Emergency Preparadness: Incident Response Plans

This Incident Response Plan guide contains instructions to assist members of the Wilkes Community in responding to a variety of emergencies that may affect the campus. The most important information you can use in an emergency is the number to contact the Department of Public Safety.   It’s suggested that you program the numbers into your cellphone for quick access.

From any University campus telephone, in an emergency, dial 4999 to reach the Department of Public Safety. If you’re calling from off-campus or using a cellular telephone, please use the following telephone numbers to reach the Department of Public Safety:  (570) 408-4999.

You can also dial 9-1-1 for an emergency anywhere in Pennsylvania.

Prepare for an emergency before it happens: program the emergency number for the department of Public Safety into your off-campus or cellular telephone

Types of Emergencies



An active shooter is a person who is actively engaged in the killing or the attempted killing of people.  In most cases, active shooters use firearms as their weapon of choice, while displaying no predetermined selection of their victims.  Incidents involving an active shooter are fluid-like, ever-changing and place tremendous demands upon law enforcement as they deploy enforcement personnel in an effort to quell the shooter’s intentions to kill innocent individuals.  It is the intention of this document to provide insight into what students, faculty and staff who find themselves involved in an active shooter scenario, may expect from responding law enforcement officials.

How you respond to an active shooter situation will be formulated upon several dynamic and personal limitations.  Always keep in mind that there may be more than one shooter involved as well as multiple buildings.  Although it may be difficult, always try to remain calm and project that calmness to your peers and to others with you at the time.  Pay attention to any and all instructions which you may hear from law enforcement from a myriad of avenues.

Do not pull the fire alarm. A fire alarm would signal occupants to evacuate the building and thus potentially placing them in harm’s way as they attempt to exit.


In the event that an active shooter enters your classroom or office, immediately call the Wilkes Public Safety at x4999 or dial 911.  If you are confronted and unable to speak, do not hang up the phone unless ordered to do so by the shooter.   If you are unable to safely escape or hide, you may be able to negotiate with the shooter.  Consider the following techniques:  Remain calm, sound confident, do not raise the tone of your voice, do not respond defensively, do not touch the person, do not challenge the shooter, do not accept the weapon if offered, ask that it be laid down, do not invade their personal space (3-6 feet).  Engaging in a physical confrontation is always a last resort and should only be considered after all other options have failed.


In the event that the shooter is in the same building as you, determine if your room can be locked and if so, lock the door.  If you cannot lock the door, ascertain if you can safely move to a room which can be locked, keeping in mind that a lock down procedure may already be in place.  If you can safely exit the building without being seen, then do so, following the dictates of the highlighted paragraph below.  If you have successfully locked yourself in, cover any windows which may allow for sight into your room.  If possible, call the Wilkes Public Safety at x4999 or 911, relaying pertinent information.  Close window curtains, turn off lights and radios, be quiet and DO NOT activate any fire alarms.  Should you be captured by the shooter, consider playing dead if there are other victims around you.  Never look into the eyes of the shooter and obey all commands.  As a last resort, you may have to engage in a physical altercation or flee on foot.  Again, pay attention to the highlighted paragraph if you opt to flee.


If the shooter is on the campus and is not near your location, run away from the threat as fast as possible, warning others as you go, in a direction away from the shooter and as described in the highlighted paragraph below.  IF AN ACTIVE SHOOTER IS OUTSIDE YOUR BUILDING YOUR BEST OPTION MAY BE TO SHELTER-IN-PLACE.  Assist in getting others into classrooms and offices which can be locked.  Get everyone down on the floor and cover all window openings and doors with a direct line of sight into your location.  Call the Wilkes Public Safety at x4999 or 911, offering your location, the number of persons in your room, and any relevant information. Turn off all lights and radios and remain quiet. Do not respond to unfamiliar voices as they may be the shooter attempting to lure you out of your position of safety.  Respond only when you know you are speaking with a law enforcement officer.


Regardless of the situation, if you decide to flee during an Active Shooter incident, make certain that you have an escape plan in mind and that you have considered your route of escape as well.  Leave all personal belongings, such as book bags, behind.  As you flee, above all, keep moving and do not run in a straight line.  Attempt to weave around any obstacle which can provide you with cover and distract the shooters eyes from you, continuing to flee until you reach a point of safety.  Do not stop to help those who may have been injured by the shooter, but mentally note their locations so you may report them later.  Obey all directions from law enforcement which you encounter.



