Emergency Information

Active Shooter Protocol:

An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Both the University and Plymouth Police are trained and equipped to respond to active shooter events and conduct combined training exercises. In the event of an active shooter event, the outdoor emergency siren will sound and you will received emergency text alerts to advise you of the dangers. To sign up for emergency text alerts please visit: Emergency Alert System Because active shooter situations are often over within minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

University Police has provided the following information on what you should do in case such an event happens at PSU based on the principles of AvoidDeny, and Defend.

In the event an active shooter event occurs on campus an emergency notification and the Outdoor Emergency Siren will activate.

Emergency Notifications:

Emergency Notification: Are used for imminent threats developing or on-going on or near the campus; tornados, fires, active shooter/hostile person and chemical spills are a few examples.

Emergency Notifications, will be sent without reasonable delay to the campus community once University Police personnel or other University officials have validated an urgent situation.

Emergency Notifications may require the activation of the PSU Outdoor Emergency Siren

Three steps to survive active shooter events:


  • If you can safely escape run away, leave the area and escape as soon as possible
  • Have an escape route or plan in mind, know where exit are located
  • Visitors will follow the example of faculty, staff and students.
  • If possible, help others escape.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Remain calm and follow officers’ instructions.
  • Keep your hands raised and keep them visible at all times.
  • Avoid making sudden moves or grabbing the police officers.
  • Do not stop the officer and ask for assistance, other emergency personnel following on will assist you.
  • Provide the police with the location, number and description of shooter(s).


  • If you cannot escape safely LOCK DOWN and barricade yourself and others in a safe place
  • Barricade the doors by moving heavy objects, such as desks, or cabinets in front of the door.
  • Move away from all windows and pull any blinds or shades, turn off lights
  • Hide behind something substantial.
  • Remain quiet and calm, stay out of sight
  • Silence all cellphones, radios and televisions.
  • Dial 911, if possible to alert police to the active shooter’s location.
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.


  • If you cannot escape or deny and you are faced with an imminent threat when your life is in danger, taking defensive action is the only option.
  • Do not be afraid to fight.
  • Act aggressively as possible against the shooter.
  • Use common items as weapons, such as chairs, books, fire extinguishers or other heavy items. Inflict injury and try to disarm the offender.
  • Attack the head, groin and the hands and arms where the weapons are being held.
  • Use numbers to overwhelm/swarm the attacker. There is strength when you work together.
  • Playing dead is not an effective plan

When faced with the threat of an active shooter these three response protocols have shown to increase a victims chances for survival.

Every incident of Active Shooting is different and victims must decide which protocol to act on based on the immediate circumstances and their capabilities. The level of threat imposed on the victim determines which response protocol to implement.

Response Continuum diagram

Good practices for coping with an active shooter situation:

  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
  • If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door
  • If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door
  • As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.

Everyone is asked to assist in making the campus and our community a safe place by being alert to suspicious situations and promptly reporting them. If you are a victim or a witness to any offense, avoid risks and contact the police immediately by dialing 911, or (603) 536-1626. Report the incident, including the following:

  • Nature of the incident.
  • Location of the incident.
  • Description of person(s) involved.
  • Description of property involved.

If you observe a criminal act or a suspicious person, immediately report the incident to police. Assist the officers when they arrive by supplying them with all available information and ask others to cooperate. After the disturbance, seek emergency first aid if necessary.

What to Do If Taken Hostage:

  • Be patient and calm. Time is on your side. Don’t threaten or intimidate your captor. Avoid drastic action.
  • Before you say or do anything, consider the threat to yourself and others that are involved.
  • If necessary to speak, ask for permission first. Don’t talk down to the captor who may be in an agitated state. Avoid appearing hostile. Maintain eye contact with the captor at all times if possible, but do not stare.
  • If medications, first aid, or restroom privileges are needed by anyone, calmly say so. The captor in all probability does not want to inflict harm. Such direct action further implicates him/her in additional offenses.
  • Be observant. When you are released, the personal safety of others may depend on what you remember about the situation and are able to communicate.

Psychological Crisis

A psychological crisis exists when an individual is threatening harm to himself/herself or to others, or is out of touch with reality due to severe drug reactions or a psychotic episode.

  • Never try to handle a situation you feel is dangerous. Don’t endanger your safety.
  • Notify University Police immediately at 911. Clearly state that you need immediate assistance. Give your name, location, and briefly describe the nature of the situation.
  • Should the situation warrant such action, the police will notify PSU Counseling Center personnel.

