College and University campuses are no longer immune to serious or violent crime. In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, it is imperative that students, staff and faculty know how to respond during potentially violent criminal attacks on campus.

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 firearms(s) and victims are selected at random.
Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. The deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter.
If it is possible to do so safely, exit the building immediately, moving away from the immediate path of danger, and take the following steps:
  • Notify anyone you may encounter to exit the building immediately.
  • Do not activate the fire alarm.
  • Evacuate to a safe area away from the danger, and take protective cover. Stay there until emergency responders arrive.
  • Leave your personal items behind.
  • Call 911 and the Public Safety Department at 610-527-1038, providing each dispatcher with the following information:
    1. Your name
    2. Location of the incident (be as specific as possible)
    3. Number of shooters (if known)
    4. Identification or description of shooter(s)
    5. Number of persons who may be involved
    6. Your exact location
    7. Injuries to anyone, if known
  • Individuals not immediately impacted by the situation are to take protective cover, staying away from windows and doors until notified otherwise.
If exiting the building is not possible, the following actions are recommended:
  • Go to the nearest room or office. Lock and barricade doors.
  • Turn off the lights.
  • Do not activate the fire alarm
  • Seek protective cover such as thick desks, concrete walls or filing cabinets.
  • Stay away from doors and windows.
  • Keep quiet and act as if no one is in the room.
  • Turn off radios and computers
  • Silence cell phones.
  • Do not answer the door.
  • Call 911 and/or Public Safety Department at 610-527-1038 if it is safe to do so, providing each dispatcher with the following information:
    1. Your name
    2. Your location (be as specific as possible)
    3. Number of shooters (if known)
    4. Identification or description of shooter
    5. Number of persons who may be involved
    6. Injuries if known
    7. Wait for police to assist you out of the building.

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom, try to remain calm. There is no set procedure in this situation. Dial 911, if possible, and alert police to the shooter's location; if you can't speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what's taking place. Attempting to overcome the suspect with force is a last resort that should only be considered in the most extreme circumstances. Only you can decide if this is something you should do. Remember there may be more than one 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. Do not activate the fire alarm.

No matter what the circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active shooter situation, make sure you have a plan and escape route in mind. Do not attempt to carry anything in your hands while fleeing. Do not try to move any injured people; leave them where they are and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible. Do not activate the fire alarm. Do not attempt to drive off campus until told it is safe to do so by police.
What to expect from responding police officers: Lower Merion Police Officers responding to an active shooter are trained in a procedure known as Rapid Deployment and proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard; their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers will normally be in teams of four (4); they may be dressed in regular patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment. The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, or handguns, and might also be using pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation. Regardless of how they appear, remain calm, do as the officers tell you, and do not be afraid of them. Put down any bags or packages you may be carrying and keep your hands visible and empty at all times; if you know where the shooter is, tell the officers. The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured people; rescue teams composed of other officers and emergency medical personnel will follow the first officers into secured areas to treat and remove injured persons. Keep in mind that even once you have escaped to a safer location, the entire area is still a crime scene; police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is fully under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Until you are released, remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate.

Bomb Threat

General Information- Bombs and/or Bomb Threats

Bombs can be constructed to look like almost anything and can be placed or delivered in any number of ways.  The probability of locating a bomb that looks like the stereotypical bomb is difficult at best. The only common denominator that exists among bombs is that they are designed to explode.


Bomb Threats are delivered in a variety of ways. The majority of threats are called by phone to the target.  Occasionally these calls are through a third party. A threat may also be communicated in writing, social media or by a recording.  


Immediate Actions

If a bomb threat is received by phone:

  • Remain calm. Keep the caller on the line for as long as possible. DO NOT HANG UP, even if the caller does.
  • Listen carefully. Be polite and show interest.
  • Try to keep the caller talking to learn more information.
  • If possible, write a note to a colleague to call the authorities or, as soon as the caller hangs up, immediately notify them yourself.
  • If your phone has a display, copy the number and/or letters on the window display.
  • Complete the Bomb Threat Checklist immediately. Write down as much detail as you can remember. Try to get exact words.
  • Immediately upon termination of the call, do not hang up, but from a different phone, contact Public Safety, at ext. x2555 or 610.527.1038, with information and await instructions.


