· · · Emergency Preparedness
Emergency Preparedness 2019-04-09T12:07:32+00:00


The Emergency Management Plan is intended to establish policies, procedures and organizational structure for response to emergencies that are of a magnitude to cause a significant disruption of the functioning of all or portions of the University. This plan describes the roles and responsibilities of departments, schools, units and personnel during emergency situations. The basic emergency procedures are designed to protect lives and property through effective use of university and community resources. Since an emergency may be sudden and without warning, these procedures are designed to be flexible in order to accommodate contingencies of various types and magnitudes.

Through the use of annexes, this Emergency Management Plan addresses several specific types of emergencies on an individual basis, providing guidelines for the stabilization and recovery from the incident. These include emergency instructions and references in a concise format for the individuals designated to manage University resources.

The NSU Emergency Management Plan is assembled according to the following philosophical framework regarding the intended process of handling emergency situations:

  • Prevent – identify anticipated emergency situations that are likely to happen on campus and take steps to prevent or mitigate the incident or its severity
  •  Prepare (Protect) – prepare in advance the expected response in order to protect people,  facilities and other NSU resources
  • Respond – initiate intended responses upon onset of an emergency;  practice emergency  responses for specific emergency scenarios
  • Recover – return campus operations to normal as quickly as feasible following emergencies


This plan outlines the preparation, response and recovery of university personnel and resources for emergency situations. The Emergency Management Plan is consistent with established practices relating to coordination of emergency response actions. This plan incorporates the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to facilitate interagency coordination between responding agencies. The University will cooperate with federal, state and local emergency management agencies and other responders in the development, implementation and execution of its emergency response plans. Nothing in this plan shall be construed in a manner that limits the use of good judgment and common sense in matters not foreseen or covered by the elements of the plan.

This is what you should know:

  • the established emergency procedures for your building and your work area.
  • how to register for Purple Alert
  • the hazards of any materials or equipment and the precautions that accompany them in your building and work area.
  • two means of egress from your building.
  • the locations of fire alarm pull stations.
  • the locations of portable fire extinguishers and how to use them
  • the locations of the nearest first aid kit.

Expected outcome:

  • You will know what to do in case of an emergency.
  • You will receive electronic warning of an impending emergency.
  • You will know how to protect yourself and your co-workers.
  • You will know how to exit your building should an evacuation be required.
  • You will be able to warn others of the presence of a fire.
  • You will be able to extinguish small fires and prevent large-scale damage.
  • You will be able to obtain first aid supplies within a short period of time.

Knowing what to do before an emergency happens can mean the difference between life and death or serious injury.

In the event of an airplane crash:

  1. Call University Police at 5431 (318-357-5431)
  2. Explain the situation to the dispatcher: Be sure to indicate location
  3. Stay away from the scene of the crash.
  4. All airplane crash scenes should be treated as a crime scene until notified otherwise.

Important Phone Numbers

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
South Central Regional Office, Arlington, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration

University Police

Natchitoches City Police

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office

The Natchitoches Regional Airport lies adjacent to the NSU Campus, immediately across Chaplin’s Lake.  Since its major runway requires that aircraft cross university property and buildings during take-off and landing, emergency plans are necessary in the event of an incident involving aircraft.  This includes aircraft (military, private, and commercial aircraft) as well as helicopters, and crop-dusting aircraft that utilize the facility.

Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities

  • Always consult with the disabled person regarding how to best assist them.
  • If you have students, faculty, or staff in your area who are disabled, pre-assign and train emergency help for disabled co-workers before an emergency occurs.
  • Be aware that faculty, staff and students with “hidden” disabilities (arthritis, cardiac conditions, and back problems, learning disabilities) may also need individual assistance.
  • Use the following list to train both helpers and disabled persons.
  • Consider adopting a “buddy system” naming who is responsible for whom.

To Assist Visually Impaired Persons:

  • Announce the type of emergency.
  • Offer your arm for guidance.
  • Tell the person where you are going, obstacles you encounter.
  • When you reach safety, ask if further help is needed.

