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Miami University Police

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Emergency Preparedness

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Emergency Procedures
Emergencies from chemical spills to severe weather involve individual as well as collective action to respond safely. Here is information to guide responses to a variety of potential dangers.

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University Response
In addition to protecting students, faculty and staff, Miami University has adopted a plan to continue business in the event of a disaster. From feeding and housing students to preserving academic functions, to communicating and issuing regular paychecks, numerous steps have been taken to restore university functions as soon as possible following a significant disruption.

Lt. Benjamin Spilman

Campus Safety
On a day-to-day basis, situations may occur that affect the safety of individuals or groups at Miami. While not reaching the level of emergency, they merit immediate attention. Miami offers many resources to support safety on campus.

Emergency Procedures

Emergencies from chemical spills to severe weather involve individual as well as collective action to respond safely. Here is information to guide responses to a variety of potential dangers.

University Response

Miami has adopted a Crisis Management Plan to continue business in the event of an emergency. From feeding and housing students to preserving academic functions, numerous procedures have been established to ensure restoration of university functions as soon as possible following a significant disruption. The plan also provides for the protection and survival of our students, faculty, and staff.


In the event of an emergency, Miami will strive to provide communication to all members of its community via various means:

  • Web page
    Situation updates will be posted to the Web (Miami's homepage) or if necessary, an off-site page to which Web visitors would be rerouted.

  • Text Messaging and Email
    • Students, staff, and faculty who have registered with the Emergency Test Messaging System are sent text alerts and emails. Registering for the text message notification service is voluntary, but you must sign up in order to participate.
    • Parents can receive emailed updates via the Emergency Contact Listserv. (Students must register parents for this service and can do so through myMiami by choosing the "Emergency Contact Information" link within the Web Page Index.)

  • Campus Status Telephone Line
    University operators answer calls via the 529-1809 information line at all times. A recently established campus status line, 529-9000, provides information on change to class schedules or campus closure caused by weather or an unexpected event.

  • Listservs
    Student leaders and landlords will help deliver information to off-campus students.

  • Local TV and radio stations
    Campus closures and other information are carried by local TV and radio stations, including WMUB (88.5 FM), as needed.


Institutional Response Team (IRT)
This task force consists of professionals representing a broad range of offices and expertise on campus, including the university police chief and the dean of students. The IRT meets monthly to monitor campus incidents and climate, and remains poised to respond in a variety of campus situations. In the event of an emergency, the IRT may call upon the Crisis Management Team (see below) to handle the immediate crisis and manage its aftermath.

Crisis Management Team (CMT)
In the event of an emergency, the Crisis Management Team carries out the Crisis Management Plan. This group, which includes representatives from the Office of the President and University Police, among others, oversees a variety of operations, such as crisis communications, information technology, and utility/facility restoration.

Campus Safety

On a day-to-day basis, situations may occur that affect the safety of individuals or groups at Miami. While not reaching the level of emergency, they merit immediate attention. Miami offers many resources to support safety on campus.

Miami University Police

The Miami University Police Department is a full-service police agency. In addition to the police headquarters located on Oxford-Trenton Rd., two substations on the Oxford campus (King Library and Yager Stadium) allow campus police to be more accessible and available to meet and interact with students.

Miami Police promotes campus safety in the following ways:

  • Miami police officers are always on duty, patrolling the campus on foot, on bikes, and in cars 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Officers respond to calls from the public, initiate enforcement action when they observe a crime and engage in proactive patrol.
  • MUPD works cooperatively with the Oxford police and other local law enforcement agencies.
  • MUPD works cooperatively with the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution to enforce Miami's Code of Student Conduct.

The University Police sponsors the following crime prevention and safety awareness programs:

  • Emergency phones on campus
  • Nighttime Door to Door escort service (529-2277, offered through Parking Services)
  • Emergency text message notification in situations that pose immediate danger
  • Crime Prevention Tips and Services Guide distributed to first-year students
  • Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) class
  • Presentations to small groups on a variety of safety topics
  • Registration of bicycles
  • Engraving and videotaping of personal property

Police Links

Campus Safety FAQs
Campus Crime Alerts

Additional Resources

Environmental Health and Safety Offices
This division was established to address the safety, health, and environmental needs of Miami University. Services include hazardous waste managment, occupational safety, and health and safety consultations.

