Emergency Preparedness

Graphic of the COVID-19 coronavirus

JSU COVID-19 Website

Get the latest updates on JSU's COVID-19 response, review Frequently Asked Questions, and get information on testing and vaccination opportunities on the COVID-19 website.

In the event of...

If a person enters or threatens to enter the building for the purpose of causing physical violence either to persons or property you should do the following: 
  • Call the JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911 for emergencies immediately; explain to the dispatcher what is happening.
  • Be sure to provide good directions to the dispatcher.
  • If safe, stay on the phone with the 911 dispatcher as long as possible.
  • Remove students and yourself from any danger if possible, or barricade yourself and students in a room away from the intruder.
  • If anyone becomes injured or needs medical attention, tell the dispatcher.
  • Use caution when confronting any person; this should be done as a last resort.
  • Do not leave your safe position until told to do so by police or emergency responders.

Additional Resources for Students in Distress

If you are aware of a distressed student and are concerned about their well being, please call these resources for help:

Counseling Services

Emergencies can occur at any time, often without warning. This site can help you deal with many emergency situations appropriately. Your judgment often determines whether an incident is an emergency. If in doubt, err on the side of safety. 

JSU has its own police department and utilizes the City of Jacksonville for fire and ambulance services. Call 256-782-5050 or 911 for emergencies or 256-782-8888 for questions or 8888 if you are on campus. 

  • When you call 256-782-5050 or 911 for emergency services, stay on the line and give the following information:
    • Your name, telephone number and exact location.
    • The location of the emergency.
    • The nature and extent of the emergency (i.e., are there injuries, how many, etc.)
  • Be informed and prepared in advance. Do not wait until an emergency strikes to know what to do.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, and report any suspicious activities.
  • Know where the fire alarm activation pull stations are located in your building and how to evacuate your building if the alarm is set off.

If you feel that a spill may be hazardous, take the following actions immediately:
  1. Never attempt to contain or clean up a hazardous material spill unless you are trained to do so.
  2. Alert personnel in the vicinity and evacuate the area.
  3. Close all doors and turn off air conditioners and heaters, if safe to do so.
  4. Activate the fire alarm pull station as you exit the building.
  5. Call the JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911 to report the spill when you reach a safe location.
  6. Be prepared to provide the following information to the dispatcher:
    • Your name, location, and call back number
    • Identity of the spilled chemical (if known) and the amount spilled
    • Location of the spill (building, room number, etc.)
    • Known or suspected hazards associated with the spill
    • If personnel have been exposed to the spill, give details on the extent of exposure and any injuries or symptoms the victim(s) may be experiencing.
  7. Remain at the location to meet responders when they arrive, and warn others from entering the area.
  8. If anyone had contact with the hazardous material, they should be isolated and await treatment by emergency personnel.
  9. Do not re-enter the building until told to do so by emergency personnel. In addition, the following actions may be taken as appropriate:
    • Remove contaminated clothing.
    • Flush the affected area with copious amounts of water for at least 15 minutes.
    • Provide first aid if necessary, and you are trained to do so.

Exit the Area Immediately

  1. Close all doors as you leave, taking keys and medications with you, if possible. DO NOT delay evacuation to retrieve these items.
  2. Activate the closest fire alarm pull station along your evacuation route.
  3. Notify others as you leave.
  4. Call the JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911 and report the emergency after you are out of the building and safe.
  5. If the fire is small enough, you may attempt to extinguish it with a portable fire extinguisher, ONLY IF:
    • The fire alarm pull station has been activated
    • The University Police has been notified at 256-782-5050
    • You are properly trained
  6. If leaving a room, feel the door with the back of your hand before opening it. Do not open any door that feels hot.
  7. If smoke is present, stay low. The best quality air is near the floor.
  8. Always use the stairs to exit upper floors.
  9. DO NOT use the elevator.
  10. Once the building is evacuated, do not re-enter it for any reason. Return to the building ONLY when instructed to do so by emergency responders or administrators.
  11. DO NOT return for personal belongings.
  12. Direct and assist visitors and persons with disabilities who appear to need direction or assistance.
  13. Call the JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911 and tell them that a fire has occurred AFTER you exit the building.

