Timely Warnings

Safety Advisory

In the event that a crime is reported on The University of Akron campus, or on public property surrounding campus, and in the judgment of The University of Akron Police Department (UAPD) that crime constitutes a serious or on-going threat to the campus community, a Safety Advisory is issued by the University. The purpose of a Safety Advisory is to provide to individuals information about the incident that will: enable persons to protect themselves; heighten safety awareness; aid in the prevention of similar crimes; and, seek information that will lead to an arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.

Whether an incident triggers the need for a Safety Advisory is considered on a case-by-case basis. Factors that are considered include:

  • the type of alleged crime (including whether the offense is a Clery reportable offense);
  • the facts of the incident (including where and when the incident occurred);
  • when the incident was reported; and,
  • the extent of information known by UAPD.

(For example, if an assault occurs between two students who have a disagreement, there may be no ongoing threat to other University of Akron community members and a Safety Advisory would not be necessary. In cases involving sexual assault, if the report of the assault is reported long after the incident occurred, there may not be the ability to distribute a “timely” warning notice to the community.)

Every attempt will be made to distribute a Safety Advisory soon after the incident is reported; however, the release of the Safety Advisory is subject to the availability of facts concerning the incident. The decision to issue an advisory will be made by the University's Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety/Police Chief or designee, with notice to the Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO, The Vice President for Student Affairs and the chief communications officer. Other University offices may be consulted as necessary.

Safety Advisories are distributed to students, and employees via a blast e-mail and are posted on the University’s Safety website. Safety Advisory e-mails typically include:

  • A succinct statement of the incident,
  • Possible connection to previous incidents, if applicable,
  • Date and time the bulletin was released,
  • Other relevant and important information,
  • Appropriate safety tips, and
  • Physical description of the suspect, when sufficient detail exists to help identify suspects or groups of suspects. Such detail may include a combination of gender, race, clothing, height, body type, build, accent, tattoos, hair color, facial hair, or other unique identifying characteristics.

Safety Advisories shall not include the names of victims.


Emergency Notification and Response

Emergency Messaging System – Notification of an Immediate Threat

In the event of an emergency, The University of Akron will initiate notification to its campus without delay and taking into account the safety of the community.  The University of Akron maintains multiple systems for alerting students, faculty, and staff about campus emergencies:

In addition, in the case of an emergency the University can activate an announcement via a public announcement system and can communicate with most buildings through voice announcements from the UAPD dispatch center through each building’s fire alarms system. The University also may elect to alert the media to obtain assistance in disseminating information.

Emergency messaging primarily will be used for situations that pose an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees on campus or for an event that necessitates the closing of an entire campus (e.g., severe weather, chemical spills, fires and crime.) Emergency messages about criminal activity generally will not be sent unless it is determined that there is an imminent threat of danger on a case by case basis. In those cases where a crime has been reported and UAPD determines that although there is no imminent threat, but the crime still represents a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community, a Timely Warning/Safety Advisory will be issued.

The emergency messaging system is provided in addition to existing emergency notification procedures and does not replace or eliminate any other emergency notification system (e.g., fire alarms, tornado sirens.) The University will provide follow-up information to the community as appropriate, including via the University's website.  Centralized announcement capabilities in necessary locations were added in February 2018. 

Emergency Notification Procedures

If UAPD confirms there is an imminent threat to the health or safety of some or all of the members of the campus community (e.g. tornado, criminal activity), UAPD may direct its police dispatch to send a text message and to activate the indoor and outdoor audible warning systems. In this scenario, UAPD will determine the content and audience for the message. If there is not an imminent threat of danger, but circumstances still warrant an emergency notification, UAPD may consult with the University Communications and Marketing (and other offices as necessary), which, in consultation with UAPD, will determine the content of the message and will use some or all of the methods described above to communicate to the campus community or appropriate segment of the campus community.

 

In either scenario, the University will, without delay and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the emergency message (notification) and initiate the emergency messaging (notification) system, unless issuing a message (notification) will, in the professional judgment of UAPD or other responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency situation. 

The warnings typically consist of the following elements: a short description and location of the incident; actions the recipient needs to take to avoid harm; and how follow-up information will be provided.

Emergency Notification v. Timely Warning

If there is an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on campus, The University of Akron will follow its Emergency Communication Procedures. No additional Safety Advisory (i.e. Timely Warning) based on the same circumstance will be issued. Follow-up information will be disseminated to the community as available and as needed.

Additional Communication

In the event of a significant on-campus emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students, faculty or staff, the University will also post information on its home page. University Communications and Marketing is charged with notifying the media in the event of an emergency. Updated information will be posted to the University’s website and provided to the media as available.

Annual Publication

General information about the University’s response and evacuation procedures is publicized each year as part of its Campus Safety Report, which is published as part of its compliance with the Clery Act.


Emergency Response Procedures and Testing Emergency Response/Evacuation Procedures

Emergency Response Procedures

The University of Akron has established a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) to provide an all-hazards approach for managing its response to emergencies or disasters that threaten the safety and well-being of the University’s community or disrupt its programs and operations. The University also has established an Emergency Operations Group (EOG) to carry out its CEMP. Large-scale emergencies require a coordinated response effort between the University and local emergency response agencies, and the CEMP provides the policies, procedures, responsibilities and organizational structure to response to emergencies and disasters, both for planning and during and in the event of an emergency incident.