View this 4:31 minute video on Active Shooters put on by Texas State University.

Plymouth State University Active Shooter Response Guide

Call 9-1-1 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO! If activity is outside your building:

  • Proceed 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. You may need to cover windows with paper or clothing to block the view into the room.
  • One person in the room should call 911, advise the dispatcher of what is taking place, and inform him/her 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 criminal attempting to lure victims from their safe space; do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer.

If shooter is in the same building you are:

  • Determine if the room you are in can be locked and if so, follow the same procedure described in the previous paragraph.
  • 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.
  • If you decide to move from your current location, be sure to follow the instructions outlined below.

If shooter enters your office or classroom:

  • Try to remain calm. Dial 911, if possible, and alert police to their location; if you can’t speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what’s taking place. Normally the location of a 911 call can be determined without speaking.
  • If there is absolutely no opportunity to avoid the shooter or deny the shooter access to your workspace, it may be required that you defend yourself against the shooter.
  • If the shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place and do not touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter.

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; 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. The above information is appropriate for any large-scale violent act. When escaping a violent scene, always keep your hands visible and follow the instructions of police officers, no matter what the situation.

The most critical aspect of planning for emergencies is communication. Plymouth State University will do everything possible to communicate to you before, during, and after emergencies. This includes providing detailed instructions about the emergencies and what you need to do to ensure your safety. The University uses several methods to communicate information about emergencies. We urge you to become familiar with these methods now and register (where required). Once an emergency occurs, it may be too late.

Plymouth State University Communication Tools

Local Television Stations

  • WMUR-TV Channel 9
  • WCSH TV 6 Portland

Local Radio Stations

  • WASR 1420 AM
  • WLTN 96.7 FM
  • WMWV 93.5 FM
  • WLNH 98.3 FM/WEMJ 1490 AM
  • WLKZ 104.9 FM

In an emergency, the University will speak with one voice. All communications regarding emergencies to students, faculty, staff, the public, and the media will be made by PSU’s Communications & Marketing team. Communications & Marketing will work with emergency responders to ensure that all information being reported is timely, factual, and informative.

Immediate decisions and orders requiring communications, such as evacuations, will likely be made by emergency personnel on the scene. These first responders may also rely on MCCS to forward information to you through other means, such as text messaging, e-mail, social media, and website postings.

Does Plymouth State University have an emergency alert siren/communication system?

Yes! The outdoor emergency siren notifies the campus and surrounding community of an imminent and significant life threatening danger to the community.

The siren is centrally located on High Street between Hyde Hall, the HUB (student union), and Smith Hall. The siren is audible for approximately a one-mile radius.

What are threats of imminent and significant life threatening dangers that would cause the Siren to be activate?

  • Tornado warnings
  • Actively violent/armed individuals/active shooters
  • Explosion/hazardous material release
  • Weapons of mass destruction.


Does the University test the Alarm?

Yes! The University participates in announced testing twice a year.

The test takes place at noontime on the third Wednesday in September and February.

These tests are repeatedly announced prior to testing.

Other than pre-announced testing, The University will only sound the alarm when there is an imminent and significant life threatening danger to the campus community.

What should I do if the siren sounds?

Lock down/take cover indoors immediately

Assess the situation: Run away from danger/shelter from danger/defend yourself from danger Become familiar with emergency protocols.

How will I stay informed about the emergency?

The emergency text system is the most immediate means of emergency communication.

Students, staff, and faculty must register for this in order to receive this service. Students may add a parent/guardian phone number as a secondary contact.

Check PSU’s website for more information. https://www.plymouth.edu/ will be updated with information about the emergency along with further instructions. Plymouth State University will e-mail information about the event along with further instructions (simultaneously with text alerts).

More information is available at the PSU Alert Line at (603) 535-3535.

Sign up for emergency alerts

Always dial 911 for medical, fire. or police emergencies! 

When using a campus phone, it is not necessary to dial a 9 first.
When calling 911 to report an emergency, be prepared to answer the dispatcher’s questions:

  • What is the nature of the emergency? Be as detailed as possible to allow for the quickest possible response from emergency personnel.
  • Where is the emergency?
  • Where are you?
  • When did it happen?

