Campus Emergency Procedures

Federal Disclosure Requirements

Mercer University is required by federal law to provide information at various times of the year to the University community. Please review the following information, and use the links provided to obtain additional details.

For Immediate Emergency Response

In the event of an emergency, please contact Mercer Police at:

  • (478) 301-2970 (Macon Campus)
  • (678) 547-6358 (Atlanta Campus)

Mercer University Emergency Preparedness Plan

The Mercer University Emergency Preparedness Plan guides emergency preparedness, response, and recovery procedures and goals.  The plan applies to a broad range of emergency incidents, which are classified according to their severity and potential impact.  Mercer University has developed and tested procedures to activate the Emergency Management Team in the event of a natural or man-made disaster on the Macon or Atlanta campuses.  In addition, an Emergency Operations Center has been established on each campus. 

The University community cooperates with an established procedure on each campus to promptly report all incidents which present a concern or threat for public safety to the Mercer Police Department.  The Mercer Police Department:

  1. Operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  The Mercer Police routinely patrol university properties to monitor and ensure public safety. 
  2. The Mercer Police dispatcher, shift supervisor, and officers gather information on reported concerns or observed conditions to quickly assess the severity and potential impact of an incident or situation, and determine the incident classification:
    1. Level 1:  Minor, localized area or building, can be resolved with current resources
    2. Level 2:  Major emergency that disrupts sizable portion of the campus
    3. Level 3:  Disaster involving entire campus & surrounding community
  3. Once the Mercer Police confirm that a potentially dangerous condition or emergency situation is creating risk for students, employees, and visitors on the campus, an appropriate response plan will be implemented without delay. 

Mercer can select from multiple methods for distribution of mass notifications to the university community or communicate directly to specific groups in order to provide instructions addressing immediate public safety concerns. 

  1. The Mercer Police Department, Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff, or the Senior Assistant Vice President for Marketing Communications determines the appropriate content of emergency communications and warnings.  That notice will confirm that there is an emergency, will determine which segments of the campus community must be warned, and will be sent to the campus community without delay, unless sending such a message will, in the professional judgment of the responsible campus authorities, compromise the effort to deal with the emergency or rescue a victim.
  2. The Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff, or the Senior Assistant Vice President for Marketing Communications determines when Mercer University should disseminate emergency information to local community officials.  The Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff will disseminate information to local media outlets and/or will be responsible for having the Mercer University Website updated to reflect the current status of the emergency.
  3. The communication systems are:
    1. RAVE Cell Phone alert system
    2. Information postings on the Mercer University Online Homepage
    3. Targeted emails for geographic, academic, social, and other specified groups
    4. Bibb County Civil Defense siren (Macon Campus only)
    5. Emergency contact lists for administration and academic officials, along with local emergency responders

The Mercer Police shift supervisor or dispatcher will initiate calls to appropriate local emergency responders and contact appropriate university officials based upon the nature of the emergency.  The Mercer University Emergency Management Team is:

  1. The President
  2. Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff
  3. Executive Vice President for Administration & Finance
  4. Vice President & General Counsel
  5. Provost
  6. Senior Vice President, Atlanta Campus
  7. Senior Assistant Vice President, Marketing Communications
  8. Assistant Vice President & Director of Environmental, Health, & Safety

Emergency response actions are guided by Mercer’s established emergency response goals:

  1. To protect life safety
  2. To secure critical infrastructures and facilities
  3. To resume the teaching and research programs

Mercer University will conduct periodic tests of communication systems at least once per year. Also, the institution will utilize both table top exercises and staged emergency response events to evaluate effectiveness of the emergency preparedness plan.  Mercer University will publicize the emergency response and evacuation procedures with at least one test per year. 

The Emergency Management Team will:

  1. Document equipment tests and training exercises, including a description of the test, the date and time of the test, and whether the test was announced or unannounced.
  2. Analyze the outcome of equipment tests and training exercises.
  3. Assess the need for improvements or enhancements to the Emergency Preparedness Plan based upon the outcome of equipment tests and training exercises.

