5. Campus Evacuation

In rare and extreme circumstances, an emergency may require the evacuation of the Campus. The purpose of evacuation is to remove all persons not engaged in life‐safety duties as quickly as possible from an impending threat at the campus to protect lives. This is accomplished by directing vehicular and pedestrian traffic to pre‐designated egress routes according to their physical location on campus and proximity to the routes. Evacuation is distinguished from closure of the campus in that it requires prompt implementation with little or no advance notice.

In a declared emergency, the decision to evacuate buildings or campus in its entirety rests with the President or in his absence, the designated successor. In the event of an immediate emergency where a declaration of emergency has not yet occurred, and there is a significant threat to public safety if evacuation does not take place in a timely manner, then the Chief of YSU Police or their designate has the authority to order building and or campus evacuation.

Cooperation and Mutual Assistance

Evacuation places an extraordinary demand on limited police resources under emergency conditions and requires extraordinary sacrifice, patience and cooperation on the part of the students, faculty, staff and visitors being evacuated. Individuals may need to assist others not able to care for themselves, personal property may need to be left behind, personal vehicles may be inaccessible, individuals and groups may become separated, and persons may be required to egress by routes not of their choosing. Persons evacuating by vehicle are encouraged to provide transportation to as many others as possible. Above all, persons will be called upon to remain calm under tumultuous conditions and to cooperate with and follow directions given by Police, YSU Parking Service, YSU Grounds, YSU Facilities and others assisting with traffic control.

Campus Evacuation Plan

An emergency of the magnitude and seriousness requiring the evacuation of the campus will likely and similarly affect surrounding communities. When the emergency is confined to the local community, evacuation to neighboring communities and routes leaving the immediate area are used. When an emergency is regional or larger scale, evacuation routes direct traffic to interstate highways for mass evacuation and relocation.  A person evacuated from the campus may have few options regarding the direction of travel and should immediately follow the directions they are given.

Madison Avenue expressway located North of Stambaugh Stadium has been identified as the major traffic artery toward which evacuating traffic will be directed if possible. From there, evacuees can be integrated into the larger regional evacuation plan if necessary. However, the main surface roads around campus, Belmont Ave, Fifth Ave, Wick Ave, and Rayen Ave will also be used to allow for the maximum number of vehicles to evacuate campus in the shortest time possible. Listed below are the primary egress routes to be utilized:

Areas West of Fifth Avenue (M-70 Lot, Edge Apartments)

All parking lots and areas west of Fifth Avenue will evacuate west to Belmont Avenue.

North to Madison Avenue Expressway then west to I680, or;

South to Rayen Avenue then west towards US 422.

Areas East of Fifth and West of Elm Street (Lincoln Avenue Deck, M-53 Lot)

All Lots between Fifth Ave and Elm St. Proceed North on Fifth to West bound Service Road then Madison Ave Expressway to I680, or;

North on Fifth Avenue to Gypsy Lane, then west to 711, or;

Southbound on Fifth Avenue to Mahoning Avenue. Mahoning Avenue to I680.

Areas North of the Madison Avenue Expressway (Lyden and Cafaro House, Flats at Wick)

All parking lots north of the Madison Avenue Expressway should go North on Elm Street to Gypsy Lane. Then west to 711 or east to Logan Avenue and then North on Logan Avenue.

Areas East of Elm Street and West of Walnut Street (Wick Avenue Deck, Enclave)

All parking areas East of Elm Street and West of Walnut Street will proceed northbound on Wick Avenue to Madison Avenue Expressway to either I680 or Himrod Expressway, or;

Northbound on Wick Avenue to McGuffey Road, or;

Northbound on Wick to Logan Avenue, or

Southbound to Rayen Avenue (US 422) then east.

Areas East of Walnut Streets (Courtyard Apartments)

All parking East of Walnut will proceed East to Andrews Avenue then north on Andrews Avenue to Logan Avenue, then North on Logan.

Building Evacuation

The purpose of evacuating a building is to remove persons from dangerous and life‐ threatening conditions presented by a fire, an explosion, a suspected explosive device, a hazardous material release, air contamination or other similar emergency.  Usually, such conditions and the need to evacuate are readily apparent and occupants are expected to leave the building immediately. Activating the building fire alarm is the most expedient and safest method to facilitate the evacuation (whether or not the emergency involves fire).