Do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you to. You may be given instructions to assist a victim. You may be asked to provide additional information or be asked to wait for responding emergency personnel.

Important Note For Cell Phone Users

Not every cell phone allows for 911 operators to determine your location or phone number. You may be asked to give your cell phone number and tell them what state you are calling from. Be forthcoming with this information. If the call is disconnected, the dispatcher will attempt to re-establish contact with you.

When should you use 911?

  • When you believe your safety or well being is in jeopardy
  • When you believe there is a threat to life or to prevent serious injury
  • When you believe there is a threat to property
  • When you see someone hurt
  • When you see a crime in progress
  • When you see a motor vehicle accident
  • When you see a fire
  • When you hear someone screaming for help
  • When you hear gunshots or loud explosions

When should you not use 911?

  • To obtain directions
  • To speak directly with a specific fire fighter or police officer
  • To obtain general information or conduct business
  • To report nuisances, such as barking dogs or loud noises

Note: The above information was obtained from the New Hampshire Division of Emergency Services, Communications and Management Division.

Although every effort will be made to keep the campus open and operating, there may be times, such as during severe weather or an emergency, when full operation of the campus will not be possible. The Administration will do all it can to decide on and inform you of cancellations and closures by 6 a.m. For canceling of evening classes, the decisions is usually made and communicated by 1:30 p.m.  Cancel/Closure notifications will be sent to local media, including:

  • WMUR-TV Channel 9
  • WFTN 94.1 FM/WPNH 1300 AM
  • WASR 1420 AM
  • WGIR 610 AM
  • WLTN 96.7 FM
  • WMWV 93.5 FM
  • WLNH 98.3 FM/WEMJ 1490 AM
  • WTSL 1400 AM
  • WNTK 99.7 FM
  • NECN

Notifications will also be posted on PSU website, the PSU Alert Line, and sent via e-mail and text messaging systems. Some departments or buildings on campus, including those providing services to on-campus students, are considered essential, and as such, will be required to remain open during curtailed operations. These include:

  • ALLWell North
  • Child for Young Children and Families
  • Dining Services
  • Hartman Union Building
  • Health Services
  • Lamson Library and Learning Commons
  • Mail Services
  • PE Center
  • Physical Plant
  • Residential Life
  • Telecommunications
  • University Police

We recognize that to many students, campus is their home. Unless an emergency requires a complete evacuation of the campus, housing and meals will always be available. Any decision to curtail essential operations or facilities will be made and communicated only after consultation between University Administration,  University Police, the Environmental Health and Safety Office, Physical Plant and other campus or local officials. There are times when the town or other local agencies may be relying upon these facilities to provide shelter or comfort in an emergency.

University Police are responsible for monitoring weather conditions and notifying the campus community if/when the threat of such weather warrants special attention or actions. During potential severe weather conditions, University Police monitor all reports through consultation with the National Weather Service at Gray, Maine, and other local and state emergency response agencies, including the Plymouth and Holderness Fire and Police Departments.

Thunderstorm Preparation

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Weather conditions are such that a severe thunderstorm may develop. Monitor weather reports and campus notifications. If at all possible, stay indoors until the threat has passed.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: A severe thunderstorm has developed and will probably affect those areas stated in the weather bulletin. For your safety, stay indoors until the threat has passed.

Tornado Preparation

  • Tornado Watch: indicates that weather conditions in the area are favorable for the formation of tornadoes. During a watch, normal activities should continue unless instructed otherwise by University Emergency Staff or the Administration. All departments should have staff available to monitor communications and disseminate messages. Communications should be monitored as long as scheduled uses of the buildings continue. All watches are canceled by official notification only.
  • Tornado Warning: indicates that a tornado has been sighted and is a threat to the area.
    • When a tornado warning has been issued for Grafton County, campus officials and all available emergency and facilities personnel will move all occupants in a building to the pre-determined safest area for that building.
    • The safest area in a building during a tornado is usually the basement or an interior hallway of the lowest floor.
    • Seek shelter under sturdy furniture if no basement is available.
    • If outside and unable to get to a building, lie flat in the nearest depression, ditch or ravine.
    • Never wait out a tornado inside a car.
    • Tornado warnings are canceled by official notification only.

