Current Students

Disaster Recovery Plan


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) describes an emergency as “any unplanned event that can cause significant injuries or death to employees, customers or to the public; or that can shut down your business, disrupt operations, cause physical or environmental damage, or threaten the facility’s financial standing or public image.”  Numerous events can be emergencies; and will be handled according to the following protocol.  Fifteen emergencies are specifically dealt with in this plan:

The plan has three phases:

  1. Notification of the emergency
  2. Initial emergency response from key departments
  3. Assembly of established crisis management team

The MSU Billings Campus Police Department should be notified in the event any of the above crisis situations arise on this campus. Officers will respond, assess the situation and begin to coordinate responses with resources throughout the campus.  The Officer on Duty will notify the Office of University Relations as soon as practical. The following departments will have a departmental plan for dealing with any of the above listed major emergencies, which may affect their area:

  • Housing and Residence Life
  • Health Center
  • Information Technology Services/Telecommunications
  • Campus Police
  • Facilities Services
  • Science Technical Services
The departmental plan will serve as a guide that persons within the department can follow to deal with a reported emergency. It will include the basics of how the department will handle the emergency, individual responsibilities (if appropriate), and details on who is to be notified.  The Building Manager (or designee) and/or the Campus Police Chief/Safety Mgr. will be responsible for assessing the impact of the emergency.  The Chancellor’s Office will be notified of all such emergency situations, regardless of University wide impact, immediately upon occurrence of such an emergency.   If in their judgment the emergency has significantly wide ranging effects, then they will notify the Chancellor (or designee) of their findings and possibly recommend assembling a crisis management team.


Crisis Management Team

The Crisis Management Team will be assembled should the Chancellor (or designee) determine the situation has had a wide-ranging or long lasting effect.  The recommended team will consist of the following individuals:

  • Chancellor
  • Provost
  • Administrative Vice Chancellor
  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs>
  • Director of University Relations
  • Director of Residence Life and Housing (when residence halls are effected)
  • Chief Information Officer (when computing or telecommunications are affected)
  • Director of Human Resources (when employees are involved)
  • Director of Facilities Services (when physical structures are affected)
  • ASMSUB Student Body President
  • Faculty Representative from either Faculty Association or Senate
  • Member of Local Executive Board
  • Director of Safety and Police Services (as needed)

The following management process for crisis situations will then be followed:

  1. The Chancellor or designee must be informed immediately when the incident is reported.

  2. The Chancellor will inform the Director of University Relations to contact members of the crisis management team and set up a meeting.  The team must be ready to react quickly.

  3. Team meeting occurs with a review of all known information provided by the Campus Police Chief or any individual with direct information.

  4. The team will decide on a course of action, proper response, public statement, and appropriate activities.

  5. A single office will be designated to investigate the issue, and all staff members will work through that office. (Note: The office designated to investigate the issue will maintain documents that describe the actions taken.)

  6. University Relations will handle all media contact and external inquiries.

  7. As events develop or change, the team will communicate clearly before further action or further statements are issued.

Emergency Response Plan Council

The Disaster Response Plan Council will continue with the following members:

  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Administrative Vice Chancellor
  • Provost
  • Director of Residence Life and Housing
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Director of Facilities Services
  • Director of University Relations
  • Director of Police Services/Safety mgr.

The council will assemble following each crisis to evaluate how the situation was handled and make recommendations to better handle similar situations in the future. The Emergency Response Plan Council will also assemble at least once per year to review the overall campus plan, individual department plans, and to evaluate training and emergency notification literature.


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Bomb Threat:

A. Remain calm and do not panic others.


B. If a written message is received, keep track of the following information:

  • Who found it?
  • Who else was present?
  • Where was it found or how was it delivered?
  • When was it found or delivered?
  • Who touched it?
  • Have any previous threats been received?

C. If the threat is received by telephone, in a calm voice, try to obtain as much information as possible about the bomb and the caller:  (THE FOLLOWING ISSUES ADDRESS VITAL INFORMATION THAT YOU SHOULD OBTAIN!)

