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Emergency Guidelines

An emergency is any situation that may cause or threaten loss of life or physical property, or threaten the general safety and welfare of indivisuals working in and around MSU. (eg.- severe weather, fires, accidents, or vehicular mishaps)

Primary Emergency Procedures

  • In case of emergency, call Campus Police at 911.
  • Remain calm and carefully explain the problem and location. Do no hang up until told to do so.
  • Take account of the people and environment around you: students, faculty, staff. It is easier to account for epole in an emergency if you stay togther and organize and appropriate response.
  • Take shelter or evacuate together-your work area and the building, if appropriate.
  • Determine who will notify the designated emergency administrative spokesperson or other MSU staff depending on the nature of the emergency.
  • If you have not done so, register for Maroon Alert to ensure you are receiveing the most up to date emergency notifications. Register online at
  • For more information about what to do during specific emergencies, see

Smoke or Fire

When smoke or fire is detected

  1. If available, pull a fire alarm station to activate the fire alarm system.
  2. Evacuate the building (see "Evacuation of a Building" tab).
    • Help individuals with special needs and watch for each other.
    • Close doors as you leave to protect your path from the spread of smoke and fire.
  3. Dial 911
  4. Do not re-enter until the proper authorities determine an "All Clear."


Classroom or Office

Take refuge beneath a desk or table. Stay away from windows, shelving, or large freestanding furniture.


Move to an open space away from buildings, light poles, power lines, trees, etc.


Stop the vehicle away from buildings, power lines, bridges and overpasses. Remain in the vehicle.

After the Earthquake

Evacuate building as soon as possible. Anticipate an aftershock; it will come. Await further instructions from emergency personnel, Campus Police, or your supervisor.


  1. Tornado Watch A tornado watch means weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop
  2. Tornado Warning A tornado warning means a tornado actually has been sighted or indicated by radar in the surrounding area.
    1. Sirens will be activated.
    2. Campus Police also will make announcements over their vehicle's PA.

    Note: Tornado sirens are tested on the first Tuesday of each month at noon, unless it is questionable weather that day.

  3. Tornado Protection Procedures
    1. When you hear a siren or are notified, seek shelter in a predetermined area (preferably in an interior hallway on the lowest floor of the building), clear the classrooms and residential rooms. Direct individuals to a shelter area.
    2. If a tornado approaches, you should assume a kneeling position facing the wall and over your head with your arms.
    3. Stay away from doors and windows.
    4. Laboratories should be secured. Turn off gas burners or other equipment that could cause additional health and safety concerns.
    5. Do not leave the shelter until the "all clear" has been given.

Violence - Hostage - Individual with Weapon

Workplace Violence or Individual with Weapon

Should an individual with a weapon enter the building or commit acts of violence, report immediately to 911 or Campus Police at (662) 325-2121. Refer to AVOID-DENY-DEFEND information found on the Active Shooter tab.

Hostage Situation

  1. Avoid drastic action, time is on your side.
  2. Do what you are told without argument.
  3. Don't speak unless spoken to and only when necessary.
  4. Position yourself where you will not interfere with authorities' attempts to remove the hostage taker by force (away from windows or not in front of doors).
  5. Remain calm.

Bomb Threat

Telephone threats received in an office

  1. Obtain as much information as possible from the caller. Complete the Bomb Threat Checklist.
  2. If another person is in the office, develop a signal to alert that person to list in on the call.
  3. After hanging up, take notes on what was said, their tone of voice and any background sounds.
  4. Dial 911 or notify Campus Police at (662) 325-2121 immediately.

Threats received by mail or e-mail

  1. Do not throw away or delete any possible electronic evidence.
  2. Notify Campus Police at (662) 325-2121 immediately or dial 911.

Evacuation of a Building

Notification of the need to evacuate a building may be made by sounding the fire alarm or direct order from emergency response personnel or administrative personnel.

  1. Faculty should direct students to stay with their class when evacuating.
  2. Everyone, except Emergency Response Team members designated to remain, should proceed to an outside meeting area at least 500 feet from the building.
  3. Upon arrival to the meeting area:
    • Determine if everyone who was in the building has vacated.
    • Faculty or staff members not responsible for a class should report to the person in charge or their supervisor for assignment.
    • If somebody is unaccounted for, notify an emergency responder on the scene.
  4. As best possible, maintain the class together until instructed by authorities.
  5. All persons should remain at the meeting area until released by the emergency responders or administration of the scene.

Persons with Special Needs

Persons with special needs, such as a disability or medical condition, may not be able to quickly respond without extra assistance. If this is the case, contact your supervisor and building representative before an emergency arises, to inform them of any special needs. It's also a good idea to inform a co-worker in your direct work area of any assistance needed in an emergency situation.

Active Shooter

If you witness any armed individual on campus at any time, call 911. If the person begins shooting you have three choices: Avoid, Deny, or Defend.

Avoid - Deny - Defend


This is the preferred option and begins with situational awareness of one's environment prior to any active, hostile act occurring. It also includes have a plan ahead of time regarding what you would do in the event of an active shooter and knowing escape routes. Avoid danger.

  • Leave the area immediately. If necessary, break windows or glass to get our of area.
  • Run opposite directions of the disturbance or shots. DO not stop until you are in a safe area.
  • Cover you head with books or items for protection.


If avoidance isn't possible, find ways to prevent the attacker from having access to you and others around you. Deny Access.

  • User furniture to create a barricade in front of the door. If possible place furniture all the way to a support wall. If there is not enough furniture, link people from head to toe to the wall to keep the shooter from opening the door.
  • Stay away from windows. Make sure all doors are locked.
  • Get everyone down on the floor or under a desk and out of the line of fire. Turn lights off. Turn cell phone on silent and remain silent.


Take action! As a last resort, you have a right to defend yourself if you believe your life is in imminent danger. Defend yourself!

  • ACT. Freezing is almost always the wrong response. It leads to a feeling of helplessness. When people feel helpless, their stress levels increase which further hinders functioning. Take action- any action- that can help give a sense of control and help reduce stress response.
  • Slow down breathing. Take slow deep breaths to help lower heart rate and reduce stress response.
  • Defend yourself. Act quickly. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Utilize any objects available to you to distract or interrupt the actions of the shooter.


Wait for the "all-clear" instruction given by Maroon Alert or a known voice. If staff or students do not recognize the voice that is giving instruction, they should not change their status.

  • Unknown or unfamiliar voices may be giving false assurances.
  • Remember, there may be more than one active shooter.

After a Valid "All-Clear"

  • Follow the direction of Police Officers as you leave the building.
  • When encountering Police Officers, keep your hands on your head or open in front of you. Officers are trained to be aware of all possible dangers and need to see quickly that you are not a threat.
  • Be careful not to make and changes to the scene of the incident since law enforcement authorities need to investigate the area later.

Notice of Recording

For your safety, Mississippi State University deploys cameras and video recordings of public spaces and buildings.