Hurricane Preparation

  • Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch: indicates that current tracking shows a storm moving in a path that may take it over a certain area. During watches, University staff will work together to determine the best course of action to prevent injury and property damage on the campus. Normal activities should continue unless instructed otherwise by University Emergency Staff or the Administration. All departments should have staff available to monitor communications and disseminate messages. Communications should be monitored as long as scheduled uses of the buildings continue. All watches are canceled by official notification only.
  • Hurricane Warning: indicates that a hurricane is expected in the area within 24 hours. Your response and the response of the University to the warning will vary based upon the storms intensity. These actions can include school closings, evacuations, shelter in place, cancellation of sporting events and work around campus to secure buildings and equipment.

During any weather watch or warning it is extremely important to monitor campus communications and react accordingly. For your safety and the safety of those around you, respond quickly to all instructions from campus and emergency officials.

The campus area east of the Pemigewasset River is prone to occasional flooding conditions at any time during the year, but especially during the spring months. Flooding of these areas may result in the declaration of a flood emergency. Flood emergencies can result in the partial or full evacuation of the Holderness facilities, including student and staff parking lots at the PE Center, AllWell North, Ice Area and off-campus apartments on long North and South River Streets in Holderness. During potential flooding conditions, University Police monitor all reports of flooding through consultation with the National Weather Service at Gray, Maine, and other local and state emergency response agencies, including the Plymouth and Holderness Fire Departments. If conditions or reports warrant, a flood emergency will be declared and students, faculty and staff will be directed to move vehicles and/or evacuate parts of the campus. All efforts to communicate the evacuations in a timely manner will be made. However, in the event of sudden flooding, such as during an ice dam or a flash flood, notification may not allow for much, if any time, to move vehicles or personal belongings. When instructed to move a vehicle or evacuate a building or area, do so immediately. The decision to implement evacuations will be based upon campus needs, with the overall goal to be the preservation of life, and then property. As with any campus emergency, the administration will do all it can to inform and update students, faculty and staff. During emergencies, do your best to monitor all campus communications.

Avoid having your vehicle towed

If you leave your vehicle in the Holderness parking lots over weekends and breaks when you are not on campus, make sure someone else on or near campus has your keys and can move your vehicle if necessary.

Interior Flooding

In the event of interior flooding from a broken water line, the following actions are recommended:

  • Immediately contact Physical Plant at ext. 52254 or (603) 535-2254 to notify them of the situation. Inform them immediately if any oil, chemical, or other potentially hazardous materials are suspected of contaminating the flood waters.
  • Physical Plant will work to fix the problem and assist in all clean-up and salvage efforts.
  • If possible, secure any vital equipment or records and other important papers.
  • Shut off all electrical equipment only if you can do so without standing in water.
  • Secure all laboratory equipment in the same manner.

Pemigewasset River Level Data Current Water Level of the Pemigewasset River Flood Data

Pemigewasset River Flood Data  

PSU is working with local, state, and federal officials, including the Pubilc Health Network of Central New Hampshire, to develop response plans to pandemics and public health emergencies. PSU is in regular communication with health officials and continues to monitor the threats posed to the campus by suspected pandemics and public health emergencies. In the event of a suspected outbreak or problem, you will be given detailed instructions via campus communication channels about steps to take or procedures to follow to deal with the medical emergency. 

Call 911 if you need assistance with a sick or injured person.

When an injury or illness occurs evaluate the situation

  • In case of minor injury or illness, assist the victim if possible using proper precautions and/or refer them to Speare Memorial Hospital, their family physician, Health Services for students, or emergency room.
  • In case of serious injury or illness, immediately dial 911. Give your name, describe the nature and severity of the problem and the exact location of the victim.
  • In the case of any injury on campus, remember to fill out the appropriate accident report forms as quickly as possible. Faculty/Staff, Residential Life staff, or your supervisors will have the appropriate forms.

Preventing Injuries

  • Falls are the most common accidents both at home and on the job. Simple housekeeping is the best prevention. Keep walking surfaces in your home, office, and classroom clear and free from obstructions and trip hazards.
  • Clean up all spills as soon as possible to prevent others from slipping and falling. Contact Physical Plant at ext. 52254 if you need assistance from Building Services to address any large spills on campus.
  • Wear helmets when riding bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, horses ,and when skiing. Along with helmets, wear protective padding on elbows and knees when roller blading or skateboarding.
  • Always wear a seat belt when you are in a vehicle.
  • Contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (ext. 52409) if you have concerns about a safety hazard on campus.

Stay Healthy!

