Emergency Notification and Response

Emergency Messaging System – Notification of an Immediate Threat

The Emergency Notification or Safety Bulletin does not include names or other personally identifying information.

Miami University maintains multiple systems for alerting the Miami community about campus emergencies and will use some or all of those systems, depending on the circumstances. The University provides emergency notification services via text messages, VoIP telephones, University-owned computer screens, digital screens, emergency call tower speakers, and email.

These notices also post to the University home page, portal, and police page. Miami student, faculty, and staff email addresses are automatically entered into the Miami Emergency Notification System. Cell phone numbers for current students, staff and faculty are also auto-entered into the Emergency Notification System.

To update one’s data or to opt-out of text messages, individuals must log into the Emergency Notification System service.

In addition, in the case of an emergency, the University can activate an alert service on its telephone system to send notice to all administrative phones on one or all campuses. The University may also elect to alert the media. All Miami University Police vehicles are equipped with bullhorns.

Emergency messaging will primarily be used only for those situations that pose an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees on campus or for the closing of an entire campus (i.e., severe weather, chemical spills, fires, and crimes). Messages about criminal activity generally will not be sent using these systems unless it is decided there is an imminent threat of danger. In those cases where a crime has been reported; and University Police determine that, although there is no immediate threat, the crime represents a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community, a Safety Bulletin will be issued as described above.

The Emergency Messaging System is provided in addition to existing emergency notification procedures and does not replace or eliminate any other emergency notification system (e.g., fire alarms, tornado sirens).

Miami will generally provide follow-up information to the community as appropriate via the University’s website and has a system to email the landlords of Oxford students if appropriate. Miami University also provides information to parents via the Parents Office, which may choose to send emails and/or post information on the Parents Office website, depending on circumstances.

Emergency Response Procedures

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety, the Miami University Police, and the University News and Communications Office receive information from various offices and departments on campus. If the Miami University Police or one of these offices confirms there is an immediate threat to the health or safety of some or all of the members of the campus community, the Miami University Police and the University News and Communications Office will determine the content of the message and either or both entities will use some or all of the methods described above to communicate to the campus community or appropriate segment of the campus community.

The Emergency Messaging System may be initiated from on–campus and from remote locations. Miami will, without delay and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the emergency message and initiate the Emergency Messaging System, unless issuing a message will, in the judgment of the Miami University Police or other responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency situation.

For guidance on response to a variety of potential dangers, see Emergency Procedures.

For more information and guidance on Emergency Preparedness and Response at Miami University Regionals please see the Regionals Campus Safety Page.

Additional Communication

In the event of a significant on-campus emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students, faculty, or staff, the University will also post information on its homepage. The University has access to an off-campus back-up server in the event the University’s computing services fail during an emergency.

University News and Communications is charged with notifying the media in the event of an emergency. Updated information will be posted to the University’s website and provided to the media.

Annual Publication

General information about the University’s response and evacuation procedures is publicized each year as part of this Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, which is disseminated to students and employees as part of the University’s compliance with the Clery Act.

Annual Testing of Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety and the Miami University Police are responsible for testing the University’s emergency response and evacuation procedures at least once per year. These tests may be announced (as in the case of the residence hall fire safety program) or unannounced (as in the case of emergency preparedness drills). The Office of Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for maintaining documentation for each test, including a description of the exercise, the date, time and place of the exercise, and whether the drill was announced or unannounced.

Institutional Response Team and Care Team

The Dean of Students and Miami Police Chief co-chair the Miami Institutional Response Team (IRT), which is a task force of professionals representing a broad range of offices and expertise on campus. The IRT is charged with responding to incidents that may present a risk of substantial disruption to the university community.

The Dean of Students and the Emergency Case Manager serve as co-chair of the Care Team, which serves as the interdisciplinary response team when there is concern that a student may pose a risk of substantial harm to the student or to others or to property. The Care Team consists of representatives of various campus offices, any one of whom may receive information about a potentially distressed student or immediate safety concern. Concerns about students may also be submitted to the Dean of Students directly through the on-line Student Concern Management System. The Care Team works collaboratively to collate the available information about a student and/or situation to determine the most appropriate intervention.