To Alert People with Hearing Problems:

  • Turn lights on/off to gain the person’s attention, or
  • Indicate directions with gestures, or
  • Write a note with evacuation directions

To Evacuate People Using Crutches, Canes, or Walkers:

  • Evacuate these individuals as injured persons.
  • Assist and accompany to evacuation site if possible, or
  • Use a sturdy chair (or one with wheels) to move the person, or
  • Help carry individual.

To Evacuate Wheelchair Users:

  • Non-ambulatory persons’ needs and preferences vary. Individuals at ground floor locations may exit without help.  Others have minimal ability to move.
  • Remember, lifting may be dangerous to you or them.
  • Some non-ambulatory persons have respiratory complications. Remove them from smoke and vapors immediately.  Wheelchair users with electrical respirators should get priority assistance.
  • Most wheelchairs are too heavy to take down stairs.  Consult with the person to determine best carry options and reunite the person with the chair as soon as it is safe to do so.

Note: Do not put yourself or others in danger.  If you cannot safely evacuate an individual, get them to a stairwell or other easily identified “protected” location and notify the emergency responders as soon as possible of the individual’s situation and location.

Follow the instructions of University Police, and/or all other Emergency Response Personnel.

  1. Close the door as you leave, if you are the last one out of an area.
  2. Use the CLOSEST ACCESSIBLE stairwell for evacuation.
      • Be alert for and careful of other people when using the stairwells.
      • Report to University Police the location of any disabled person that was unable to exit down the stairs.
      • When you reach the ground floor, exit the building and stand at least 200 feet from the building.
      • Meet in a place designated by your Supervisor or Instructor.
      • All stairwells and lighted exit signs at NSU are equipped with emergency lighting systems and will

    remain lit for several hours in the event of a power failure.  A delay of several seconds may occur before the emergency lights come on.

  3. Once you have exited the building—DO NOT RE-ENTER THE BUILDING.  This is the most dangerous aspect of the evacuation—people going back into the building.
  4. Keep moving down the stairs at an even pace.
  5. Use the handrails, to prevent falling down the stairs.
  6. Once outside, wait at least 200 feet from the building.
  7. Keep all entrances/exits clear to facilitate access by emergency personnel.

This is what will happen:

  1. You will exit the building.
  2. You will stand at least 200 feet from the building.
  3. Be accounted for by your supervisor, or Instructor before leaving the site.
  4. University Police, and other Emergency Personnel will respond to the emergency.
  5. The emergency agencies will handle the situation.
  6. When the “All Clear” is given, you will be allowed back into the building.


  • Smoke.
  • Use elevators. – If the emergency is such that an elevator may be used, the disabled will have only priority.
  • Return to the building for coats, purses, book bags, etc.
  • Run or create panic.
  • Return to the building until given an “All Clear” by the primary agency conducting the evacuation.

Contact University Police
#5431 (318-357-5431)

This is what will happen:

  1. University Police will respond to the specific location of the incident.
  2. University Police will contact the Emergency Manager.
  3. University Police and the Emergency Manager will handle the disorder under direction of the President and following University Policy and Procedures.

Although disorders come in many forms, the following procedures will be a standard for handling these situations:

  1. Emergency Authority—Supervisors may be given additional authority during civil disorder.
  2. Emergency Responsibility—during emergencies, responsibility related to vulnerable areas at the University will be assigned directly by the Emergency Manager / Emergency Management    Committee in cooperation with the President.  Responsibility for specific areas will be assigned to employees with knowledge of those areas.
  3. Community Relations—will be handled by the Vice President of External Affairs or his designee.
  4. Security—strict security will remain in effect until the emergency is over.  Gates and doors will remain closed and University Police will strictly control entry into the campus or building.

If you are trapped in an elevator:

  1. Press the “Emergency” button or the “Bell” button.
  2. Use the elevator phone.  It will connect to University Police.  If for any reason the phone does not work, continue ringing the bell until someone outside the elevator has heard you.
  3. Remain calm.

If you observe a malfunction from outside an elevator:

  1. If you think someone may be trapped inside, Notify University Police at 5431 (318-357-5431).
  2. If there is a person trapped inside the elevator, assure them that assistance is on the way.
  3. If no one is trapped in the elevator, call the Physical Plant at 4519 (318-357-4519) to report the Elevator problem. Also call University Police to report the Elevator Malfunction.
  4. Secure the elevator.  Place signs on the Elevator door indicating that the elevator is “Out of Order”.  This will prevent persons from entering the elevator.

