Emergency preparedness is essential for the protection of lives and the property of Erskine. An effective emergency program demonstrates a full awareness of individual responsibilities, realization of the seriousness of the problem, and recognition of the need for a workable plan, response, and recovery. Possible emergencies include inclement weather, bomb threats, fire, serious illness or injury, hazardous accidents, utility emergencies, disturbances or demonstrations, and nuclear or biological emergencies. This plan is prepared with the assistance of the Abbeville County Emergency Preparedness Agency, the South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division, Abbeville County Emergency Notification System and the Erskine College Police Department.
The purpose of these procedures is to facilitate the orderly operation of Erskine in a disaster or serious emergency and the return to normal operations. No single disaster plan can meet all of the needs of each emergency, but through cooperative efforts of all departments and the assistance of necessary outside agencies, this plan can be a guide to this objective.
Emergency Notification System
The Erskine College emergency notification system is a way for the College to send voice, email, or text messages to you during an emergency or to provide you with other time-sensitive and critical information. This facility is provided using a service called Blackboard Connect. The benefits of the Blackboard Connect service are its immediacy and direct access to members of the College community through multiple points of contact.
If you are a student, the phone information you provided during the application process or during registration is used to populate the Blackboard Connect database. If you are an employee, the information you have provided to Human Resources fulfills the same function. Erskine email addresses are used for both students and employees.
Blackboard Connect provides an encrypted, online process to securely import Erskine’s existing data into the school’s account in a secure and reliable manner.
Students may update phone information in the Registrar’s office. Faculty or staff members may update phone information in the Human Resources office.
The town of Due West has implemented a Town Siren and the protocol for this system is listed at the end of this document.
Administration of Declaration of a Disaster
The Erskine President has the authority to declare a state of emergency, and he/she will initiate the emergency plan. In his/her absence, this procedure would be implemented by the Executive Vice President and Dean of Erskine College and/or the Executive Vice President of Erskine Seminary, as appropriate. If contact with either of the above is impossible, any administrative officer on the Vice Presidential level may implement the plan. Immediately upon such declaration and initiation, an employee will be assigned to notify other administrative officers and department heads on the emergency notification list (Appendix C).
Organization of Control Center
The Facilities Management Department will normally be the Control Center. If the Facilities Management Department is incapacitated, the Belk Hall office area will be the alternate Control Center.
On-campus and off-campus telephone lines are available at the primary Control Center. Two-way radio and/or paging communications are permanently established at the primary Control Center. If the alternative location is designated as the Control Center, the Facilities Management Department will be responsible for equipping that location with portable battery-operated radio communications or equipping the Control Center with the same in case of power failure.
The Erskine College Police Department will immediately establish and maintain radio communications through the police and/or emergency communications system with local police, the sheriff’s department, state patrol, and other emergency agencies.
Erskine’s one-way paging system and two-way communications system should be utilized to contact facility management employees, who in turn will notify persons in certain areas about an emergency. The two-way communication equipment will be reassigned in order that essential administrative officers will have the use of radio communication.
Severe Weather – Thunderstorms
Public warnings are received over radio, television, and weather monitors. During regular operating hours (7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday), Facilities Management personnel will monitor the weather and advise campus personnel regarding impending dangerous thunderstorms. The Emergency Notification System will also be used to alert employees of severe weather situations.
Severe Weather – Snowstorms
- Public warnings are issued by the Weather Bureau through the Office of Emergency Preparedness and radio/television media when a blizzard is anticipated.
- Snow tires should be installed or chains made ready for installation on campus police vehicles or other vehicles as needed.
- Essential employees should be notified of any contingency plans for emergency transportation and what telephone number to call if transportation is needed to get to work.
- For information regarding school closings and schedules, please refer to the Hazardous Weather Policy contained herein.
Severe Weather – Tornadoes
The town of Due West has implemented a Town Siren and the protocol for this system is listed at the end of this document. Listed below is the policy for Erskine.