  • Date and exact time of call
  • Time set to explode
  • Which building is it in?
  • Where is it?
  • Type of bomb?
  • Estimated age and gender of the caller
  • Emotional state: agitated, calm, and excited
  • Background noises: traffic, music, and voices
  • Why it was set?
  • Who is the target?
  • Who is the caller?

D. If practical, do not hang up the phone, but phone the campus police, (x2147) from a different telephone.


E. The Administration, with the assistance of Campus Police and other local authorities, will determine a plan of action.  A decision on whether or not to evacuate will be based on all available information received.


F. If the decision is made to evacuate, instruct occupants to take purses, book bags, and personal packages and EXIT the building.  (If left behind, these items could be mistaken to contain concealed explosives.)


G. If ordered to evacuate, move at least 300 feet away from the building and stay away from glass.  Do not attempt to re-enter the building until you have received official instructions to do so.


Bomb Threat: Identifying Suspicious Items

A. Look closely around work area when you arrive for work.  This will help you if you are called on to identify unusual or suspicious items later.


B. Report potential safety or security problems to Campus Police (x2147).


C. Be on the lookout for anything unusual, particularly packages or large items seemingly left behind or thrown out.  Note time and location of anything odd.


D. If asked to assist in a search for a bomb:

  • Be thorough
  • Do not touch anything you suspect
  • If necessary move people away from the suspicious item
  • Look for anything and everything that might conceal a bomb
  • Do not panic persons in the area

E. Follow all instructions from the Campus Police (x2147)


Identifying Suspicious Mail Packages

  • No return address
  • Insufficient postage
  • Is addressee familiar with name and address of sender?
  • Is addressee expecting package/letter?  If so, verify contents.
  • Return address and postmark are not from the same area.
  • Wrapped in Brown paper with twine
  • Grease stains or discoloration on paper
  • Strange odors
  • Foreign Mail, Air Mail and Special Delivery
  • Restrictive markings such as Confidential, Personal, etc.
  • Excessive postage
  • Hand-written or poorly typed addresses
  • Incorrect Titles
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Excessive weight
  • Rigid Envelope
  • Lopsided or Uneven envelope
  • Protruding wires or tinfoil
  • Excessive securing materials such as masking tape, string, etc.
  • Visual Distractions

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Explosion on Campus

  1. Report any explosion on campus to Campus Police (x2147)
    If necessary, or when directed to do so, activate the building alarm, (the safest and nearest fire alarm pull station).

    When the building evacuation alarm is sounded, an emergency exists. All rooms should be evacuated.  Closing doors will help contain a fire, but DO NOT LOCK THE DOORS!

    Assist persons with disabilities to an enclosed stairwell landing, preferably the designated rescue assistance area if it is safe to do so, and notify the Campus Police or Fire Personnel of their location.

Do Not Use Elevators!



  1. In all cases of Fire, activate the nearest fire alarm to warn other building occupants. You should know where the nearest alarm is to your work area.
  2. In all cases of Fire, call the Campus Police (x2147).  Do not assume that someone else is making the call, make the call yourself.
  3. When the building fire alarm is sounded, an emergency exists.   All rooms must be evacuated.  Leave the lights on and close, but do not lock, the doors.
  4. Assist persons with disabilities to the nearest Rescue Assistance area, (generally a stairwell), if it is safe to do so.  Have the person(s) wait in that area and be sure to notify rescue personnel of your actions.

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Fumes and Vapors:

Toxic fumes can infiltrate a building from various sources—improperly stored chemicals, faulty refrigeration, equipment fires, gasoline engines operated near air intakes, etc.

If the presence of toxic fumes is suspected, the area or areas affected should be vacated.  Use a telephone away from this area and notify Campus Police (x2147).

Ventilate the contaminated area(s). It may be possible to clear an affected area by opening windows and/or activating exhaust fans, provided such action is undertaken by trained personnel.

Emergency Treatment:

  1. Don’t endanger yourself or others.

  2. Remove victims from area only if safely possible.

  3. Call 9-911 for ambulance service and notify Campus Police (x2147).

  4. Assist victims as necessary.

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If flood conditions occur, contact Facilities Services (x1713) DURING REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS).  Call Campus Police (2147) during non-business hours.


Please provide sufficient information as to building name, floor, room, and degree of flooding or potential damage due to the flooding.


