Protective Actions

It is the responsibility of everyone on campus to be familiar with personal protective actions they can take during emergencies. ECC’s Emergency Management will provide drills, posters around campus, and special training opportunities to reinforce these protective actions. Anyone part of the campus community should engage with all opportunities to learn and practice these protective actions.

Life safety is the primary concern of all personal protective actions. Harm or damage to property may occur by taking these actions.

Taking personal protective actions will reduce the risk of the impact of an emergency on life safety, but will not and cannot eliminate the risk of any harm to a person.

Evacuation


Evacuation is moving away from a place with a hazard.

Hazards

Evacuation is appropriate for fires, hazardous spills inside a building, suspected bomb, or other threats. This is not an exhaustive list of hazards where evacuation is appropriate.

Trigger

Fire alarms will be used for most evacuations. The fire alarm makes a loud blaring sound and has a flashing strobe.

Warnings such as RAVE and PA announcements may be made in situations where fire alarms are not appropriate.

Actions

  • Quickly, but calmly, use the nearest exit and report to the nearest Evacuation Assembly Point (EAP).
  • Use the stairs. Never use the elevator as you may become stuck in the elevator.
  • If it is safe for you to assist persons with access or functional need, do so. If you are unable to assist, call 911
    • Give the of the number of people and their location.
  • When exiting a classroom:
    • Turn off all lights.
    • Close the door to the room after exiting. This reduces the amount of time the fire department spends looking for possible trapped victims and slows the spread of fire or hazardous material.
  • Do not attempt to fight the fire or clean the hazardous material.
  • If forced to travel through smoke from a fire, stay low, taking shallow breaths using clothing as a filter.
    • Do not travel through smoke from hazardous material.
  • If any door feels hot to the touch, do not open it.
  • Wait until you hear the “all clear” given by emergency/administrative personnel, or the automated voice message system, before reentering the building. Wait for the “all clear” even when the alarm stops.

If you are exposed to a hazardous material:

  • Call 911.
  • Individuals exposed to hazardous material should avoid contact with others.
  • Remove all contaminated clothing, ensuring not to contaminate other areas of your body.
  • Flush with copious amounts of cool water for 15 minutes, ensuring that you don’t scrub the chemical onto your skin.
  • Exposed persons should receive or seek medical attention.

Access and Functional Needs

Evacuating can require actions that a person with access or functional needs may find difficult or impossible. Evacuations are only required when there is significant danger to a person’s life, and as a result, evacuating the building even when difficult is the best course of action for one’s safety.

In a fire, designated areas on stair landings are appropriate to

  • Go to a staircase closest to your location.
    • The best staircases will be marked with an “area of refuge” sign.
  • Call 911 when at an area of refuge or use the “emergency help” button.
    • Give your location and the number of people with you.

Sheltering


Sheltering is using a building or other structure for protection against a hazard.

Different actions and spaces are more effective depending on the hazard.

Severe Weather (Tornadoes)

Trigger

Alerts such as ECC’s tornado alarm and Elgin’s tornado sirens trigger severe weather sheltering. ECC’s tornado alarm has a wailing tone followed by a prerecorded voice announcement directing people to go to Severe Weather Shelters.

Warnings may also trigger severe weather sheltering. ECC’s RAVE alerts, Wireless Emergency Alerts on mobile phones may be triggered by the National Weather Service, and PA announcements all may be used.

Actions

If you are inside:

  • Quickly, but calmly, go to the nearest designated severe weather shelter. Yellow shelter signs designate safer locations on campus.
    • If you are unable to get to a designated shelter, move to an interior hallway or room.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • Wait until an “all clear” is given by emergency/administrative personnel, before resuming normal activities.

If you are outside:

  • If you can safely get to a sturdy building, do so immediately.
  • If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible.
  • You’re safer in a low, flat location.
    • Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.
    • Do not get under an overpass or bridge.

Access and Functional Needs

Sheltering is only required when there is significant danger to a person’s life, and as a result, even when difficult, getting to the safest place in a building is the best course of action for one’s safety.

  • If you are on the lowest level of a building or able to take the stairs and follow the directions above to a designated severe shelter location.
  • If you are unable to take the stairs and on an upper level, seek shelter in an interior room on your current floor.
    • Do not seek shelter in an elevator as power may be lost and you will become stuck.

Lightning

Trigger

The lightning warning system will trigger when lightning has been detected within 10 miles of Burlington or Main Campus. The system will make 3 blasts of one second each, a yellow strobe will also flash.