Training Exercises:

  1. Date:               September 14, 2010
    Provider:         Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies
    Content:          Campus Security Seminar
    • Planning effective campus emergency response
    • Interacting with First Responders
    • Using technology & procedures in tandem to improve security plans
    Attendees:Assistant Vice President & Director of Environmental, Health & Safety
  2. Date:               May 7, 2009
    Provider:         Mercer University Emergency Management Team
    Content:          Mock disaster exercise on the Atlanta Campus
    • Dekalb County Emergency Management participated in the exercise
    • Mercer University volunteers staged casualty scenes

Mercer University Fire Safety Infrastructure

The Student Affairs Housing & Residence Life

The Housing & Residence Live staff provides hands-on management for the established safeguards to prevent fire within Mercer University student residence facilities. 
The Housing Handbook provides:

  1. Rules to establish a culture of fire safety
  2. Guidelines assisting residents to make the best decisions for activities affecting fire safety

Also, the Housing & Residence Live staff has an established and tested procedure for Critical Incident Evacuation and Lockdown, which maintains direct linkage with the Mercer University Police Department.

In addition, the Housing & Resident Live staff conducts mandatory fire drills once per semester in coordination with the Mercer University Police Department.

General University

The Physical Plant Department maintains contract services for OSHA/NFPA required fire extinguisher inspection services, along with the associated annual discharge/recharge service of the extinguisher units.

Mercer University’s
Fire Safety Standards and Measures

Fire Safety Training, Documentation, & Notification:

  • Fire Drills are scheduled 2 times per academic year.  The first drill is held in the Fall semester (within the first two weeks of students arrival on campus).  The second drill is held at the start of the Spring semester (within the first 2 weeks of their return from the holiday break).
  • An incident report is created for a fire alarm incident or actual fire occurring in a Mercer residence facility, & entered into the Residence Life Professional Staff Duty Log.
  • Actual fires must be promptly reported to the Mercer Police Department.
  • Building staff (both Resident Assistants and Area Coordinators) report fire alarm incidents and actual fires to the Assistant Director of Residence Life, who initiates notification procedures to appropriate university administration officials.

Emergencies:

  • In an emergency situation, dial 2911 from any campus phone for immediate assistance from the Mercer Police Department.
  • For non-emergencies, dial 301-2970, the Mercer Police administrative line.
  • In the event of a campus-wide emergency, the Office of Residence Life will serve as the campus command center disseminating information to the entire campus student community.

Student Affairs Housing Handbook
Rules & Regulations (excerpts)

6.0 Candles/Incense/Dangerous Materials:

6.1 All open flames, embers, and/or fuels are strictly prohibited in the Residence Halls/Apartments/Greek Houses (with the exception of Greek House ritual candles properly stored in ritual closets when not in ceremonial use.).

6.2 Any candles found, regardless of whether they have been burned or not, wick or no wick, will be confiscated and may be thrown away. A charge of $50 may be assessed per candle confiscated.

6.3 The burning of incense is not permitted. A charge of $50 may be assessed per incident.

6.4 Possession/storage of combustible materials (lighter fluid, oil, kerosene, charcoal, propane, gasoline, other dangerous chemicals, etc.) or other dangerous substances in the Residence Halls, Apartments, or Greek Houses is prohibited.

18.0 Fire Safety/Equipment:

In case of a fire alarm, all students must leave the building immediately. Students are not to re-enter the building until instructed to do so by the University Housing Staff.

18.1       The setting of a fire or the activation of a false fire alarm is strictly prohibited. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action and/or criminal charges may be filed.

18.2       Students refusing to vacate in a timely manner, or students returning to the building before they are told to do so may be subject to disciplinary action.

18.3       The mishandling of fire extinguishers is strictly prohibited. The inappropriate discharge of a fire extinguisher will result in a $100 charge plus refilling costs.
18.4       Tampering with fire safety equipment (fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, fire evacuation stickers, fire doors, etc.) will result in a $50 charge and possible further disciplinary action and/or criminal charges. This includes covering or disarming smoke detectors.

