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NMSU Safety & Security Initiatives for 2008
Emergency Preparedness Information

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Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) in collaboration with NMSU Fire and Police Departments is pleased to announce the following Safety and Security Initiatives for NMSU as the fall semester gets underway.  An event schedule for Las Cruces is provided on NMSU Safety website at http://www.nmsu.edu/safety.  Other campuses should communicate to their staff and students the emergency plans and procedures which are specific to their location.  Department and Division Heads are asked to the review the following safety and emergency preparedness information with their staff.  Instructors should inform students of emergency procedures.

  • < How to get emergency alerts and information
  • < Departmental Emergency Action Plans (EAP)
  • < Emergency management & preparedness
  • < Emergency preparedness testing
  • < 'No Notice' fire drills for academic buildings, residence halls and Greek housing
  • < Fire safety information and mock room fires
  • < Safety awareness and training requirements
  • < Personal safety and security training and risk assessment
  • < Quick Flip Guide to Emergencies

How do I get emergency alerts and information?

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 nature of the emergency determines which tool(s) will most effectively communicate information to the target population.  When the situation or event is specific to NMSU, emergency alerts and instructions can be delivered in a matter of minutes via university phones to specific building(s) or Official University Offices.  Department personnel must follow their emergency action plan to effectively communicate the information to faculty, students and staff.  As additional information regarding the event becomes available, updates will be communicated through any of the following:  NMSU homepage news at www.NMSU.edu, NMSU email, voicemail, and University information line at 646-1000.  Regional alerts such as weather bulletins and road closures can be obtained through existing local radio and television news networks.  

Departmental 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 identify how each department will disseminate emergency alerts to their faculty and staff (phone tree, email, and personal notification).  All instructors should review safety and emergency procedures with students in their classes at the beginning of each semester. We will be conducting unscheduled building evacuations on the Las Cruces and Dona Ana campuses to test some of the Emergency Action Plans. Fire drills wills be performed at all campus residence halls.

Guidance for emergency planning is provided under the Policies section on the Safety website (at http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/policy-link.htm ) and at the web page listed below.   Emergency Planning and Employee Safety/Hazard Communication classes are provided by EH&S to assist in developing an EAP and procedures for general safety and preparedness.  Once your department has reviewed and posted the plan, the department coordinators should take a moment to update the emergency contact information on the Emergency Plan web database at http://www.nmsu.edu/%7Esafety/policies/policy_emergency_action_plan.htm#EAP_database.  Building monitors should also 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 to the Office of Facilities and Services for repair or maintenance.

NMSU Emergency Management and Preparedness

A web page devoted to helping NMSU departments prepare for and respond to emergency situations can be found at http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/emergency.htm .  This site has general emergency preparedness information, templates and guides for developing emergency action plans, continuity of operations plans, local and regional weather alerts, and a listing of emergency alert system messages.

There is a specific tab devoted to the progress made by the Communicable Disease Planning Committee (CDPC) over the past year.  The CDPC has developed and made available on the web, NMSU emergency response plans to protect personnel and continuity of essential operations in the event of any new, highly transmissible and/or severe communicable disease outbreak. New personnel policies for emergency situations have been drafted.  A disease tabletop exercise will be conducted early this Fall semester. Twenty-three of the 25 departments involved in this planning effort have completed continuity of operations plan (CoOP) using the template provided on the emergency management web page.  The CoOPlans identify key missions carried out by the unit and mechanisms for continuing to meet them during or after a disaster.  These plans will be updated annually and submitted to the Deans and Vice Presidents or Provost.  

Last year, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s Task Force on Campus Safety recommended actions to guide higher education institutions in developing or improving their emergency response plans and capabilities.   NMSU has followed the recommendations and 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 http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/emergency.htm.  This model plan can be adapted to fit the local needs of the other NMSU campuses.

The Governor’s task force on Campus Safety brief and recommended action plan can be found at http://hed.state.nm.us/cms/kunde/rts/hedstatenmus/docs/718620931-06-13-2007-14-23-27.htm .  

Emergency Preparedness Testing

Two tabletop exercises are planned that will involve the Central Administration Response Team (CART) and departments responsible for essential functions related to the specific type of event.  In late August, there will be a disease outbreak scenario to test the NMSU Communicable Disease Response Plan.   A second tabletop exercise will be scheduled this fall to test the response to a crisis situation involving a firearm.    

Fire Department and EH&S will conduct fire evacuation drills at residential buildings, Greek housing, and several academic buildings during September.  We will also test the Emergency Alert System, which can be used to automatically to call phones in specific campus buildings or used to notify the Official University Offices when an alert is necessary. Additional information and a video on the current Emergency Alert System can be viewed via the Safety website at http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/security-info.htm .

Fire Safety Information and Mock Room Fires

NMSU's Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) will provide emergency response and extinguisher training to residence hall assistants and run fire information booths at the Residence Halls, Greek Complex and Corbett Center during first few weeks of the fall semester.   On three different dates, the NMSU Fire Department will furnish and burn a full-size model of a residential room inside an 8-by-20 foot metal shipping container. The model room will be set on fire in a scenario that could occur in a residential room or apartment, such as a cigarette in a wastebasket or tipping a candle over on a table.  These mock residential room fires will take place by the Fire Station, east of Alumni and east of Greek Complex. 

Safety Awareness and 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 is provided every other week and required for all new employees.  Special sessions are provided each fall semester to help orient incoming graduate and research assistants to their safety responsibilities.

Refresher training for safety in the laboratory is provided for Colleges of Agriculture, Engineering and Arts and Sciences.  EH&S provides over 20 different training courses 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 classes on the web at  http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/training/class_desc_outline.htm

Classes in Emergency Planning are available at the start of each Fall semester and as requested.  All regular safety classes are held in the Safety Training Facility, room 110 of Academic Research Center, Building C, located near the intersection of Locust and Standley Drive. Registration is requested for all safety classes; please sign up online at http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/training-link.htm

For information on required training for new faculty, staff and student employees, please check the Training Requirement section at http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/policies/policy_empl_train.html .

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. The Quick Flip Guide to Emergencies was developed and distributed to all faculty and staff in 2008.  These guides are to be discussed with staff and are to be used as an easy reference for what to do in many emergencies.    For more information on any of these services provided by the Police Department, please call (575) 646-4533.

A schedule of events is attached (link) and is posted on the safety web at

http://www.nmsu.edu/safety