Emergency Procedures

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Weather Emergencies

Hurricanes, Severe Thunderstorms, and Tornadoes

If you are asked to take protective action due to severe weather (hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms) or some other type of natural disaster, follow the directions of Occupant Emergency Organization members: stay indoors.

  • Move to the center of an interior room or shelter in place as directed.
  • If you are close enough and have time, move to a stairwell.
  • Keep doors and windows closed.
  • Stay away from windows and exterior doors.
  • Avoid staying in open hallways.

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Medical Emergencies

Basic Medical Emergency (First Aid or CPR)

Your actions during the first minutes following the onset of a medical emergency can save lives. In the event of a basic medical emergency requiring first aid and/or CPR, occupants should:

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Check if the victim is breathing.
  3. Check if the victim has a pulse.
  4. If there is no pulse, activate the Emergency Medical System (EMS) by calling 911, and then contact the College Public Safety Department if time permits.
  5. If trained, render appropriate first aid and/or CPR. If you are trained to use an AED, send someone to retrieve it while you continue CPR
  6. If you are not trained for CPR or AED, obtain assistance from someone who can provide care. Do not exceed your level of training.
  7. Limit direct exposure to body fluids from the victim. If possible use gloves if the victim is bleeding. Apply direct pressure and elevation to stop persistent bleeding.
  8. Do not move the victim unless absolutely necessary.
  9. Check the victim for emergency medical ID tags and/or medications. When first responders arrive, inform them of what you found.
  10. Stay with the victim until help arrives.

In the event of a widespread medical emergency involving multiple injured victims, Occupant Emergency Organization members should verify notification of emergency response personnel and Public Safety who will activate the Incident Command System as necessary, and then report to the appropriate contact.

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Fire & Hazardous Materials Emergencies

In the event of a fire, smoke or hazardous materials emergencies within a campus building, it is necessary and safest for occupants to evacuate.

A fire or hazardous materials emergency exists whenever:

  • A building fire evacuation alarm is sounding.
  • An uncontrolled fire or imminent fire hazard occurs in any building, or are of the campus.
  • There is the presence of smoke, or the odor of burning.
  • There is abnormal spontaneous or abnormal heating of any material.
  • There is an uncontrolled release of combustible or toxic gas or other hazardous material, or a flammable liquid spill.

Call 911 and alert the fire department; then:

  1. Activate the nearest fire alarm pull station (if the alarm has not yet sounded).
  2. Close office doors.
  3. Be prepared to follow instructions of designated Occupant Emergency Organization members.
  4. Immediately evacuate the building using the nearest safe exit as soon as possible, unless assisting others.
  5. If there is smoke, stay low to the floor and move to a safe area. Smoke will rise towards the ceiling.
  6. Feel closed doors for heat before opening them. It is best to use the back of your hand. If the door is hot, the fire may be on the other side of the closed door, take another escape route if it exists. If not open the door carefully to see if escape is possible.
  7. If escape is not possible, put signs in the windows and, if available use phones to alert first responders to your need for rescue.
  8. When using stairwells, keep to the right to allow rescue personnel to ascend the stairs while you are evacuating.
  9. Once out of the building proceed to the appropriate rally point, far enough away from the building so as not to interfere with fire rescue personnel.

People needing rescue assistance should alert Emergency Action Coordinators/Special Needs Assistants, Faculty (in the classroom), or other Occupant Emergency Organization members and Public Safety.

A member of the Incident Command Team or Occupant Emergency Organization should position themselves where they can direct the fire department to the correct location of the fire/smoke after they have evacuated.

Note: Silencing of the fire alarm does not indicate "all clear." Once the alarm sounds, all occupants must evacuate the building, even if the alarm is silenced.

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Unusual, Disturbing or Suspicious Behavior

The College of Southern Maryland is concerned about the safety, health, and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. It is very important that everyone report Student Code of Conduct violations or concerning student behavior to ensure both campus safety and that those students in distress are given proper help and resources. The Student Behavior Incident Report Form was created to easily report these behaviors. This online form should be used to report General Student Behavior Concerns, suspected violations of the Student Code of Conduct, or suspected violations of the college's Standards for Academic Integrity.

Faculty, staff, or students who have a concern about a student should report that concern by filling out and submitting the Student Behavior Incident Report Form or by calling the Student Affairs Department at 301-539-4746. Serious life and safety concerns should be immediately reported by calling 911 or by contacting the Public Safety and Preparedness Office at the following campuses:

Campus Phone
La Plata Campus 301-934-7888
Prince Frederick Campus 443-550-6033
Leonardtown Campus 240-725-5333

College life is stressful at times for all students, but today, many students lack the needed support network to manage successfully. You may be the first person to recognize a student in distress.

How do I recognize a student in distress?