Law enforcement officers will be arriving and it is important to realize that they have been trained to immediately proceed to the area where shots were last heard.  It is the purpose of the law enforcement officers to stop the shooting as quickly as possible and as such, they may be dressed, or armed, differently than you have seen them in the past.  They will probably be in groups of four and may have bulletproof vests on the exterior of their uniform.  They may have shotguns and or rifles in addition to helmets and pepper spray.  You need not fear them, although they may seem very authoritative and demanding of you.  Keep your hands in plain view and drop any items which you may be carrying.  Do not question the officer’s authority.  Do, however, provide them with information which you may have and do it very quickly.  Do not be alarmed when the officers pass injured people, it is their primary objective to stop the shootings.  You may be asked to remain in a secure location so that you may be interviewed following the conclusion of the incident.




Telephone Threat:

  • Remain Calm.
  • Do not hang up, keep the caller on the line as long as possible, and listen carefully.
  • Note the time of the call and the specific telephone instrument it came in on.
  • Note the callers number if your phone is equipped with caller I.D.
  • Note the exact words of the caller.
  • Ask the caller the following questions or listen for the following information
    • Where is it located?
    • When will it go off?
    • What does it look like?
    • What kind is it?
    • What is the caller’s name and motive for placing the bomb?
    • Are you an employee?
    • Are you a student?
    • Write down any information noticed, e.g., background noises, gender of caller, voice pitch and speech patterns, accent, etc.
    • Notify the Wilkes Public Safety (4999) immediately!

Written threat:

  • Remain calm.
  • Notify Wilkes Public Safety immediately.
  • Once discovered, do not touch, move or open package so it is not altered or destroyed. Preserve scene for Wilkes Public Safety and Wilkes-Barre Police.
  • Keep others from handling or going near it.

Opened or closed suspicious package:

  • Notify Wilkes Public Safety immediately. Do not use a 2-way radio or cell phone within 100 feet of a suspicious package.
  • Never touch any package that is suspicious! Do not attempt to touch, move or open as it could explode or spread!
  • Keep others from handling or going near it.




General Evacuation Procedures:

  • Any Wilkes staff or faculty person may issue an evacuation notification of a classroom or office area. The purpose is to move people away from any potentially threatening situation.
  • Develop your plan now: Before a classroom or office can properly evacuate, a safe designated location must be determined and communicated.
  • Direct persons to go immediately, in a calm and orderly manner, to the agreed-upon designated location.
  • Consider persons with disabilities that may need assistance evacuating.
  • Individuals with disabilities should exit to the next building or outside by horizontal exit (when available) or otherwise to stairway landing (considered an area of rescue). Wilkes Public Safety or Wilkes-Barre Fire Department will conduct the rescue.
  • Do not take personal items.
  • Close and lock doors behind you while exiting.
  • You may walk briskly but do not run.
  • Do not go to restrooms.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Do not return to your area for personal belongings.
  • If smoke is present, stay low. The best quality air is near the floor.
  • Use stairway or horizontal exit to evacuate.

Situations That Require Full Building Evacuation:

  • An evacuation of a building is used to move persons out of a building by a pre-designated route (if usable) to avoid a potentially threatening situation and determines the entire building as unusable until further notice.
  • Public Safety will announce building evacuation instructions over the Emergency Contact System, verbally, and other forms of media.
  • Exit the building and go to your pre-determined designated area at least 300 feet away from the building.
  • Report any missing persons to Wilkes Public Safety and location where last seen.
  • Do not return to the building from your designated area until told to do so by Wilkes Public Safety.

Evacuation Collection Areas:

  • Sterling, Rifkin, Catlin, Weiss: go to River Front Park directly across South River Street.
  • Evans, Conyngham, Evans Alumni House, Roth, Stark, Cohen, Chase, Kirby, Kirby Center, Farley Library, Fenner, Capin, Breiseth, Sturdevant, Pearsall:  go to the Greenway.
  • Bedford, Henry Student Center, Schiowitz, Fortinsky, Max Roth Center, Passan, Chase, Slocum: go to the Student Center Parking Lot.
  • Darte Center, Cox, Ross, O’Hop, Sullivan, Barre, Doane, Waller North & South, President’s House, McCole House: go to the River Front Park north of the Darte Center.
  • Marts Sports Center, Minor-Moat House, Facilities Building: go to the Barnum Parking Lot.
  • UCoM, Hollenback, and Weckesser/Annex: go to UCoM Parking Lot.
  • University Towers, 141 South Main Street: go to University Towers Parking Lot behind the building.
  • Munson Fieldhouse: Go to the Ralston Field Parking Lot.





