What Happens if There is an Emergency on Campus?


You are sitting in class, when you suddenly smell smoke, and an alarm goes off. Or you are studying in the library, when the earth starts shaking. Maybe you are enjoying the sun out on the third floor when you hear shooting from the somewhere below. Do you know what to do? Or where to go? Or who to go to on campus if you need help?

Antioch University, Santa Barbara (AUSB) has an emergency plan in place to address these questions. Emergencies covered by this plan consist of, but are not limited to:

bomb threats; significant breaks in heat, power, or water service; contagious illnesses; contamination of air, water or food; violent crime; explosion; fire; flood; natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes; chemical spills; and civil disturbances.

This plan is meant to save lives and property and help the University return to normal operations as soon as possible. Further, the plan exists to help establish communication systems so that those in charge can take control of a situation, and help make important decisions in case of an emergency. A plan like this is incredibly important to the safety of students, faculty, and staff here at Antioch.

Staff and Faculty are also given training on what to do in case of emergencies, but students—many of whom don’t even know an emergency plan exists—are often left in the dark. Students may not be aware that there is some information about what to do in AUSB’s 2017 Annual Security Report, which is available online. This report gives the on-campus crime statistics for the year, as well as giving crime prevention tips and a general overview of what to do in case of emergency.

The Security Report reminds us that the one of the first thing to do when an emergency arises is call 911 (on campus phones dial 9-911) and calmly and clearly state the nature of the emergency and where you are located. After calling 911, you should call the campus emergency phone line (805-444-2728) and let the Campus Safety Officer know about the situation. An emergency may necessitate evacuation of campus. Brynner Batista, AUSB’s facilities coordinator, wants everyone to know that there are maps placed around campus showing evacuation routes in case of emergency. If an evacuation is necessary, students, faculty, staff, and visitors should immediately stop what they are doing and head to the nearest exit. Be aware that during an emergency situation elevators will not be operational. Everyone who has exited the building should meet at the corner of Cota and Santa Barbara in the north-west corner of the public parking lot. All evacuees should remain in this location until they are given the “all-clear” from AUSB administration, public authorities, or building management.

What to do for Specific On-Campus Emergencies:

Fire: If you are aware of a fire, and the alarm is not already activated, go to a fire alarm pull station, and activate the manual fire alarm. When the alarm rings, all occupants of the building should immediately evacuate. There are fire extinguishers available on campus, but students are not expected to attempt to put out the fire.

Earthquake: If an earthquake strikes when you are on campus you should drop to the ground, find cover under a desk or other sturdy furniture, and hold on to that furniture. You should not attempt to exit the building until you are sure that the shaking has stopped and the area around you is secure.

Violence on Campus: According to Brynner, the most important thing to do in these situations is get clear of the danger if you can. He says that you should get in to a classroom if possible, as all the classrooms are designed with easy locks-just push a button on the door. Brynner also states that the possibility of violent incidents is one of the reasons why we have campus security—a majority of which come from law enforcement or military backgrounds—that are trained in what to do if violence erupts.

Again, in any emergency make sure to

  •  Call 911 (or 9-911 on campus phones)
  • Exit the building as soon as it is safe
  • After exiting meet at the north-west corner of Cota and Santa Barbara

While it is unlikely that an emergency situation will happen in your time at AUSB, it is important to be prepared. By keeping these guidelines in mind, and being aware of your surroundings at all time, you can give yourself the best chance to survive an emergency on campus.


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