What to do in an Emergency
Emergencies are most often unpredictable and happen with little or no warning. By being aware of your surroundings, identifying suspicious activity and considering what your options are, gives you a significant advantage that could save your life.
Take a few minutes to review the different emergency procedures below and consider how these could apply to you on campus.
Call security before you call 911
Given that Concordia has two campuses and more than 70 different buildings and civic addresses, it is recommended that you call Concordia Security prior to calling 911.
How to call campus security
- Internal phones: Dial 3717
- External phones: dial 514-848-3717
Security agents are trained to respond to a variety of emergencies and can provide assistance quickly, often responding within minutes of your call.
If the incident requires Emergency Services, such as ambulance, police or fire department, Security will connect you directly with a 911 operator to ensure a coordinated and efficient response. Security will respond to the location of the emergency and have agents waiting for responding emergency services to escort them to the exact location of the emergency, saving valuable time.
How to call campus security
From an internal phone, dial 3717
From an external or cell phones, dial 514-848-3717
514-848-3717 is a free call from any public pay phone located on campus.
Emergency phones are located in several locations on campus. Simply press the button to be connected with Security.
Fire phones are located in most high rise buildings, usually near emergency exits. In an emergency, break the glass and lift the reciver to be connected with Security.
When reporting an emergency:
- Call from a safe location.
- Remain calm.
- Be prepared to give as much information about the emergency as you can (what the emergency is, where it is, if there are injuries and how serious, etc.)
- The dispatcher will ask questions and/or connect you with Emergency Services (911) so do not hang up until you are told to do so. The dispatcher may also give you instructions.
A building evacuation can be initiated for several reasons; fire, gas leak, hazardous material release. In most cases, the fire alarm is utilized to evacuate a building. When the fire alarm is heard, it is a signal that an evacuation is necessary and you should:
- Safely stop what you are doing.
- Gather your personal property that is near you.
- Leave the area closing doors and windows.
- Calmly leave the building utilizing the nearest emergency exit / stairwell.
- Once outside, move away from the building.
Shelter in Place
A shelter in place emergency is a situation that requires building occupants to remain indoors due to a threat or dangerous situation outside of a building(s). A shelter in place could be initiated due to a violent demonstration, severe weather, police operation or fire in a neighboring building.
Normally, building occupants can circulate freely inside a building during a shelter in place emergency unless instructed otherwise. A shelter in place alert could include specific instructions such as staying staying away from exterior windows. A shelter in place emergency and specific instructions, will be communicated via the emergency notification system
A lock down is initiated for emergencies that present a serious threat to the life and safety of people on campus. Lock downs are generally associated with active shooter incidents or for a suspected armed and dangerous individual on campus.
At Concordia, as soon as a serious threat to the life and safety of people on campus is confirmed, a campus emergency alert message will be initiated using the emergency notification system and Security personnel will begin locking entrance doors to the different buildings, to safeguard people in buildings and limit movement between buildings.
Because the objective is to alert everyone on campus, as quickly as possible, the alert message is sent campus wide and will not contain any specific information;
EMERGENCY ALERT: Armed Intruder at SGW Campus – If on campus, SEEK A SECURE LOCATION immediately, If not on SGW campus, stay away and await further instructions.
The purpose of the campus alert is to advise the campus community as quickly as possible that a dangerous situation is unfolding. Because the emergency alert message does not need to be modified or include details, it can be sent in a few seconds.
You must keep in mind that the emergency may be in your building, a neighbouring building or across campus. Regardless, you should stop what they are doing, assess the situation and if necessary, take whatever action is required for your personal safety. (see the active shooter tab)
If you determine that nothing is happening around you after receiving the emergency alert, you are probably in a safe area. In this case you should remain where you are until you have more information as to the nature and location of the emergency or if your situation changes.
Because these situations are often confusing and chaotic it could require several minutes before details are confirmed and messages are scripted and sent. As soon as more information becomes available and is confirmed, subsequent emergency notification messages will be sent, providing more details such as to the exact nature and location of the emergency to help building occupants determine what course of action they should take.
For the purpose of an emergency evacuation, any person who is unable to ascend or descend a flight of stairs without considerable effort or who may slow other occupants that are attempting to evacuate, is considered mobility impaired.
In most cases, there is no immediate danger during a fire alarm and evacuation. To avoid unnecessary risk and possible injury, it is safer for a mobility impaired person to remain near an emergency exit instead of attempting to descend several flights of stairs.