Normal Hours contact: Physical Plant #4519 or 318-357-4519
After hours contact: University Police 5431 or 318-357-5431 / Power Plant 5886 or 318-357-5886

This is what will happen:

  1. University Police will call for assistance.
  2. Maintenance personnel will respond as soon as possible.

Contracted Elevator Company: A-1 Elevator Company
Approximate response time: 30 minutes

If the fire is small or contained:

  • Use the closest fire extinguisher to throughly extinguish the fire.
  • Remove the pin; point the hose at the base of the fire, and making a sweeping motion (back and forth) squeeze the handle to spray the contents on the fire.
  • Please note the locations of fire extinguishers located on your floor plan.
  • Floor plans are available in the Physical Plant Office.
  • If you see or smell smoke, observe any other electrical smells, or have any suspicion there may be a problem call University Police at 5431.  You may also contact the Physical Plant at 4519 or Power Plant at 5886.

For any other fire situation:

  1. Activate the alarm. Pull down alarms are located next to all exits.
  2. Call University Police at 5431 once you are out of the building and danger.
  3. Provide the following to University Police, once you are outside and a safe distance away:
    a. Your name
    b. Building and floor/location of fire.
    c. Details of fire emergency
  4. Evacuate by using stairway or main exits only.
  5. Last one to exit a fire area: close the door to the room.
  6. Do not attempt to open any closed door if the handle feels hot to the touch.
  7. If caught in heavy smoke, take short breaths.  Breathe through your nose, stay low, and crawl if necessary.
  8. Report any disabled person who was unable to exit to University Police.  Direct and assist wheelchair users to wait at the top of the stairs of the closest exit in the space that does not block the stairs.  Assure them they will be assisted right away.
  9. Follow instructions of emergency response personnel.
  10. Exit signs and stairwell lights will remain lit for hours even in the event of a power failure.  It may take several seconds for the emergency lights to come on.
  11. Exit the building to the ground floor, and meet with your office personnel or class in a previously designated area.  The designated area must be at least 200 feet from the building.
  12. Do not go back into the building for any reason.
  13. Once you have exited, do not re-enter until you are given the “All Clear” by University Police and/or the emergency agency on the scene.

 This is what will happen:

  1. University Police will notify the Fire Department.
  2. Emergency Notifications will be made via the Purple Alert System.
  3. University Police will notify the University Emergency Manager.
  4. University Police will respond to assist the Fire Department with evacuation.
  5. Disabled persons who were unable to exit will be evacuated by University Police, Other Police, Emergency Medical Services, and/or Fire Department Personnel.
  6. Press Release will be made through the Office of External Affairs

Do not:

  • Attempt to fight the fire, unless you have been trained to do so.
  • Use the elevators.
  • Panic.
  • Run, when exiting the building.


  • Evacuate the building and go to the designated safe area.
  • Remain at the safe area until all persons are accounted for by their supervisor or University Police.
  • Follow instructions of University Police or the Emergency Responders on the scene.
  • Do not leave the University until accounted for and instructed to do so by your supervisor or University Police.

This is what you should do:

  1. Notify University Police at 5431 (318-357-5431)
  2. Notify the Physical Plant at 4519 (318-357-4519) between 8:00 am to 4:30 pm or otherwise at 5886 (318-357-5886).
  3. Be sure to give the Physical Plant the following information:
    a.   your name
    b.   location of the flooding (building, floor, room number or street name)
    c.    source of the flooding (if known)
  4. Stand by for Physical Plant Employees to assist them in locating the source of the flooding.
  5. Evacuate the area if your personal safety is at risk.
  6. If evacuated, University Police will advise when reoccupation of affected area is approved.

This is what will happen:

  1. Physical Plant Employees will respond.
  2. Necessary clean up and maintenance activities will be undertaken by the Physical Plant and Custodial Services.

Do not:

  • Enter or walk into any area with standing water.
  • Touch electrical appliances or breaker boxes while standing in water.

