FB Pixel Skip to Main Content
Health and wellness

Safety & Security

Operations Plan

Scroll to bottom of section

Emergency Operations Plan


The Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) is a basic guide for providing a response by Western Colorado University (Western) staff, faculty and administrators to major emergencies occurring on Western property. All personnel designated to carry out specific responsibilities are expected to know and understand the policies and procedures outlined. Emergency response will be conducted within the framework of this plan. Exceptions or changes to the outlined procedures must be presented by the Emergency Operations Group (EOG) and approved by the President’s Cabinet before implementation.

Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of the EOP are to:

  • Protect and preserve human life and health.
  • Minimize loss or damage to the University’s facilities, grounds and resources.
  • Ensure appropriate communications and notifications within the University, community and beyond.
  • Respond appropriately to the magnitude of the crisis.
  • Establish a core group of well-trained individuals capable to committing resources to protect the University community.


The primary purpose of the EOP is to establish guidelines, assign responsibilities, and promote awareness in responding to emergencies that may affect the University. The EOP is designed to effectively coordinate the use of Western and Gunnison community resources to protect lives, preserve property and restore academic programming immediately following any emergency on the Western campus. The plan was created to complement plans that have been developed on the state, county, and city levels.


The Western EOP addresses different types of emergencies on an individual basis using the National Incident Management System (NIMS). However, these procedures are designed to be flexible in order to accommodate contingencies of various types and magnitudes. The following assumptions are made, and should be used as general guidelines in such an event:

  • An emergency may occur at any time of the day, night, weekend or holiday with little or no warning.
  • The succession of events in an emergency is difficult to predict. Published operational plans, such as this manual, should serve only as a guide and checklist and may require field modifications in order to meet the requirements of the emergency.
  • An emergency may be declared if the information indicates that such conditions are developing or probable.
  • Community-wide emergencies may affect the entire campus and the city of Gunnison.
  • City and county emergency services may not be available to assist for some time. The more severe the emergency, the more the University must be prepared to handle events on its own for certain periods of time.


The following guidelines and the EOP apply to all students, staff, faculty, and guests of Western; as well as buildings and property that are owned or operated by Western.

Reporting Emergencies

In an emergency, IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 to report the emergency. Once the call to 911 has been concluded, contact Campus Security Services. The Campus Security Duty phone number is 970.209.1020; the Campus Security 24-hour duty phone number is 970.209.8798; and the Campus Security Office phone number is 970.943.3084. If unable to reach campus security guard, call the Gunnison Police Department 970.641.8200

The recommended procedures for reporting emergencies should always be followed in sequence, unless conditions dictate otherwise.

In order to assist the Gunnison Dispatch Center in processing the call quickly and efficiently, please be prepared to give the following information:

  • What was seen, heard, or found.
  • Exact location of the incident.
  • The phone number of where you can be reached.
  • Details of the situation.
  • Your name and location.
  • Stay on the line until instructed to hang up.

Emergency Contact List

General Contacts

All phone numbers have a (970) prefix.

Agency Office/Cell Phone 
Gunnison Dispatch EMERGENCY
Campus Security Security Office
Security Cell
Security Duty Phone
Campus Facilities Facilities Office
Facilities Duty Cell

Organization of Campus Groups

  1. The Emergency Operations Group (EOG) assists the Emergency Operations Director and consists of the following representatives:
  • Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Chair
  • Director of Campus Security Services
  • Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Director of Residence Life
  • Campus Public Information Officer
  • Assistant Athletic Director
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Representatives from:
  1. Facilities Services
  2. Food Services
  3. Information Technology
  4. Other areas as applicable
  1. The Workplace Safety Committee assists the EOG in searching for safety issues involving the entire Western campus.
  2. The President’s Cabinet assists the President and consists of the following executive-level representatives:
  • President
    Acquisition of resources from outside Western, and is the policy decision-maker.
  • Vice President for Student Affairs
    Oversees the implementation of the EOP, plans for student housing/food service, health services, counseling services, and volunteers. Staff replacement.
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs
    Survey the academic program and establish target date for resumption of limited academic schedule. Faculty replacement.Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Prioritize salvage operations, short term building replacement program, and financing/legal problems. Faculty/staff replacement.
  • Public Information Officer
    Oversee the dissemination of public information.
  • Executive Director of the Western Foundation

Natural Hazards

Inclement and/or Severe Weather Policy:

Decisions for delayed campus openings, early releases or campus closure due to inclement weather will be made by the President.