If You Are Trapped and Cannot Evacuate

  1. Close any doors between you and the fire.
  2. If available, wedge wet towels or cloth materials along the bottom of the door to keep out smoke.
  3. Call the JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911 and notify the dispatcher of your location.
  4. Remain on the phone with the dispatcher as long as possible.
  5. Break a window only as a last resort, such as needing oxygen to breathe.
  6. Use caution when breaking any window.

Response to Fire Alarms

  1. If the alarm sounds and/ or emergency strobes begin to blink, evacuate immediately.
  2. NEVER assume that a fire alarm is a false alarm.

Jacksonville State University maintains contact with local and state emergency management agencies, as well as the National Weather Service.

Upon receipt of a tornado watch or other emergencies, the JSU Alert System will be activated and the nature of the emergency will be given. Tune to your local media sources for detailed information and appropriate safety measures.

Upon receipt of a tornado warning, the outdoor warning sirens should be activated by the Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency.

The Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency tests the outdoor tornado sirens the first Tuesday of every month at 4:00 PM unless there is a threat of severe weather that day.


WATCH: Conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather in the Jacksonville area. Everyone should closely monitor the situation in case it gets worse. 

WARNING: Severe weather has actually been observed, and there is an imminent threat to the Jacksonville area. Listen closely to instructions provided by weather radios/emergency officials. 

THUNDERSTORMS: Frequently have high winds, cloud-to-ground lightning, heavy rain, and tornados.

In Case of Lightning:

  1. Stay away from telephones, electrical appliances, and plumbing.
  2. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck.
  3. Go to a safe shelter immediately.

In the Event of Severe Weather:

  1. If you hear the weather siren or radio alerts for tornado warning, take shelter immediately in designated shelter locations. Leone Cole Auditorium is the designated cover area for those who are not in residence halls or academic buildings on campus. If you are in a residence hall or academic building, go to the lowest available floor away from windows.
  2. Sirens mean that there is a TORNADO WARNING, and you should seek shelter immediately.
  3. If you reside in campus mobile home, do not stay. Seek shelter in a designated area as assigned by University Housing.
  4. Stay away from windows and doors to prevent injury from glass or other flying objects.
  5. Cover your head with any heavy/bulky object to protect yourself.
  6. Do not go outdoors to see the storm. Trained storm spotters will be monitoring the situation.
  7. If you are in a vehicle, seek shelter in a building, ditch, or other safe place. Automobiles are very dangerous during high winds.
  8. If flood water rises, do not attempt to wade or travel through it. Even small amounts of water can be very dangerous.
  9. Report any injury/damage to the JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911. Provide them with as much information as possible to respond to the emergency.
  10. Once the storm has cleared, notify JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911 of any damages or injuries.

Many times, problems with the utilities will not be an emergency. To report a non-emergency utility problem, call the University Physical Plant at ext. 5450 or 256-782-5450. However, if it is an emergency, call JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911.

Under no circumstances are you to turn utilities back on once they have been turned off (even if you are the one who turned them off). Leave that for the utility workers.

Gas Leak

  • If you smell gas or see a gas leak, leave the area and warn others as you leave.
  • Call the JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911 from a safe location. Tell the dispatcher where you are and what the emergency is.
  • Do NOT attempt to correct the leak or problem unless you are qualified to do so.
  • Provide assistance to others in your immediate area that may be unfamiliar with the area or evacuation routes.
  • Remain outside until emergency personnel tell you it is safe to enter the building.

Water Leak and Power Failure (Non-Emergency Failures)

  • Report non-emergency water leaks and power failures to the University Physical Plant at ext. 5450 or 256-782-5450.
  • Shut down and protect critical equipment, if it is safe to do so.
  • If you are in a dark area, proceed cautiously to an area that has emergency lighting.

Power Lines 

  • Call the JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911 to report the location of downed wires.
  • Treat any downed wire as if it is energized.
  • Telephone or cable television wires that are touching a power line could become energized and should also be avoided.
  • Stay clear of areas where there is a lot of debris or downed trees, as they may conceal energized lines.

If You...