The CEMP is activated when a significant emergency or dangerous incident occurs on campus. The first University safety force member on scene will assess the situation, including: the type of incident; the number of people, vehicles or buildings involved; the number of injured people and type of injuries; and whether the situation presents an immediate threat to the health or safety of students and employees. If the situation presents an immediate threat, the UAPD Dispatch Center, under the direction of the Assistant Vice President of Campus Safety - Chief of Police  (or designee) and with notice to the Manager of the Executive Management Group, will initiate the CEMP by immediately contacting the University’s Chief Communication Officer (CCO) and Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC), who will distribute necessary notifications and activate the Campus Emergency Operations Center.

If the University President or Board of Trustees determines that unsafe conditions warrant the declaration of a state of emergency, President (or designee) may issue a state of emergency, consistent with the authority of Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3345.26 and applicable University Rules.  Prior to the issuance of the emergency proclamation, the President should consult with Assistant Vice President of Campus Safety or designee, and if possible, notify members of the UA Board of Trustees and to discuss the proclamation of the State of Emergency. When issued, the EOG Manager immediately shall notify the Summit County Emergency Management Agency (SCEMA).

Testing Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures

The indoor fire alarm mass notification system and outdoor warning system are tested on a monthly basis.  E-mail, the telephone announcement line and the digital tools are in regular use. A text-only home page has been developed and it is ready to be activated if needed during an emergency. System tests are pre-announced. The campus is informed at the beginning of the academic year of the tests of both the indoor and outdoor warning systems.

Campus safety services also conduct tests of emergency response procedures on at least an annual basis. The tests typically are announced. The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (EOHS) coordinates at least one announced or unannounced emergency preparedness exercise per year and conducts follow-through activities designed for the assessment and evaluation of emergency plans and capabilities, and documentation of the tests is maintained by the University’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety.  The University also includes this description of Emergency Response procedures annually in its campus safety report and in conjunction with at least one test per year. 

Evacuation fire drills are coordinated by EOHS each semester for all residence hall facilities to prepare students, staff, and other building occupants for an organized evacuation in case of an emergency. Evacuation routes are contained in the Student Staff Emergency Manual. Students are provided guidance about the direction they should travel when exiting each facility for a short-term building evacuation. In addition, the Student Staff Emergency Manual contains details and locations of the Community Check Points. Designated locations for long-term evacuations are affected by time of day, location of the building being evacuated, the availability of the various designated emergency gathering locations on campus, and other factors such as the location and nature of the threat. UAPD, Student Affairs staff and Residence Life and Housing staff on the scene will communicate information to students regarding the developing situation or any evacuation status changes. In addition to educating the occupants of each building about the evacuation procedures during the drills, the process also provides the University an opportunity to test the operation of fire alarm system components.

Evacuation drills for residence halls are monitored by EOHS and Residence Life and Housing staff. Recommendations for improvements may be submitted to the appropriate departments/offices for consideration. The University of Akron has protocols for assisting people who require accommodations for safe .

To further enhance campus safety at The University of Akron, the University also is replacing and expanding its surveillance infrastructure system to assist the University of Akron Police Department with preventing crime and solving those that occur.  The University has committed to updating police equipment including cruisers, computers, tasers, and personal protective equipment as well as Narcan, trauma kits, and Automate External Defibrillators.


Emergency Drills

Conducting emergency exercises is an integral piece of the Comprehensive Emergency Management Program at The University of Akron, which offers opportunities to examine and improve emergency response protocols.  Information about previous exercises and after-action reports is available by contacting the Emergency Management Office at 330-972-2633.

Date of Exercise Type of Exercise Announced or Unannounced Description
7/24/18 Crisis Communication Training Announced Members of UAPD, Executive Management Group, and Communications and Marketing attended training held by the Hennes Communications.  Topics included on-air interviews about campus emergency situations.
6/5/18 Tabletop Exercise Announced UA’s Office of Emergency Management conducted a tabletop exercise (TTX) for the University’s three emergency management groups EOG, IMT, and EMG, and Summit County Public Health.
The exercise was a facilitated scenario-based discussion that focused on recovering from a single threat active shooter incident taking place in Bierce Library during the last day of academic classes of the spring semester.
The purpose TTX was to validate procedures, policies, and agreements for recovering from an active shooter incident occurring at The University of Akron’s Akron Campus.
A decision was made by the EMG to evacuate the campus after the all clear was given by UAPD.
6/15/18 Functional Exercise Announced UA’s Office of Emergency Management conducted a functional exercise for the University’s three emergency management groups Emergency Operations Group (EOG), Incident Management Team (IMT), Executive Management Group (EMG) and local response agencies.
The exercise was operational-based and focused on responding to a single threat active shooter incident occurring at Bierce Library.
The three emergency management groups activated and worked out of their designated locations (Incident Command Post, Department Operations Center and Executive Conference Room) as if it were an actual emergency.
The purpose of this functional exercise was to evaluate the effectiveness of the IMT, EOG, EMG, and outside response agencies to respond to an active shooter scenario on the Akron Campus during normal business hours.
A decision was made by the EMG to evacuate the campus after the all clear was given by UAPD.
The outcome of the TTX validated the procedures, policies, and agreements in place to respond to an active shooter scenario on the University’s Akron campus.
6/21/18 Tabletop Exercise Announced UA’s Office of Emergency Management conducted a tabletop exercise (TTX) for the University’s three emergency management groups EOG, IMT, EMG, and Summit County Public Health.
The exercise was a facilitated scenario-based discussion that focused on a communicable disease outbreak – measles occurring on campus during the first week of fall semester.
The purpose TTX was to validate procedures, policies, and agreements for responding to a communicable disease outbreak occurring at The University of Akron’s Akron Campus.
The final decision was made by the EMG not to evacuate the campus.