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Environmental Health and Safety

Revised: August 18, 2017


Training Goal

This training is intended to improve the readiness of all faculty, students and staff through the review of key elements of the LSUHSC Emergency Response Plan, including means of communication and how to respond to potential emergency situations.

More information can be found on the Emergency Response Actions web page.


Notifying Authorities of an Emergency

How To Send a uTip

Note: If your message does not begin with LSUHSC, University Police will NOT receive your text.

uTip Text Message Example

uTip example

Emergency Alert System & Text Alerts

In the event of an emergency situation, LSUHSC can transmit pertinent information via the University website, phone trees, e-mail, text messaging, and digital signage to the entire spectrum of students, faculty and staff. These are all elements of the Emergency Alert System.

A key element of LSUHSC's Emergency Alert System is the Text Alert System. In a time sensitive situation, text messages will likely be the initial means of communication. To receive text alerts, you must opt into the system by providing your cell phone or personal email information during registration. See Text Alert System for more information regarding registration.

Mass Emails, Digital Signage and NOLA Ready

Mass emails are often sent subsequent to text messages to provide more detail on the situation. These mass emails, as well as the text messages, are also posted to the Emergency Alerts Web Page.

Emergency information will also be posted to the digital signage located throughout the campuses.

To further enhance your awareness both during and after working hours, you can subscribe to NOLA Ready, the City of New Orleans’ Emergency Alert System, which provides notifications via text message or email on issues such as mandatory city evacuation information, weather advisories, water boils, power outages, and traffic issues.

Evacuation vs. Shelter in Place

In the event of an emergency, you may be directed to either evacuate or shelter in place.

Whether in your office, classroom or a common area, always be familiar with your surroundings and have an evacuation route in mind.

Emergency Response Plan

The LSUHSC Emergency Response Plan provides the framework for a planned, systematic management approach to emergencies; a venue for promptly identifying and supporting LSUHSC decision-makers; a system for evaluating all emergencies with the goal of protecting lives and property, reducing exposure to liability, and providing sound management of public information.

The plan includes annexes which describe the response to a variety of emergencies. Key points from some of these annexes follow:



Hurricane season runs from Jun 1 through Nov 30. Everyone should be familiar with Chancellor’s Memorandum (CM) 51, Policy on Weather Related Emergency Procedures, which highlights actions required to protect LSUHSC personnel, property and research.

Early preparations enhance response and recovery. At the beginning of hurricane season Schools and departments should:

Preparing for Potential Closure

In general, response actions begin 72 hours prior to the onset of tropical storm force winds, and will be complete 24 hours prior with the full or partial closure of the University. You will be notified via the Emergency Alert System of certain milestones and your associated actions, which typically include:

Note that these milestones are only a guide; a storm’s speed and direction can change quickly resulting in an accelerated timeline.

Closure and Re-Opening of the University

When a voluntary or a mandatory evacuation is ordered by an authorized state, city, or university official, LSUHSC-NO will NOT serve as a shelter of last resort for faculty, staff or students.

Note that if the entire University closes, all students living in the residence halls must evacuate the Health Sciences Center.

Should it appear that the University will be closed for an extended period, personnel will be notified via the Text Alert System and by mass email that they must update their personnel contact information on the on-line LSUHSC Registry.

Once the storm passes, a team will be dispatched to assess damage. Even if there is little or no damage to the facilities, critical systems must be brought online before the University can reopen. The Chancellor will determine when the University can reopen, and notification will be made via the Text Alert System and mass email.

Personal Preparedness

Emergency planning extends beyond the workplace. You should have an emergency plan for you and your family that includes:

More information on hurricane preparedness can be found at the City of New Orleans web site and in the Official Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide.


The LSUHSC policy on tornadoes is addressed in CM-64 Tornado Policy. Highlights of the policy are as follows:


You will be notified of a Tornado Watch when issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). This is to make you aware that a tornado may develop in the area covered by the Watch.

When our campuses are at risk, you will be notified of a tornado warning issued by AccuWeather Skyguard via the campus emergency communications system (i.e., e2Campus Text Alerts, emails, digital signs, homepage banners, etc.). NWS issues warnings for the entire parish -- AccuWeather looks at our specific LSU Health New Orleans downtown and Dental campuses. For other locations, refer to NWS warnings.

Our mid and high rise facilities are designed not to collapse under wind loads, but building windows, cladding and roofs can incur damage. The main hazard from a tornado is broken glass from a window or flying debris entering through a window.

What to do during a Tornado Warning:

If you are caught outdoors and receive a text alert or email that a tornado may be approaching campus:

Active Shooter

An active shooter is a person who is using a firearm or other weapon with the intent to injure or kill others.

An active shooter incident can occur under a variety of circumstances, so no one set of guidelines is able to cover specific actions to take in every situation. An individual must use his/her own discretion during an Active Shooter event as to whether he/she chooses to move to safety (RUN), remain in place (HIDE), or confront the shooter (FIGHT).

In most cases the best action is to barricade (HIDE) in response to an Active Shooter alert. You should evacuate (RUN) only if you are reasonably sure you know where the shooter is and you have a clear path to an exit.

The following are options for response. Remember, “Run, Hide, Fight” is not a progression of events - - the items are not numbered. You take action you need to survive, and you may go from one action to another.