  • Obvious changes in mood or behavior.
  • Tearfulness, depressed mood.
  • Threatening behavior and/or stalking.
  • Extreme restlessness, agitation.
  • Change in grades, class attendance, work habits.
  • Obvious anxiety, panic or avoidance behavior.
  • Coming to class drunk, high, or hungover.
  • Direct or indirect expressions of hopelessness/suicidal thoughts.
  • Disturbing material submitted in class work, papers, and exams.
  • Evidence of self-inflicted harm: scars, cuts, burns, etc.
  • Poor hygiene/inappropriate clothing.
  • Bizarre or unusual behavior or speech.
  • Significant weight changes.
  • Irritability, outbursts, or disruptive behavior

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Bomb Threat or Suspicious Object

If you receive a telephone call concerning a bomb threat to any location within the College of Southern Maryland, try to keep the caller on the line to obtain as much information as possible from the Bomb Threat Information Checklist. After the caller hangs up, call the college Public Safety Department to relay the information.

Individuals receiving a bomb threat will attempt to obtain the following information:

  1. When is the bomb going to explode?
  2. Where is it right now?
  3. What does it look like?
  4. What kind of a bomb is it?
  5. What will cause it to explode?
  6. Did you place the bomb?
  7. Why?
  8. What is your address?
  9. What is your name?

You are also asked to take notes on the following items:

  1. Exact wording of the threat.
  2. Sex of caller.
  3. Approximate age of caller.
  4. Length of call.
  5. Any distinguishing characteristics of the caller's voice/speech.
  6. Any background noises.

The decision to evacuate will be made by the Incident Commander, Public Safety and first responders. Wait until you are instructed to evacuate. Premature evacuation could be unsafe.

The decision to evacuate will be made with consideration given to a variety of factors, such as:

  • Recommendation of Incident Commander.
  • Credibility of threat.
  • Credibility of threat
  • General Public Safety matters.

After receiving orders to evacuate, the last employee to leave the work area should leave the door open and:

  • Secure sensitive work materials.
  • Evacuate the building using the nearest safe exit as soon as possible, unless assisting others.
  • Do not touch any suspicious object. If a suspicious object is found, notify the Public Safety Department immediately.
  • Do not turn on or operate any cellular telephone or other communication device.
  • Do not pull the fire alarm unless instructed to do so by arriving first responders.
  • Proceed to a safe location far enough away from the building so as not to interfere with responding emergency personnel.

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Hostage Situation

If you observe a hostage situation, the following are suggested actions:

  • Leave the immediate area without causing suspicion.
  • Proceed to a safe area and notify the authorities (911).
  • Inform the authorities of the location of the hostage situation, who was taken as hostage(s), the number of captors, and whether the captors are armed.
  • Provide your name, location, and telephone number.
  • If you are unable to leave the area, stay calm and avoid discussing the situation with anyone else, if possible, until the proper authorities arrive.
  • Whenever possible, leave negotiations with the captor(s) to trained negotiators.
  • Anyone who has established communication and rapport with the captor(s) must stand by and brief the trained negotiators upon their arrival. Continue to stand by in the event that additional assistance is required with negotiators.

If you are taken hostage, the following are suggested actions:

  • Remain calm, be polite, and cooperate with your captors.
  • Do not attempt escape unless there is an extremely good chance of survival. It is safer to be submissive and obey your captors.
  • Speak normally. Do not complain, avoid being belligerent, and comply with all orders.
  • Avoid drawing attention by making sudden movements, statements, or hostile looks.
  • Observe the captors and try to memorize their physical traits, voice patterns, clothing, or other details that can help provide a description later.
  • Avoid getting into political or ideological discussions with the captors.
  • Try to establish a relationship with your captors and get to know them. Captors are less likely to harm you if they respect you.
  • If forced to present captors demands to authorities, either in writing or on tape, state clearly that the demands are from your captors.
  • Try to stay low to the ground or behind cover from windows or doors, if possible.

During a rescue operation:

  • Do not run. Drop to the floor and remain still. Make no sudden movements.
  • Wait for instructions and obey all instructions you are given.
  • Do not be upset, resist, or argue if a rescuer is uncertain whether you are a captor or hostage.
  • Even if you are handcuffed and searched, do not resist. Wait for the confusion to clear.
  • You will be taken to a safe area, where proper identification will be determined.

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Certain emergencies require the opposite of evacuation: to remain inside in an attempt to avoid potentially harmful conditions. In certain instances, immediate evacuation of a facility is not in the best interest of its occupants, and sheltering the occupants in the building may reduce the risk of injury. To "shelter-in-place" means to make a shelter of the building that you are in until the "all clear" announcement is made. Lockdown is simply sheltering in place, but taking those additional steps to secure and lock an office or classroom door, turn out the lights and remain quiet. These lockdown procedures are generally taken during a violent incident (workplace violence, active shooter).