Some common sense measures can go a long way in preventing colds and flu:

  • Wash hands often, especially when handling food and after coughing, sneezing, or using the bathroom.
  • Stay home when you are sick. You get better quicker and you avoid spreading your illness to others.
  • Avoid close contact with others who are ill by staying about three feet away from them.
  • Get a flu shot if possible.

Plymouth State University has several resources available to students, faculty and staff to help you get and stay as healthy as possible.

For Students: Health Services (603) 535-2350

For Faculty and Staff: Employee Assistance Program

Always dial 911 to report a fire.

  • If a fire occurs, activate the building alarm.
  • If a minor fire appears controllable immediately activate building alarm, then begin efforts to extinguish the fire.
  • Never attempt to extinguish any fire unless you:
    • Have sounded the fire alarm first;
    • Are between the fire and the nearest exit and have a clear path to the exit; and
    • Have been trained in the use of fire extinguishers.
  • On large fires that do not appear controllable, immediately activate the building alarm.
  • Don’t stop to gather much in the way of personal belongings.
  • Close the door behind you. You may protect your belongings from smoke and fire damage and may reduce the spread of a fire.
  • When the building evacuation alarm is sounded, an emergency exists. Walk quickly to the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same.
  • Do not use the elevators during a fire. Smoke is the greatest danger in a fire, so stay near the floor where air will be less toxic.
  • Once outside, move to a clear area at least 500 feet away from the affected building. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrants, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.
  • If requested, assist emergency crews as necessary.
  • A Campus Emergency Command Post may be set up near the emergency site. Keep clear of the Command Post and all emergency vehicles.

Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by the Fire Department, Police Department, or a campus official.

If you are trapped inside a building that has been evacuated

Call 911 to alert emergency responders to your location. Place an article of clothing (e.g., shirt, coat) outside the window and/or underneath a door as a marker for rescue crews. If smoke is present, move toward the window and open it unless there is thick smoke and/or flames near it. If there is no window, and/or smoke is present, close or cover any openings under the door or walls to prevent smoke spread. Stay near the floor where the air will be less toxic. Shout at regular intervals to alert emergency crews as to your location.

Building Evacuations and Emergency Shelters

  • All building evacuations will occur when an alarm sounds and/or upon notification by Plymouth or Holderness Fire Departments, University Police, or safety officials.
  • When the building evacuation alarm is activated during an emergency, leave by the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same.
  • Do not use the elevators in case of fire and/or earthquake. Their safe operation during emergencies cannot be guaranteed.
  • Once outside, proceed to a clear area that is at least 500 feet away from the affected building. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrant areas, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel. Know your assembly points.
  • Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by fire or police personnel on the scene.

Important: After an evacuation, report to your designated campus area assembly point or to the area recommended by the responding emergency personnel. Follow any department or building evacuation plans.

Campus Area Evacuations

  • The emergency manager, fire chief, police chief, or their designee will announce evacuation of all or part of the campus grounds.
  • When such an order is given, immediately vacate the area in question and relocate to another part of the campus grounds as directed. Building managers are responsible for aiding occupants in their buildings that require assistance

Note: Stay in the safe area if you can. If you must leave to go to another safe location, and it is safe to do so, you can. However, try to let others know your plans. Fire or police officials will notify you once the emergency situation has ended or has been contained.

In the event a mishap occurs such as an explosion or a downed aircraft (crash) on campus, take the following action:

  • Immediately take cover under tables, desks, and other objects, which will give protection against falling glass or debris.
  • After the effects of the explosion and/or fire have subsided, notify 911. Give your name and describe the location and nature of the emergency.
  • If necessary, or when directed to do so, activate the building alarm.
  • When the building alarm is sounded or when told to leave by police, fire or University officials, walk quickly to the nearest marked exit and ask others to do the same.

PSU has redundant electrical systems in most of our buildings which generally keep power interruptions to a minimum. Physical Plant and the Co-Gen Plant have procedures in place for dealing with power outages and the resumption of power. 