If you receive a bomb threat by phone, it is imperative that you remain calm.  Any person receiving a phone call bomb threat should follow the bomb threat checklist or 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.
  • Estimated age and sex of the caller.
  • Speech pattern, accent, possible nationality, etc. of the caller.
  • Emotional state of the caller.
  • Background noise.


 If a bomb threat is received by handwritten note:

  • Call Public Safety at ext. 2555 or 610-527-1038;
  • Handle note as minimally as possible;
  • Make note of all persons that you know handled the note.


 If a bomb threat is received by e-mail:

  • Call Public Safety at ext. 2555 or 610-527-1038;
  • Do not delete the message.


If you observe a suspicious object, package or potential bomb on campus, DO NOT handle the object! Clear the area immediately and call Public Safety at ext. 2555 or 610-527-1038.


 Signs of a suspicious package:

  • No return address;
  • Excessive postage, no postage, non-cancelled postage;
  • Stains, leaking or seepage from package;
  • Strange odor;
  • Strange sounds;
  • Unexpected delivery.



  • Touch or move a suspicious package;
  • Use two-way radios or cellular phones; radio signals have the potential to detonate a bomb;
  • Evacuate the building until Public Safety arrives and evaluates the threat;
  • Activate the fire alarm.





A lockdown of building(s) on campus is an emergency procedure intended to secure and protect the Rosemont community from an immediate threat of violence or harm. An immediate threat of violence MAY include, but is not limited to, active shooter on campus, a person near campus with a weapon, or significant law enforcement action in the area adjacent to campus. This action might be necessary when an evacuation would not be appropriate.

Lockdown Procedures:

  • Try to remain calm;
  • Remain indoors, e.g. your office or classroom. You are not allowed to leave the building unless an all clear has been sounded;
  • If not in your typical surroundings proceed to a room that can be locked;
  • Close and lock all doors. If it is not possible to lock the doors, place furniture and equipment in front of them to barricade them. Some doors open out into the corridor. In this situation, use whatever means possible to try to restrict entry to the room, including placing furniture and equipment in front of the door, or using a belt or other item to tie the door handle to something stable.
  • Turn off all lights;
  • Occupants should be seated below window level, toward the middle of a room away from windows and doors;
  • Remain silent;
  • Turn off all radios or other devices that emit sound;
  • Silence cell phones;
  • If gunshots are heard lay on the floor using heavy objects, e.g. tables, filing cabinets for shelter;
  • If safe to do so, turn off gas and electric appliances, e.g. heater, fan, coffee maker, gas valves, lights and locally controlled ventilation systems, e.g. air conditioner.
  • Use phones only for emergency notification to 911 or X2555 (Public Safety)
  • Do not shelter in open areas such as hallways or corridors. Go to the nearest classroom, lecture hall or auditorium that can be locked.
  • If outdoors seek nearby shelter, e.g. large trees, walls, mail boxes, and wait for additional instructions from the Public Safety or the Police.


Call Campus Safety (X2555, or 610-527-1038 from any other phone).
  • Give your location and nature of the crime.
  • Do not attempt to apprehend or interfere with the criminal except in case of self-protection.
  • Advise the officer of the situation and remain where you are until contacted by an officer unless you deem your location unsafe.
  • If a hostile intruder is discovered in your immediate area, and you deem it unsafe to evacuate, retreat to a secure location such as an office or room that can be locked. Turn off lights, remain quiet, keep low to the ground and hide behind a desk or other furniture
  • If safe to do so, stop and take time to get a good description of the criminal. Note height, weight, age, sex, race, hair and eye color, tattoos or facial hair, clothing, weapons if used, method and direction of travel and name if known. If the criminal is entering a vehicle, note the license plate number, make and model, color and outstanding characteristics
  • In the event of civil disturbance, continue in as much as possible with your normal routine. If the disturbance is outside, stay away from doors and windows.
  • Do not interfere with those persons creating the disturbance or with authorities on the scene.

