Emergency Response and Evacuation

Procedures to immediately notify the campus community upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus: Our current methods are:

Through the Safety and Security Department, individuals (entire residence halls or classrooms) are advised by Security personnel of the danger and what action they should take or not take to protect themselves from any immediate threat to the health and safety of the students and staff. In addition to Security notifying groups of individuals in buildings, the local Police Department and/or the Sheriff’s Department are contacted to act in concert with the Safety Department to maintain order, to isolate buildings and control situations so that the danger is contained.

Additionally, the Campus Security Department will post timely written notices and warnings in all the residence halls and public buildings, explaining the situation, with a directive to take a certain action or actions to ensure their safety.

On-Campus Notification

Upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation, the Campus Safety/Security Department will:

  • Contact through Email and Phone Tree the Dean of Students, Legal Department, and Human Resources Director and advise them of the nature of the emergency. These faculty and administrative chairs and department heads will, in turn, notify their assistants and colleagues of the nature of the problem and will galvanize their staff to respond appropriately.
  • While the notification process is proceeding, the Campus Safety/Security Department will immediately post written notifications on the inside and outside of the entry/exit doors of the appropriate buildings and in the hallways, as well as notices left at the Resident Advisors’ and Residence Hall Directors’ doors. The content of the notices will include the nature of the problem and what actions should be taken to minimize or correct the perceived danger, the expected duration of the condition, and the options for accommodations that are available on and off-campus. While Security is moving through the residence halls and appropriate administrative buildings posting notices, they will call the phone number or speak in person to the Resident Advisors and Residence Hall Directors, advising them of the situation.
  • Email: When the Safety Department confirms there is a significant danger, the Legal Department, Director of Human Resources (HR), Dean of Faculty and Dean of Students will send email notifications to all faculty, staff, and students.
  • As appropriate, the Safety Director will notify all building managers in non-student living areas (Phone Tree). (This is a prominent feature during tornado season.)
  • Whenever there is the anticipation of a problem (heavy storms, periods of extreme cold, tornadoes), the Safety Department has a scrolling message bar which can be mounted in the Student Union building (dining hall for the entire campus), advising of the potential emergency and what appropriate action to take.

Notification of Local Authorities

Depending on the nature of the problem, the Police Department, Fire Department, and Ambulance service will be advised by the Safety/Security Director of the nature and scope of the emergency (911). At least once a year maps of the campus layout are supplied to all emergency responders, giving notice of new buildings, their type and location, street closings, long-term functions or construction which may change routing and access strategies. Additionally, notices are placed in the newspaper and meetings are held with the Chief of Police, Sheriff and the Post Office regarding all such changes.

In addition to maps, all emergency services personnel are encouraged to drive through campus periodically to maintain a personal familiarity with the campus functioning. Meetings are held with the county-wide Homeland Security emergency group, who may be called in for extreme situations that may involve terrorist activities and the like.

The procedure for disseminating emergency information to the larger community will be through phone calls to emergency response groups, releases to the radio and newspaper which will be accomplished through University Counsel’s office, Safety/Security Department, Public Relations Department and Campus Nurse.

Description of the process

Determining the appropriate segment of the community to receive notification: Some emergencies could potentially affect a greater portion of the campus than others. This will be a joint assessment by the Safety/Security Department and the Facilities group. The guiding principle will be to accept the possibility that the worst possible situation could develop and to take the necessary precautions in that area.

  • EXAMPLE 1: If there is a suspected fire in a building whose source cannot be located, that building will be evacuated through the fire alarm system; all occupants will be instructed to go to the assembly area for that building, where a headcount will be conducted. The Security Department will go through the building to be sure that all occupants have been evacuated. The building and the surrounding grounds will be cordoned off, and once the Fire Department and Police arrive, the situation will be turned over to the Fire Chief; and if he requests, all building electrical and/or gas systems will be shut down.
  • EXAMPLE 2: If there is an emergency which would affect a larger segment or portion of the campus, that portion of the campus will be evacuated and moved to the appropriate large assembly building for shelter, while the investigation or repairs are underway; for example, if there was a major power outage due to extreme storms or other difficulties that are projected to last for days, in addition to the large assembly area, any room inappropriate residential buildings will be filled.
  • EXAMPLE 3: An extreme emergency affecting most individuals on campus such as an explosion at our Motor Pool gas dispensing facility; an explosion at the fuel tank at the campus generator building; or an explosion or significant leak at the propane tank on campus. Possible off-campus situations include hazardous waste shipments, such as a train derailment or an accident on Highway 1 involving materials such as propane, anhydrous ammonia, etc.

In these extreme incidents, the county-wide response team will be notified, or the university will be notified by the county. Police, Ambulance and Fire Department will assume complete control and advise the university administration as to the appropriate action, based on information as to the size and location of the spill; wind direction; the ability of the first responders to have access to the site; any complicating factors such as weather; and staging areas for victim assistance and accommodations for mutual aid responders from other cities and counties.
In an extreme crisis, many of the campus residents would be evacuated if appropriate to sites off-campus such as public high school and elementary school buildings, fairgrounds, hotels, and sharing a residence with private homeowners in the city.

