Providing a safe and secure learning environment is one of the primary functions of institutions of higher education. A key to creating that environment is the identification of rooms that can be used during emergencies. These shelter-in-place rooms can provide a safe refuge for students, faculty, staff, and visitors on the West Virginia State University campus. The administration of West Virginia State University, in conjunction with their faculty and staff, initiated this study to investigate the best locations for emergency sheltering.
The assessment conducted on the WVSU campus found that the majority of the rooms selected for shelter-in-place would be more than adequate. It is important to note that the rooms were evaluated not just for threats from the nearby industrial plants but also for threats from weather events, human-caused activities and transportation accidents.
There are several general considerations that related to all of the identified rooms. The most challenging factor for utilizing shelter-in-place rooms is ensuring access to the rooms. Many of the rooms are locked and it was difficult to find a person to open the rooms; that would be unacceptable during an emergency. Something must be done to ensure that the rooms are open. Another consideration is that the rooms need to be completely closed and sealed to ensure the safety of the people inside the shelter.
In addition, it is recommended that the Erickson Alumni Center be used as the emergency command and control facility for the campus emergencies.
The final step in the successful use of the recommended rooms is training and education. All of the faculty, staff and students need to be provided the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding shelter-in-place. In addition, this information needs to be provided in multiple formats utilizing a range of communication methods (i.e. include on course syllabi, social media and YouTube videos).
We still have concern about special population access to all of the facilities. Many court rulings from around the country have found that separate but equal shelters are not legal. This suggests that all shelters need to be equally accessible to all people, including those with functional needs.
It is unlikely that a major emergency will occur in our community of Institute, West Virginia. Nevertheless, it is essential for our faculty, staff, and students to be prepared in the event such an unexpected situation would occur. By reading this booklet, you help make West Virginia State a safer place.
We are always better prepared with knowledge. Know the proper responses to the sounds of the emergency siren, confidently proceed to an assembly area if need be, and we will be more safe awaiting what will probably be an ALL CLEAR MESSAGE. The message will likely be to return to our daily activities because we have just participated in a Practice Drill.
If you are sight impaired or would like additional information about Emergency Preparedness, please call: (304) 34-ASKME or (304) 342-7563.
This booklet is a condensed version of the comprehensive Emergency Response Plan for West Virginia State Univeristy (WVSU), which in turn meshes with the plan components of the Kanawha Putnam Emergency Planning Committee (KPEPPC). The WVSU Emergency Response Plan will be activated in the event of natural or man-made emergency situations which could impact the WVSU campus. In almost all instances of potential emergency impact to the campus, Sheltering-in-Place in the designated assembly areas is the initial most safe and proper protective action. The final protective action may be to remain in shelter-in-place or prepare to evacuate. There is considerable logic to Sheltering-In-Place where instructions from qualified personnel can be given; where Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) messages can be received; and if the emergency involves hazardous substance emissions, doors and windows can be closed and the outside air intake system can be shut down. The WVSU Emergency Response Plan addresses evacuation of persons on campus to a safer location when the particular emergency situation calls for it.
Emergency drills will be held throughout the year to familiarize faculty, staff, and students of West Virginia State with relevant Emergency Response Plan procedures. The drills tests personnel, procedures, and equipment; help to refine procedures and help improve the ability of the college to safely and effectively cope with a wide variety of emergencies which could impact the campus.
Campus occupants need to know that in the vast majority of possible emergencies that may impact the campus, an “evacuation” protective action would not be the safest initial response. “Shelter-In-Place” Protective Action Drills are held regularly, so that the proper response becomes a habit.
Every member of the campus family should read this Emergency Response Guide and thoroughly understand it in order to know what to do in an emergency situation. During a real emergency, there will be little time to review procedures. Prompt actions are required and are the obvious keys to safety during an emergency.
Emergency Services/Campus Safety
Major William H. Porterfield
- Emergency Response Plan
- Department of Public Safety (304) 766-3353
- Click on Update Immediate Contact Information through MyState to Opt-in/Opt-out
(Note: WVSU students, faculty and staff receive a notification via University email. By choosing to opt-in, additional communication systems such as texting and phone calls can be individually selected. The WVSU campus community is strongly encouraged to opt-in.)
Phone: (304) 766-4267