18.5       Emergency Exits may be used only during emergency evacuations. Any other use may result in a $50 charge.

18.6       Emergency phones & alarms located in the elevators are to be used only in emergencies. Improper use will result in a $50 charge.

18.7       Hanging items from sprinkler heads is strictly prohibited and can result in property damage of which costs would be charged to the responsible individuals.

Choosing to violate the Fire Safety/Equipment policy may result in an immediate Room Change or removal/eviction from the Housing System.

19.0 Fireworks and Explosive Devices:

The possession, use, and/or threat of use of fireworks, explosives, ammunition, and/or smoke bombs are prohibited in and around all Housing facilities.

21.0 Grills:

The use of electric grills, gas grills, alcohol stoves, hibachis, charcoal grills, deep fryers, smokers, etc. are strictly prohibited in rooms/apartments/houses or in breezeways. Residents wanting to use these types of devices must do so at least fifteen feet away from any campus building/structure.

31.0 Permitted & Prohibited Items:

Appliances with open heating coils and deep fat fryers are prohibited.
Space heaters with exposed heating coils are prohibited.
Students should unplug appliances after use.
Use appliances in open areas free from combustible items (paper, curtains, clothes, etc.)

Permitted Items:
Microwaves, <15amps
Refrigerators, up to 5 cubic feet
Iron, must use an ironing board
Stereo
TV/VCR/DVD Player/Recorder
Coffee Makers
Hair Dryer
Game Systems/Consoles
Computers/Laptops
Desk Lamps
Crock Pots

Prohibited Items:
George Foreman Grills
Electric Heaters
Halogen Lights/Lamps
Toaster or Toaster Oven
Neon Lights
Microwaves, >15amps
Sun Lamps
Chest Freezers
Portable Dish/Clothes Washer
Charcoal or Gas Grills
Waterbeds

Permitted Items in Apartments & Greek House Kitchens ONLY:
Sandwich Maker
George Foreman Grills
Toaster Ovens

Extension cords/Multi-plug Adapters:
-Only UL approved three-prong grounded extension cords are permitted
-Only one extension cord may be used per double outlet
-Only one surge protector strip is allowed per double outlet

Rewiring of student rooms by non-university employees is not permitted.

37.0 Smoking:

Mercer University prohibits smoking in all campus buildings including the Residence Halls, Apartments, and Greek Houses.

37.1     Smoking is prohibited in all residence hall rooms, apartments, Greek houses and/or common areas. A minimum charge of $50 will be assessed if evidence of smoking is found in a room/apartment or any interior common area/space.

37.2     Smoking is prohibited within fifteen feet of any Mercer owned or managed facility.

37.3     Residents who improperly dispose of cigarette butts will be charged a $25 littering fee.

38.0 Stairwells:

Stairwells, hallways, exit ramps, etc. should not be blocked at any time; this includes trash, boxes, bicycles, etc.Persons found loitering on/in the stairwells, hallways, exit ramps, etc. will be asked to move immediately. Stairwells, hallways, exit doors, etc. may not be propped.

Student Affairs Housing Handbook
Procedures in the Event of Fire

Your first priority should be to get yourself out of the building safely. If any of the following actions will jeopardize your well being, exit the building promptly and do what you can to aid the situation outside.

During a fire alarm, all occupants of the building should vacate that facility immediately and assume a position that is a substantial distance from the perimeter of the facility. Failure to vacate a facility with a centralized fire monitoring system is a violation of Mercer University Police and of Federal Law. Violators will be held accountable through the University’s Judicial System.