Content of the Notification

The content of the notification depends on the nature or level of the emergency. Such information will be given as to inform and instruct those affected campus residents of appropriate action, whom to contact, cautioning not to overload phone circuits, which could impede response to the problem or resolution of the emergency. Whenever appropriate, parents and next of kin will be notified by university officials (established procedure through the Dean of Faculty, Dean of Students and Human Resources Office). Psychological counseling will be available for those individuals who are affected or traumatized; campus-wide group meetings will be held for updates and any additional information and instruction which will be helpful. During those meetings, special considerations or needs will be addressed on a person-to-person basis.

  • EXAMPLE 1: A Bomb Threat. An alleged bomb threat could trigger a situation where students, staff, and faculty are channeled into an area where they could all become victims of individuals or organizations looking for such a response; that is to say, the safety assembly area itself may be the area where the bombs are contained, not the building; or that through exiting the building, explosive devices or other hazards are placed near the exit-ways.
  • EXAMPLE 2: It can be foreseen that activating the emergency evacuation alarms (fire, etc.) could be an audible or electronic signal that could detonate the bomb or create confusion. The close proximity of any powered equipment or vehicles of the first responders could make the situation worse.
  • EXAMPLE 3: A significant breach has occurred in a liquid propane tank and the highly flammable fumes are migrating through the lower areas of campus. Any ignition source would trigger a massive explosion

Initiate the Notification System

At any level of crisis, activation of the notification system is immediate, once there is confirmation of an emergency, and the nature and scope of that emergency have been determined. Campus Security personnel will contact the following people, the order depending on the nature of the threat and which population segments need to be notified.

Contact Personnel on Campus

Vice President of Operations Thomas Brooks
Chief Administrative Officer David Todt
Vice President of Academic Affairs Craig Pearson
Vice-President of Enrollment and Student Affairs Rod Eason
Assistant Dean of Student Life Selin Ozbudak
Provost Scott Herriott
Dean of Faculty Vicky Alexander Herriott
General Counsel Bill Goldstein
Director of Security Rig Gelfand
HR Director Carol Passos
Director of Regulatory Compliance Beata Nacsa


Other members of MUM staff and faculty will be called in to participate in the Emergency Response Team if their expertise is needed.


Statement of Intention

It is the intention of Maharishi International University to notify without delay the residents of the university and/or the population of Fairfield in the event that an emergency situation has arisen which, by delaying notification, would worsen the situation and put a greater number of individuals in peril. It is the university’s intention to initiate a notification system that will advise in an appropriate and timely manner the entire community that would be affected by the emergency, as determined by an ongoing assessment of the emergency.

The content and means of notification will be appropriate to the potential severity and nature of the emergency. Selected administrators, faculty and Facilities personnel will be called in to make a determination about the nature of the emergency, and in situations where the greater Fairfield community may be at risk, the Sheriff’s Department and Police Department will be called to make a determination on specific courses of action.

Procedures for disseminating emergency information to the larger community

From the Office of the University Council and Vice-President of Academic Affairs, the text of the emergency situation will be generated to be sent by email and/or personal contact to the newspaper, radio station, Police and Fire Departments, and the Mayor’s Office. Information will also be conveyed by phone and by the University Public Relations offices in contact with the Fairfield community and other communities, as appropriate.

Testing of the emergency response evacuation procedure

The Campus Safety/Security Department will be conducting in-house testing of emergency plans and evacuation procedures at least once a year.

Whenever it can be coordinated, the university will participate in the county-wide and/or state-wide review of emergency response drills. The university is in contact with the Emergency Response Coordinator for the county as sanctioned by Homeland Security, and the Safety/Security Department’s participation in these drills will consist of following instructions and coordinating equipment and supplies and other orders as directed by the Coordinator. When county and state-wide drills are announced, the university academic and administrative departments will be advised of the university’s role in the drills.

University in-house testing of evacuation procedures

Each year the Campus Safety Office will organize at least one test of the emergency plan and the evacuation process. Those who are participating in the drill or the tabletop exercise will be told of the situation and queried on the steps they would take in response to the assessed danger.

In case of a campus-wide or a location-oriented drill, security will notify all the occupants of any affected building of the situation and the course of action (as appropriate to the type of test).

Actions for the academic departments and campus nurse include:

  • Building evacuation is appropriate.
  • Perform a headcount of all students after evacuation.
  • Assist injured students to areas of safety.
  • Coordinate university vehicles with students who need rides to the hospital or health clinics.
  • Notification of parents as appropriate.

Facilities Department: The Facilities Department would be given an example of gross building failures that could easily affect dozens of students and would require the evacuation of the building, the shut-down of all utilities in the building, notification of all utility companies including electric, gas, and phone.

