Emergency Action Plan


The Branch College of Ministry

Emergency Action Plan

Revised: __8/17/2016____


This plan is for the protection and safety of all members of the Branch College community, including students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors. During any emergency, proper action saves lives and helps prevent injuries. The plan applies to earthquakes, fires, explosions, floods, toxic material releases, civil disturbances, and any other emergency on campus. For your safety and the safety of others on campus, please familiarize yourself with this plan.

As a basic principle of emergency response on campus, all calls for emergency response should be made first to 911, and immediately thereafter to the Facility Emergency contact Tracy Tincknell, at 858-292-9948. All other emergency and non-emergency lines are posted in the Branch College classrooms. 



Evacuation emergencies include earthquakes, fires, hazmat and explosion emergencies (when evacuation is directed by emergency personnel), natural gas leaks, unplanned utility outages, bomb threats and other situations in which emergency personnel direct evacuation of a building. In the event of fire or other evacuation emergencies at Branch College, all persons in the affected premises must evacuate. Initial emergency notifications may also be followed by e-mail, text messages and phone communications (voice mail) if appropriate.

If you discover a fire or smell smoke, or discover any other hazardous emergency condition in a college facility, immediately activate the building fire alarm (at the end of the west side of the building in the hallway of the bathrooms) and call 911 first, and then the Branch College (858-384-6679). Calmly alert others in the affected area that they must leave and may take only important personal possessions that are in their immediate vicinity, if they can carry such items without risk to themselves or others. Items you may take include coats, valuables, medicines, purses, wallets and keys. You should also take any pets with you. You should never try to retrieve items in another location in the building.

Building occupants are not required or encouraged to fight fires and may not use a fire extinguisher unless they are designated and trained by the college to do so. Any individual designated and trained by the college in the proper use of a fire extinguisher and confident in his or her ability to cope with the hazards of a fire may use a portable fire extinguisher to fight incipient fires (no larger than a waste basket). Any such efforts must be terminated when it becomes obvious that there is risk of harm from smoke, heat, or flames.

Upon the communication of a fire, evacuate immediately and close windows and the doors behind you. Use the nearest safe exit. If you are caught in smoke or heat, stay low where the air is better, and attempt to reach a safe exit or area of refuge.

If the door or door handle to the hallway is hot, do not open it, as fire may be on the other side. If you are unable to leave your room or office due to heat or heavy smoke in the hallway, other obstructions, or physical disability, try to put a cloth or towel under the door to help prevent the entry of smoke. Call 911 and give your exact location so that emergency personnel can be directed to you.  

Assist individuals who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing or mobility impaired as needed and immediately inform the nearest emergency responder of the individual’s location. Individuals who have a disability that may impede their exit from a building in an emergency are encouraged to inform the Branch College of the nature of their disability in advance so that emergency evacuation procedures can be developed that will ensure their safe evacuation from the workplace.

Know the location of all exits from your building. All exits in college facilities are marked with EXIT signs and directional arrows, where applicable.

Leave the building and assemble in the designated area (the south corner of the parking lot just before the Mobil gas station), where you will not hinder the approaching emergency response personnel and apparatus. Students and employees should attempt to account for individuals that are known to be in the building, including all visitors. Any missing individuals should be reported to the present faculty or staff members.

Wait for emergency personnel to tell you when it is safe to return to the affected building. Even though the situation may look decent, the building may not be safe to re-enter.

If re-entry to the building is not imminent, occupants will be directed to proceed to another location. Depending on the severity and scale of the event that triggered the evacuation, the present leading staff member will implement procedures to account for all college employees and residents known to have been in the building, and all are expected to cooperate in the effort. To the extent possible, telephones and computers will be provided to allow employees and residents to contact family members. 



For some emergencies the best course of action is to retire indoors into protected areas, or to “shelter in place.” For example, the evacuation of a building following a bomb threat may place people at risk rather than remove them from it, and a dangerous weather emergency outside a building might warrant retreat away from building windows and into basements.

Reasons for sheltering in place or going to a sheltered place in the building include:

1.  Tornado warnings/severe weather conditions

2.  Certain hazmat emergencies

3.  Some civil disorders

4.  Hostage/terrorism incidents

In these cases, individuals will be notified by the present leading staff member to shelter in place or will be directed to an appropriate shelter. Because building alarms are reserved for evacuation emergencies, you should never try to shelter in place in a building in which such an alarm has been activated. Appropriate shelters for tornados or severe weather include interior rooms/hallways without windows that are free of hazards and comfortable.

In some cases, it may be appropriate or necessary to shelter employees in a location other than their office or designated building shelter location. In such cases, the leading staff member will direct employees to such alternate locations. Appropriate locations for sheltering large numbers of employees may be other business buildings in the complex.

At the assembly point for sheltering in place, individuals should attempt to account for individuals known to be in the building, including visitors. Any missing individuals should be reported to the leading staff member on site or emergency personnel with an identification of their last known location.

Employees sheltering in place should use cell phones to contact their personal emergency contacts to let them know about their condition and location.

Emergency response personnel will decide when it is safe to leave a building. This message will be delivered to individuals sheltering in place through voice, phone, and/or email.



For some emergencies evacuation or simple sheltering in place isn't a good option. When armed intruders are near or in a building, a lockdown procedure may be a suitable response. Doors and windows are locked to restrict an intruder's mobility and no one is allowed into or out of a building or particular room.

If lockdown is appropriate, the college will be notified by the leading staff member on site and by any appropriate means. Individuals should go to the nearest room or office and, if safe, allow others to seek refuge with them. Close and lock doors. If the door has no lock, barricade it with items available, such as desks, chairs, bookshelves, etc. Cover the windows in doors, pull shades and turn off lights. Keep quiet and act as if no one is in the room. Silence cell phones. Do not answer the door. Notify 911 and give the officer the following information:

1.  Your name

2.  Your location (be as specific as possible)

3.  Number of armed intruders

4.  Identification or description of intruder

5.  Number of persons sheltering with you

Wait for police officers to assist you out of the building. Early in an incident, officers may not be able to rescue people because their main goal is to get to the intruder(s). Remain calm so as not to interfere with police operations and follow all directions of officers at the scene.



Emergency procedures should be followed in the event of the release of a hazardous material that includes one or more of the following:

  May require evacuation of any people;

  Creates an atmosphere that is immediately dangerous to life or health;

 Creates the potential for a fire or explosion

Procedures described above for evacuation emergencies should be followed and in addition the following steps should be followed:

The individuals involved in the release of materials should isolate the release area by closing doors and should provide information about the materials released to emergency personnel.

Incidental releases of hazardous materials that do not have the potential for fire, explosion or adverse health effects and can be cleaned up by qualified trained personnel using proper spill clean-up techniques, do not require evacuation.



All faculty will be provided with copies of this plan, which is also available online at the Branch College website. Students will be trained on fire safety procedures at the start of the academic year during new student orientation. Evacuation drills, emergency sheltering drills, and/or lockdown drills are conducted randomly every Spring and Fall semester under the direction of the Academic Dean.

All new employees or other regular building occupants, including full and part-time, permanent and temporary staff and faculty, will be provided with copies of this plan and receive training on its contents.


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