The objective of the Mount St. Joseph University Disaster and Emergency Response Plan is to provide the maximum practical protection for students, faculty, staff, and visitors in the event of a crisis. 

Natural disasters, such as floods, severe storms and tornadoes, and man-made disasters which can result from chemical accidents, falling aircraft, fires, explosions, etc., are potential hazards for which we must be prepared. We must also prepare for a man-made crisis, which can come in the form of weapons on campus and bomb threats.

In addition, MSJ University recognizes its responsibility to immediately notify the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus.  An “immediate” threat encompasses an imminent or impending threat.  MSJ University Police Department and Communications staff will collaborate to determine the content of the message and will use some or all of the system described below to communicate the threat to the MSJ community or to the appropriate segment of the community, if the threat is limited to a particular building or segment of the population.  MSJ University Police and Communications staff will, without 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 (including, but not limited to MSJ Police, Delhi Township Police and/or Fire and Emergency Medical Services), compromise the efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

To meet these objectives, we will instruct and prepare staff, faculty and students in the appropriate and safe procedures to follow in the event of a campus crisis through various channels of communication, including e-mail, MountSafe, MSJ phone system, social media, chapel bells and other available sources. The occurrence of a crisis will require prompt response from all members of the campus community and specifically, personnel with assignments included in this plan. Since no two emergencies will be the same in nature, scope or magnitude, it is necessary for the University’s plans to be basic, flexible and subject to modification as the need arises. Modification will be at the discretion of the President, Chief of MSJ Police Department or civil authority. However, in any emergency, the following priorities shall apply:

• Protection of life.
• Prevention of injury.
• Protection of property.
• Preparation of the campus for extended stay or evacuation.

Every student, faculty member, staff member and visitor at Mount St. Joseph University should be as prepared as possible for emergency evacuation of campus buildings.

This is particularly important for people with disabilities, for whom the environment becomes even more difficult during and after an emergency than for the non-disabled. If you are a person with a disability (mobility, vision, hearing, speech, or cognitive), you are encouraged to contact the Director of the Learning Center & Disability Services at (513) 244-4524 or, The Learning Center, Room 156 Seton Center). The Director will work with you and the MSJ Police Department to develop a personal safety plan that will help increase the probability of a smooth evacuation in an emergency.  Temporary disabilities impacting mobility or emergency response should be reported to the MSJ Police Department.

Following every disaster or emergency, a full review of all response procedures will be conducted with members of the Emergency Response Team and other individuals and agencies involved in the response.

Who Declares a Campus Emergency?
Campus emergencies may only be declared by the following persons:

  • University President:
    The President of Mount St. Joseph University is primarily responsible for declaring a campus emergency. In questionable cases he/she may consult with other department heads, civil authorities and the Chief of MSJ Police Department to assist in assessing the need to declare an emergency. In the absence of the President, his/her designee will act on behalf of the President. In a situation where neither is available, the Chief of MSJ Police Department shall declare the emergency. Unless an obvious and immediate emergency exists, consultations should be utilized in the decision making process.
  • Civil Authorities
    Delhi Police, Delhi Fire, or other local, state or federal government agencies may declare an emergency that would involve the campus.

All faculty, staff and students are responsible to sound the appropriate alarm or notification upon discovering a critical situation. A critical situation includes events such as a fire, violent act, observation of a person on campus with a gun, or hearing/observing gun shots on campus.

Common Terms in Emergency Response
Building or Room Evacuation

A building or room evacuation may be the result of a fire, chemical leak, power outage, or any other event which requires leaving a building.

Campus Evacuation
A campus evacuation will occur if the campus is deemed unsafe and uninhabitable by civil authorities or by the administration. This will usually be the result of an extensive campus fire, aircraft crash, chemical threat, or local police/fire department action.

Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities
Visual Impairments: Inform the person of the nature of the emergency and offer to guide the person to the nearest exit.

Hearing Impairments: Alert the person that there is an emergency situation by using hand gestures or by turning the light switch on and off. Verbalize or mouth instructions, or provide the person with a short note containing instructions.