Our emergency responders and security personnel are trained to stay with mobility impaired persons, on the floor on which they are found, near an emergency stairwell. Only if necessary will emergency responders and/or security proceed to evacuate a mobility impaired person via the stairwell or, when possible, the elevators.
During a fire alarm:
- Proceed to the nearest, identified emergency stairwells; do not use elevators or escalators.
- Await the assistance from emergency responders, Security or other volunteers.
- Call Security at 514-848-3717 or use an emergency phone or red, firefighter phone located next to the emergency stairwell to alert Security to your location; someone will be sent to your location.
- In the presence of smoke or other danger, move inside the stairwell, ensure the door is closed behind you.
Most emergency stairwells are pressurized and equipped with fire-resistant doors that keep smoke and fire out of the stairwell.
If it becomes necessary to evacuate:
- When possible, the building elevator will be used or if necessary, a specially designed Evac-Chair will be used.
- Security and emergency responders are trained in the use of Evac-chairs to ensure your safety.
- Using a standard wheelchair or carrying someone are not recommended methods.
Watch the Evac-Chair promotional video to see how the chair functions. You may also register for training concerning emergencies and the mobilitity impaired for on-site training on emergency procedures, the use of Evac-Chairs and using building firefighter phones.
Identify the Threat
An active shooter is an individual(s) who is actively and indiscriminately engaged in killing or attempting to kill people. In most cases active shooters use a firearm(s) and display no pattern or method for selection of their victims and their intentions are to kill as many people as possible.
This is different from a hostage taking. In a hostage taking situation, the armed individual uses hostages as leverage in exchange for something. The vast majority of hostage taking incidents are resolved through negotiation and end without injury to hostages. If you are in a hostage taking situation you should be calm, patient and compliant and wait for authorities to negotiate a peaceful end to the situation.
Unlike a fire alarm when everyone is instructed to evacuate, an active shooter incidents presents 3 possible actions that you must consider, depending on your proximity to an exit and/or to the armed assailant.
At Concordia, as soon as a serious threat to the life and safety of people on campus is confirmed, a campus emergency alert message will be initiated using the emergency notification system
EMERGENCY ALERT: Dangerous Situation at SGW Campus – If on campus, SEEK A SECURE LOCATION immediately, If not on SGW campus, stay away and await further instructions.
Because the objective is to alert everyone on campus, as quickly as possible, the alert message is sent campus wide and will not contain any specific information. The purpose of the campus alert message is to interrupt people caught up in their daily activities, alerting them that they are potentially in danger and triggering their survival instincts. After receiving the Campus alert, you must determine if you are in immediate danger and take the necessary action to protect yourself.
Always keep in mind that the emergency may be occurring in your building, a neighbouring building or across campus.
If you assess that nothing is happening near you and that you are safe; remain where you are until you have more information as to the specific nature and location of the emergency. If you determine that the threat is close, you must determine which action is best for you;
These three actions are Run, Hide or Fight:
Run: If you can get out of the building safely, avoiding a confrontation with an armed assailant, then run and get out of the building and away as fast and as far as you can. Take as many people with you as is safe, and once outside seek shelter, do not stand in an open area such as a parking lot.
Hide: If you can’t run; Go to the nearest safe location that can be locked, preferably without windows and off the main hallway where the armed assailant cannot see you. Lock and/or barricade the door with whatever heavy objects you can find, stay away from the door frame, spread out inside the room, stay low, and be quiet. If you can call 911 from this position without making noise, do it. The purpose of hiding is to keep safe and out of sight until the police can arrive.
Fight: The last option, if you can’t run or hide or if the armed assailant breaches your safe room is to fight; Understand that your assailant’s intentions are lethal to you and if you come face to face with him, you have no choice but to defend yourself and Fight to save your life and the life of your friends and colleagues;
Normal people are capable of extraordinary actions when faced with a life of death situation. As a group and working together, you have numbers in your favor and can over power the aggressor. Almost any room will have something in it you can use for protection or as a weapon; fire extinguishers, chairs, desk objects, books….
The video below describes the Run, Hide, Fight process during an active shooter event.
In the event of a serious or life threatening injury or illness:
- Call Security immediately at 514-848-3717 or 3717
- Ensure your personal safety before attempting first aid.
- Provide the victim with appropriate first-aid and comforting.
- Do not give the victim anything to drink or eat.
If the injury is the result of a fall or significant trauma, do not move the victim unless absolutely necessary.
Security agents are trained and equipped with life saving devices, such as defibrillators (AED's) and oxygen and are able to respond in only a few minutes.
Southern Quebec experiences severe weather regularly and you should be prepared.