Do not enter the area containing the spill. 

  1. Call University Police at: 5431 (318-357-5431).
  2. Notify your supervisor.
  3. If possible, identify the (character) nature, exact source, amount and extent of released materials.
  4. If you know this information, pass it along to University Police and/or Fire Department.
  5. Wait for University Police and/or Fire Department to respond to take necessary action.
  6. If the hazardous material is a chemical and it has contacted a person’s skin or eyes, begin irrigation of area with water for at least 20 minutes.
  7. If you have a SDS on the chemical, please locate it for emergency personnel.

 This is what will happen: 

 University Police will

  1. notify the appropriate agencies
  2. notify Environmental Health & Safety Office:  4424  (318-357-4424)
  3. notify emergency medical services as needed by each situation.

Important Phone Numbers

Natchitoches Fire Department: (318) 357-3860
Natchitoches Police Department: (318)  352-8101
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office: (318) 352-6432
Louisiana State Police Troop E: (318) 487-5911 (Natchitoches, Alexandria, etc)
Louisiana State Police Troop G: (318) 741-7411 (Shreveport)

Plant Services:

In the event of a Truck Delivery with a Hazardous Materials Release/Spill:

  1. Call University Police immediately at 5431 (318-357-5431)
  2. Obtain the manifest from the driver.  All manifests, for any freight company, should be located in the driver’s side door pocket.
  3. Evacuate the immediate area.
  4. Do not cause any sparks, since you have not identified the chemical that is spilled or released. 

Hazardous Material Incidents Off-Campus that still may affect the Campus

These are incidents that may occur in the City of Natchitoches that will affect the campus, by evacuations or sheltering in place.

This is what you should do:

  1. Notify University Police at 318-357-5431.
  2. If directed; evacuate the building and move to a designated safe location.
  3. If informed to Shelter-in-Place – close all windows and doors to the outside.
  4. If you feel irritation from the release substance, hold a wet cloth over your nose and mouth.
  5. Minimize the use of elevators.  Elevators tend to “pump” outdoor air in and out of a building as they travel up and down.
  6. Tune your radio or TV to local stations for further information and guidance.
  7. If an airborne release: The lead time of an airborne release could be from zero to thirty minutes.  As a result, this short time may not allow for a safe evacuation.

Plan Ahead for Hurricane Season

When officials recommend evacuation

  • Coordinate your departure with people who will be traveling with you. Notify an out-of-area person of your plans.
  • Secure your home.
  • Put your disaster supplies kit in your vehicle. Double check evacuation routes and leave.

Who Should Plan to Leave Early

  • Residents of low-lying areas
  • Persons living in manufactured housing
  • Persons with special needs — including health or mobility related concerns

Secure Your Home

  • Turn off gas, water & electricity
  • Board up windows
  • Draw drapes across windows
  • Brace garage doors
  • Bring in outdoor furniture and other loose objects, anchor items you cannot bring inside
  • Place boats on trailers, tie them down close to home and fill with water
  • Lock all windows and doors
  • Make arrangements for animals (most shelters do not allow pets)

Evacuation Tips

  • Keep your vehicle in good repair with a full tank of fuel
  • Check on friends and neighbors who may have special needs
  • Prepare you disaster supplies kit now. Take it with you when you evacuate
  • Secure you home quickly — evacuate when asked to do so
  • Have an out-of-area point of contact whom family and friends can call to learn your evacuation plans
  • If possible, take a CB Radio or cell phone with you. Use it only in emergencies.
  • Monitor Emergency Alert Stations (EAS) for the latest news or information.

Your Disaster Supplies Kit: 

  • Can Opener
  • 3-Day Supply of Non-Perishable Food
  • Bedding or Sleeping Bags
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Bleach (no lemon or other additives)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Extra Prescription Medicine (or refill information)
  • Baby food, diapers and formula
  • First Aid Kit
  • Water (gallon per person per day)
  • Eating Utensils
  • Tarp, Rope & Duct Tape
  • Toiletries
  • Toilet Paper
  • Batter-Operated Radio
  • Flashlights
  • Extra Batteries
  • Extra Keys
  • Sunglasses
  • Eyeglasses (or prescription)
  • Hearing Aid or Other Special Items
  • Important Papers including Insurance, Money, Checks or Credit Cards
  • Name, Address and Telephone Number of Out-of-Area Contact Person
After A Severe Tropical Storm or Hurricane

Stay out of disaster areas which could be dangerous and where your presence will interfere with essential rescue and recovery work. Do not drive unless you must. Roads should be left clear for emergency vehicles and debris removal equipment. Remember, debris-filled streets are dangerous.