Mobility Impairments: Since elevators should not be used, individuals who can walk may be able to evacuate themselves with some assistance. For individuals unable to walk: if there is no immediate danger, escort the individual to a safe place to await rescue personnel. Whenever possible, someone should remain with the person while another individual exits the building and notifies rescue personnel of the person’s exact location. Only in extreme situations should you try to evacuate a person in a wheelchair yourself. On the sixth floor east lounge of the Seton Residence Hall, the University has placed an emergency stair chair. This chair makes the evacuation of the mobility impaired safer and faster. The mobility- impaired person is the best authority on how he/she should be moved. Ask before you move someone. While it is best to let rescue personnel conduct the evacuation, the person can be carried by two people who have interlocked their arms to form a chair, or the person can be carried in a sturdy office chair.

A lockdown procedure will occur if a threat occurs on campus or in the local neighborhood that requires students, faculty, staff, and visitors to be taken indoors where it is less likely that they will be injured. This will usually be the result of an attack by an armed person on campus or gunshots fired on campus (or in the near neighborhood). Some emergency situations may require a secondary response beyond those listed above, such as initiating shelter in place. Such situations may include an extended stay on campus due to a major winter storm.

This is to protect students, faculty, and staff who are already inside the buildings. Everyone should find some place of shelter inside that building and stay there until you are directed to leave. Determine if the room you are in can be locked and if so, lock all windows and doors, and turn off all the lights.

If the room can’t be locked, determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and secured in the manner above. If it is not possible to lock the doors or attempt to safely reach another area, then do the following:

  • Place furniture and equipment in front of the doors to barricade them.
  • If a door opens out into a corridor, then use whatever means possible to try to restrict entry to the room, including placing furniture and equipment in front of the door, or using a belt or other item to tie the door handle to something stable.
  • Stay away from windows, stay alert for instructional messages as described below, and put cell phones on vibrate.
  • Remain in place until the police or a campus administrator known to you gives the “all clear.”
  • If the threat compromises your shelter then leave that place for another place of safety even to the extent of leaving or fleeing from the building.

Initial Response in an Emergency
Fire in Building
Fires are a major concern for any university setting. We must all be prepared to respond without hesitation to this emergency.  In the event of a fire, the University expects that all campus community members will evacuate by the nearest exit, closing doors and activating the fire alarm system as they leave.  Do not use elevators. Once safely outside a building, it is appropriate to contact 911 and the MSJ Police Department.  Students and/or staff are informed where to relocate by staff if circumstances warrant at the time of the alarm.  In the event fire alarms sound, University policy is that all occupants must evacuate from the building, closing doors as they leave.  Each community member’s only duty is to exit safely and quickly, shutting doors along the exit path as this helps to contain the spread of flames and smoke, and to activate the alarm as they exit.  At no time should the closing of doors or the activation of the alarm delay the exit from the building.  Additional directions and information will be sent to the MSJ community through various communication channels.

Armed Intruder on Campus
Mount St. Joseph University is now utilizing the A.L.I.C.E. program when dealing with armed intruders on campus. The A.L.I.C.E. program was created to enhance the traditional lockdown or secure-in-place policies used in educational institutions.  A.L.I.C.E. is designed to increase survivability during active shooter or armed intruder situations. Because it may take several minutes for police to respond, it is important for students, faculty, and staff to realize that they are the real first responders on scene. There are tactics that can be used to gain an advantage and to survive. The five components of A.L.I.C.E. are:  Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. Since no two situations are exactly alike, there is no specific order to the components of the A.L.I.C.E. response plan.


  • If you see an armed person(s) or hear gunfire, then:
    - Call 911
    - Notify MSJ Police by calling (513) 244-4226 or 4226 from any campus phone. (Be specific).
    - Give as much detail of the suspect as safely possible (e.g., race, sex, clothing, type of weapon, location of suspect).
  • If another person alerts you to the above information, then:
    - Find out if they have informed the authorities. If they have not or if you are unsure, then make the emergency notification above.