Fire Safety
Miami takes a number of precautions to protect the safety of students in residence halls and offers fire prevention strategies for off-campus students.

Sexual Assault Services
Miami's Division of Student Affairs supports a number of sexual assault prevention and response initiatives aimed at increasing awareness of sexual assault and supporting students who report sexual assaults. Available resources include informative tips on resistance and protection, counseling services, and legal assistance.

Related Links

Butler County Rape Crisis Program
A service of the Community Counseling and Crisis Center, this program provides 24-hour crisis intervention for survivors of sexual assault and age-appropriate prevention education.

Smoke-Free Policy
In order to promote the health of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors, all Miami University campuses are designated Smoke-Free Environments.

Miami Crime Statistics
Our crime figures include reports of crimes occurring on campus, in non-campus buildings or properties, and public property in local municipalities.

Bomb Threat

Most bomb threats are received by phone. Bomb threats are serious until proven otherwise. Remain calm.

Do Not:

  • Use two-way radios or cellular phones—radio signals have the potential to detonate a bomb
  • Evacuate the building until police arrive and evaluate the threat
  • Activate the fire alarm
  • Touch or move a suspicious package

Signs of a suspicious package:

  • No return address
  • Excessive postage
  • Stains
  • Strange odor
  • Strange noises
  • Unexpected

If a bomb threat is received by phone:

  1. Remain calm. Take note of the caller's voice and background sounds.
  2. If your phone has a display (D-term phone), copy the numbers and/or letters on the window.
  3. Try to obtain the most crucial information from the caller—detonation time, location, and appearance of the bomb.
  4. Don't hang up. Have someone call 911 from another phone. Give the phone number where the bomb threat is received.

If a bomb threat is received by note:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Do not handle the note.

Chemical Spill—Immediate Danger

The first priority in all spill situations is a person's health and safety. Do not attempt to clean up a spill without knowledge of the chemical(s) involved and never without someone to help you.

Know the hazards of the chemicals that you use. If a chemical spill takes place and, in the opinion of the person(s) responsible for the chemical, there is an immediate threat to anyone or a release to the environment, take the following steps:

  1. If you understand the emergency procedures, contain or neutralize spill, if possible, then evacuate the room and secure the door.
    If you are unsure of the emergency procedures or feel incapable of safely containing or handling the chemical, immediately evacuate the room and secure the door.
    If the spill is in a common area, execute evacuation.
  2. Call 911. Report:
    • Name
    • Building and room number
    • Description of incident
    • Chemical(s) involved
    • Estimated volume of spill
    • Request medical assistance, if needed
  3. Remove contaminated clothing immediately. Flushing areas of contact with copious amounts of water for 15 minutes will usually suffice as immediate treatment. Some chemicals, however, will not be diluted or may react with water. Ensure that medical assistance is obtained for those injured or exposed.
  4. In an evacuation, move to a safe location and leave clear access for emergency personnel. Do not return to the site until instructed by a safety official.

Criminal Activity

Call 911 if you observe a crime in progress or behavior that you suspect is criminal. Do not approach or attempt to apprehend person(s) involved.

Report information, including the following:

  • What the person is doing
  • Location
  • Physical and clothing description
  • Weapons or tools
  • Vehicle description, license number
  • Direction of travel when last seen

Stay on the phone with the police dispatcher until instructed otherwise.


During a major earthquake, you may experience shaking that starts out gentle, but quickly grows violent and knocks you off your feet or you may be jarred by a violent jolt (as though a building was hit by a truck), feel shaking, and have difficulty moving about.

During the Quake

  1. Indoors—get under a desk or table or stand in a doorway or corner. Stay clear of windows, bookcases, mirrors, and fireplaces. If possible, extinguish open flames/ignition sources. Do not use elevator.
  2. Outside—stay in an open area away from trees, buildings, walls, and power lines.
  3. Crowded public place—do not rush to doors. Move away from objects that could fall.
  4. Driving—pull over and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside the vehicle until shaking stops. If the earthquake was severe, do not attempt to cross damaged bridges, overpasses, or damaged sections of road.