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Hazardous Substances Spill:

  1. Any major spill of a hazardous substance must be reported immediately to the Campus Police (x2147). During regular business hours, also call Facilities Services (x1713). Science Technical Services may also be contacted at x2020 if spill is inside the Science Building.


  2. Personnel on site should be vacated from the affected area at once.  Seal off the contaminated area to prevent further contamination until the arrival of trained responders.


  3. Personnel who may be contaminated by a spill/release are to:

    1. Seek medical attention immediately.

    2. Avoid contact with others.

    3. Alert responders/emergency personnel of injury/contamination.

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Mechanical Failures:

Any emergency related to building or facility problems, such as equipment failure or erratic operation, must be reported to Facilities Services as soon as possible.


During normal business hours contact Facilities Services directly by calling x1713.


If failure occurs after normal business hours, weekends, or holidays, call the Campus Police Department (x2147).


NOTE:  If there is potential danger to building(s), and/or its occupants, call 9-911 immediately.


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Utility Failure:

All utility failures must be reported to Facilities Services as soon as possible.  During normal business hours call the help line at x1713.


If utility failures occur after hours, weekends, or holidays, contact Campus Police at x2147.


If there is potential danger to building(s) and/or its occupants, call 9-911 immediately.


If telephone service is not available, go to the Facilities Services building.  During non-business hours Campus Police should be notified.


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Medical Emergency & Community Health Issues:

  1. Report any serious injury or illness by calling 9-911 immediately.

  2. Non-emergency injuries or illness should be reported to Campus Police (x2147).

  3. Begin first aid if qualified, or seek someone who can.

  4. Response to Community Health issues will be coordinated by the MSU-Billings Student Health Services and University Relations Department.

  5. Personal safety is your first priority.  Use personal protective equipment when in contact with the victim’s blood or any bodily fluids.

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Public Relations Emergencies:

While public scandals are rare in higher education, virtually every institution must occasionally deal with such situations.  This might involve a highly visible lawsuit, accusations of wrongdoing on the part of a university official, an egregious case of student misconduct or a variety of unspecified events that carry the potential of having a negative impact on the institution’s reputation.  The impact of these events is exacerbated when they result in potential or actual news coverage.


When such events occur, the Director of University Relations, in close consultation with the Chancellor may consider the following responsibilities:

  • Assessment of the potential impact on the university’s reputation.

  • Legal implications of the event; laws and policies pertaining to its disposition.

  • Recommendations on steps to diffuse or eliminate the problem before it goes public; or when that is not possible, steps to lessen the negative impact on the university’s reputation.

  • Development of messages and channels of communication to the various constituents (including the news media) associated with the event.  Assurance that all privacy laws are obeyed and freedom of information is respected.

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Severe Weather/Tornado:

Severe Weather/Tornado Watch: A watch is an indication of where and when the probabilities are highest that severe weather or a tornado could occur.  A watch is a statement that severe weather/tornado conditions are present and could occur.  The National Weather Service will issue a watch bulletin to local authorities as well as to the local radio and television stations.


Severe Weather/Tornado Warning: If a severe weather/tornado sighting occurs, the National Weather Service alerts all weather stations and local authorities.  If severe weather or a tornado is approaching, a continuous sounding of emergency sirens will signal the warning.


In case of severe weather: When the emergency warning sirens sound, it is YOUR responsibility to get to shelter.  Take a battery-operated radio with you to listen for the “all clear” signal if possible.  The Campus Police may also announce the warning via car loudspeaker.  When the emergency sirens are sounded, all persons should immediately seek shelter in the nearest strong building.  Go to the basement or interior walls of lower floors.  Auditoriums, gymnasiums and similar large rooms with wide roofs should be avoided.  Stay away from all windows and exterior doors.


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Student Crisis:

Contact the Campus Police (x2147).  The Duty Officer will notify the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (x2307) in the event of crisis situations such as the following involving students of MSU Billings.  Appropriate referrals will be made.