Along the coast, soil may erode beneath pavement or bridge supports, which could collapse under the weight of a car. Be wary of inland flooding. Citizens returning home should expect the worst and take precautions to assure their safety.
Precautions to take when returning home:

  • Do not use the telephone except for major emergencies.
  • Beware of loose or dangling power lines. Many lives are lost through electrocution.
  • Walk or drive cautiously. Watch out for snakes.
  • Do not use water until you receive word that it is safe. Eat only foods you are absolutely sure are safe. If power has been out, food
  • that was refrigerated or frozen may not be safe to eat.
  • Don’t light candles. Do not attempt to turn on utilities.
  • Be wary of dangerous or frightened animals.
  • Use care handling power tools, gas lanterns, generators and matches.
  • Call your insurance company to file a claim if your home is damaged, ask your insurance company for financial help.
  • Listen to local radio stations for official disaster relief information and instructions.

Natural gas in its raw state has no smell or color. A “rotten egg” odor is added to make you aware if gas is leaking. Natural gas leaks can be very dangerous and reported immediately. If you suspect a natural gas leak in your office area or outside, follow these safety steps:

  • Leave the area immediately.
  • Call University Police at 5431 (318-357-5431).
  • Do not turn any lights on or off; this could cause a spark, igniting the gas.
  • Do not smoke or use a cell phone or a flashlight.
  • Do not operate any vehicle or mechanical vehicle that could cause sparks.
  • Do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off.

Student Health Services is the department responsible for the Pandemic Flu policy and Procedures.  Contact Student Health Services at 5351 or go to the Student Health Services office if you think you have the flu.  All related questions about this information should be directed to Student Health Services. Policy and other information can be found in the Student Health Services Office.

To Request a Counselor:

  • weekdays: University Counseling at 357-5621 (7:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
  • after hours: University Police at 357-5431 (nights and weekends)
CRISIS HOTLINES (click to call)
LBGTQQIA Trevor Project hotline
National AIDS Hotline
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders
National Child Abuse Hotline
National Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse Hotline
 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224
National Drug Information, Treatment and Referral Hotline
National Rape Crisis Hotline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Self-Injury Hotline
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Veterans Crisis Line
1-800 273-8255 (press 1)

Counseling & Career Services

The University Counseling Center’s professional staff provides confidential career counseling and career development services, counseling and outreach services, and part-time employment services free of charge to all NSU undergraduate and graduate students.  Students can call (318) 357-5621 or come by the office in room 305 in the Freidman Student Union Building to make an appointment.

24 hour crisis service is available for students who are in crisis. Call the office of Counseling and Career Services or drop by the office during the hours of 8 a.m. to  5:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 8 a.am.to 12 p.m. on Friday. To speak to a counselor after office hours and on weekends call University Police at 357-5431 and a counselor will be contacted for you.

NSU Student Handbook

This is a policy and procedure manual for Northwestern State University students.  This handbook is published by The Vice President for The Student Experience in conjunction with The Division of Student Affairs.

Crisis Services and Referral

Members of the faculty and staff are often the first to notice changes in the mood, appearance and behavior of their students. If you are concerned about a student’s behavior, call the Office of Counseling and Career Services. We provide consultation services to all members of the Northwestern community.

Call the Office of Counseling and Career Services at 357-5621 during office hours 8AM-4:30PM when there is an emergency and you must speak to a counselor. After 4:30PM and on weekends call the University Police at 357-5431 and they will contact a counselor for you.

Counseling Resources

Here are some links that may be helpful to you. If you have a favorite link you think should be included on this site please email us and let us know.