After the Quake

  1. Check for injuries. Implement Medical Emergency procedures. If items can be moved by hand, help people who are trapped.
  2. Use phone only to report serious injury, fire, or gas leak. If phone is not operating, go to the Police Services Center or the Emergency Operations Center (if identified).
  3. If natural gas is leaking, extinguish all sources of ignition, and do not turn on or off any electrical switches in the area.
  4. Attempt to block off damaged areas until help can arrive.
  5. Do not touch downed power lines or damaged building equipment.
  6. Implement Chemical Spill procedure, if necessary.
  7. If your building is damaged, evacuate and attempt to secure building against re-entry.
  8. If you have a radio or cellular phone (and batteries and chargers), take with you.
  9. Turn on a battery-powered radio for damage information.
  10. Keep streets clear for emergency vehicles. Do not drive a vehicle unless there is an emergency.
  11. Be prepared for aftershocks (usually smaller than the main quake, but may cause additional damage to weakened structures).


  1. Activate fire alarm if you discover fire or smoke.
  2. Call 911 and provide information on the following:
    • Name
    • Building
    • Floor or room number
  3. If you are trained, use a fire extinguisher on a small fire.

  4. If the fire is beyond control or involves potentially explosive materials, immediately evacuate the building.
  5. Close doors and windows as you leave. Leave lights on. Do not use elevators. Walk, do not run, to the nearest stairway and proceed to ground level.
  6. Feel doors before opening. If a door is hot, do not open. Backtrack to an alternate evacuation route.
  7. Alert other building occupants by loudly knocking on doors and yelling "FIRE" on your way out.
  8. If you encounter smoke, stay low. Crawl if necessary.
  9. Continue the evacuation if the alarm sound stops, and warn others who may attempt to enter the building.
  10. Move to a safe location and leave clear access for emergency personnel. Do not return to the building until instructed by a safety official.
  11. Someone familiar with the situation and who knows the area involved should meet the fire department. Immediately inform them if someone may be inside the building. If your building is damaged, evacuate and attempt to secure building against re-entry.

If clothing is on fire:

  1. Stop, drop, and roll. Do not run.
  2. Smother flames by wrapping in a blanket, rug, coat, etc.

If you become trapped in a building:

  1. Find a room with a window. Enter and close the door.
  2. If smoke begins to enter around the door, seal with rags, tape, or other material.
  3. Call 911. If no phone is available, signal from a window.
  4. Shout at regular intervals to alert emergency personnel of your location.

Hazardous Gas Odor
(flammable, toxic, corrosive, oxygen, cryogenic)

Natural Gas Odor

Odorant, added to natural gas, can be detected at extremely low concentrations. Smelling natural gas does not necessarily constitute an immediate hazard. If gas odor is detected:

Call 911. Report:
  • Name and phone number
  • Building and room number
  • Area of odor
  • How long odor has been noticed

Compressed Gas Cylinder

If a cylinder is leaking, and in the judgment of the person responsible for the cylinder, the valve cannot be closed, and an immediate hazard exists:

  1. Turn on any exhaust ventilation and close all doors when exiting laboratory or shop.
  2. Call 911. Report:
    • Name and phone number
    • Building
    • Room number where cylinder is located
    • Name of gas leaking
  3. Implement building evacuation. Move to a safe distance and leave clear access for emergency personnel. Do not return to the building until instructed by a safety official.

Severe Weather

Severe weather can strike at any time, but in southwestern Ohio, the months of April through July see the most severe thunderstorms.

Weather Alerts

  • The National Weather Service issues watches and warnings to alert the community to severe weather. A watch means conditions are right for the development of severe weather, while a warning means severe weather has developed and is a threat to areas in its path.
  • If a tornado warning affects your area, local authorities will activate the civil emergency sirens. The sirens are designed to alert people outside, and are not always audible inside buildings. Sirens are tested at noon on the first Wednesday of every month, providing you an opportunity to see whether they can be heard in your office or work space.
  • If a tornado or severe thunderstorm poses an imminent threat to one of Miami's campuses, an emergency text message and e-mail alert will be issued. Be sure to subscribe to Miami's emergency text messaging service and keep your registered device turned on and close by if severe weather is expected.
  • Staff at buildings equipped with public address systems can use them to announce severe weather information.

Tornado Warning

If a tornado warning is issued for your area, remain calm and follow these steps:

  • Proceed to an area of safety; if you are inside a building, proceed to the designated shelter area.
  • If the building has no designated shelter area, go to the lowest level you can and move toward the center of the structure. Avoid windows and do not go outside.
  • Shelter under a heavy desk or table; curl up face down and use your hands to protect your head.
  • If you are outside, curl up in a drainage ditch or low-lying area. Do not try to outrun a tornado.