The decision will be relayed to the Office of Public Relations and Communications, College Center Information Desk, Campus Security, and Information Technology.

In the event of a campus closure or delayed opening, announcements will be made to the following media and internal communications from the Office of Public Relations and Communications:

  • Rave Alert
  • KWSB
  • Local radio stations
  • Campus television
  • Western website
  • Nixle


  • If indoors, seek refuge in a doorway or next to a desk or table. Stay away from windows, shelves and heavy equipment or furniture.
  • If outdoors, move quickly away from buildings, utility poles and other structures. Caution: Always avoid power or utility lines as they may be energized.
  • After the initial shock, evaluate the situation. If emergency help is needed, immediately call 911. Protect yourself at all times and be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Gas leaks and power failures create special hazards. Please refer to the section on mechanical failures.
  • If an emergency exists within a building, activate the building fire alarm.
  • Follow the evacuation instructions listed in Section 3.
  • Once the threat of the earthquake has passed, campus administration or campus security shall coordinate with the Incident Commander (IC). The IC shall be notified of the damage Western has sustained and will inform the University of what steps should be taken to mitigate the disaster.


During a Flood

If a flood is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or television for information.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly.

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:

  • Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

If you have to leave your academic/administrative building or residence, remember these evacuation tips:

  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.

Driving Flood Facts

The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.

After a Flood

The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:

  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

During a flood, Western shall operate under the County’s incident command structure.

Once the threat of the flooding has passed, campus administration/campus security shall coordinate with the IC. The IC shall be notified of the damage Western has sustained and will inform the University of what steps should be taken to mitigate the disaster.


  • A Tornado Watch means that conditions exist for a tornado to develop.
  • A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has actually been sighted or indicated on radar.
  • Stay away from windows to avoid flying debris.
  • If you are outside and there is no time to get into a building, take cover and lie flat in the nearest depression, such as a ditch, culvert, excavation or ravine.
  • Avoid auditoriums and gymnasiums with large, poorly supported roofs.
  • If you are in an academic or administrative building, go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor. Stay away from windows.
  • After the threat of the tornado has passed, campus administration/campus security shall coordinate with the Incident Commander (IC). The IC shall be notified of the damage Western has sustained and will inform the University of what steps should be taken to mitigate the disaster.

Human-Related Incident Policies


  • If you observe alcohol/drugs/paraphernalia on campus (which may include, but are not limited to: marijuana pipes, beer cans, bottles, etc.), contact Campus Security and your supervisor (if applicable).
  • Note where the people involved are located and wait for Campus Security to arrive. DO NOT APPROACH THEM.
  • Upon arrival, defer to the Campus Security Guard on Duty. The Campus Security Guard on Duty is in charge of the situation and will determine if further assistance will be notified.

Shooter on Campus

In the event of a shooter on campus, Western follows the recommended practices of Homeland Security: Run, Hide, Fight


If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe

Hide: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door)
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

​If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet

If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

  • Remain calm
  • 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

Fight: Take action against the active shooter. As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Committing to your actions

Bomb Threat

  • Take all bomb threats seriously.
  • If applicable, pay attention to your telephone display and record the information shown in the display window.
  • After the call, immediately call 911.
  • Notify your supervisor or other Western authority.
  • Do not search for a device or touch suspicious objects.
  • If the threat was left on your voicemail, do not erase it.
  • If a threat was delivered, describe messenger or any suspicious persons in the area. Handle the evidence as little as possible to prevent impeding an investigation.
  • Evacuation decisions rest with campus administration, Campus Security, Gunnison Police Department, or other county officials.
  • Follow instructions precisely as evacuation may be to an alternate site.