As this function is being performed, additional instructions will be given regarding an expanding situation; and at each new phase of the response, they will be charged to implement processes of Lockout/Tagout, etc.; and to work in coordination with the utility company and Fire Department.

Campus Safety/Security Department: The Campus Safety/Security Department will work with Police to clear the areas, to aid in the evacuation of the necessary buildings, to assist Fire Departments responding to mutual aid call, and to assist in finding the nearest fire hydrants; control foot and automotive traffic; assist in establishing a Command and Coordination Center on campus, and assist by any means necessary.

Individuals from Facilities or Security will be asked to go to specific locations, and their response and corrective actions will be timed. Once each task has been accomplished, they will receive additional information and instruction regarding increased difficulties, complicating the crisis.

After-Action Evaluation

After each yearly drill or tabletop exercise, several departments will convene to assess weaknesses in the procedure, unforeseen difficulties which may have arisen, staffing levels relative to response time, the role that weather played in the procedure, and a review of the role stress and fatigue played in the performance of the job.

Records will be kept of every campus drill and tabletop exercise. Results will be shared with the Emergency Response Team and recommendations will be developed regarding procedures, equipment, and training.

Buildings currently assigned for emergency conversion use

The buildings listed below with their associated square footage have been chosen because of their current availability, open plan design, easy access to the highway, and convertibility to a wide range of functions.

Except for full evacuation of the campus, the buildings listed below will serve as open barracks sleeping facilities (gender-specific); makeshift dining facilities and classrooms; staging area for medical evaluation and evacuation; quarantining facilities during pandemics; supply depot for materials used in emergencies (as collected from county-wide sources); and for processing and coordinating information and emergency volunteer personnel. These facilities can also be used by the city and county for the same purposes if an emergency evacuation is necessary for Fairfield or other cities within the county.

Field House (Open plan design) Currently used by the elementary and high school for physical education and recreational purposes 24,600 sq. ft.
Grace Ananda Recreation Center (Open plan design) Current use: Physical education and recreational center for the university, high school, and elementary school 60,000 sq. ft.
Arts Center/Old Student Union Building Currently used as an art facility and classroom building 40,000 sq. ft.
Fraternity Building 114 Currently 50% in use. Designed as a 40-room living facility. 17,920 sq. ft.
Total Square Footage: 142,520

Other buildings on campus have limited space and can be pressed into service as needed.

Future plans

There is a strong desire to use additional technologies that will further facilitate notification of the campus population. It is our feeling that no one method will work in every situation, so we want to build in redundancy to err on the side of trying to reach everyone, even if some get multiple notifications.

Rave Emergency Alert System

Maharishi International University has partnered with Rave Mobile Safety to provide an emergency alert system that delivers messages to your personal e-mail address, as well as to your cell phone. Rave Emergency Notifications are issued as part of MIU’s crisis management program.

Other Systems

Research has been completed for the implementation of the following systems which will be purchased when resources are available:

Public Address System: Will be configured to address occupants of every building singly or collectively. Enunciator horns will be on each floor of each building — residence halls first. The residents will be advised of any mass evacuation or instructed to lock their exit doors and their room doors and stay in their rooms, or to go to the lower level away from the windows in each building in case of a tornado. Additionally, enunciators will be placed outdoors on or near buildings. The placement of the external public address horns will take into account wind directions, open areas, the pathos of travel around campus, etc. The notification system will consist of both pre-recorded and at-the-moment announcements advising the campus residents of the difficulty and appropriate action to be taken. Examples of application are:

  • Instructions that their exterior doors should be or will be locked
  • Advice to be wary of individuals, with a description
  • Advice on numbers to call to receive updates on emergency conditions and to pass along information from their side of any critical observations
  • Instructions to email or text message their friends
  • Instructions to not overburden the phone system with unnecessary calls.

This system will be operated from a single station that will be receiving filtering and disseminating information as necessary or appropriate. During times of city-wide and county-wide emergencies, the Incident Commander (Police Chief, Fire Chief or Sheriff) can make announcements to the general campus population.

The following systems are under consideration:

  • Small monitors which can be placed in strategic locations in each building where wireless signals can be regenerated into visual messages advising of the difficulty and appropriate action to be taken.
  • Card entry system on exterior doors with controls to lock and unlock each door, barring entry of unwanted individuals. A card entry system with exterior camera support would help us to locate individuals of interest who may be trying to gain entry to any building, especially residence halls.

This system will be operated from a single station which will be receiving, filtering and disseminating information as necessary or appropriate. During times of city-wide and county-wide emergencies, the Incident Commander (Police Chief, Fire Chief or Sheriff) can make announcements to the general campus population.

The university’s intention is to maintain the current notification system even as more sophisticated systems are brought into play because the personal contact procedures work even when there is a loss of power.


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