  • Alcohol and other drug use emergencies
  • Classroom disruptive or violent behavior
  • Death of a student, friend, or family member
  • Discipline issues
  • Mental health/behavioral incidents or concerns
  • Physical injury
  • Sexual assault
  • Threats to public welfare
  • Criminal behavior s

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Technology, Telecommunications, & Information Services Emergencies:

In the event of a circumstance which disrupts central computing, telephone, and/or campus network equipment, facilities or services, the University will move as quickly as possible to resume learning and information technology related operations so that support services may be sustained.


If an emergency/disaster situation occurs that disrupts Information Technology Services or equipment, contact the HELP desk at x2235.


If these individuals are not available, contact the Campus Police at x2147.


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Violent or Criminal Behavior:

While much media attention has been focused on “workplace violence”, we must recognize that all employees share the responsibility of recognizing the early warning signals and making appropriate notification to Campus Police of this prior to a violent act.  Establishing an office procedure of appropriate response should be done in each area of campus with the guidance of the Building Manager.  The MSU-Billings Safety Committee may assist you in this process.  If you observe but are not directly involved in a potentially violent situation, you must notify Campus Police (x2147).  If you have concerns that a subject who has left the area may return with the purpose of harming someone, these concerns also need to be reported to Campus Police.  If these elements become part of your routine, much of the apprehension about workplace violence may be diminished.


Nationally, about 1,000 people are killed annually while at work.  This is an appalling number but you must acknowledge that this number includes very high-risk occupations such as police officers, convenience store employees and cab drivers which are positions of exposure to violence that is not typical of most work environments.  (Statistically, you have a better chance of being struck by lightening than of being killed in work-place violence encounter.)  With this in mind, please review the following guidelines:

  1. All violent behavior or threats of violent behavior must be reported to the Campus Police (x2147) immediately.

  2. If you observe a situation that seems to be escalating and you are not directly involved, go to a telephone and notify Campus Police.  Be prepared to give complete information about the subject and the circumstance.

  3. If the violent person has left the area prior to your notification, relay as much information as you can about the subject and direction/means of travel, if possible.

  4. If you recognize that a person appears to be verbally out of control and you are also being uncharacteristically vocal, step away and allow a colleague to bring new “calmness” to the situation.  Notify Campus Police, x2147, if the situation remains out of control.

  5. If you observe any type of weapon, remove yourself from range and notify Campus Police immediately, x2147.

Criminal Behaviors:

  1. Immediately report any observed or suspected criminal behavior to Campus Police at x2147.

  2. Report suspicious persons/behaviors/noises immediately to Campus Police x2147.

  3. Arrange for a Campus Police Officer to escort you to your vehicle/office if you have concerns about your safety.

  4. Report any safety concerns that may present a potential danger to you or others, (such as lights out, surface or mechanical malfunctions, etc.).

  5. Remember:  You can be your own best security by remaining aware of your surroundings, practicing crime prevention behaviors, and making timely/ appropriate reports.

  6. Additional Crime Prevention information may be obtained from the Campus Police Department by calling x2147.

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While Billings is not considered to be a ‘high-risk’ area for earthquake activity, the possibility of tremors reaching us from active areas is possible.  There are several recommendations made to minimize potential for injury:

  • Stay away from windows.

  • Stay clear of items, which may potentially fall on you, (such as items resting on shelves, etc.)

  • Interior door frames may provide additional structural support from falling objects.

  • Interior corridors, (those without windows), may be used to exit a building if absolutely necessary.  Be aware that if “stuff” is falling inside the building, then it may be falling outside as well.

  • Seriously consider the “duck and cover” response---getting under your desk or another heavy piece of furniture may offer you protection from falling objects.

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Issues for further discussion/inquiry:

  • It should be made very clear to the campus community that media coverage and media inquiries be channeled to University Relations.  Perhaps this could be best communicated through a cover letter from the Chancellor when the Emergency Response Plan is distributed.

  • If it becomes necessary to use local media to broadcast information, such as in the event of school being canceled due to extreme weather, etc., then that process should also come from University Relations.

  • Community response agencies should be coordinated through the City/County Dispatch Center, (9-911), which coordinates all emergency contacts.  The list of agencies and personnel changes periodically so the best, and most current information will be through 9-1-1 Dispatch Center.

  • A determination needs to be made by the Administration on how to distribute this plan, whether or not to include training about the plan, and who should be given a copy of the plan.

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