If your building is damaged by a tornado, evacuate it as soon as the danger has passed. Do not move around inside a damaged building more than is necessary to escape. Call 911 to provide authorities with information about the damage, any known hazards such as fires or gas leaks, and the presence of any injured or trapped persons. Follow the procedures for medical emergencies if you encounter injured victims.


What does it mean to "Shelter-in-Place"?

If an incident occurs and the buildings or areas around you become unstable, or if the air outdoors becomes dangerous due to toxic or irritating substances, it is usually safer to stay indoors, because leaving the area may expose you to that danger. Thus, to "shelter-in-place" means to make a shelter of the building that you are in, and with a few adjustments, this location can be made even safer and more comfortable until it is safe to go outside.

How will I know to "Shelter-in-Place"?

A shelter-in-place notification may come from several sources, including the Miami Police, housing staff members, other University employees, the federal or state government, Oxford Fire Department or other authorities utilizing the University's emergency communications tools.

How do I "Shelter-in-Place"?

Basic Guidance

If an incident occurs and the building you are in is not damaged, stay inside, seeking an interior room, until you are told it is safe to come out. If your building is damaged, take your personal belongings (purse, wallet, backpack, etc.) and follow the evacuation procedures for your building (close your door, proceed to the nearest exit, and use the stairs instead of the elevators). Once you have evacuated, seek shelter at the nearest University building quickly. If police or fire department personnel are on the scene, follow their directions.

Step-by-Step Instruction

No matter where you are, the basic steps of shelter-in-place will generally remain the same. Should the need ever arise, follow these steps, unless instructed otherwise by local emergency personnel:

  1. If you are inside, stay where you are. Collect any emergency supplies and a telephone to be used in case of emergency. If you are outdoors, proceed into the closest building quickly or follow instructions from emergency personnel on the scene.
  2. Locate a room to shelter inside. It should have the following characteristics:
    • An interior room
    • Above ground level
    • Without windows or with the least number of windows. If there is a large group of people inside a particular building, several rooms maybe necessary.
  3. Shut and lock all windows (tighter seal) and close exterior doors.
  4. Turn off air conditioners, heaters, and fans.
  5. Close vents to ventilation systems as you are able. (University staff will turn off ventilation as quickly as possible.)
  6. Make a list of the people with you and ask someone (housing staff, faculty, or other staff) to call the list in to Miami Police (513-529-2222 or 911) so they know where you are sheltering. If only students are present, one of the students should call in the list.
  7. Turn on a radio or TV and listen for further instructions.


If you find yourself involved in the very rare event of an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and use these guidelines to help you plan a strategy for survival.

Active Shooter is OUTSIDE the Building

  1. Go to a room that can be locked, close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights; if possible, get everyone down on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the room.
  2. Call 911 and inform the dispatcher of your location; remain in place until the police or a campus administrator known to you gives the "all clear." Unfamiliar voices may be the shooter attempting to lure victims from their safe space; do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify that they are being issued by an official. Likewise, do not leave the room if the fire alarm is activated unless you can see smoke and flames and judge the fire to be a greater risk than the shooter.

Active Shooter is INSIDE the same Building

  • If your room can be locked, close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights; if possible, get everyone down on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the room.
  • If your room can't be locked, determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and secured, or if you can safely exit the building.

Active Shooter ENTERS your Office or Classroom

Try to remain calm. Dial 911, if possible, and alert police to the shooter's location; if you can't speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what's taking place. Attempting to overpower the shooter with force should be considered a last resort.

Moving From Current Location

No matter what the circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active shooting situation, make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind. Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing and leave coats and jackets behind so the police can easily see you aren't armed; move quickly, keep your hands visible, and follow the instructions of any police officers you may encounter. Do not attempt to remove injured people; instead, leave wounded victims where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible. Do not try to drive off campus until advised it is safe to do so by police or campus administrators.

Critical Student Behavioral Situations

If you have information that suggests a student may pose a serious risk of harm to self or others, please contact the Dean of Students office at 529-1877 or in an emergency, contact the University Police at 911.

