Emergency Alert Notifications: Emergency Preparation
The Five Most Important Steps
Like many other colleges and universities across the nation, West Chester University
has been reviewing its safety policies and procedures and developing new initiatives
to address the issues raised by recent tragedies.
Although no university is completely safe, West Chester University has taken positive
steps to enhance the safety of students, employees, and visitors. With the cooperation
and support of the campus community, we can only continue to improve. Five of the
most important steps that students and employees can take are:
- Activate and maintain regular access to your University-provided electronic mail accounts.
- In an emergency, WCU will quickly alert students, faculty and staff of emergency conditions
by sending an email to your official WCU-assigned address.
- Subscribe to text messaging service (WCU ALERT).
- The University has a wide variety of methods to communicate with members of the campus.
Text messaging has become a key method to reach people immediately. The text messaging
service allows the University to reach students, faculty, and staff in the event of
- Know who to contact in an emergency!
- Individuals witnessing or involved with an emergency situation at West Chester University
should notify the Department of Public Safety by dialing 3311 from any campus phone
or 610-436-3311. Program the campus emergency phone number 610-436-3311 into personal
cell phones and prominently post this number in conspicuous places within your office,
classroom setting, and course syllabi.
- Report all emergencies and suspicious activities.
- It is the responsibility of faculty, staff, and students to immediately report any
situation that could possibly result in harm to anyone at the University. If you become
aware of a troubling person or situation that is causing serious anxiety, stress,
or fear, this information should be reported immediately to the Director of Public
- In cases where a person may pose an immediate risk of violence to self or others,
the Department of Public Safety should be contacted at 610-436-3311 or extension 3311
on campus phones.
- Learn your responsibilities during an emergency.
- In light of the recent tragedies across the nation, it is important that you understand
how the University will proceed and respond in the case of an emergency on campus.
In addition to the day-to-day coverage by WCU’ s Public Safety team, we have an Emergency
Operations Plan in place that includes procedures to ensure a rapid response to an
unanticipated emergency or threatening situation. If a situation arises on or around
campus that could potentially threaten the health or safety of University community
members, senior administrative officials and members of Public Safety are immediately
summoned as part of WCU’s crisis response procedure. This group determines the appropriate
actions to be taken, using WCU’s Emergency Operations Plan as its basis and guideline.
- During a crisis or major emergency, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to
follow the instructions provided by the WCU Emergency Alert systems.
- Another important tool is the preparation you take now to learn, be aware of, and
practice your own personal emergency plan. Learning where to find information, as
well as becoming aware of building evacuation procedures for not only those buildings
where you live or work, but for those that you visit during the course of your day
How are emergency alerts different from the Timely Warnings issued by Public Safety?
Timely Warnings are issued by the Department of Public Safety to provide notification
to the campus (students, faculty, and staff) of any criminal activity it is aware
of that may present a continuing threat. This notification includes any incident that
poses a serious threat to the campus community reported to the University, whether
the incident occurred on campus or at an off-campus location. Information contained
in the Timely Warning will appear on the Public Safety webpage as well.
Timely Warnings are publicized via mass emails to faculty, staff, and students via
the WCU-assigned email accounts. In addition, all Building Administrators post paper
copies of the Timely Warnings in their buildings. All active Timely Warnings are maintained
electronically on the Department of Public Safety website.
Based on circumstances, Timely Warnings may be upgraded to major emergency status.