If you discover or strongly suspect a fire…

  1. In a residence hall, apartment, or other university building, go to the nearest pull box and activate the alarm system if it has not already been activated.
  2. Call Mercer Police at (478) 301-2970 and report your name, the fact you are a RA and the area and nature of the fire.
  3. If practical, isolate the fire by closing doors in the vicinity.
  4. Proceed to evacuate the building according to the building evacuation plan. Quickly knock on residents‘ doors to make sure all residents have left the building. Assist any students with disabilities if you are able. (It is also a good idea to ask several other residents to check on any disabled students in case of fire and you‘re not there.)
  5. Move to the designated area within each residence hall where the staff meets when there is a fire alarm. (Check with your RLC to learn where your area is.) It is important for all staff to know who is available during the crisis and can assist when necessary.
  6. When fire fighters arrive, tell them who you are and your title; inform them about the type of fire and its location, and also the possibility of people trapped by the fire. Unless the fire fighters authorize you to assist in any further evacuation area, remain outside with residents until the fire fighters give permission to return to the building.
  7. Document the situation in an incident report and submit the report to your RLC immediately.

Note: if you are ever in doubt if something is or is not on fire, pull the alarm. If you see smoke, go ahead and pull the alarm. A minute or two of hesitation could be very costly. Even if the fire appears to be out, it may flare up later and need to be properly disposed. Also always use good judgment in any attempt to extinguish a fire.

When you hear a fire alarm…

  1. Always assume that it could be a real fire.
  2. Call Mercer Police and the professional staff member on-duty.
  3. Proceed to the staff designated meeting area and await instructions from the professional staff member or Mercer police.
  4. If it is determined to be a false alarm, the alarm will be silenced and Mercer Police, fire fighters or the professional staff member on-duty only will instruct residents when they can return to the building.
  5. Assist with crowd control until given instructions to return to the building.
  6. Document the situation in an incident report and submit it to your RLC immediately.

If it is an announced fire drill…

  1. Do not call Mercer Police or the professional staff member on-duty.
  2. Knock on each resident‘s/suite doors as you leave the floor.
  3. As quickly as possible while still being thorough you need to check each room:
    1. Knock; identify yourself as Residence Life, and key into each space.
    2. If you find someone take their information, ask them to leave the building, and fill out an incident report after the drill. If you find no one, continue on.
  4. If you are an assisting staff member who is not conducting room checks stand near an exit, make sure that everyone is safe distance away from the building, and that no one re-enters the building until the clear signal is given.

Fire Safety Systems for Student Housing

  1. Greek Village (18 Houses)
    R-13 Sprinkler System
    4- Fire Extinguishers/10 Bedroom;  2- Fire Extinguishers/ 5 Bedroom
    Smoke Detectors (Local)
  2. Village Apartments – (6 Buildings)
    R-13 Sprinkler System
    1- Fire Extinguisher per apartment
    Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarm Panel
  3. Winship/Adams Apartments (13 Buildings)
    1- Fire Extinguisher per apartment
    Smoke Detectors (Local)
  4. Mercer Hall
    Sprinkler System w/Fire Pump
    Fire Extinguishers in Hall
    Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarm Panel
  5. Sherwood Hall
    Sprinkler System
    Fire Extinguishers in Hall
    Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarm Panel
  6. Shorter Hall
    Sprinkler System on 4th (Top) Floor – Risers and Hoses in Hallway
    Fire Extinguishers in Hall
    Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarm Panel
  7. Roberts Hall
    Smoke Detectors in Hall and Fire Alarm Panel
    Fire Extinguishers in Hall
  8. Plunkett Hall
    Fire Extinguishers in Hall
    Smoke Detectors in Hall and Fire Alarm Panel
  9. Porter, Boone, Dowell (MEP)
    Fire Extinguishers in Hall
    Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarm Panel
  10. Atlanta Campus Housing (2900, 2902, 2904)
    Sprinkler Systems in each building
    Fire Extinguishers in each kitchen and in common areas
    Smoke Detectors in each apartment

Physical Plant Department
On Campus Housing Fire Protection Systems Service Policy:

  • Fire sprinkler systems and equipment are tested and checked every 6 months according to NFPA requirements
  • Smoke detectors and fire alarms are checked and tested 2 times per year
  • Fire extinguishers are checked and serviced on a monthly basis

Tornado Response Plan

Basic instructions if a tornado is in your area: go to an interior hallway or closet on the lowest floor away from windows. Go to the Mercer Police Web site at http://police.mercer.edu/tornado/ for more detailed information.