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Emergencies Procedure - 63.10.02

College Policy Number/Title:

Howard Community College (HCC) strives to maintain a safe and healthy working environment. The following procedures guide employees in responding to emergencies on campus. An emergency is an incident, situation, or hazardous condition that:

  • threatens the loss of life or injury;
  • threatens the loss or damage of property; and
  • disrupts normal operations.

In the event of an emergency on the HCC campus, employees should call the department of public safety immediately at extension 5555, use a red emergency phone, use a blue emergency phone, or externally call 443-518-5555. The public safety office in coordination with designated members of the emergency response team will determine the need to call county police, or the need to consult with local authorities pertaining to the emergency situation.

In time-critical emergency situations, employees should call emergency services immediately at 911 and then call public safety. The college’s department of public safety is available and on-call 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Regardless of what type of emergency or crisis, the steps are always the same:

  • Call Public Safety Office: Dial 5555 (available 24/7) - OR -
  • Call 911 center if in your judgment the situation warrants, then call public safety

Confirmation of the existence of emergency conditions and decisions about emergency actions, college closings and related precautions will be made by the Emergency Response Team. Notification of emergency information is disseminated by the Crisis Communications Manager within the office of public relations and marketing. Contact with the media regarding emergencies is only handled by the executive director of public relations and marketing or designee.

Emergency Response

The college’s Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) identifies the most common threats to the campus and contains step-by-step procedures to address each identified emergency. Information on emergency response and notifications are on the public safety webpage www.howardcc.edu/services-support/public-safety. An at-a-glance version of emergency response procedures and evacuations routes is contained in the college’s Emergency Quick Reference Guide located at www.howardcc.edu/services-support/public-safety/emergency-information.

Howard Community College has developed a three (3) protocol system so that in the event of any emergency or campus threat, the college will either:

  1. Evacuate (fire or bomb threat);
  2. Shelter-in-place (environmental hazard or weather incident); or
  3. Lockdown (active shooter, criminal or violent act).

Immediate emergency notification to the campus community is done through a redundant system of communication channels. The college will issue an immediate emergency notification to the campus community upon confirmation of a significant event involving the immediate threat to the health or safety of students and employees, unless issuing a notification will compromise the efforts to contain the emergency.

Emergency Personnel

In the event of an emergency, the college community is instructed to call the department of public safety first at extension 5555, or if the situation warrants call 911 and then the department of public safety. The flow of information is as follows:

  • Employee or student alerts the Department of Public Safety
  • Public Safety alerts Crisis Communications Manager
  • Crisis Communications Manager alerts Emergency Response Team
  • Crisis Communications Manager and Public Safety facilitate communications campus-wide

The decision for notification is determined in coordination with the department of public safety and the crisis communications manager. The crisis communications manager will consult with members of the emergency response team. If required, the emergency response team will be notified to report to the command post or the emergency operations center (EOC) to determine appropriate actions. The college’s key personnel identified to assist in an emergency situation include:

  • Department of Public Safety – first responder; initial contact during emergency; notifies Crisis Communications Manager
  • Crisis Communications Manager – alerted by Public Safety; notifies Emergency Response Team; communicates with campus community and stakeholders;
  • Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing or designee – contact for news media
  • Emergency Response Team – supervises actions of college, its students and employees; assumes responsibility of decisions; works cooperatively with local emergency personnel
  • Building Monitors – trained employees who assist with following emergency protocol; main point of contact to Department of Public Safety, Crisis Communications Manager, and Emergency Response Team
  • Critical college areas – departments with special roles and essential functions

Emergency Communications

In the event that a situation arises which, in the judgment of the director of public safety and crisis communications manager, constitutes an ongoing or continuing threat, a timely warning will be issued campus-wide. The warning can be issued through the redundant system of communication channels. Depending on the particular circumstances of the incident, email will be used first as it encompasses 100 percent of the campus population. Based on the severity of the threat, other appropriate communication channels will be implemented as necessary including use of the Mobile Alert System and/or others.

Communication channels are identified as first alert, updates, and all-clear.

First AlertUpdates
Mobile alert systemMobile alert system
Fire alarmEmergency hotline x5050
E-mailTwo-way radios
Public address (PA) systemWalk-arounds
Alertus desktopCommand posts/assembly areas
Alertus public displaysSocial media
Digital clock displaysAll-Clear
Blue emergency phonesMobile alert system
Two-way radiosBullhorns and whistles
Social media – webpage, FacebookWalk-arounds


Mobile Alert System

Howard Community College offers a mobile alert system to all employees and students. This free, opt-in service enables people to receive instant notification of important information to any mobile device or desktop computer. Sign up for emergency notifications at www.howardcc.edu/alert. Notifications are sent via text and email. Users will only receive messages related to emergencies and any optional message groups chosen. People who sign up are responsible for any standard text messaging charges from the cell phone carrier.

Related College Policy Number/Title:  63.01D Sexual Misconduct Policy

Effective Date:  02/14/20b

President's Office Use:  VPAF/VPSS

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