In the event of a power failure, you should do the following

  • Remain calm. If the outage lasts more than a few minutes, contact Physical Plant at ext. 52254 or (603) 535-2254 on a cell phone.
  • Do not light candles or use any other open flames to illuminate the area. Emergency lights are designed to illuminate hallways and stairwells for 90 minutes or more, so safe travel through the buildings will not be immediately compromised.
  • If you need additional assistance to exit a building that does not have a working elevator, contact Physical Plant.
  • If it is determined that an outage will last for an appreciable amount of time:
    • Unplug all electrical equipment, especially computers, and turn off all light switches.
    • Laboratory personnel should secure all experiments, close all fume hoods and chemical containers, unplug all equipment, and turn off gases.
  • Decisions to cancel classes or to close buildings will be made by following the closing and notification procedures noted previously in this handbook.
    • Any decisions to send staff home early will be made only with the involvement of the Administration and Human Resources.
  • If you are trapped in an elevator:
    • Stay calm. Use the emergency phone in the elevator cab to contact police dispatch for assistance. You can also contact Physical Plant at (603) 535-2254.
  • If others are trapped in an elevator:
    • Advise them to stay calm.
    • Call Physical Plant at (603) 535-2254 or University Police at (603) 535-2330.
    • If any passengers are injured, dial 911.
    • If it is safe to stay in the building, remain near the elevator car and maintain communications with the passengers until assistance arrives.

To ensure your safety, and to minimize the disruptions caused by bomb threats and suspicious packages (usually the goal of those making the threats), the following procedures should be followed: If you observe a suspicious object, package, or potential bomb on campus, do not handle the object! Clear the area and immediately call University Police at 911 or (603) 535-2330. Turn off all radios, walkie-talkies, and cell phones. Do not turn them on again until the situation has been cleared by emergency personnel.

Phone Bomb Threats

If you receive a bomb threat on the phone, it is imperative that you remain calm. Any person receiving a phone call bomb threat should ask the caller:

  • When is the bomb going to explode?
  • Where is it right now?
  • What does it look like?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause it to explode?
  • Did you place the bomb?
  • Why?

Keep talking to the caller as long as possible, listen carefully and try to determine the following:

  • Time of call.
  • Age and gender of caller.
  • Speech characteristics
  • Emotional state of caller.
  • Background noise.

Report the incident immediately to University Police by dialing 911. If at all possible, have another person call 911 while you maintain a conversation with the caller. University Police, along with the fire department, will handle all such threats. Evacuations will be ordered only if police or fire officials determine they are necessary.

Written Bomb Threats

If you receive a bomb threat via a letter or note, dial 911 immediately, and do the following:

  • Make note of all persons that you know handled the note.
  • Avoid excessive handling of the note. The police will want to check for fingerprints.
  • Follow all instructions from responding emergency personnel. Evacuate if ordered to do so.

You may be asked to assist the police and fire departments when they arrive, because you are far more likely to recognize something out of place than they are. Police and fire officials will conduct a detailed bomb search. Report the location of any object to University Police. Do not touch the object! Do not open drawers, cabinets, or turn lights on or off. If ordered to evacuate, go to an open area where the possibility of a secondary device would be minimal.

Suspicious Mail or Packages

Never open or excessively handle any letter or package that you believe is meant to cause harm. Not all dangerous packages or envelopes look suspicious, and not all suspicious looking packages are dangerous. You must always use your best judgment. If you are concerned for any reason, do not handle the package. Contact University Police at ext. 52330 or dial 911 for assistance. Characteristics of Suspicious Packages/Letters include:

  • No return address
  • Odd smell or sounds coming from the package
  • Oily stains, leaking, or seepage from the package
  • Wires protruding from the package
  • Written directions indicating only a specific person is to open the package
  • Packages that are addressed to a title only, without a name, or incorrect titles
  • Restrictive markings, like “personal,” “private,” or “to be opened only by.”
  • Excessive postage, no postage, or non-canceled postage
  • Excessive use of tape or unprofessionally wrapped packages
  • A rigid or bulky envelope
  • Misspelled words, poor handwriting, printing, or typing
  • Postmark showing a different location than return address

If you determine that the package or letter is suspicious,

  • Gently set the package down and secure the area by closing doors.
  • Call the police by dialing 911.
  • Do not attempt to further handle the package until it has been deemed safe by responding personnel. This will keep fingerprints to a minimum and will assist the police in identifying potential offenders.
  • Do not attempt to destroy the package on your own.
  • Determine who else in the office or on campus may have legitimately handled the package and be ready to communicate this information to the police.
  • Evacuate the area if ordered to do so by the authorities.