1. A tornado watch is a forecast of the possibility of tornadoes in a large area. Normal activities should continue and the following precautions should be taken:
a. Upon receiving notification of a tornado watch through the established warning system, weather monitor, or police emergency communications, the administrative offices and others on the Severe Weather Notification List (See Appendix D) should be alerted to the situation by the Blackboard Connect ENS
b. The emergency weather monitor or local radio station should be monitored constantly by the Facilities Management Department. Campus Police Department shall maintain radio contact with Abbeville 911.
2. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted, is imminent, and may be approaching.
a. Campus Police patrol cars or The Town of Due West Police Patrol cars should warn those on the grounds by means of public address warning and siren.
b. Emergency weather monitors or radio stations should continue to be monitored by Facilities Management Department.
c. Facilities Management personnel, dormitory Resident Directors, Student Life Assistants and Campus Police Officers should unlock any shelter areas as needed (see Appendix B).
d. The Campus Police Officers and Facilities Management should continue to monitor weather conditions visually, especially watching the south and west.
e. All persons in classroom buildings or in other college buildings should proceed to take shelter in an interior hallway on the lowest floor and away from glassed areas and areas with a wide, free space overhead (see Appendix B).
f. Professors, Resident Directors, Building Coordinators, and others with supervision responsibility for students, other workers, or buildings shall be informed at the beginning of each academic year about their responsibilities for tornado procedures.
3. The “all clear” signal should be received by monitoring weather monitors, local radio stations, television, and through Erskine severe weather notification system (two-way radio and telephone communications). The Emergency Notification System may also be used.
Bomb threat calls are normally received by switchboard operators or receptionists; therefore, these people should be thoroughly familiar with the following procedures.
Often, there are two explanations for someone’s calling to report that a bomb is to go off in a particular building.
- The caller has definite knowledge or has reason to believe that an explosive or incendiary device has or will be placed, and they want to minimize personal injury or property damage, or
- The caller wants to create an atmosphere of anxiety and panic in the activities and routines at the institution where the device is reportedly located.
Receiving the Call:
When the caller has communicated the threat, the employee receiving the call should stay calm and not panic. Record the time of day.
- Keep the caller talking; the more he/she says, the more you can learn. Record every word that the caller says.
- If the caller does not indicate the location of the bomb and the time of detonation, attempt to gain this information from the caller.
- Inform the caller that the building is occupied, and the detonation of the bomb could result in the death of innocent people. Try to reason with the person.
- Listen closely to the voice of the caller to note the following: age, sex, race, accent or speech impediment, and whether the caller sounds drunk, excited, etc.
- Pay particular attention to any strange background noises, such as street noises, motors, TV or radio programs, or anything that may assist law enforcement agencies in determining the origin of the call.
- Notify the Erskine College Police Department and the Vice President for Finance and Operations of the call as soon as the person hangs up, then notify your department head. The person receiving the call should not discuss the call with anyone else, and the receiver of the call should not spread information.
- Wait for Campus Police and any other law enforcement agencies to arrive so that they may talk with the receiver of the call.
In case of visible flame or smoke in the building, pull the local fire alarm. If there is not an operable fire alarm in the building, shout down the halls, “Fire ” and call 911. If an employee discovers a small outdoor fire, such as a dumpster, trash container, etc., call 911. In case of a building fire, the Facilities Management Department should dispatch personnel to the fire scene under the direction of the senior Due West Fire officer to cut off or locate gas valves and electrical switches. A Campus Police Officer should assist if no Facilities Management Department employee is present.
When in doubt about any possible emergency, call 911 and have local authorities contact the officer on duty via police radio.
In case of a fire involving extensive property damage or serious personal injury, the Facilities Management secretary should be assigned to make phone calls to personnel listed on the notifications list (Appendix C).
Serious Injury or Illness
In case of serious injury or illness on campus, phone the Abbeville Emergency Control Center at 911. When calling, specify the number of people injured and their location. Stay at the scene until Emergency Medical Service (EMS) technicians and/or the Campus Police or other local law enforcement personnel arrive.