Response Option



If you are inside the building with the shooter and you are unsure you can safely exit the building, or if you are in an adjacent building, the safest option is normally to barricade (i.e., Shelter in Place)


As a last resort and only if your life is in danger:

What to Expect from Responding Police Officers

Officers responding to an Active Shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard; their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible.

Additional Strategies

For additional strategies on how to survive an active shooter situation, logon to the Mediasite server.

(Please note: you cannot view the video in Citrix. Copy and paste the above link in your web browser outside of Citrix to view the video.)

Bomb Threat


A bomb threat may come to the attention of the receiver in various ways. It is important to compile as much information as possible. DO NOT attempt to notify or evacuate an entire building as this could consume valuable time that would be better used to gather important information.

Remember that the vast majority of bomb threats are false and are primarily intended to elicit a response from the building occupants. In the case of a written threat, it is vital that the document be handled by as few people as possible, as this is evidence that should be turned over to the University Police.

If the threat is received via e-mail, make sure to save the information on your computer. Most bomb threats are transmitted over the telephone; thus, the following instructions are provided with that assumption.

Collecting Information

For threats via phone, use the Telephone Bomb Threat Checklist collect information on the caller. This checklist should be located near to your phone.


Response to a bomb threat could include a search and/or evacuation of one or more buildings. Direction on how to respond will be given via the Text Alert System.

Hazardous Material Incident


Shelter in Place

This strategy requires all personnel to stay inside buildings to avoid contact with potentially hazardous fumes until the threat has passed. The following actions will be taken:


If evacuation is determined to be the optimal response, direction will come via the Text Alert System or via activation of the building’s fire alarm. Actions may include:



In the event of a fire alarm, building occupants will evacuate the building by the easiest/shortest path possible and report to the outdoor Emergency Evacuation Area. Emergency Evacuation Areas are designated for the Downtown and School of Dentistry campuses.

Floor Leaders will ensure their areas of responsibility are evacuated, doors closed, and mobility impaired personnel accounted for. If the Floor Leader is not available, the back-up Floor Leader or senior person present will take charge.

Occupants can re-enter the building after an all clear has been given by University Police or Environmental Health and Safety.

How to Respond if You See, Smell or Feel Smoke or Fire

If a fire or smoke is seen immediately PULL the closest fire alarm pull station

ALERT others of the pending emergency and begin a calm and immediate evacuation of the building. Close the door(s) to your office or classroom to confine the fire.

CALL University Police (568-8999) or 911 and give specific information:

Immediately begin following the Emergency Evacuation Procedures.

What Should Building Occupants Do When an Alarm Sounds?

What Should Mobility Impaired Persons do When an Alarm Sounds?

For the purpose of emergency evacuation, a mobility impaired person is a person who is unable to descend a flight of stairs without considerable effort or who may slow other occupants that are attempting to evacuate. This includes but is not limited to those who may have a physical or medical condition, or use wheelchairs or other devices to assist their mobility. Environmental Health and Safety maintains a database (name, building, cell phone, and room number) of mobility impaired personnel to enhance response in an evacuation. If you are mobility impaired, even temporarily, contact Jim Davis, Fire Safety Officer, at or 504-568-4952 to ensure you are included.

What Should You Do if Trapped in a Building Fire?

How Does the Alarm System Work in Your Building?

Each building is equipped with fire detection system that detects smoke or fire and notifies occupants in less than three seconds. There are two types of alarm systems at LSUHSC facilities:

Natural Gas Leaks, Odors and Fumes


Do to the potential urgency, the Facility Services’ work request system should not be used to report an odor concern. If you smell natural gas or other odors/fumes during working hours contact Facility Services at 568-7716. Contact University Police after working hours at 568-8999.  Environmental Health and Safety, with the assistance of Facility Services as required, will then be contacted to investigate.

All natural gas leaks are considered to present an existing or probable hazard to persons or property and require immediate attention to assess the extent of the hazard and necessary manners of control. A natural gas emergency is a situation where a natural gas odor has been identified and all of the following conditions are present:

Your Response

When a gas line has been broken or a gas leak is suspected, follow these procedures:

Suspicious Package/Mail


The characteristics of suspicious packages and letters include:

Your Response

Actions to take once a potential suspicious package has been identified:

First Responders

University Police will assess the situation and contact the New Orleans Fire Department’s Special Operations Division’s Hazardous Materials Unit to respond if required.

University Police will also contact Facility Services who will turn off local fans or ventilation units in the area to reduce the potential spread of contaminants.

Public Health Emergency

The LSUHSC School of Nursing is a Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals closed Point of Distribution site.

In the event of a public health crisis, LSUHSC may be directed to dispense prophylaxis countermeasures to the LSUHSC community in order to prevent illness.

Should a point of distribution be established at LSUHSC, the distribution of vaccinations or medicines will most likely occur at the School of Nursing building at the downtown campus. You will be notified of all the details via the Emergency Alert System (e.g., text alerts, emails, web site).


To enhance readiness and response in the event of an emergency:

Any Questions?

Environmental Health and Safety

450A South Claiborne Avenue

New Orleans, LA 70112

Phone: (504) 568-6585