Emergency Communications for the Vancouver campus and to the public

Washington State University continues to improve warning and notification of dangerous situations and significant emergencies involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees on campus. WSU Vancouver employs both an Outdoor Warning System (OWS) and an Indoor Warning System (IWS). The OWS consists of siren capable public address (PA) units mounted on the exterior of campus buildings that provide warnings and voice announcements giving information on what stakeholders should do as an emergency situation develops. This system is primarily focused on those outdoors, moving about the campus. The IWS consists of speakers associated with campus building fire alarm speakers. Emergency announcements may be conducted using these speakers in all campus buildings. An addition to the IWS is the "Informacast" telephone anoouncing system. This application uses all campus telephones with speakers to make emergency announcements.

Emergency Notification System (ENS)

The second key addition to the WSU Vancouver campus emergency warning and notification capability is the Emergency Notification System (ENS) that connects directly to students, faculty, and staff via land line or cell phones, using voice, text, and e-mail messaging to provide warning in emergencies, along with basic directions for response. While institutional phones and e-mail are automatically included in the system, reception of emergency warnings and notifications on personal cell phones, personal land lines, and non-university e-mail requires registration. Registration can be easily accomplished on the "MyWSU" portal site.

In the event of an emergency concerning WSU Vancouver, the campus Public Information Officer (PIO) will also communicate directly with the media to relay pertinent information to the public. These emergency response systems enhance the University’s ability to provide timely warning and notification of emergency issues that our community may face.

Issuing an emergency warning

In the event a criminal or caution situation arises (on or off campus) that, in the judgment of the Officer in Charge of the WSU Vancouver Police Department, constitutes an ongoing or continuing threat to the safety and security of the WSU Vancouver campus, a campus wide “Emergency Warning” will be issued immediately and without delay.

If the Officer in Charge of the WSU Vancouver Police Department or other campus law enforcement/public safety agent receives information that is determined to pose a serious or continuing threat to WSU Vancouver students and employees and the event occurred on campus, in or on non-campus buildings or property owned by WSU Vancouver, or public property that is within the campus or immediately adjacent to campus, an Emergency Warning will be issued without delay. The Emergency Warning may be issued through the college e-mail system, mass notification system (Everbridge), and students’ zzusis page to students, faculty, staff and, local media resources including the student newspaper (The VanCougar). The warning or announcement may also be issued through campus-wide electronic bulletin on the University home page, on the University Police web site, and the WSU Vancouver Alerts web site, providing the university community with more immediate notification. In such instances, a copy of the notice may be placed on bulletin boards around campus.

Emergency warning decisions

The decision to issue an emergency warning and initiate the notification system at WSU Vancouver shall be made on a case-by-case basis in compliance with the Campus Safety/Clery Act, taking into consideration all available facts surrounding the incident, including the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts. The Officer in Charge of the WSU Vancouver Department of Public Safety, or Public Safety designee will determine, based on the facts and the safety of the community, the appropriate segment or segments of the campus community to receive a notification and the content of that notification.

When information warranting an Emergency Warning is received and confirmed, The WSU Vancouver Department of Public Safety Officer in Charge or Public Safety designee will issue the Emergency Notification immediately and without delay to the WSU Vancouver campus community. The determination of which emergency communication resources to use to issue the warning will be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on the circumstances of the reported incident, the urgency of the situation, the constituency or campus community to be notified, and other factors.

Response and procedure testing

WSU Vancouver will test the above mentioned emergency response and evacuation procedures at least once a year. The procedure for WSU Vancouver’s emergency response and evacuation will be publicized in conjunction with tests at least once a year. Tests may be announced or unannounced and will be documented by the Commander of the WSU Vancouver Department of Public Safety.

Reporting an emergency notification warning

Anyone with information that might warrant an Emergency Notification Warning should report the circumstances to the Department of Public Safety by phone 360-546-9001 or in person at the Public Safety office located in the northwest corner of the Dengerink Administration building, room 160 (VDEN 160).