If you can hear thunder these actions should also be taken regardless of the detection system status.

Actions

  • Seek shelter in buildings if able.
    • Seek shelter in a hard-topped vehicle, when there is no nearby building
    • There is no safe place when outside to protect from lightning.
  • Stay inside until it has been 30 minutes since the last lightning strike.
    • Lightning alarms will sound three times and the strobe will shut off, when it has been 30 minutes since the last strike.

Access and Functional Needs

There are no special actions that can be taken by those with access and functional needs. Follow the above recommendation as able.

Hazardous Material Spills Outside

Trigger

Sheltering in place for hazardous material spills outside will be triggered through a warning such as a RAVE alert, PA announcement, or other warning found in the Alert and Warnings Annex.

Actions

During some chemical releases that happen outside a building, it is safer to stay inside the building than to evacuate the area. The determination of the safest action will be made by trained first responders on the scene based on the chemical.

  • Stay inside a building.
  • If outside, enter the nearest building.
  • Stay away from exterior doors if possible.
  • Remain in place until advised by emergency personnel that it is safe to leave.

If you are exposed to a hazardous material:

  • Call 911.
  • Individuals exposed to hazardous material should avoid contact with others.
  • Remove all contaminated clothing, ensuring not to contaminate other areas of your body.
  • Flush with copious amounts of cool water for 15 minutes, ensuring that you don’t scrub the chemical onto your skin.
  • Exposed persons should receive or seek medical attention.

Access and Functional Needs

There are no special actions that can be taken by those with access and functional needs. Follow the above recommendation as able.

Run, Hide, Fight (Lockdown)


During active threats, three separate actions are appropriate. During an active shooter, the actions can be interchangeable. For example, fighting and then running may be appropriate in a situation. Hiding then running in a different situation. In general, running is preferable to run over hiding or fighting, also preferable to hide over fighting.

Hazards

Run, Hide, Fight is only appropriate for active threats such as active shooters.

Triggers

Warnings for an active threat will be sent using RAVE and/or the PA system.

Actions

Run

Getting away from the shooter or shooters is the top priority

  • Leave your things behind and run away.
  • If safe to do so, warn others nearby.
  • Call 911 when you are safe.
    • Describe each shooter, their locations, and weapons.

Hide

If you cannot get away safely, find a place to hide.

  • Get away from the shooter and stay very quiet.
    • Silence your electronic devices and make sure they won’t vibrate.
  • Lock and block doors, close blinds, and turn off the lights.
  • Try to communicate with police silently
    • such as through text messages
    • or by putting a sign in an exterior window.
  • Stay in place until law enforcement gives you notice that all immediate danger is clear.

Fight

Your last resort when you are in immediate danger is to defend yourself.

  • Commit to your actions and act aggressively to stop the shooter.
  • Ambushing the shooter together with makeshift weapons such as chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, and books can distract and disarm the shooter.

Access and Functional Needs

People with access or functional needs may find some action difficult to do. These are life-saving measures, there are no substitutes. Exiting the dangerous situation is the best action. Hiding is the next best. Fighting is a last resort.

Drop, Cover, Hold On


Drop, Cover, Hold On, is a series of actions that helps protect one during an earthquake.

Hazard

Drop Cover and Hold on is only appropriate for earthquakes

Triggers

The state-of-the-art Shake Alert System has not been expanded to cover any part of the Midwest, and therefore no detection and alert system is maintained in the area. The time from initial alerts to shaking is at most a few seconds. It is not possible for ECC personnel to learn about an earthquake before shaking, nor possible to trigger an alert or warning fast enough after receiving.

Action

Drop, Cover, and Hold On. These actions should be taken in order, to provide the greatest protection.

Drop

Drop where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

Cover

Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand

  • If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter
  • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows)
  • Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs.

Hold on

Hold on until shaking stops

  • Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
  • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.
  • Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris.
  • If inside, stay there until the shaking stops. DO NOT run outside.
  • Expect fire alarms and sprinklers to go off.
  • Do not use elevators.

If in a vehicle

  • Stop in a clear area that is away from buildings, trees, overpasses, underpasses, or utility wires.

Access and Functional Needs

Persons with access and functional needs should follow as closely the actions above as able. For example, wheelchair users should lock the chair, cover their head with any hard object they can, and hold on until the shaking stops. More information on best actions for those with access and functional needs can be found at Earthquake Country Alliance.