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College Friends

College Students

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Emergency Plans for Universities

Our nation’s institutions are entrusted to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for students, faculty, and staff who live, work, and study on campus. Preparing for emergencies ranging from active shooter situations to fires, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and pandemic influenza, is no easy task. Many of these emergencies occur with little to no warning; therefore, it is critical for institutions of higher education to plan ahead to help ensure the safety and general welfare of all members of the campus community.


In times of disasters, colleges and universities serve as key emergency management partners to federal, state, local, tribal, territory, and private sector organizations. Institutions are encouraged to regularly review, update, and exercise their emergency plans several times a year.

Tips for Students

While each university will have their own emergency preparedness plan, there are several steps students can take to stay informed minute-by-minute in case of a campus emergency:

  • Sign up for campus alert text messages. Students should be automatically registered via their campus email address and keep their account up-to-date with a current mobile phone number.

  • Follow your student’s school on social media (Facebook and Twitter). The Emergency Management department may have its own Twitter feed.

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  • In an emergency, updates should be posted on the school website home page and you can call the main campus information line for recorded updates.

  • Get phone numbers of your professors and fellow students.

  • Understand your school’s policies and procedures regarding emergencies.

  • Get phone numbers of your professors and fellow students.

  • Have a first aid kit or emergency kit handy.

College Classroom

Whether you go to school across town or across the country, you want to feel confident that you know what to do in an emergency. Download our ReadyOC Car Kit or Go Bag checklist: make sure you're ready for an emergency, wherever you are!

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