The guidelines have been taken from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), United States Postal Service and the FBI web sites.

 Identifying Suspicious Packages and Envelopes
  • Inappropriate or unusual labeling
  • Excessive postage
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Strange return address or no return address
  • Incorrect titles or title without a name
  • Not addressed to a specific person
  • Marked with restrictions, such as “Personal,” “Confidential,” or “Do not x-ray”
  • Marked with any threatening language
  • Postmarked from a city or state that does not match the return address


  • Powdery substance felt through or appearing on the package or envelope
  • Oily stains, discolorations, or odor
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Excessive packaging material such as masking tape, string, etc.
Other suspicious signs
  • Excessive weight
  • Ticking sound
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil
Suspicious Packages and Envelopes
The guidelines have been taken from the Center for Disease Control (CDC),
United States Postal Service and the FBI web sites.
Identifying Suspicious Packages and Envelopes
  • Inappropriate or unusual labeling
  • Excessive postage
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Strange return address or no return address
  • Incorrect titles or title without a name
  • Not addressed to a specific person
  • Marked with restrictions, such as “Personal,” “Confidential,” or “Do not x-ray”
  • Marked with any threatening language
  • Postmarked from a city or state that does not match the return address
  • Powdery substance felt through or appearing on the package or envelope
  • Oily stains, discolorations, or odor
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Excessive packaging material such as masking tape, string, etc.
 Other suspicious signs
  • Excessive weight
  • Ticking sound
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil
If a package or envelope appears suspicious, DO NOT OPEN IT.
Handling of Suspicious Packages or Envelopes
  • Do not shake or empty the contents of any suspicious package or envelope.
  • Do not carry the package or envelope, show it to others or allow others to examine it.
  • Put the package or envelope down on a stable surface; do not sniff, touch, taste, or look closely at it or at any contents which may have spilled.
  • Alert others in the area about the suspicious package or envelope. Leave the area, close any doors, and take actions to prevent others from entering the area. If possible, shut off the ventilation system.
  • WASH hands with soap and water to prevent spreading potentially infectious material to face or skin. Seek additional instructions for exposed or potentially exposed persons.
  • If at work, notify a supervisor, Public Safety Department, or a law enforcement official.
  • If possible, create a list of persons who were in the room or area when this suspicious letter or package was recognized and a list of persons who also may have handled this package or letter. Give this list to both the local public health authorities and law enforcement officials
Envelope with powder and powder spills out.
  • DO NOT try to CLEAN UP the powder. COVER the spilled contents immediately with anything (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, etc.) and do not remove this cover!
  • Then LEAVE the room and CLOSE the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).
  • WASH your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face.
  • What to do next…
    • If you are at HOME, then report the incident to local police.
    • If you are at WORK, then report the incident to local police, and notify Public Safety or an available supervisor.
  • REMOVE heavily contaminated clothing as soon as possible and place in a plastic bag, or some other container that can be sealed. This clothing bag should be given to the emergency responders for proper handling.
  • SHOWER with soap and water as soon as possible. Do Not Use Bleach Or Other Disinfectant On Your Skin.