Alcohol and Drug Abuse




Eating Disorders

Grief and Loss



Mental Health Resources

Self Assessment/Screenings

Self Help

Sexual Health

In the event of severe weather do not pull the fire alarm.  Do not go outside.  In the event that a tornado is reported or sighted, all persons within the University Community should move to a safe area.  Action should be taken to prevent personal injury from falling objects or flying debris.  Building basements, inner hallways, enclosed stairwells, or lobbies without glass are suggested areas of safety.

Watches and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service

Thunderstorms and Lightning

Severe Thunderstorm Watch:  Issued when the weather conditions are such that a severe thunderstorm (damaging winds of 58 miles per hour or more, or hail three-fourths of an inch in diameter or greater) is likely to develop.  This is the time to locate a safe place and tell persons to watch the sky and listen to the radio or television for more information.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning:  Issued when a severe thunderstorm has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. When a warning is issued, the danger is very serious and everyone should go to a safe place, turn on a battery-operated radio or television, and wait for the all clear to be given by authorities.

Thunderstorm Danger Signs

  • Dark, towering or threatening clouds
  • Distant lightning and thunder

Have Disaster Supplies on Hand

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Portable, battery operated radio and extra batteries
  • Emergency food and water
  • Essential Medications
  • Cash and credit cards

During a thunderstorm

If indoors:

  • Listen to a battery operated radio
  • Do not handle electrical equipment or telephones
  • Avoid water faucets and sinks, because metal pipes can transmit electricity.

If outdoors:

  • Attempt to get into a building or a car.
  • Avoid tall structures such as towers, tall trees, fences, telephone lines and power lines.
  • Stay away from natural lightning rods such as golf clubs, tractors, fishing rods, or bicycles.
  • Stay away from bodies of water.

If in a car:

  • Avoid flooded roadways.

Estimating the Distance from a Thunderstorm:  Lightning flashes can be seen long before the resulting thunder is heard, because light travels much faster than sound.  Estimate the number of miles you are form a thunderstorm by counting the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder.  Divide the result you get by five. Important:  You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder.  Knowing how far away a storm is does not mean that you’re in danger only when the storm is overhead.

Hail:  Hail is produced by many strong thunderstorms.  Hail can be smaller than a pea or as large as a softball and can be very destructive to plants and crops.  In a hailstorm, take cover immediately.  Pets and livestock are particularly vulnerable to hail, so bring animals into shelter.

After the thunderstorm:

  • Check for injuries.
  • Assist others who may need special assistance.
  • Report downed utility wires to University Police at 5431 (318-357-5431).
  • Drive only if necessary.  Debris, downed utility lines, and washed-out roads may make driving dangerous.

Tornadoes and High Winds

Tornado Warning:  a tornado has either been sighted or it is highly probable that one will develop.

Tornado Watch: conditions are such that storms capable of producing a tornado may develop.

What you should do:

  1. Move away from the perimeter and exterior of the building.
  2. Go quickly to the lower level of the building, using stairwells only.
  3. Vacate any exterior office or study rooms and close the door behind you.
  4. If the building has a basement, you can go into the basement area.
  5. Go to an area that has been designated a shelter area for your building (contact your building manager), or to an interior hallway.
  6. Sit down and protect yourself, by putting your head as close to your lap as possible, on kneel, protecting your head.
  7. Remain calm, and encourage those around you to do likewise.
  8. If you cannot reach the shelter area, seek protection under a desk as far away from the windows as possible.

 Do not:

  • Leave the building
  • Use elevators.
  • Use stairwells that lead to the exterior of the building.
  • Remain near windows.
  • Leave the building unless you are instructed to do so.

When the warning is over or the tornado has passed:

  1. Check personnel for any injuries sustained in the event.
  2. In the event a person is injured
    Call University Police 318-357-5431
    Report the location of the injured person
    Give your name and a phone number
  3. In the event of any property damage notify University Police

Tornado Safety

In your vehicle: abandon your vehicle, move away from it to avoid being hit by the vehicle.  Seek shelter in a dry ditch, ravine or low spot.  Crouch low and cover your head with your hands.  Never try to outrun a tornado.  Some tornadoes can travel 60 mph!