We usually have advance warnings of impending storms during the winter. The major risk during a severe winter storm is from driving and extended power failures.
- Monitor weather forecasts
- If possible, avoid driving and traveling during storms
- If possible, stay indoors were it is warm, dry and safe
- Have enough non-perishable food that does not require electricity
- Have a way of keeping warm
- Be vigilant if using candles or a fire place
- Never use a BBQ or other exterior heating source, indoors
Unlike winter, severe weather can occur unexpectedly during the summer. The major risks during the summer months are from high winds, hail, lightening and extended power failures.
- Be alert to sudden, changing weather patterns and monitor weather forecasts
- Seek shelter indoors during storms
- Have enough non-perishable food that does not require electricity
If stranded at work
Although unlikely, it is possible that you could become stranded at work due to power failures, transportation disruptions from significant snow, ice or water accumulations. Keep a small supply of nonperishable or ready-to-eat food in your office. If forced to wait out a storm at work, advise Security 514-848-3717 or 3717.
Power failures are usually short in duration, lasting on average 20 minutes. In most cases, building occupants can remain in the building until power is restored.
In the event of a power failure:
- Remain calm.
- Call Security at 514-848-3717 or 3717
- Remain at your workspace unless instructed to evacuate by Security.
- Security, Facilities Management and Environmental Health and Safety will evaluate the need to evacuate the building based on available emergency or natural light and the expected duration of the power failure.
Larger buildings are equipped with emergency generators that maintain a minimum of lighting and building functions. Smaller buildings are equipped with battery back-up lighting which illuminate exits and stairwells. Smaller buildings may need to be evacuated within 20 minutes depending on the availability of natural light.
If you are stranded in total darkness:
- Remain calm.
- Do not attempt to leave on your own.
- Call Security at 514-848-3717 or 3717
Security agents, equipped with flashlights, will arrive quickly to assist you.
Hazardous materials include chemicals, bio-hazardous waste and radioactive material. Any incident or spill involving hazardous material must be reported.
In the event of a spill, release or accidental exposure:
- Advise and warn co-workers.
- If necessary, evacuate the area immediately.
- Notify Security at 514 848-3717 or 3717.
- Provide the following information:
i. Name of hazardous material
ii. Nature and number of persons injured or exposed
iii. Quantity involved
iv. Related health risks and precautions to be taken
v. Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or appropriate documentation
Although you may work with a hazardous material regularly, when spilled and no longer within the controlled environment, such as its container or within a fume hood, the situation may be completely different.
You should only attempt to clean a spill if you have the necessary personal protective equipment, knowledge of the product, the associated health risks and appropriate equipment to clean and contain the product. You should never clean a spill if you are alone.
Accidents happen, it is part of the learning process but remember, even if you clean your own spill, the incident must be reported. The focus of an incident investigation is to ensure that Concordia provides the safest working and learning environment possible. Investigations are conducted to review procedures, not to establish blame.
Surprisingly, Montreal is in an active earthquake zone. Although most earthquakes are only detected by sensitive instruments, several hundred occur every year in Eastern Canada and Quebec. The possibility exists that a damaging earthquake could occur on the island of Montreal. Injuries can be prevented if people know what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
During an earthquake, most injuries occur from falling debris and household or workplace articles. You can significantly reduce your risk of injury during an earthquake by securing furniture that could fall over and by not placing heavy or dangerous objects on shelves or on the wall that could injure you if it were to fall during an earthquake.
During an earthquake
- DROP down onto your hands and knees.
- COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won't fall on you, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hand.
- HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
- Most injuries occur from falling debris while trying to evacuate.
- If an evacuation is necessary the fire alarm systems will be activated.
- Be careful and alert to falling objects or debris.
- Stay outdoors.
- Move to an open area away from trees, buildings, utility poles and signs.
- If in your vehicle, carefully pull over, keeping away from overhead objects such as trees, buildings, utility poles, signs, and overpasses.
- Stay in the vehicle until the shaking stops.
After an earthquake
- If an evacuation is necessary, the fire alarm system will be activated.
- Do not call security or 911 for information.
- Only use your phone for emergencies; to report injured or trapped people or to report signs of structural damage.
- Using your phone during the first 15-30 minutes after a significant emergency will contribute to overloading the phone system with calls and may delay emergency assistance to those that need it most.
If you hear the Fire Alarm
- Do not attempt to evacuate until the shaking has stopped.
- Gather your personal belongings; keys, purse medication...
- Use the emergency stairwell.
- Be alert to falling objects and debris.
- Report injured or trapped people and/or any signs of structural damage you observe to Security or Emergency Responders.