When an event occurs that makes sheltering in place/lockdown necessary, occupants will be notified by any one, or all the following methods:

  • The College of Southern Maryland Emergency exterior siren/public address system.
  • Omnilert emergency notification system (everyone email, Twitter, Facebook, CSM text, website, CSM intranet).
  • Public Safety or local authorities.
  • Faculty (in the classrooms), and/or Emergency Action Coordinators/Special Needs Assistants.

Occupants cannot be forced to comply with shelter in place/lockdown orders. Therefore, it is imperative that all building occupants understand the importance of compliance in order to maximize their safety.

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Special Needs Evacuation Procedures

Plan in Advance

Individuals who need assistance during an evacuation, even temporarily (due to broken leg, illness, medications, etc.) should plan in advance. It is important to be aware of your own capabilities and limitations. Notify a director or department head if you use a particular building on a regular basis. To self-identify, employees should contact the Equity and Inclusive Diversity Office at 301-934-7658. Students and visitors should contact Disability Support Services at 301-934-7614 in order to self-identify. After persons with disabilities have self-identified, training and guidance will be provided to these individuals. Emergency Action Coordinators/Special Needs Assistants and Faculty may be assigned and/or evacuation instructions provided.

The Public Safety Office for each campus is furnished with a quarterly update on person(s) self- identifying as special needs. This update will be provided to Incident Command Team personnel, Emergency Action Coordinators/Special Needs Assistants and faculty,

It must be noted, however, that any college employee assisting with any emergency procedure is only expected to take those actions that are reasonable and commensurate with their individual level of knowledge, skill, and physical ability to properly and safely perform a given task. These guidelines do not dictate a duty of care for any campus department or individual, unless that duty is compelled by law.

If an individual requiring special needs assistance utilizes equipment that makes it impossible to ascend or descend stairwells, they will use the elevators in all situations except for a fire. In the event of a fire, these individuals will be moved to the stairwell and await assistance from first responders/emergency personnel. The stairwells of each of the buildings are temporary safe areas and maintain a positive airflow in the event of a fire.

Evac Chairs

CSM now has Evac Chairs on all three campuses. These chairs are used for helping to evacuate persons with disabilities when the elevators are no longer functioning due to an emergency.


La Plata 

  • BI 2nd floor stairwell by Rm 206 
  • CC 2nd floor stairwell by Rm 200 
  • BU 2nd floor stairwell by Rm 202 
  • AD 2nd floor stairwell by Rm 216 
  • CE 2nd floor stairwell by Rm 204 
  • ST 2nd floor stairwell by Rm 237 

Prince Frederick 

  • PFA 2nd floor stairway 1 (East) 
  • PFA 2nd floor stairway 2 (West) 
  • PFB 2nd floor stairway 2 (Rm 205) 


  • A 3rd floor near stairwell by Rm 301 
  • B 3rd floor next to elevator 
  • C 3rd floor stairwell by Rm 301 (West)

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Active Shooter

If an active shooter is outside your building:

  1. If you can escape safely, DO SO
  2. If not, proceed to a room that can be locked, shut off lights and lock all windows and stay out of sight (lockdown).
  3. One person in the room should call 911.
  4. Do not leave until given instructions to do so by a police officer or the Department of Public Safety.

If an active shooter is in the same building as you:

  1. If the room that you are in can be locked, follow the same procedures listed above.
  2. If your room cannot be locked, determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and then secured or, if you can, safely exit the building.
  3. If you decide to move from your current location be sure to follow the instructions outlined in the next paragraph.

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom:

  1. Dial 911 if possible and give your location. If you cannot speak, leave the telephone line open, so the police can listen to what is taking place.
  2. If you cannot escape, attempt to negotiate with the shooter. As a last resort, attempt to overpower the shooter with force.
  3. If the shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place and call 911 and provide information to the police.

General Quick Response Guide:

  • Lock and barricade doors
  • Turn off lights
  • Close blinds
  • Silence cell phones
  • Block windows
  • Turn off radios and computer monitors
  • Keep occupants calm, quiet, and out of sight
  • Keep yourself out of sight and take adequate cover that may protect you from bullets (e.g. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets)


Run. Hide. Fight.

In this FBI training video, customers at a bar are caught in an active shooter event. By employing the run, hide, and fight tactics, as well as knowing the basics of rendering first aid to others, they are prepared, empowered, and able to survive the attack

Learn More

Contact Public Safety

La Plata Campus
On campus, ext. 7888

Leonardtown Campus
On Campus, ext. 5333

Prince Frederick Campus
On Campus, ext. 6033

Regional Hughesville Campus
On Campus X4898

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