In a building: move to a hallway or small room at the center of the building, preferably without windows.  Be sure to close all doors behind you.  Sit on the floor and protect your head with your hands.

In high rise buildings: you may not have time to go to the lowest floor, so seek shelter in the hallway or a small room at the center of the building.  Stay away from the windows and out of elevators.


  • Do not seek shelter in dining halls, gyms or other large rooms, as roofs in these parts of a building are usually weaker.  If you are in one of these type buildings, go to the bathroom area of the building.
  • Do not exit the building during a Tornado.
  • Do not use elevators during a Tornado.

Sheltering-in-Place is the use of any classroom, office, or building for the purpose of providing temporary shelter for any of the following reasons:

  • Hazardous Material Release
  • Chemical Truck Overturning
  • Chemical Train Derailment
  • Chemical Facility Accident
  • Pipeline Rupture
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Biological/Chemical Agents
  • Radiological Release
  • Airplane Crash
  • Drill
  • Other times as directed.

In an emergency, it is important to remain calm and be alert to what is happening around you.  Frequently, the best thing you can do during an incident is to call emergency services:  Call University Police or Security at your location.  Call 911 if you are unable to reach University Police or the line is busy. Do not call 911 unless you are reporting a life-threatening emergency.

Guidance for Sheltering-In-Place

Although it is unlikely that you will ever need to shelter in place, it is helpful to know what to do just in case.  The longest you should expect to stay inside is about 12 hours-usually less.  A few simple items can make it easier and more comfortable should you ever need to shelter in place on campus.  First, keep a supply of required medications with you.  The following additional items would be good to keep in the place where you spend most of your time-your residence hall room or office-to support your personal comfort:

  • Extra prescription medicine (if you need to take it during the period of shelter in place or in case local pharmacies do not open immediately following the incident).
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Non-perishable food and bottled water
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Battery Operated Radio
  • A telephone (Remember during an incident, telephone services may not be available.)

How will you know to “Shelter in Place?”

Assume you should.  But a shelter in place notification can come from several sources, including the University Police Department, Housing Staff, or other University employees, local Law Enforcement Agencies, or Purple Alert Emergency Notification System.

Notification of a need to shelter in place may also come over the radio and television.  In addition, the University can announce the need to shelter in place through public address systems, the public address system on University Police vehicles, as well as in person.

In any emergency, conditions permitting, you can call University Police for information regarding Campus Advisories.  Or you can access information on the web at www.nsula.edu

How to “Shelter in Place”

No matter where you are, the basic steps of shelter in place will generally remain the same.  Should the need ever arise; follow these steps, unless instructed otherwise by local emergency personnel:

  1. If you are inside, stay where you are.  Collect any emergency shelter-in-place supplies and a telephone for emergency use.
  2. If you are outdoors, proceed to the nearest building or follow the instructions of emergency personnel on the incident scene.
  3. Locate a room to shelter-in place.  The room should be
    An Interior room
    Above the ground-1st floor is usually best-do not stay in the basement
    Without windows or with the least number of windows.
  4. Shut and lock all windows (tighter seal) and close exterior doors.
  5. Turn off air conditioners, heaters and fans.  Power Plant personnel will be contacted at 5886 (318-357-5886) to shut down all air conditioning units in all buildings.
  6. Close vents to ventilation systems as you are able.
  7. Make a list of the persons that are sheltering in place and emergency (cell) phone numbers.  You can fax that list to University Police at 318-357-4321.
  8. Turn on a radio or TV and listen for further instructions.
  9. Drink bottled water, not water from the tap or water fountains.
  10. You can provide a minimal amount of protection for yourself by covering your mouth and nose with a damp cloth or other material.

When the “All Clear” is given, you may do any of the following:

  • Open windows and doors
  • Turn on heating, air conditioning or ventilation systems
  • Go outside and wait until the building has been vented.

In the case of a life-threatening emergency, serious injury, or fatality dial 911 and call University Police afterwards.


A thunderstorm is formed from a combination of moisture, rapidly rising warm air and a force capable of lifting air such as a warm and cold front, a sea breeze or a mountain. All thunderstorms contain lightning. Thunderstorms may occur singly, in clusters or in lines. Thus, it is possible for several thunderstorms to affect one location in the course of a few hours. Some of the most severe weather occurs when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.