  • If possible, list all people who were in the room or area, especially those who had actual contact with the powder. Give this list to both the local public health authorities so that proper instructions can be given for medical follow-up, and to law enforcement officials for further investigation.
Make Your Emergency Plan Now.
Your ability to stay healthy and to respond effectively will depend in part on your advance planning. If a pandemic occurs, the college may have to evacuate for some period of time. To make sure you are ready to respond, think through your personal emergency plan and address the following considerations.
  • If you live on or near campus and have to travel some distance to your permanent residence, what are your primary travel plans? Do you have a contingency?
  • If you plan to travel by air or rail, have your travel agency or airline reservation information handy. Familiarize yourself with available transportation services that might assist with shuttles to take you to public transportation destinations.
  • If you plan to drive, have at least one alternate route.
  • If you will be picked up, have contact information ready.
  • If you cannot get home, make plans to stay with a friend or loved one who lives nearby who would agree to let you stay during a campus closure (for what could be an extended stay).
  • If you live in off-campus housing, check with your manager or landlord for what the evacuation procedures might be.
  • If you commute and an evacuation is ordered, have at least one alternative commuter route.
  • Familiarize yourself with local resources for traffic updates and road conditions.
Students and Faculty – Academic Considerations
  • What should students and faculty prepare to have at home, in the event that the campus is closed, but academic activities continue remotely, through email or other communications?
  • Books and transportable (non-hazardous, non-secure) research materials.
  • Laptop and portable technology devices.
  • Syllabi for your classes, including faculty and student contact information.
  • Individual course plans in the event of a campus evacuation.
  • Email access and on –line learning options.
  • Faculty and Staff – Employee Considerations
  • What should faculty and staff prepare to have at home, in the event that the campus is closed, but continue certain business activities remotely, through email or other communications?
  • Emergency contact information for your supervisor and colleagues with whom you will need to communicate, including email and mobile phone.
  • For managers and supervisors, department closing checklist plans; a list of essential employees and contacts; and VU website bookmarks on your home computer as appropriate.
  • If appropriate, Internet access to email and college home page, through your home computer.
For Everyone – Other Important Considerations
  • Arrange for direct deposit. In the event of a campus closure, any earnings you are scheduled to receive will only be issued electronically. Checks cannot be issued until the college reopens.
  • If you do not have a bank checking account, create one.
  • The college may need to rely on phone and internet communications to remain in touch with you during a pandemic. Please make sure your contact information is up to date (both email and phone)
  • Have a personal emergency kit.
  • As a result of social distancing, evacuation, closures, and travel restrictions, it is a good idea to anticipate what personal items you will need to take and keep with you in the event of a pandemic.
  • Food and water: Preparation experts recommend at least a two-week supply of non-perishable
    items, so that you do not need to go to the store very often.
  • Medications: Fill prescriptions and have over the counter items in supply.
  • Health and hygiene items: tissues, toilet paper, anti-bacterial (waterless) gel, soap, disinfecting cleaning solution, trash bags.
  • Practical items: flashlight, portable radio with batteries, manual can opener.
  • Contact information: Have phone and email contact information for loved ones, as well as a previously identified third-party contact, in the event that you cannot reach a loved one directly.
Pandemic Websites