If you see individuals beginning to fight or fighting, call 911 and Campus Security. Call your supervisor (if applicable) next and relay who you have contacted.

  • Upon arrival, defer to the campus security guard on duty. They are in charge of the situation. Police officers may also be on scene at this time. Assist as requested (crowd control, etc.).
  • Save questions for after the scene has been cleared. Go to a closed area to ensure confidentiality while debriefing.

General Medical Emergency

If a serious illness or injury occurs on campus, have someone immediately call 911. Give them your name and describe the nature and severity of the medical problem and the campus location of the victim. Have someone remain on the phone with the 911 dispatcher to provide updated information regarding the incident. Be prepared to provide specific directions to the scene. Request assistance from other people to help responding EMS arrive to the scene as quickly as possible. In case of serious illness or injury, quickly perform the following steps:

  • Keep the victim still and comfortable. Do not move the victim.
  • Ask victim, “Are you OK?” and “What is wrong?”
  • Check breathing and give artificial respiration if necessary.*
  • Control serious bleeding by direct pressure on the wound.*
  • Continue to assist the victim until EMS arrives.
  • Look for emergency medical ID’s, like bracelets, question witnesses and give all information to the EMS crew.

*Note: Only qualified trained personnel should provide first aid treatment (e.g., first aid or CPR)


  • If the individual is intoxicated or responding as though they are affected by some kind of mind-altering substance, contact the Campus Security Guard on duty and your supervisor (if applicable). Explain clearly the state of the individual. Answer all questions asked by officials.
  • For liability reasons, do not take personal responsibility for the intoxicated individual. Do not move or take the individual to the emergency room yourself!
  • Upon arrival, the Campus Security Guard on Duty will decide if an ambulance will be called to the scene.


Western Colorado University will uphold our role in the Gunnison Pandemic Response Plan. A pandemic is caused by a strain of virus that is new – no one will be immune and it will be highly contagious. During a pandemic, you might be advised to stay home for a period of time to reduce the spread of the disease. Due to geographical isolation, Gunnison has been less affected by such events than other areas. More information on home preparedness is available from Ready Colorado here.

Psychological Crisis

A psychological crisis exists when an individual is threatening harm to themselves or to harm others, or is out of touch with reality due to severe drug reactions or psychological problems. Psychological problems may be manifested by hallucinations, uncontrollable behavior or the person could be a walk-away from a nursing home or hospital.

If a psychological crisis occurs:

  • Never try to handle the situation on your own.
  • Call 911 if you feel the person or situation is threatening in any way.
  • Understand that it is important to deal with the actions of the person involved regardless of the underlying cause.
  • The WESTERN Counseling Center can be reached, at (970) 943-2484 during business hours, if you feel the situation is not immediately threatening.
  • Call (970) 252-6220 for a mental health emergency. Clearly state that you need immediate assistance and give your name, location, phone number and the area of campus involved.


  • Report all weapons to Campus Security and a staff member. If you are not sure if this warrants the arrival of Campus Security, call anyway. It is best to err on the side of caution.
  • Western does allow concealed weapon permit holders to carry concealed weapons on campus spaces.
  • DO NOT ASSUME YOU CAN HANDLE THIS BY YOURSELF. Call Campus Security and assist as requested.


If the situation is not described in the categories above:

  • Contact Campus Security.

Following up after an Incident

  • Do not share information about the details of a crime with anyone except Campus Security or campus officials as there may be ongoing investigations after the incident.
  • Refer any questions to your supervisor or Campus Security.
  • Depending on the type and scale of the emergency, WESTERN may report to an Incident Command System (ICS).

Non-Human Related Incident Policy

Explosion on Campus

In the event of an explosion, take the following actions:

  • Immediately take cover under a table, desk or other object that will give protection against falling glass or debris.
  • When it is safe to do so, call 911.
  • When told by officials to leave, follow the evacuation procedure outlined in Section 3.
  • Campus Security or a campus representative shall be present to aid the Incident Commander (IC) until the crisis is over.
  • Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by campus administration, Campus Security, Gunnison Police or other county officials.