  • When the chapel bells continuously toll, we are under lockdown due to a potentially violent situation.  The bells will not toll for natural disasters of weather related issues.
  • You may also be notified by various communication channels such as e-mail system, announcements on the MSJ website, campus phones, social media and any other available resource.
  • Lock your classroom door(s).  Turn off your lights. Lower the blinds and cover any windows in the door.  Stay away from windows and doors. Place cell phones on vibrate or silent.
  • Utilize objects in the room or on your persons (e.g. desks, tables, chairs, belts, etc.) to help secure the door(s).  Do not rely solely on locks.  You need to provide an initial barrier(s).
  • Once you have barricaded the door(s), do NOT open the door(s) for anyone unless notified by the police through the communication channels listed above.
  • Look for alternate escape routes (i.e. windows or other doors).
  • Start to prepare mentally to defend yourself and others – remember your objective is to survive.
  • Begin to gather items that could be used as weapons (e.g. cups, chairs, books, bags, pens, staplers, fire extinguishers, etc.).


  • If you have information about the suspect, stay in communication with MSJ Police Department by phone or whatever means available, advising them of the subject’s location and actions. Accurate, real-time information can be critical in these situations.
  • Additional directions and information will be sent to the Mount community through the various communication channels listed above.


  • If the armed intruder enters the room, use objects in the room (e.g., computers, furniture, staplers, fire extinguishers, etc.) and on your person (e.g., books, binders, backpacks, purses, drinks, etc.) to defend yourself, to distract the shooter, and to disrupt the shooter’s aim and concentration. Remember anything can be a weapon.
     - Do not be afraid to fight back – it is okay to fight.
     - Make yourself a difficult or “hard” target.
              Create a lot of noise.
              Throw objects.
              Run around the room.
              Create chaos.
     - Attack in a group (or swarm the intruder). Grab the intruder’s limbs and head. Take him to the ground and hold him there.
     - If you have possession of the weapon, hide and secure it away from the intruder (e.g., place it in a trashcan). Do not carry or hold the weapon, as police may think you are the armed intruder. Maintain possession of the weapon without being in Possession.
     - Inform the police that you have control of the intruder and tell them where you are located. Listen to the instructions given by the police.


  • Remove yourself from the danger zone as quickly as possible.
  • Safely evacuate whenever possible. YOU may have to decide if it is safe to evacuate.
  • Run in a zigzag pattern as fast as you can until out of the danger zone.
  • Utilize windows if you are on the third floor or lower.
  • Do not attempt to drive from the area until instructed to do so by the police.  Instead you will be directed to a secure rally point that will be determined by the police.

Serious Injury Involving Staff, Faculty, Student, or Campus Visitor

  • Call 911; notify MSJ Police Department by calling (513) 244-4226 or 4226 from any campus phone.
  • Assist injured persons.
  • MSJ Police will be the liaison to Delhi Fire and EMS.
  • MSJ Police will protect the scene; take photos, measurements, etc.
  • Notification will begin as time permits (order depends on situation)
     - Immediate supervisor
     - President and/or Provost
     - Dean of Students
     - Chief Compliance and Risk Officer
     - Public Relations Manager
     - Wellness Center (counseling)
     - Maintenance
  • Additional directions and information will be sent to the Mount community through various communication channels.

Tornado/Severe Weather
The Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency follows the direction of the National Weather Service (NWS). If the NWS issues a warning, Hamilton County will activate ALL the sirens for the county. The NWS gives the definition of a warning as: A weather warning means that a dangerous weather event is imminent. Immediate action must be taken to protect life and property. This weather can take the form of heavy winds, lightning, thunderstorms and tornados.

The Hamilton County siren is the emergency confirmation in the event of a tornado or severe weather.

In the case of severe weather and/or a tornado, attempts will be made to notify persons on campus through various channels of communications.

  • Whenever you are aware of severe weather or tornado warnings, you must go immediately to the lowest floor of the building.
  • Stay away from glass windows and glass doors.
  • Leave auditoriums, gyms and other free span rooms.
  • After the threat is over MSJ Police will make notification that all is clear through various communication channels.
  • Additional directions and information will be sent to the Mount community through various communication channels.

Hamilton County uses several different sirens to alert of storms. To learn more, visit the website of the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency.

If you are inside during an earthquake:

  • Immediately take cover under a table or desk, or stand in a doorway. In areas where cover is not available, kneel at the base of an interior wall, facing the wall and with head down and covered by arms. Turn your body away from windows and mirrors.
  • Be alert for falling objects and stay away from overhead fixtures, filing cabinets, bookcases, and electrical equipment.