If the injured or sick victim is enrolled as a student at Erskine, the Vice President for Student Services should be notified, whether the accident occurs on or off the campus. If unable to contact the Vice President for Student Services or the Dean of Students, notify the Campus Police, who will contact the appropriate person(s). If the victim is an Erskine employee, the employee’s department head should be notified.
The Student Services Office should be notified when serious illness, injury, or death is reported in a student’s family. The Office of Student Services will notify administrators, the Chaplain, faculty, and the Marketing & Communications Office of the situation if a student or a student’s family is involved.
If an employee is involved, notice will be given to OSHA agencies as required by law.
Any natural disaster may have consequential side effects which threaten lives and/or property. Warning of a hazardous accident is usually received from the fire or police department or from emergency preparedness officials when such an accident or condition occurs sufficiently near all or part of the campus. Accidents such as an overturned tanker, a broken fuel line, and/or an accident in a commercial establishment that uses chemicals are potential hazards if such accidents occur near the campus or if the wind is such that it will carry fumes from these accidents to the campus. The science department will conduct seminars on the proper handling of dangerous substances used by the department in classrooms or labs. Both the Biology and Chemistry departments have a designated professor in charge of the management of dangerous substances, and this professor should be consulted in the event of problems or questions.
In the event of a hazardous accident:
Notify the Erskine Campus Police and the Facilities Management Department to assist in unlocking shelter buildings, if necessary, and to be in radio contact with emergency services as needed.
- Determine the need to evacuate all or part of the campus.
- If it is necessary to evacuate or move to another location, move crosswind, never directly with or against the wind which may be carrying the fumes.
- Qualified persons should be ready to render first aid, as necessary.
In case of electrical power failure, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., notify the Facilities Management Department. After hours or on weekends and holidays, notify the Campus Police Department through the dispatch at 911 or the Facilities Management Department employee on duty. The name of the person on duty can be obtained by calling (864) 379-8810 and listening to the message.
Resident Directors or Student Life Assistants are requested to station someone at all entrances during power failures occurring at night.
Gas Leak or Smell
In case of a gas smell or leak in or near a building, notify the Facilities Management Department at (864) 379-8810. If the Facilities Management Department office is not open, contact the Campus Police Officer on duty by calling 911.
Erskine recognizes the right of students to demonstrate peaceably; however, demonstrations must be registered with the Office of Student Services. The Vice President for Student Services and Campus Police Chief should be notified of any demonstration to ensure the safety of Erskine students and Erskine property.
If it is determined that a situation is serious, a communications command point (CCP) should be established. The Campus Police Chief and/or the Vice President for Student Services will be in charge of the CCP and will make necessary administrative decisions. Law enforcement decisions are reserved for law enforcement officers.
The Chief of the Erskine Campus Police or his/her designee, in consultation with the Vice President for Student Services or other appropriate Vice President, should call in whatever available off-duty or auxiliary personnel are believed necessary to ensure safety. The Chief should also alert the shift supervisor of the Due West Police Department to the situation for possible backup assistance. The Chief of the Erskine Campus Police will notify the Due West Police Chief if the situation warrants.
The Facilities Management Director may need to be notified by Campus Police to maintain personnel to handle emergency repairs, etc. Other appropriate administrators should be contacted by the Office of Student Services.
If additional law enforcement officers are needed, the Erskine Campus Police Chief will call the Abbeville County Sheriff, who may request assistance from the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) or the Highway Patrol. If all of these departments are exhausted in manpower, the Sheriff may call the Governor to request the National Guard.
Everyone is exposed to the possibility of potential hazards extending from such influences as falling aircraft, radiological accidents, radioactive fallout, and bioterrorist attacks. Warnings should normally be received through police or emergency radio broadcasts, the Emergency Notification System and the Erskine Campus Police patrol car siren and/or public address system.