Hazardous Material

In the event there is a large scale county Hazardous Material (Hazmat) emergency, WESTERN shall follow the instructions of the Incident Commander (IC).

In the event of an on-campus Hazmat incident:

  • Call 911 immediately and evacuate the area.
  • Notify others in the area to evacuate.
  • Notify Campus Security and Facility Services.

Critical Infrastructure Failure


If you discover a fire:

  • Remain calm and activate a fire alarm.
  • Call 911.
  • Follow the evacuation procedure in Section 3.
  • If the fire is small, you may then attempt to put it out with a fire extinguisher if you can do so safely. Use the P-A-S-S method:
    • Pull the pin in the handle
    • Aim at the BASE of the fire
    • Squeeze the nozzle, while employing a
    • Sweeping motion
  • Never allow the fire to come between you and an exit path.
  • If you are unable to put the fire out, evacuate by the nearest emergency exit.
  • Touch closed doors with the back of your hand prior to opening them. If it is hot or if smoke is visible, do not open that door. Seek another exit path.
  • If cool, exit carefully.
  • If there is smoke, crouch near the floor upon exit.
  • If there is fire, confine it as much as possible by closing doors and windows (do not lock the doors).
  • Never use an elevator during a fire evacuation.
  • Evacuate down stairs, or as a last resort, to the roof.
  • Do not re-enter building until authorized by emergency personnel.
  • In the event you cannot get out of the room you are in safely, call 911 and inform them of your location and place towels or clothing underneath the door to prevent smoke from entering.

Mechanical Failure

Emergency mechanical failure is defined as mechanical failure that causes immediate risk to personnel or property.

Mechanical failure may include but is not limited to:

  • Building flooding
  • Gas leak
  • Run-away boiler

In the event of a mechanical failure:

  • Stay calm.
  • Pull the fire alarm.
  • Call 911.
  • Follow the evacuation procedure outlined in Section 3.
  • Call Facility Services and notify your supervisor (if applicable).

Evacuation Procedures

Emergency situations require immediate decision making regarding evacuation procedure. The following information will give guidelines when evacuations are necessary.

Building Evacuation 

  • All building evacuations will occur when a fire alarm sounds and/or upon notification by campus administration, Campus Security, Gunnison Police or other county officials.
  • Remain calm.
  • When a fire alarm is activated, leave using the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same as you leave the building.
  • Each building shall have its own procedures for assisting people with special needs, attempting to protect HRCI (High Risk Confidential Information), and any other special conditions that may be applicable.
  • Do not use any elevator!
  • If you are directing others, communicate clearly and succinctly. Example: “We have a (type of emergency). Evacuate to (predetermined building evacuation area) and do not leave the area. Take your belongings. DO NOT use the elevators.”
  • If you are assigned to do so, assist persons with disabilities.
  • Turn off applicable equipment and secure area.
  • Close doors but do not lock them.
  • Keep exiting groups together.
  • Avoid wearing high heel shoes.
  • Do not carry liquids, beverages, or water bottles into the stairwell (fall and slip hazards).
  • Exit the building via the nearest safe exit route. Walk, do not run.
  • Once outside, proceed to the predetermined assembly point. This point should be at least 300 feet away from the affected building. Keep walkways, fire hydrant areas, fire lanes, and streets clear for emergency vehicles and personnel. It is your responsibility to know your building’s assembly point. Account for all known faculty, staff, and students.
  • Wait at evacuation point for instructions. Do not leave the area and instruct those present to do the same.
  • Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by campus administration, Campus Security, Gunnison Police or other county officials.

​Campus Evacuation Procedures

  • Evacuation of all or part of campus will be announced through a notification process (RAVE Alert) or by campus administration, Campus Security, Gunnison Police or other county officials.
  • Drive slowly and calmly and instruct others in your area to do the same.

Lockdown Procedures 

Academic Building

Prior to each fall semester, academic faculty and staff may undergo training on how to proceed in the event of an academic hall lockdown. The faculty and staff will inform students of lockdown expectations, safe routes, and exits during the first week of classes. Information will be posted in all academic areas.

