Shelter in Place Appendix C

This Appendix describes the procedures recommended when you are instructed to shelter in place. For purposes of this Plan, the term shelter in place is intended to include the safety strategy often referred to as "lockdown." All members of the W&L community should become familiar with these recommended procedures. For additional guidance related to a specific type of emergency situation, see the applicable section(s) of Appendix A.

It may be necessary to shelter in place when conditions are such that it is safest to go inside or remain inside a building or room. This strategy is used when conditions do not allow for a safe evacuation or when being inside a building or room provides additional protection from an emergency situation. You may be notified of the need to shelter in place by a directive from Public Safety personnel or an order to shelter in place communicated through the Emergency Communications Systems. However, if you are in a campus building and, despite not having received any order to shelter in place, you believe it is not safe to leave the building, or if you are outside and believe that it is safest to be indoors (due to a weather emergency or hazardous materials incident, for example), follow the shelter in place procedures below.

Shelter in Place

If you are instructed to shelter in place:

  • If possible, quickly locate and gather necessary supplies (e.g., food, water, etc.).
  • Go inside or stay inside the building.
  • If possible, go to an interior room or corridor where there are no windows.
  • In an emergency involving a violent actor, and if it seems safe to do so, move to a room that can be locked from the inside or take whatever measures you can to barricade the door and prevent entry from the outside.
  • DO NOT use elevators.
  • Close all windows and doors.
  • Remain calm yourself and try to maintain calm and reduce panic among those gathered.
  • DO NOT LEAVE THE BUILDING UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES until it has been cleared by Public Safety or through the Emergency Communications Systems.
  • Await and follow instructions from Public Safety, other University personnel, or law enforcement/emergency officials.

Accounting for Individuals When Instructed to Shelter In Place

  • Processes for accounting for students and employees, and to the extent possible, campus visitors, will depend on the nature and scope of the emergency.
  • As quickly as possible, depending on the nature and scope of the emergency and the feasibility of communication, faculty of classes that were in session, workplace supervisors, Residence Life/Greek Housing staff, and other designated facility reporters will account for their students and staff known or presumed to have been in the building/area in which they have been instructed to shelter in place, and report missing and/or presumed missing individuals to Public Safety or emergency officials. As it is safe to do so, Public Safety or other designated individuals will conduct a search of the building/area for any sheltering, entrapped, or injured occupants.
  • The University, through the Incident Commander and the EOG, will use all reasonable efforts to try to account for all members of the campus community in an incident where individuals have been instructed to shelter in place, using information from reporting faculty, supervisors, Residence Life/Greek Housing staff, other designated facility reporters, Student Affairs, Human Resources, Public Safety, law enforcement, and other external emergency officials, and comparing that information with class schedules, work schedules, housing rosters, and other University records relevant to identifying the whereabouts of students, employees, and campus visitors at the time of the emergency incident resulting in an instruction to shelter in place and thereafter.

Shelter in Place for Individuals with Disabilities

If you have a disability and are unable to get to a building or area to shelter in place on your own, stay calm and take steps to protect yourself, as appropriate. If it is safe to do so, call 911 or Public Safety at extension 8999, or 540.458.8999 from off-campus, and tell the responder where you are or where you will be and if you have a service animal or other assistive devices or equipment. If you must move:

  • Move to the safest area of the building that is readily accessible to you.
  • If the emergency situation requires you to move to a higher or lower level of the building or other area and you are unable to access the appropriate location, request persons passing by to notify emergency responders of your location so that the emergency responders can assist you.
  • Follow all other shelter in place procedures set forth in this Appendix.

NOTE: It is suggested that individuals with disabilities prepare for emergencies before they happen and inform co-workers, professors, and/or classmates of the best methods of assistance during an emergency. For assistance with preplanning for an emergency, contact the Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources or your supervisor or department head (for employees). A few examples of preplanning measures include:

  • Learning alternate exit routes from commonly used areas
  • Identifying a "buddy" to help
  • Keeping extra medication, assistive devices, etc. on hand
  • Wearing medical alert tags to inform emergency personnel or volunteers of pertinent health conditions

Assisting Individuals with Disabilities When Instructed to Shelter in Place

During an emergency, if you notice an individual with a disability who may need assistance, ask him/her if s/he needs help, how you can properly provide assistance, and if s/he needs to take any necessary items, including, but not limited to, service animals or other assistive devices or equipment.

The following guidance is intended to provide general instructions for aiding individuals with disabilities when instructed to shelter in place, based on the specific type of disability:

  • Mobility Impairment
    • If an individual cannot access the appropriate area to shelter in place on his/her own, ask if assistance is needed.
    • If s/he elects to await assistance from emergency responders, escort the individual to the safest accessible area.
    • Some individuals with mobility impairments who are able to walk independently may be able to negotiate stairs with minor assistance.
    • Do not try to carry anyone with mobility impairment unless there is no other option. You could do more harm to him/her or yourself.
    • After you have sheltered in place, immediately inform emergency officials of the location of any person awaiting assistance.
    • If there are no other options, use any and all measures to assist the mobility impaired individual in accessing the appropriate area to shelter in place if it is safe to do so, taking any precautions necessary and advisable based on the specific emergency situation.
  • Blindness or Visual Impairment
    • Give verbal instructions about the safest route or direction using directional terms and estimated distances, and advising of obstacles they may encounter.
    • Ask if assistance is needed. If so, offer your elbow and provide guidance through the route to the appropriate area. This may be especially helpful if there is debris or a crowd. (Never grasp the arm of the individual you are assisting).
    • While escorting an individual, explain as you are walking where you are going, what you are doing, and any obstacles that you encounter.
    • Orient the individual to their location after arriving at the shelter in place location.
    • Do not separate an individual from his/her service animal and realize that the service animal may be anxious in an emergency and may act to protect the handler.
  • Deafness, Hearing Loss, Language Difficulty
    • Get his/her attention by eye contact or touch, if necessary.
    • Communicate the problem including the need to shelter in place. Gesturing and pointing are helpful, but be prepared to write a brief statement if the individual does not seem to understand.
    • Offer visual instructions to designate the safest route or direction to the appropriate area to shelter in place by pointing to signs and/or maps.
    • Offer to escort the individual to the appropriate area to shelter in place.