If you are outside during an earthquake:

  • Move to an open area away from buildings, trees, and power lines.
  • If unable to move to an open area, watch for falling objects.

If you are in an automobile during an earthquake:

  • Stop your vehicle in the nearest open area.
  • Stay in the vehicle until the shaking stops.

After an earthquake:

  • Be aware of the possibility of aftershocks.
  • If possible and it is safe to do so, evacuate the building as soon as the shaking has ceased.
  • Do not move injured persons unless they are in obvious immediate danger (from fire, building collapse, etc.)
  • Open doors carefully. Watch for falling objects.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Do not use matches or lighters.

Limit use of telephone to calls for emergency services.

Bomb Threats
The person receiving the bomb threat call should engage the caller in a conversation to get as much information as possible:

  • Ask what time the bomb is set to go off.
  • Ask questions regarding the specific location - building, room, closet, locker, etc.
  • Ask about the appearance of the bomb package.
  • Listen for background noise, e.g., radio, other people, traffic sounds, etc.
  • Note any caller information available through Caller I.D.
  • Was the caller hysterical, calm, excited, etc.
  • Was the caller's voice male or female, young or old, with an accent?
  • Notify MSJ Police immediately by calling (513) 244-4226 or 4226 from any campus phone.

In the event that a live bomb is found:

  • Leave the building and surrounding area by at least 600 feet.
  • Turn off all cell phones, radios and wireless devices, including laptops.
  • Notify MSJ Police once at least 600 feet from the area.

Chemical/Hazardous Materials Spill or Leak in Building or On Campus

  • Pull the nearest fire alarm.
  • Evacuate the building.
  • Notify MSJ Police by calling (513) 244-4226 or 4226 from any campus phone.
  • Advise the officer as to the nature and location of the problem, if possible give the officer the room number
  • MSJ Police has a list of chemicals stored in the Science Building and maintenance has a list of the SDS/MSDS (material safety data sheets).
  • The list of chemicals and their location will be provided to Delhi Fire upon their arrival.
  • The officer will notify the Chief of MSJ Police who will then begin the notification process of other University officials.
  • Additional directions and information will be sent to the Mount community through emails, MSJ phone system, social media and any other available resources.

Explosion on Property

  • Notify MSJ Police by calling (513) 244-4226 or 4226 from any campus phone.
  • Assist any injured persons.
  • Treat as a fire and evacuate.
  • Remember to care for your own safety.
  • Advise if anyone else is still in the building or injured in the rubble.
  • Delhi Fire Department and EMS will be notified.
  • Additional directions and information will be sent to the Mount community through various communication channels.

Chemical/Hazardous Spill or Leak Off Campus That Threatens Campus Community

  • If on campus, follow shelter-in-place direction.
  • Do not open windows.
  • Do not leave buildings.
  • Keep doors closed.
  • Additional directions and information will be sent to the Mount community through various communication channels.

Aircraft Crash
If an aircraft crash were to occur on the University campus, remember that in the initial stages, it will be total chaos. Attempt to compose yourself:

  • Notify MSJ Police by calling (513) 244-4226 or 4226 from any campus phone.
  • Protect yourself - there will be fire, fuel, twisted metal, and biological hazards.
  • Once you are safe, assist injured persons. Remember, these injuries will be traumatic and horrific.
  • Follow the direction of MSJ Police and other police and fire officers.
  • Additional directions and information will be sent to the Mount community through various communication channels.

Death of Staff, Faculty, Student

  • Notify MSJ Police by calling (513) 244-4226 or 4226 from any campus phone.
  • Do not let anyone enter the area except emergency personnel.
  • Do not attempt to gain entrance to the area, it is important to preserve the scene.
  • MSJ Police will control the scene.
  • Notifications will be made as soon as time permits (order may vary).
     - President
     - Provost
     - Dean of Students
     - Chief Compliance and Risk Officer
     - Public Relations Manager
     - Wellness Center (counseling)
     - Maintenance
     - Immediate Supervisor
  • Additional directions and information will be sent to the Mount community through various communication channels.