In some situations, such as bomb threats, the presence of life‐threatening conditions may be unknown or non‐existent. In these cases, the responsibility for assessing available information and the decision of whether or not to evacuate rests with the police. When time and circumstances permit, this decision will be made after consultation with other university officials present.

At the sound of a fire alarm, or other notification to evacuate, all persons are required to leave the building immediately by law. Unless conditions prevent it, the best evacuation route is the nearest stairway leading to the nearest exit.  Elevators should not be used as they become inoperable during a loss of electrical power and can increase the risk of smoke inhalation during a fire.  Firefighters routinely check stairways for persons needing assistance.

Actions will be taken to ensure persons remain at least two hundred feet from the building to be clear of any danger and to avoid impeding the movement of emergency responders and equipment.  This distance may be increased by police or firefighters according to the circumstances of the emergency. Persons should not return to the building unless specific approval to do so has been given by police or firefighters.

Persons with disabilities are responsible for requesting assistance. In a classroom, the instructor should coordinate, and/or assist, disabled persons in the classroom to evacuate. If this is not possible, the instructor should help the persons move to the nearest enclosed stairway and remain there with them while another person advises emergency responders of their location.  

Professors and Instructors should preplan for evacuations at the beginning of the semester and identify those who may need assistance in an evacuation.

Lock Down

A lock-down will be used to protect building occupants in the case of an emergency. This requires the residents of a building to stay safely sheltered where they are located once an emergency is identified by the YSU Police, unless there is a specific threat within the building that requires them to exit.

A lock-down will be communicated to the campus via Penguin Alert and the Simplex Mass Communication System.

During a lock-down police and other emergency personnel would be responding to the emergency somewhere on campus. This does not necessarily mean that there is immediate danger in the building a person is located, however precautions should be taken immediately.

What is a lock-down?

All campus buildings will be locked to prevent entrance from the outside. Exit from the buildings will still be possible by pushing the crash bars. Students and personnel should not exit the building unless the situation in the building requires escape.

Exterior entrances of buildings will be locked by the facilities personnel, staff, or faculty who have access to door lock hardware. Faculty or staff members with keys to offices may have the capability to lock entrances to buildings. The YSU Police will not be available to assist in the locking of the buildings if an emergency exists on campus.

Students in residence halls must remain in their rooms with the door locked.

Staff will remain in their offices, or secure area, preferably without windows, with the door locked.

Faculty will move students to any lockable room in the building or remain in the classroom with the door barricaded if possible.

In the event that a room cannot be locked, the room should be barricaded with any accessible items.

The termination of any lock-down will be by the authority of the YSU Police, once an emergency is over. This will also be communicated via Penguin Alert and the Simplex Mass Communication System.

Shelter in Place

In certain emergency situations, the campus community may be advised to shelter-in-place to avoid or minimize exposure to outside risks. Risks could include chemical, biological or radioactive releases; some weather-related emergencies or criminal activities.

Once shelter-in-place instructions have been communicated, students, faculty and staff should either stay in the building they are in when they get the message or if outside, go to the nearest building and await further instructions.

What Shelter-in-Place Means

Shelter-in-Place is a precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors. It refers to taking refuge in a designated area of safety within a building such as a small, interior room with no or few windows. It does not mean sealing off your entire residence or office building. If you are told to shelter-in-place, follow the instructions provided below.

Why You Might Need to Shelter-in-Place

The air outside may become dangerously contaminated either intentionally or accidentally; severe weather such as a thunderstorm or a tornado is occurring; or there is an active shooter, making it unsafe to be exposed to outside conditions. Should this occur, YSU Police will provide information using the Penguin Alert and the Simplex Mass Communication System This system includes emergency warning sirens, programmed messages, live voice instructions, text messaging, and email communication to provide emergency notification and/or instructions. The important thing is for you to follow instructions of University authorities and know what to do if they advise you to shelter-in-place. 

General Shelter in Place Information

If a shelter in place order is given, you should: 

  • Stop classes or work, or close business operations.
  • Share the notification with others in the building if possible, but do not leave the area where you were instructed to shelter-in-place.
  • Close all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside.
  • Select interior room(s) above the ground floor with the fewest windows or vents. 
  • Keep listening to local radio, television, and check your cell phone for Penguin Alert messages until you are told it is safe or you are told to evacuate. University and local officials may call for an evacuation in specific areas only.

In Conclusion

University and local officials are the best source of information for your particular situation. Following their instructions during and after emergencies regarding sheltering, food, water, and clean-up methods is your safest choice.