Consider These Things Before a Disaster:

  • Discuss your planning with friends/roommates/local family members.
  • Identify alternate meeting places in case of separation.
  • Establish a contact person from outside the University.
  • Make sure all roommates carry each others telephone numbers and understand the importance of checking in if someone becomes separated during a disaster, or to obtain everyone’s whereabouts.
  • Always make your family members aware of your arrangements.
  • Make arrangements for special needs.
  • Store sufficient personal survival supplies (see suggested list below).
  • Store supplies to sustain you during relocation (see suggested list below).
Disaster Supply Kit:
There are six basics that you should stock for your residence: water, food, first aid kit, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. Possible containers include a camping backpack or a duffel bag.
For a comprehensive list of supplies to include in your kit, visit

Evacuation by vehicle:
Keep a full tank of gasoline in your car. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and may be unable to pump gas during power outages. Carpool if feasible, to reduce highway congestion and delay. Listen to a battery-powered radio (or your car radio) and follow local evacuation instructions.
Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked. Be alert for washed-out roads and bridges. Do not drive into flooded areas. Stay away from downed power lines. Let others know where you are going. Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather. Take with you the following items:
  • Maps
  • Copies of important documents in a watertight container
  • First aid kit and prescription medicines
  • Jumper cables and other tools
  • Nonperishable food and water to last at least 72 hours
  • Bedding and extra clothing
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Flashlights
  • Photo ID
  • Personal hygiene supplies (toothbrush, soap, deodorant, contact lens solution, sunscreen)
  • Plastic garbage bags, toilet paper and paper towels
  • Seasonal supplies such as insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Games and books for children
  • Extra necessities for anyone with special needs

For an in-depth guide to preparedness, access the publication Are You Ready? at

What Shelter-in-Place Means:
One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency where hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere is to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors. (This is not the same thing as going to a shelter in case of a storm.) Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire home or office building. If you are told to shelter-in-place, follow the instructions provided in this Fact Sheet.

Why You Might Need to Shelter-in-Place:
Chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may be released accidentally or intentionally into the environment. Should this occur, information will be provided by local authorities on television and radio stations on how to protect you and your family. Because information will most likely be provided on television and radio, it is important to keep a TV or radio on, even during the workday. The important thing is for you to follow instructions of local authorities and know what to do if they advise you to shelter-in-place.

How to Shelter-in-Place At Work or School:

  • Close the business, class or school. Bring everyone into the room(s). Shut and lock the door(s).
  • If there are customers, clients, or visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay – not leave. When authorities provide directions to shelter-in-place, they want everyone to take those steps now, where they are, and not drive or walk outdoors.
  • Unless there is an imminent threat, ask employees, customers, clients, and visitors to call their emergency contact to let them know where they are and that they are safe.
  • Turn on call-forwarding or alternative telephone answering systems or services. If the business has voice mail or an automated attendant, change the recording to indicate that the business is closed, and that staff and visitors are remaining in the building until authorities advise it is safe to leave.
  • Close and lock all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  • Have employees familiar with your building’s mechanical systems turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems. Some systems automatically provide for exchange of inside air with outside air – these systems, in particular, need to be turned off, sealed, or disabled.
  • Gather essential disaster supplies, such as nonperishable food, bottled water, battery-powered radios, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and plastic garbage bags.
  • Select interior room(s) above the ground floor, with the fewest windows or vents.
  • The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit in. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary. Large storage closets, utility rooms, pantries, copy and conference rooms without exterior windows will work well.
  • Avoid selecting a room with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes, because this equipment may not be able to be sealed from the outdoors.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) you select. Call emergency contacts and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
  • Use duct tape and plastic sheeting (heavier than food wrap) to seal all cracks around the door(s) and any vents into the room.
  • Write down the names of everyone in the room, and call your business’ designated emergency contact to report who is in the room with you, and their affiliation with your business (employee, visitor, client, customer.)
  • Keep listening to the radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.

In Your Vehicle:

If you are driving a vehicle and hear advice to “shelter-in-place” on the radio, take these steps:

  • If you are very close to home, your office, or a public building, go there immediately and go inside. Follow the shelter-in- place recommendations for the place you pick described above.
  • If you are unable to get to a home or building quickly and safely, then pull over to the side of the road. Stop your vehicle in the safest place possible. If it is sunny outside, it is preferable to stop under a bridge or in a shady spot, to avoid being overheated.
  • Turn off the engine.
  • Close windows and vents.
  • If possible, seal the heating/air conditioning vents with duct tape.
  • Listen to the radio regularly for updated advice and instructions.
  • Stay where you are until you are told it is safe to get back on the road. Be aware that some roads may be closed or traffic detoured. Follow the directions of law enforcement officials.
  • Local officials on the scene are the best source of information for your particular situation. Following their instructions during and after emergencies regarding sheltering, food, water, and clean up methods is your safest choice.
  • Remember that instructions to shelter-in-place are usually provided for duration of a few hours, not days or weeks. There is little danger that the room in which you are taking shelter will run out of oxygen and you will suffocate.