Recognizing Students in Distress

While there is great variety in the ways in which students show distress, the following are common signs:

  • A student communicates an intention to harm themselves or others through any medium.
  • Marked and sudden drop in academic performance or class attendance.
  • Disruptive or atypical behavior including social withdrawal or isolation.
  • Sudden and marked drop, elevation, or fluctuation in energy level or mood.
  • Marked changes in physical appearance/hygiene.
  • Signs of substance abuse.
  • Presence of marked dysfunction in major life areas including academics, sleeping, eating, health, relationships, etc.

Responding to a Student in Distress

Faculty and staff are encouraged to approach a student they think may be experiencing distress and express their care and willingness to help the student seek appropriate assistance. The staff of the Student Counseling Service (529-4634) is available to provide consultation to any member of the Miami community as to how to evaluate and proceed in such situations. If your department or organization wishes to receive more in-depth training on how to recognize and respond to a student in distress, a one-hour Campus Assistance Program training can be arranged through contacting the Director of the Student Counseling Service (529-4634). Minimally, faculty and staff who think a student is experiencing significant distress should pass this information on to the office of the Dean of Students (529-1877) or, if an emergency, to contact the Miami University Police at 911.

The Dean of Students co-chairs the Care Team, a sub-group of the Miami Institutional Response Team (IRT) , which evaluates and responds when there is concern that a student may pose a risk of substantial harm to the student or to others or to property.

Utility Failure

Immediately report utility failure:

Oxford campus
Water, electricity, natural gas 529-6111
(evenings, weekends, holidays) 529-2222
Hamilton campus
Water, electricity, natural gas 785-3222
Middletown campus
Water, electricity, natural gas 727-3333


  • Name and phone number
  • Building
  • Room and floor number
  • Problem

If you cannot see exit corridors, locate exit stairs or doors and evacuate the building while emergency lights are on. Do not enter the building until power is restored. Emergency lighting is temporary and will not support building operations.

Evacuation of People With Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to discuss issues of fire safety with the Director of the Office of Disability Resources and to inform Faculty and other University personnel of issues specific to their disability that may be necessary to know in the event of an emergency. If an emergency evacuation is necessary, here are some helpful guidelines:

Mobility Impairments

  • Ambulatory—Persons with limited mobility who are able to walk independently, either with or without the use of crutches or a cane, may be able to negotiate stairs with minor assistance in an emergency situation. Even some persons who customarily use a wheelchair or scooter for long distance travel may be able to walk independently in an emergency situation. If individuals are able to walk up or down stairs, it is advisable that they wait until the heavy traffic has cleared before attempting to evacuate if possible. Someone should walk beside the person to provide assistance in exiting the building, if needed.
  • Non-Ambulatory—In keeping with current philosophy and preference to "stay in place," the most recent advice from fire and campus safety experts is that wheelchair users should exit the building on their own if they are able to do so. If they encounter stairs or otherwise cannot exit independently, wheelchair users should move to, and remain at, a designated area of rescue assistance until emergency rescue personnel arrive. A specific person should be designated to inform emergency personnel of the individual's exact location. If rescue is deemed necessary, qualified personnel should assist in the evacuation. Please be aware that the person with the disability is the best authority on how to be moved.

Visual Impairments

Most people with vision loss will be familiar with their immediate surroundings. In the event of an emergency, tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer to guide him or her to the nearest emergency exit. Have the person take your elbow as you offer escort out of the building. As you walk, tell the individual where you are and advise of any obstacles (stairs, doors, etc.). When you reach safety, orient the person to their surroundings and ask if any further assistance is needed.

Hearing Impairments

If a building is not equipped with visual fire alarms, some individuals may not hear audio emergency alarms and will need to be alerted to the situation by gestures or by turning the light switch on and off. Emergency instructions can be given by verbalizing, mouthing, or by a short, explicit note. Example: "Fire alarms—go out south doors—now!" If you have questions or concerns about evacuation strategies, please contact the Office of Disability Resources at 513-529-1541. For more comprehensive information published by the National Fire Protection Association, see Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities (PDF).

Deleting a text message from your VoIP phone display

  1. To access the remainder of a message, press the Details soft key (shown below).

    Note: This is the first screen of a 2-screen message.

  2. Press the Exit soft key (shown below) twice.

Important Phone Numbers
EMERGENCY  911   (Police, Fire, Medical)

Area Code 513 for all other numbers

Oxford Campus