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Office of Risk Management

SMU Safety FAQs

Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency – as well as how you will be notified – is essential.

Here are Frequently Asked Questions that are answered below.

Before an Emergency

  • SMU Police: 911 or 214-768-3333
  • SMU home page: www.smu.edu
  • @SMU on Twitter

Unless you have critical information for SMU Police, do not call to ask, “What’s happening?” – you will tie up vital police communications.

 

  • Keep your contact information updated in the my.smu.edu system.
  • Know how to Evacuate, Shelter and Lockdown.
  • Read the KNOW WHAT TO DO instructions at www.smu.edu/emergency and posted in classrooms and buildings.
  • View safety information and videos online at www.smu.edu/emergency.
  • Watch for text and email updates from SMU Emergency.
  • Follow @SMU on Twitter.
  • Follow instructions from building personnel.
  • Participate in drills and practices.
  • Put SMU Police on speed dial: 214-768-3333.
  • Learn more during National Preparedness Month each September.

Alerts During an Emergency

SMU's Emergency Notification System consists of many different modes of communication, because no single method can reach every person, every time. Once a potential threat is identified and until it is resolved, SMU will communicate with you using one or more of these methods:

  • Cell calls, text messages, emails
  • Social media –Twitter/Facebook
  • Public address systems in many buildings
  • Public address speakers from police vehicles
  • Building managers
  • Outdoor siren/speaker
  • Computer pop-up messages on SMU-owned computers
  • SMU home page www.smu.edu
  • Scoreboards (during athletic events)
  • SMU Information Line
  • Word of mouth – learn from others; tell others

  • In the case of major emergencies, text messages, email, building managers, Twitter, Facebook and the SMU website home page will be used.
  • In the case of smaller, localized emergencies, the affected building personnel will be notified directly by first responders or building managers.

There are a number of reasons you may experience this.

  • Areas in buildings with weaker cell reception or an especially high volume of cell phone traffic can affect how long it takes for your phone to receive a call or text.
  • While SMU Emergency messages are sent to cell phone carriers in less than one minute, cell phone towers and carriers often experience network congestion causing delays. For this reason we do not rely solely on cell and text messages.
  • A dramatic increase in cell phone use during an emergency also can cause delays in message/call delivery.

These are handled on a case-by-case basis, but a campus-wide notice may not be distributed if an emergency situation is confined to a particular area of campus and the threat is contained. In these instances, SMU Police and building managers may be the primary communications sources. Again, though, circumstances will determine the types of communications used.

Actions During an Emergency

Seek Shelter

Weather threats including tornados and heavy storms or a nearby chemical leak or some other hazard.

Seek shelter inside the lowest level of a building and stay away from glass windows and doors. If there is no basement level, seek shelter in an interior restroom, closet or hallway. Do not leave the building until police or first responders give you a “Return to Normal Activities” message.

Evacuate

There is a danger inside or near the building such as a fire, gas leak or chemical spill.

Exit the building – do not use elevators – and go to a location assigned by law enforcement and first responders. Take your cell phone with you. Do not return to the building until police or first responders give a “Return to Normal Activities” message.

Lockdown

There is a potential assailant, active shooter or other violence on or near the campus.

Depending on the situation: hide where you are, under furniture; close shades or blinds and stay away from windows; lock and/or barricade doors; turn out lights; remain quiet.

As a last resort, run or fight to defend yourself. Call 911 if you can safely provide information for police, but mute the phone to avoid drawing attention to yourself. Remain silent until police give a “Return to Normal Activities” message.

After an Emergency

SMU will communicate with you using one or more of these methods:

  • Cell calls, text messages, emails
  • Social media – Twitter/Facebook
  • Public address systems in many buildings
  • Public address speakers from police vehicles
  • Building managers
  • Campus speaker/siren
  • Computer pop-up messages on SMU-owned computers
  • SMU home page www.smu.edu
  • Scoreboards (during athletic events)
  • SMU Information Line

Suspicious Activity

SMU endorses the national awareness program If You See Something, Say Something™. The SMU Police Department asks the University community to report anything – or anyone – suspicious. Contact SMU police from a land line or cell phone at 214-768-3333.