Thunderstorms can bring heavy rains (which can cause flash flooding), strong winds, hail, lightning and tornadoes. In a severe thunderstorm get inside a sturdy building and stay tuned to a battery-operated radio for weather information. Severe thunderstorms can strike at any time of the day or night. The heaviest volume of severe thunderstorms occurs from April through September.


Lightning is an electrical discharge that results from the buildup of positive and negative charges within a thunderstorm. When the buildup becomes strong enough, lightning appears as a “bolt.” This flash of light usually occurs within the clouds or between the clouds and the ground. A bolt of lightning reaches a temperature approaching 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit in a split second. The rapid heating and cooling of air near the lightning causes thunder.

Lightning is a major threat during a thunderstorm. In the United States, between 75 to 100 Americans are hit and killed each year by lightning. If you are caught outdoors, avoid natural lightning rods such as tall, isolated trees in an open area or the top of a hill and metal objects such as wire fences, golf clubs and metal tools. If you are swimming, get out of the water and seek shelter. If boating, return to shore. Inside your home; keep away from windows and doors, avoid use the telephone unless there’s an emergency and don’t use electrical appliances.

It is a myth that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. In fact, lightning will strike several times in the same place in the course of one discharge.


While thunderstorms and lightning can be found throughout the United States, they are most likely to occur in the central and southern states.

If you see wires on the ground don’t go near them! Downed wires may be “live” and extremely dangerous. If you see downed wires, call your local electrical provider.

This is what you should do:

  • Keep a flashlight available for possible power outages.
  • Remain calm—stay where you are.
  • Await instructions from Physical Plant Employees and/or University Police.
  • If instructed to evacuate, use designated emergency exits.

Flashlights and batteries are available in the Warehouse.  They must be checked out and charged to a specific account.  Emergency exit signs and lights will remain lit for hours in the event of a power failure.  It may take several seconds for the lights to come on.

This is what will happen:

  • Information will be communicated as to the cause of the power failure and whether a decision to evacuate has been made.
  • If the building is to be evacuated, Building Evacuation procedures will be followed.

Do not:

  • Leave without instructions.
  • Panic.
  • Attempt to Use Elevators.

Types of Utility Failures:

A major power failure may not in itself be destructive, but a possible resulting panic or fire could endanger life and property.  Panic can be partially avoided by an immediate decision on the need to evacuate the building.

In laboratory buildings, fume hoods do not operate during a power outage and the laboratories should not be used until the ventilation is properly restored.

Electrical/Boiler Failures

Campus infrastructure systems can fail and in some cases create interruptions in campus activities. Failure in these systems (power, steam, air chiller, water, sewage, gas and drainage) may cause danger to individuals therefore you should stay clear.

Immediately contact the Physical Plant at 357-4519 (7:30-4:00pm) weekdays and 357-5586 at the Power Plant after hours. If no answer call Campus Police.

Steam Line Failures

Steam line failures can occur during the year and especially during the cold months when they are the most active. This can be a dangerous situation. When a failure is noticed contact the physical plant at 357-4519 or power plant at 357-5886.

In the event of a steam line failure call the Physical Plant, notify the University Police and evacuate the immediate area as soon as possible.

Loss of Water Service-Unsafe Water Supply-Sewer or Drainage Problems

Loss of water, sewage or drainage problems may occur at times, when this happens call the Physical Plant and notify the University Police.


University Police

Natchitoches Campus
(318) 357-5431

Shreveport Campus-security Bldg B
(318) 677-3006

Leesville Campus
(337) 392-3130

Alexandria Campus
(318) 484-2184

NSU Physical Plant

working hours
(318) 357-4519

after-hours emergency
(318) 357-5886


Natchitoches City Police
(318) 352-8101

Natchitoches Fire Department
(318) 357-3860

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office
(318) 352-6432

Louisiana State Police
Troop E: Natchitoches, Alexandria, etc.
(318) 487-5911

Louisiana State Police
Troop G: Shreveport
(318) 741-7411

ATMOS Energy: Gas Emergency Line


National Transportation Safety Board

Federal Aviation Administration