Upon notification from the Erskine President, or appropriate administrator in his/her absence, Facilities Management personnel, dorm Resident Directors and Student Life Assistants, and Campus Police should unlock shelter areas specified for nuclear fallout shelters (see Appendix A).
In the event shelters are ordered open by the Erskine administration, the Student Services Office shall be responsible for providing shelter managers at each of the shelters being used in addition to providing available radio communications.
NOTE: Civil Defense Authorities will not request use of shelters except in case of nuclear emergency, and then only after approval from the Erskine administration.
The Abbeville County Council will be responsible for meeting the problems and dangers to the county and its residents resulting from disasters of any origin and may issue proclamations and regulations concerning disaster relief and related matters which, during an emergency, shall have the full force and effect of law.
All Building Coordinators within Erskine should develop emergency plans for each building. These plans should be on file with the Erskine College Police Department and should be revised before each school year. Previous to adopting the plan, the following should be considered:
- Evacuation routes should be mapped and posted.
- Post all approved shelter areas.
- Establish and maintain a current list of all departmental employees, including home telephone numbers and street addresses.
- Which employee may be needed for a call-back to duty in various types of emergencies.
- The Campus Police, Facilities Management, Food Services, and Infirmary should keep emergency equipment readily available and maintain sufficient supplies and/or equipment to handle several days of emergency conditions. It should be realized that outside agencies and suppliers may not be able to assist for several days.
Building Coordinators should educate employees who may be used in emergency situations.
They should be instructed:
- As to safety precautions relating to the job and emergency situation.
- To courteously refer news media to the President’s Office.
In the event evacuation of certain campus buildings or areas is necessary and a state of emergency has been declared by the President of Erskine or the appropriate administrative officer, the following procedures should be followed. These procedures are in addition to other appropriate procedures found in other Erskine announcements or publications:
- If shelter areas or alternate housing is needed, Facilities Management personnel and the Campus Police should unlock shelter areas as designated by the administration at such time after damages are surveyed.
- The Vice President for Student Services should coordinate alternative housing and provide the Control Center with appropriate assignment and/or availability lists.
- The Student Services Office shall be responsible for providing shelter managers at each of the shelters used in addition to radio communication portable units. One maintenance radio unit with necessary personnel should be stationed at the Control Center to communicate with each shelter area.
- Communications personnel should notify news media as soon as possible of the incident and the extent of damages, injuries, etc. Anxiety and confusion are generally reduced when family and friends receive accurate news instead of escalating rumors.
- Additional Campus Police Officers, maintenance personnel, and other personnel should be called in for duty as needed to perform required emergency duties.
APPENDIX A – Fallout Shelters
Approved Civil Defense Fallout Shelter areas rated by the South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division:
** 1. Belk Hall – lower levels to the rear away from the exit door
* 2. Grier and Pressly Dormitories – basement area
** 3. McCain Library – first floor area
* 4. Kennedy Dormitory – basement area
* 5. Bonner Dormitory – basement area
* 6. Robinson Dormitory – basement area
** 7. Erskine Building – basement area (Hangar)
* 8. Moss Facility – basement area
* Indicates shelters suggested as reserved for Erskine students, faculty, staff, employees, and families.
** Indicates shelters suggested as best to open to the public if needed and requested by the Civil Defense Agency.
APPENDIX B – Suggested Severe Weather Shelter Areas
Applied Art Building – center of building away from glass
Belk Hall – basement and first floor (hallway)