The academic building chair is the main contact during a lockdown. All campus academic buildings are open during scheduled class hours and locked during non-class hours. The following procedures will be implemented in the Western academic buildings:

  • Each faculty/staff member and student will receive an email and a text (if registered for text service with RAVE Alert), regarding lockdown notification.
  • All professional staff, student staff, and campus residents shall communicate to all persons in plain view the ongoing emergency.
  • All faculty, staff, students and visitors will shelter in place. They will place themselves in a seated position with their back against the wall, stay away from windows, turn lights off, and remain quiet.
  • All faculty, staff, students and visitors will remain in their secure area until advised by the Gunnison Police Department, Campus Security, email and/or text.


People outside campus buildings shall be notified of a lockdown by the following methods:

  • Email or text message (RAVE Alert)
  • Word of mouth
  • Western website

If you receive an email or text message stating that a lockdown is in place while outside on campus or you are informed by someone else that a lockdown is in place, walk directly off campus. Inform others you see en route to do the same. If there is any additional information (i.e. area of concern, Hazmat, etc.), relay those special instructions to others as well.

Residence Hall

Prior to each fall semester, all Residence Life staff members are trained on how to proceed in the event of a residence hall lockdown. The professional and student staff will inform residents of lockdown expectations, safe routes, and exits during the first week of classes. Information will be posted in all residence halls/apartments. The Assistant Director of Residence Life, 970.209.1021, is the main contact during a lockdown. All college housing facilities are locked 24-hours a day.

The following procedures will be implemented in the Western Residence Halls:

  • The Office of Residence Life, senior Residence Life staff, and/or Assistant Director of Residence Life on Duty may be contacted by Campus Security and the RAVE Alert System to initiate a residence hall and/or apartment lockdown.
  • The Residence Life staff will coordinate procedures through the Office of Residence Life, senior Residence Life staff, and/or the Resident Director on Duty.
  • A RAVE Alert email and/or text message shall be sent out to Residence Life staff and students.
  • All professional staff, student staff, and campus residents shall communicate to all persons in plain view the ongoing emergency.
  • All professional staff, student staff, and campus residents will secure/lock their office/room/apartment. They will secure the blinds and windows.
  • All professional staff, student staff, and campus residents will shelter in place. They will place themselves in a seated position with their back against the wall, stay away from windows, turn lights off, and remain quiet.
  • All professional staff, student staff, and campus residents will remain in their secure area until advised by the campus administration, Campus Security, Gunnison Police or other county officials; RAVE Alert email and/or text.

Beginning with the 2010 fall semester, Western implemented Rave Mobile Safety as our primary emergency notification system. This system has had tremendous success across the country.

Students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to register for this service. All Western students receive an email at their Western email address asking them to sign-up with Rave Mobile Safety. Students will continue to receive messages requesting that they sign-up until they have done so. Western will conduct tests of the Rave emergency notification system periodically throughout the semester to ensure the system is working properly.

To sign up for Rave Mobile Safety alerts, please go to:


Use your Western email and password to enter the site and sign up.

Western and Rave Mobile Safety will have all participating faculty, staff, and students’ cell phone numbers and email addresses on file. If there is an emergency on campus or in the community that must be communicated, a mass text message and email will be sent out. For general questions about the system, please contact the Western RAVE Alert Student Affairs Help Desk Manager at 970.943.2232, or you may stop by the Office of Student Affairs in Taylor Hall 301.

Western will only be using the Alert broadcast messaging services for emergencies.

Take the Next Step

Apply to
Students pose for a photo on top of Mount Crested Butte in the summer

Apply to

We understand that applying to a university can be daunting, which is why we make our admission process as simple and straightforward as possible. Learn more about applying to your program of choice at Western.

Colorado Hall with the Palisades in the background on a bluebird day.


The best way to find out what makes Western such a special place is to experience it for yourself. Our student-led tours give you an insider’s perspective on everything from academics to student life.

A group of four alumni look at a display of old photos on a table.


We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.

A few students pose for a photo behind a table.


Want to discover more about Western? Request information today to get in touch with the admissions team.