The El Paso Community College is developing an Incident Manual that includes information about college operating status parameters, incident priorities and performance expectations. Operational plans for shelter in place and evacuation guidelines are developed. Departments are responsible for developing and submitting contingency plans and operations plans for their departments. The college tests its emergency notification system on campus.
EPCC police officers have received training in Incident Command and Active Shooter. When a serious incident occurs that causes an immediate threat to the campus, first responders are usually EPCC Police, who can be supplemented by El Paso Police, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the El Paso and Clint Fire Departments. Other EPCC departments and other city, county, state or federal agencies could also be involved in responding to an incident.
Emergency Management Plan
Notification to the College Community Regarding an Immediate Threat
The EPCC Chief of Police receives information from various offices and departments on campus. If it is determined that there is an emergency or dangerous situation that poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of some or all members of the college community, the Chief of Police will collaborate to determine the content of the message and will use some or all of the systems to communicate the threat to the EPCC community or to the appropriate segment of the community, if the threat is limited to a particular building or segment of the population. The Chief of Police and the college’s I.T. Division will, without undue delay and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system, unless issuing a notification will, in the judgment of the first responders, compromise the efforts to contain, respond to, assist a victim or otherwise mitigate the emergency.
In the case of a serious incident which poses an immediate threat to members of the EPCC community, the college has systems in place for communicating information quickly. Some or all of these methods may be activated in the event of an immediate threat. The methods of communication include network e-mails, text messaging and telephones.
EPCC utilizes a text message service called Tejano Alert. This is the primary source for notification to the campus community regarding immediate threats. E-mails are also sent to students, staff and faculty.
To sign up for Tejano Alert go to: Tejano Alert
The college will post updates during a critical incident on the EPCC Website. Members of the larger EPCC community interested in receiving information about emergencies on campus should enroll with the emergency text message system (Tejano Alert).
In cases where there is an imminent and immediate threat to the college community, EPCC has designed a notification system that employs campus wide text messages and e-mails. In addition, low tech solutions can include portable radios, telephones and runners delivering messages delivering information by word of mouth, all with the goal of notification, regardless of the disaster-related failures of communications. Primary notification is through Tejano Alert. When the need to evacuate the campus arises, fire alarms may be used. Faculty and staff will advise students to evacuate to the areas surrounding the buildings. Cars may not be allowed to leave; permitting access to the campus and parking lots of emergency vehicles.
Shelter in Place
If an incident occurs and the buildings or areas around where you are have become unstable, the air outdoors becomes dangerous due to toxic or irritating substances in the air; it is usually safer to stay indoors because leaving the area may expose you to those dangers. Thus, to “shelter in place” means to make a shelter of the building you are in and with a few adjustments, this location can be made even safer and more comfortable until safe to go outside.
If an incident occurs and the building you are in is not damaged, stay inside seeking an interior room – until you are told it is safe to come out. If the building is damaged, take your personal belongings with you and follow the evacuation instructions. Once evacuated, seek shelter at the nearest college building quickly. Follow directions of fire or police personnel on scene.
Although it is unlikely you will ever need to shelter in place, it is helpful to know what to do; just in case. You should plan to stay inside for about 12 hours – usually less. Staff and faculty can keep in their offices the additional items in the event of this happening:
- Extra prescription medication
- Basic first aid supplies
- Non-perishable foods
- Bottled water
- Battery operated radio
- Telephone – Remember: telephone services may not be available in the event of crisis
How Will You Know to Shelter in Place?
A shelter in place notification can be issued by EPCC Police, college employees, the local, state or federal government. Notification may also come over the radio or television, i.e., Emergency Broadcast System. The college can also announce the need to shelter in place using the Tejano Alert system.
How to Shelter in Place
No matter where you are, the basic steps to shelter in place will generally remain constant. Should the need ever arise; follow these steps unless instructed by emergency personnel to do otherwise.
- If inside – stay where you are; if outside, go to nearest building
- Collect supplies (food, water, etc.)
- Locate a room to shelter inside:
- interior room
- above ground level
- least amount of windows
- make a list of people with you
- call or have someone call the list into EPCC police with the location
- make yourself comfortable
Weather Related Emergencies
In the event of a weather related emergency, such as a tornado or other severe thunderstorm; students, faculty and staff are encouraged to heed the following precautions:
- Tornado Warning – seek shelter inside an interior room within the building in which you are located at the time of the warning – avoid being by windows, doors and outside walls
- Do not drive to shelter, unless you are already in a vehicle when the warning is issued – drive to the nearest building or seek shelter in a ditch or ravine
- If the building has a designated shelter area, go there – if not, go to an interior room on the lowest level (bathroom, closet, hall, etc.)
- If a sturdy piece of furniture is available, use it for cover and stay away from windows