  • Call the University Police at 256-782-5050 or 911 and report the emergency. Request that an ambulance be sent.
  • Send someone to meet the EMS and rescue crews at the street.
  • Do not move the person unless there is a threat to life to leave them in that location.
  • Provide as much information to the dispatcher regarding the illness/injury as possible (nature of injury, location of person, age of person, symptoms, etc.).
  • If trained to administer first aid, such as bleeding control and CPR, do so.
  • Be sure to wear personal protective equipment. Be aware of hazards associated with blood-borne pathogens.
  • Do not come into contact with body fluids.
  • If exposed to suspected infectious materials, wash the exposed area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention.
  • Do not jeopardize your health or the health of the patient. Wait for professional help if you are not able to provide proper first aid and safety.
  • Remain with the party until help arrives.
  • Comfort the patient and reassure them that medical assistance is on the way.
  • If the medical emergency is related to an on-the-job injury or a visitor injury/accident, notify JSU Office of Human Resources at ext. 5007 or 256-782-5007 of this incident as soon as possible after the victim has been transported by the ambulance.

A bomb or incendiary device can take almost any form and can be triggered in a wide variety of ways. Therefore, under No Circumstances should a suspicious object be touched or removed. People should be removed from the bomb, not vice versa. 
  1. If a suspicious object or potential bomb is discovered on campus, Do Not HandleClear the Area and call the JSU Police Department by dialing 256-782-5050 or 911.
  2. Be sure to include the location and appearance of the object when reporting.
  3. All suspicious packages and bomb threats must be treated as a serious matter. To ensure the safety of the campus population, all suspicious packages and bomb threats will be considered real until proven otherwise. However, building evacuation is not a decision for anyone to make except for proper authorities.
  4. If evacuation is chosen, an announcement will be made in each area and occupants will be asked to proceed to the nearest exit, taking their personal belongings with them. If groups of people need to be relocated temporarily, the Incident Commander will establish a campus assembly point.

If You Receive a Bomb Threat

  1. Remain Calm.
  2. Keep the caller on the line as long as possible.
  3. Listen carefully to the caller's voice and words.
  4. Record the time and caller ID number if shown.
  5. If possible, record the message. 
  6. Ask the caller the following questions and write down the answers as soon as possible:
    • When is the bomb going to explode?
    • When did that time start?
    • What time is it now by your watch?
    • Where is the bomb located right now?
    • What does it look like?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • What will cause it to explode?
    • Did you place the bomb personally? Why?
    • What is your name?
    • What is your address?
    • What is your phone number?
  7. Document the EXACT wording of the threat and caller's response.
  8. Note the apparent gender, race, age of the caller. 
  9. Not the characteristics of the caller's voice (calm, angry, excited, accent, speech pattern, etc.)
  10. Background sounds (street noises, static on the line, etc.)
  11. Threat language (Well spoken, incoherent, taped, irrational, etc.)
  12. Did the caller appear familiar with the premises?
  13. Does the voice sound familiar? If so, who did it sound like?
  14. What time did caller hang up?
  15. Call JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 and report the event immediately.
  16. ALL bomb threats and suspicious packages must be treated as a serious matter.
  17. If the bomb or suspicious package is discovered, do not handle the package. Get away.
  18. Do not use cell phones, radios, or other wireless devices in the building or area.
  19. Public safety personnel will advise regarding evacuation.
  20. If evacuation is ordered, look around as you exit for anything suspicious or out of place.
  21. Upon exiting the building, assemble outside and remain until instructed it is safe to return.
  22. Follow all instructions from public safety personnel.
  23. If you noticed anything suspicious while evacuating, tell public safety personnel.
  24. Do not re-enter the building unless told to do so by public safety personnel or building manager.

If you believe that a student or other person is in possession of a weapon: 
  1. Note all physical characteristics, i.e. race, height, hair color, clothing.
  2. Call JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911 and explain the problem in detail.
  3. Leave the immediate area.
  4. Remove students and yourself from any danger, if possible.
  5. If you fear the person, barricade yourself and other students in a room away from the person.
  6. If anyone becomes injured or needs medical attention, notify the police dispatcher, if possible.
  7. Do not confront the armed person unless you have no choice; this should be your last resort.
  8. Remain in a safe area until told by police or emergency responders that it is safe to leave.

  • Evacuate the immediate area.
  • Turn off all air conditioners and heaters when leaving, if it is safe to do so.
  • From a safe location, call JSU Police Department at 256-782-5050 or 911 and report the odor. Be as specific as possible about the nature of the odor:
    • When was it first noticed?
    • Is it recognizable?
    • Is the cause known?
  • Remain outside until told it is safe to re-enter the building.
  • If additional assistance is needed, University Police will notify the proper departments.

Emergency Procedures Guidebook

Emergency Procedures GuidebookDownload the fillable PDF