emergency (e.g., suicidal, sexual assault, breakdown), contact Public Safety at 630-617-3000 or ext. 3000 from a campus phone, and they will respond to the situation. If the person of concern cannot verbally respond and/or you believe they are in immediate danger (i.e. suicidal, unable to breathe, have been or are becoming unconscious, have sustained significant injury or blood loss, have a weapon, etc.), call 9-1-1 before contacting Public Safety.

While you are waiting for assistance:

  • Do not leave the person alone, but clear the room/area of other unnecessary people.
  • Send someone to the outside door to monitor and direct emergency personnel.
  • Be direct and matter-of-fact (show empathy, be honest, and supportive).
  • Try to stay calm and in control of your emotions; people in crisis can be calmed by your calm demeanor.
  • Protect the person from further harm by removing any dangerous objects and keeping them calm.
  • Protect the person’s privacy by moving to a safer, smaller space or kindly asking people to leave the area.

In all mental health situations, remember to stay calm and talk reassuringly with the person until help arrives.

Medical Emergencies

An individual experiencing health-related difficulties is encouraged to call the Elmhurst University Wellness Center at 630-617-3565 or ext. 3565 from any campus phone. The Wellness Center offers medical assistance and care Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Wellness Center offers nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and access to a physician. For assistance after hours, please contact the Department of Public Safety at 630-617-3000 or ext. 3000 from a campus phone.

In case of a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 or 9-9-1-1 from a campus phone, and then contact Public Safety at 630-617-3000 or ext. 3000 from a campus phone. Please be very specific about your location and the situation. Public Safety Officers will be dispatched to your location, and emergency medical response will be activated by the Public Safety Dispatch Office.

Examples of a medical emergency include the following:

  • Unconsciousness/fainting/falls
  • Choking/uncontrollable coughing
  • Chest pain, accompanied by sweating, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and radiating pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurred or loss of vision
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
  • Trauma (blunt force, blood loss, broken or displaced bones, etc.)

Public Safety will call 9-1-1 when necessary. While you are waiting for assistance:

  • Administer CPR/AED as the situation warrants.
  • Do not leave the victim alone.
  • Clear the room of unnecessary spectators.
  • Send someone to watch for and direct emergency personnel.
  • Stay calm.
  • Protect the victim from further harm.

Important things to remember:

  • Do not move the victim unless they are in a dangerous location.
  • Avoid contact with blood/bodily fluids.
  • Protect the victim’s privacy by not discussing the situation in public.

If an AED is needed, have someone retrieve the AED, turn it on, and follow the voice prompts/directions for use.

In Case of Emergency

An emergency response procedures flip chart hangs in the hallway of a building on Elmhurst College's campus.

Look for charts like the one above in campus buildings and facilities.

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