Dealing with an Opened, Threatening Package or Envelope

If a threat is not identified or considered until after a package or envelope is open, it is most important to remain calm. By taking the following actions, you will limit the exposure of others to the potential danger and you will allow emergency personnel to treat you quicker, if necessary:

  • Move away from the package, but do not leave the area that you are in, unless the package contains a type of bomb or other explosive device.
  • Close any doors in the immediate area, and isolate yourself and anyone else that was in the immediate vicinity of the package. (This may mean a temporary quarantine type of arrangement for you and anyone else in the immediate room).
  • Do not allow any entry except by emergency response personnel.
  • Use the phone and dial 911. Follow all instructions from emergency personnel.
  • Turn off any window A/C units and fans.
  • Make a list of any others that may have come in contact with the package, including those that may have handled it but not opened it. Be prepared to share this information with emergency responders.

It is important to understand that the goal of responding emergency personnel is to make sure you and any others in the affected area remain safe and healthy. Their available resources are extensive and will allow them to properly handle the situation as promptly as possible. Stay calm and give the responders the time to formulate a response. Be prepared to communicate over the phone with them for a time. They will get to you as soon as possible and they will arrange for medical treatment, decontamination, and any other services that you may require.

  • Any release of a hazardous chemical or material that cannot be contained by available spill containment materials should be reported immediately to the Plymouth or Holderness Fire Department by dialing 911.
  • When reporting, be specific about the nature of the involved material and exact location.
  • Once emergency services are notified, or in the event of a controllable spill, Physical Plant and Office of Environmental Health and Safety should be notified by calling ext. 52254 on a campus line or (603) 535-2254.
  • The key person on site should vacate the affected area at once, closing doors on the way out to prevent further contamination of other areas until the arrival of fire department personnel.
  • Anyone who may be contaminated by the spill should avoid contact with others as much as possible, remain in the vicinity and give their names to the fire department. First aid and any necessary decontamination by specialized authorities would be started at once if necessary.

Small, Containable Spills

Contain the spill if:

  • The spill is small and you have been trained in the proper spill clean-up procedures
  • You have immediate access to the proper spill containment materials
  • You have the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available.

Notify the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at ext. 52409 or ext. 52254 for pickup of any contaminated containment materials. Some chemical spills or uncontrolled releases of fuels, oil, or other materials require follow up reporting with government agencies, even when there is no injury or damage associated with them. At PSU, these reports are the responsibility of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. Therefore, it is extremely important that you contact them at the numbers noted above.

Preventing Spills

  • Store all chemicals properly.
  • Anchor all shelves and storage cabinets. Don’t overload them.
  • Keep incompatible chemicals away from each other. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for information on a chemical’s incompatibility and proper storage practices.
  • Limit purchases to only those chemicals needed in the smallest amount possible. The less on hand, the less can spill.
  • Keep all containers, including waste containers, tightly sealed when not in use.
  • Keep all compressed gas cylinders secured. Segregate flammable gasses from other gasses when not actively being used.
  • Maintain strict housekeeping standards in any areas where chemicals are used or stored.

Most campus demonstrations such as marches, meetings, picketing, and rallies are peaceful and non-obstructive. A student demonstration will not be disrupted unless one or more of the following conditions exists as a result of the demonstration:

  • Interference with normal operations of the University.
  • Prevention of access to office, building, or other University facilities.
  • Threat of physical harm to persons or damage to University facilities.

If you believe any of these conditions exist or are threatened, contact University Police by dialing 911.

During an earthquake, remain calm and quickly follow the steps

  • If indoors, seek refuge in a doorway or under a desk or table. Stay away from glass windows, shelves, and heavy equipment.
  • If outdoors, move quickly away from buildings, utility poles, and other structures. Caution: Always avoid power or utility lines as they may be energized. Know your assembly points.
  • If in an automobile, stop in the safest place available, preferably away from structures, power lines, and trees. Stop as quickly as safety permits, but stay in the vehicle for the shelter it offers.
  • After the initial shock, evaluate the situation and if emergency help is necessary, call 911. Protect yourself at all times and be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Damaged facilities should be reported to Physical Plant at ext. 52254 or (603) 535-2254 or 911.
  • If an emergency exists, activate the building alarm.
  • When the building evacuation alarm is sounded, walk to the nearest marked exit and ask others to do the same.
  • Do not use the elevators. They may have been damages in the quake.
  • Once outside, move to a clear area at least 500 feet away from the affected building. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrants, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.