There is significant membership overlap between the IRT and the Care Team (e.g. the Dean of Students serves as co-chair for both the IRT and the Care Team; the Emergency Case Manager is the co-chair of the Care Team and also sits on the IRT, etc.). Care Team concerns can sometimes raise to the level of IRT, in particular when the concern extends beyond a single individual and is viewed as potentially more systemic.

The Miami University Police is responsible for determining whether there is a significant emergency or dangerous situation on campus. An Employee IRT co-chaired by the Assistant Provost for Academic Personnel and the Associate Vice President for Human Resources meets to be similarly prepared for risks or emergencies involving staff or faculty.

Miami Police Officers and members of the IRT have received training in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Miami has also established a Crisis Management Team (CMT) to carry out its crisis management plan. Among preparations developed to respond in a disaster are large-scale power generators, communications via several means, a computer server off site in case Miami's is non-functioning, and police training in numerous dangerous situations. When a serious incident occurs that represents an immediate threat to the campus the Miami University Police and Oxford Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services are typically the first responders and will work together as needed to respond to an incident. Depending on the nature of the threat, other local or state, and federal agencies may be involved in responding.

During the academic year, the Care Team meets weekly, and the IRT meets monthly. The Care Team and the IRT also meet on an as-needed basis throughout the year. The Miami University Police coordinates at least one joint IRT and CMT announced or unannounced drill and exercise per year and conducts follow-through activities designed for the assessment and evaluation of emergency plans and capabilities.

Emergency Drills, Testing and Evacuation Procedures

Evacuation drills are coordinated by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety each semester for all residence hall facilities on the Oxford campus. A fire safety drill using simulated smoke is conducted for first-year residents. In addition, there are three fire drills each fall semester for all residence halls, and one fire drill each spring semester for all residence halls. Thus, the emergency response and evacuation procedures are tested at least four times each year and, for some of the buildings, up to five times per year. Evacuation routes are posted in each residence hall. First-year students also receive on-line training regarding fire safety and building evacuation. Students learn the locations of the emergency exits in the buildings and are provided guidance about the direction they should travel when exiting each facility for a short-term building evacuation. Designated locations for long-term evacuations are affected by time of day, location of the building being evacuated, the availability of the various designated emergency gathering locations on campus, and other factors such as the location and nature of the threat. The Miami Police, Student Life staff, and housing staff on the scene will communicate information to students regarding the developing situation or any evacuation status changes.

The purpose of evacuation drills is to prepare building occupants for an organized evacuation in case of an emergency. Miami uses online training and drills to educate and train occupants on issues specific to their residence hall. During the drill, occupants 'practice' drill procedures and familiarize themselves with the location of exits and the sound of the fire alarm. In addition to educating the occupants of each building about the evacuation procedures during the drills, the process also provides the University an opportunity to test the operation of fire alarm system components.

Evacuation drills for residence halls are monitored by Environmental Health and Safety Office. Recommendations for improvements may be submitted to the appropriate departments/offices for consideration. Miami has protocols for assisting people with different disabilities for safe evacuation. Protocols can be found on Miami's Emergency website.

The University does not conduct any emergency testing or drills at leased student housing located at Hawks Landing, Miami Commons, or Park Lane Apartments.

Miami also conducts regular announced tests of its emergency notification system in conjunction with publicized information about registering for the service. Students receive information about evacuation and shelter-in-place procedures during their first floor meetings and during other educational sessions that they can participate in throughout the year. Student Life residential staff members are trained in these procedures as well and act as an on-going resource for the students living in residential facilities.

For guidance on response to a variety of potential dangers, access Emergency website.

For more information and guidance on Emergency Preparedness and Response at Miami University Regionals please see the Regionals Campus Safety website.