SF State News {University Communications}

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Keeping you safe

Note: the following e-mail was sent out to SF State students on April 27.

In the wake of the terrible events at Virginia Tech, our first thoughts were, of course, for the members of that community, their friends and families. But as my message that first day recognized, such events resonate on this campus as well. It is reasonable and necessary to ask what this campus does to keep its people safe and to remind you of the resources we always have available to you in times of anxiety or stress.

We have detailed procedures for trying to avert and responding to a range of emergencies, from natural disasters to criminal threats. Within hours of the news of the VT massacre our emergency team -- including representatives from University Police, Counseling & Psychological Services, Student Affairs, Public Affairs, Housing, Enrollment Management, and Facilities Services -- held a special meeting to review our policies and to talk about what more we can do to keep you safe. This is something they do regularly throughout the year.

By coincidence, the University's new Emergency Preparedness and Response Web site has just been launched. It provides a wealth of information, including the full Emergency Procedures Handbook, with sections on a range of possible occurrences. Please familiarize yourself with the site: http://www.sfsu.edu/emergency . In the meantime, let me address some of the things that may be on your mind now.

Preparing in Advance for an Emergency

- Know where the yellow emergency phones, fire exits and stairways are in the buildings where you live or study. The phones call directly into University Police.

- Know our University Police emergency numbers: 911 for an immediate emergency; 415-338-7200 for a less immediate matter.

- Use your intuition: If you have a concern for your safety or the safety of others, call 911. All 911 calls from campus telephones and pay phones are answered directly by the University Police Department. Cellular 911 calls will be answered by the San Francisco Police Department who will transfer the call to the University Police Department.

Who Takes the Lead in an Emergency?

- In the event of a major emergency, University Police will activate the appropriate elements of the campus Emergency Plan.

How Will We Communicate With You in an Emergency?

- Building alarm systems:

If you hear an alarm, leave the building immediately. To help persons with mobility disabilities, take them to the nearest stairwell and notify University Police (415-338-7200).

- Building voice announcement systems:

Many of the residence halls and academic buildings have a voice announcement system on every floor linked to the alarm system that we will use to give you information and instructions. We plan to install similar communication systems in the remaining buildings.

- Building coordinators:

Every building has a safety coordinator trained to help with building evacuation. Orange vests identify building coordinators.

- Loudspeakers:

On our compact central campus, loudspeakers atop police vehicles are an effective way of reaching you.

- E-mail and voicemail:

For emergency updates, check your e-mail. We will also use University voicemail.

- Web page:

We will post news and updates on the University's home page: http://www.sfsu.edu

- Text messaging:

We are exploring systems that can text-message your cell phone and expect to select a system very shortly. We will let you know when this happens, so that you can register your cell phone number.

Dealing with Sadness and Anxiety

It is natural to feel sad or anxious after an event such as the killings at Virginia Tech. If you are distressed now, or at any time, the licensed, professional staff at Counseling & Psychological Services want you to seek them out. Call them at 415-338-2208 or drop by their office, Student Services Building room 208. For hours, check their Web site: http://www.sfsu.edu/~psyservs/

Are You Concerned that Someone on Campus is a Potential Danger to Him/Herself or Others?

The advice from both Counseling & Psychological Services and University Police is the same: share your concerns. Resident students can contact an RA; all students can get in touch with University Police or Counseling & Psychological Services. The University Police Department has an anonymous tip line: 415-338-3030.

This has historically been a very safe campus and I want you to know that a great many people continue to work together to keep it so. We cannot provide absolute protection against disaster, either natural or man-made, but we can promise you that your safety will remain our highest priority.

-- Robert A. Corrigan, president

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