Subject: Safety, Health & Security Initiatives
From: Katrina Doolittle, Director, Environmental Health & Safety
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 16:58:50 -0600

NMSU Safety, Health & Security Initiatives
Emergency Preparedness Information - 2009


Each year as the fall semester gets underway, Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) in collaboration with NMSU Fire, Police and Health & Wellness, provide updated information on Safety, Health and Security Initiatives for NMSU.  An event schedule for Las Cruces is provided on NMSU Safety website at  Other campuses should communicate to their staff and students the emergency plans and procedures which are specific to their location. 

Instructors need to inform students at the beginning of each semester of the specific emergency and evacuation procedures and how to receive emergency notifications.  Every employee should review the following safety and emergency preparedness information annually. 

How do I get emergency alerts and information?

NMSU maintains emergency notification information so that, in the event of an emergency, notifications can be sent using a variety of methods.  It is up to you to provide how you want to be contacted.  You need to do this through the NMSU Accounts web page which is found at this link  https:/ There are several tools that Emergency Managers may use to alert and inform NMSU students, faculty and staff of potentially hazardous events or situations.    The possible notification methods include e-mail, phone, text, NMSU Homepage or phone Hotline (646-1000).   You must provide your work and personal contact information to fully use the notification system.  The nature of the emergency determines which tool(s) will most effectively communicate information to the target population.  It is important to understand that no single system can reach the entire populace of the university.  Each notification tool has individual limitations and it is critical that as many tools be used at one time as possible and that recipients pass along the message to others.

As additional information regarding the event becomes available, updates will be communicated through any of the following:  NMSU homepage at, NMSU email, voicemail, text message and 646-1000.  Regional alerts such as weather bulletins and road closures can be obtained through existing local radio and television news networks.  

Quick Flip Guide to Emergencies

The Quick Flip Guide to Emergencies was spiral bound and distributed to all faculty and staff in 2008 and the document can be found at NMSU Police Department Emergency Management .  These guides are an easy reference for what to do in different types of emergencies.   

Emergency Action Plans

Each department is responsible for having and updating an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and discussing the plan with their employees annually.  This plan is established to provide information on what employees are expected to do in an emergency, where to go in an evacuation and how each department will disseminate emergency alerts to their faculty and staff that cannot receive information through the Emergency Notification System.  Departments should establish their internal phone tree and email list.   All instructors need to review safety and emergency procedures with students during the first week of class. 

At the beginning of each fall semester, unscheduled building evacuations will be conducted on the Las Cruces and Dona Ana campuses to test Departmental Emergency Action Plans (EAP).  Fire drills will be performed at all campus residence halls.

Guidance for developing Emergency Action Plans is provided at NMSU Safety Policies .  All staff attending the first Employee Safety class will receive basic information on emergency procedures for NMSU.  Departments are responsible for reviewing and posting specific evacuation plans for their building, and identifying the EAP coordinators for their area. 

Building monitors should check and report any emergency safety devices such as exit signs, fire extinguishers, smoke doors, etc., that are damaged, missing, out-of-date, or not operating.  Just place a maintenance work order to Office of Facilities and Services for repair.

Continuity of Operations Plans

This year, the Emergency Preparedness policy was updated to reflect operations planning which will assure coordinated response and efficient utilization of all resources available to NMSU.  In a critical incident or an area-wide disaster, NMSU will work to help protect campus safety and ensure that mission critical functions are restored quickly.  A web page devoted to helping NMSU departments prepare for and recover from emergency situations can be found at Emergency Preparedness .  This site has general emergency preparedness information; templates and guides for developing the EAP and Continuity of Operations Plan; local and regional weather alert links.   Departments are responsible for developing their continuity of operations plans (CoOP) that identifies their critical operations and essential positions needed to maintain the departmental operations.  For assistance in developing Continuity of Operations Plans, contact Katrina Doolittle.   

The Communicable Disease Planning Committee (CDPC) is involved in intensive planning for an H1N1 Swine Flu response expected this fall.  Information, planning are available at Communicable Disease Guide.   The CDPC has established NMSU’s guidelines for response to communicable diseases such as the new, highly transmissible H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009 or other contagious disease outbreak.  Each department has responsibilities under this plan which includes:

About 30 departments have been involved in this planning effort and have developed their continuity of operations plans (CoOP’s).  Environmental Health & Safety offers a one hour overview to assist Department Heads in the CoOP development.  The CoOP template on the emergency management web page should be used to develop the plan.  Each department or divisions CoOP must be submitted through the Deans or Vice Presidents to EH&S.  

Emergency Preparedness Testing

NMSU developed an “all hazards” approach to disaster planning and emergency management.  The NMSU All Hazards Emergency Operations Plan for Las Cruces and Dona Ana campuses is posted at Emergency Management.  This model plan can be adapted to fit the local needs of the other NMSU campuses.

The Emergency Notification System will be tested at least once a semester for the NMSU system.  This testing will be used to make students and employees of NMSU aware of the alert system and act as a reminder for everyone to update their contact information.

Each fall, a tabletop exercise is designed to test response plans for different types of emergencies.  These tabletops involve the Central Administration Response Team (CART) and departments responsible for essential functions related to the specific type of event.  A tabletop scenario related to a major utility outage will be tested this fall.    

Department of Fire and Emergency Services will conduct fire evacuation drills at all residence halls, Greek housing, and several academic buildings during September.  They also provide emergency response and extinguisher training to residence hall assistants.  The DFES will provide fire safety information at booths set up at the Residence Halls, Greek Complex and Corbett Center during first few weeks of the fall semester.   

Safety Training Requirements

Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) provides information and instruction for the NMSU community on issues related to safety, health and environment. A general safety orientation with emphasis on emergency procedures (Employee Safety/ Haz Comm) is provided every other week and is the basic awareness training required for all new employees.  All new graduate and research assistants are introduced to safety requirements each fall semester to help raise the awareness of their safety responsibilities as instructors and researchers.  Special laboratory safety refresher training is provided for the Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering and Arts and Sciences annually.  In general, EH&S provides 25 different training courses and refresher trainings to help improve the working environment of NMSU employees as well as ensure compliance with regulations related to safety, health and environment protection.  Except for Defensive Driving these classes are free, just call 646-3327 or view the Safety Training class list .

For information on safety and refresher training requirements for faculty, staff and student employees, see Training requirements .  Registration is requested for all safety Training.  

Personal Safety & Security Training and Risk Assessment

The NMSU Police Department offers numerous courses at no cost including personal defense, emergency management, violence in the workplace, dealing with difficult people and administrative introduction to deadly force.  Police Department also provides risk assessments, emergency plan review and will assist departments to develop and conduct tabletops or exercises specific to their needs. For more information on any of these services provided by the Police Department, please call (505) 646-4533.

Fall 2009 Safety Events and Safety, Health & Security Initiatives will be posted on the safety web at

Katrina Doolittle, Ph.D.Director,
Environmental Health & Safety
New Mexico State University
PO Box 30001 / MSC 3578
Las Cruces, NM 88003
Phone: 575-646-3327, Fax: 575-646-7898