Bonner Dormitory – first floor hallways, basement
Bowie Art Center – classroom on first floor and storage area on first floor
Bowie Divinity Hall – basement and interior hallways on first floor
Daniel-Moultrie Science Center – first floor corridors away from windows
Erskine Building – Hangar area and basement hallway
Galloway Center – lower level interior hallways and shower areas
Grier Dormitory – basement and interior hallways on first floor
Kennedy Dormitory – first floor corridors and basement
Literary Societies – center of buildings, basement if available
McCain Library – basement, away from the book stacks
McQuiston Dormitory – first floor corridors away from glass and the basement
Moss Facility/Memorial Hall – basement level
Moffatt Dining Hall – main dining area, private dining area well away from glass
President’s Home – basement
Pressly Dormitory – basement and interior hallways on first floor
Reid Science Hall – basement
Resident Homes – center hallway away from windows and glass doors
Watkins Student Center/Snapper’s – basement
Younts Infirmary – interior corridors away from windows – basement area
** Note: All Carnegie and Robinson residents are to evacuate to the Bonner basement during any tornado warnings.
APPENDIX C – Emergency Notification List
– Executive Vice President and Dean of Erskine College
– Executive Vice President of Erskine Seminary
– Vice President for Finance and Operations
– Vice President for Enrollment
– Vice President for Student Services
– Dean of Students
– All Resident Directors
– Public Relations Director
– All Building Coordinators
– Human Resources Director
– All HVAC/electrical/plumbing repair personnel; others may be requested by the Director of Facilities.
– Administrative support staff may be needed to staff Command Centers.
Every effort will be made to request help only from individuals whose family and personal property are secure.
All personnel will follow extreme caution insofar as dangerous situations are concerned. Of primary importance are the prevention of injury and the saving of lives.
The Vice President for Finance and Operations and the Erskine College Police Department will maintain the names and phone numbers of emergency personnel. The list will be posted in a prominent place in both of these offices.
APPENDIX D – Notification List for Tornado/Severe Thunderstorm Warnings
– Executive Vice President and Dean of Erskine College
– Executive Vice President of Erskine Seminary
– Vice President for Finance and Operations
– Vice President for Enrollment
– The Vice President for Student Services
– The Dean of Students
– All Building Coordinators
** Tornado Warnings are notifications for evacuation.
** Tornado Watches and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are for advisement.
Town of Due West-Emergency Siren Protocol
1) Activation? The siren will be activated when a Tornado Warning has been issued for Abbeville County by the National Weather Service (NWS) or is spotted by a campus police officer (Police, Fire or EMS) in Abbeville County or the Town of Due West. Activation controls are located in the Town’s Police Department and at the Emergency Communications Center (911) for Abbeville County. The siren is only intended to warn individuals outside of any structure within the Town limits of Due West.
2) What will the siren alert sound like? The 15 hp Omni directional Siren will sound for 10 seconds on, then 4 seconds off, for 3 minutes. This fixed siren will sound for 100% of its full volume run time. Plus the 122 db siren will provide a 460 Hz tone, the lowest pitch in the industry, meaning its sound will fade at a lower
rate than most sirens.
2) What Action should I Take?
Take cover immediately. Do not call Emergency Services Dispatch (911) to ask why the sirens are sounding! Tune to local cable TV, radio stations, or NOAA All Hazard Weather Alert Radios for further instructions. You can also be alerted on your cell phone by signing up with the Abbeville County Citizen Alerting System.
(Citizen Web Portal Instructions are on the back page of this Protocol.)
3) Will There Be An All Clear Siren Sounded? An “all clear” signal will not be issued as it may be confusing to residents in the event of additional sightings and warnings. Most tornadoes will pass in approximately 20-25 minutes. If a second tornado approaches, the siren will be activated again.
4) When Will The Siren Be Tested? There will be monthly testing at 11:30am on the second Friday of the month, or as needed after repairs and maintenance. The Test activation will sound a steady siren for 7 seconds.
5) Where Is The Siren And What Color Is It? The siren is located centrally by the old town hall downtown. The new siren is not bright red but beige in color to blend into the background.
6) Important Terms! A Tornado Watch is issued when tornadoes are possible. Stay tuned to news or listen for the siren. A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted and the siren activated. Take shelter immediately. Do not rely solely on the siren for notification of a tornado. Always stay tuned to public weather radio and television. Observe the weather conditions yourself and react if need be.