  • Implement appropriate emergency procedures by moving students, visitors and employees to a safe location (as conditions permit) inside buildings to protect against trauma or danger.
  • Notify Wilkes Public Safety of the type of disturbance, its location and the number of people causing it.
  • Maintain a calming influence over your group. Reassure students, visitors and employees that everything possible is being done to return the situation to a normal condition.
  • Should a gunshot be heard, get everyone on the ground immediately.


  • Notify Wilkes Public Safety of the type of disturbance, its location, the number of people causing it, who is involved, any weapon presence and your name. Provide as much information as possible.
  • Keep students, visitors and employees quiet and away from doors and windows.
  • Lock all room doors.
  • Account for all persons. Report any missing persons to Wilkes Public Safety immediately.
  • Close window shades, curtains or blinds.
  • Maintain a calming influence over your group. Reassure students, visitors and employees that everything possible is being done to return the situation to a normal condition.
  • Should a gunshot be heard, get everyone on the floor immediately.
  • Always contact Wilkes Public Safety when you have an emergency in your room.
  • Remain in the classroom or other safe area until notified by Wilkes Public Safety to move or return to normal conditions.




If You Are Inside:

  • Watch for falling objects.
  • Crawl under a table, counter, etc.
  • Get into a protective position by tucking your head to your knees and cover your head with your arms.
  • Stay away from windows, glass partitions and mirrors.
  • Stay away from overhead fixtures.
  • Stay away from filing cabinets.
  • Stay away from bookcases.
  • Stay away from electrical appliances.
  • Stay away from hanging objects.
  • Evacuate the building only after debris has stopped falling.

If You Are Outside:

  • Move to an open area away from, building structures.
  • Watch for fallen power lines.
  • Watch for fallen streetlights.
  • Watch for fallen trees.
  • Watch for flying glass.

If You Are In A Vehicle:

  • Stop your vehicle in the nearest open area.
  • Stay in your vehicle until the tremors have subsided.

After The Incident:

  • Remain Calm
  • Be prepared for after-shocks.
  • If evacuation is ordered, use the nearest and safest exit.
  • Proceed to your designated evacuation assembly area.
  • Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in danger.
  • Open doors carefully.
  • Watch for falling objects.
  • Do not use matches/lighters or other sources of ignition.
  • Avoid using telephones, as emergency response personnel will need these.




If You Discover Fire or Smoke:


  • Rescue: Remove anyone from immediate danger.
  • Alarm: Activate the nearest fire alarm pull station.
  • Contain: Close all doors to confine smoke and fire.
  • Extinguish/Evacuate: If the fire is small and you have been trained in fire extinguisher use, you can attempt to extinguish a fire. Otherwise, follow your Evacuation Plan and proceed to the nearest exit and designated area outside the building.


If you catch on fire:

  • DO NOT RUN! 
  • Stop where you are, and
  • Drop to the ground, and
  • Roll over and over to smother flames.


Response to Fire Alarms or Explosion:

  • Remain calm.
  • Evacuate and stay with your class or office group.
  • Remember to take your class roster with you to the designated area.
  • Once you have reached the designated area, report any missing person(s) to Wilkes Public Safety.
  • Only return to the building when directed by Wilkes Public Safety.
  • If a fire is in a laboratory facility, Wilkes Public Safety should contact the Provost who would require the presence of department chairs or their designees for the relevant programs.   Chemicals and biologicals stored in the facility should be designated and appropriate signage should indicate what is stored in these rooms.


Evacuation Reminders:

  • If leaving a room, feel the door with the back of your hand before opening it. Do not open any door that feels hot.
  • Do not return to your area for personal belongings.
  • If smoke is present, stay low. The best quality air is near the floor.
  • Use stairway or horizontal exit to evacuate.
  • Do not use the elevators!
  • Consider individuals with disabilities that may need assistance evacuating. Notify Wilkes Public Safety of missing persons and where they were last seen.
  • Individuals with disabilities should exit to the next building or outside by horizontal exit (when available) or otherwise to an enclosed stairway landing (considered an area of rescue).
  • Never allow the fire to come between you and the exit.
  • Wilkes Public Safety continuously monitors all fire alarm signals and will respond promptly.


If You Are Trapped in Your Office/Classroom:

·         If possible, move to a room with an outside window.

  • Wedge towels or cloth materials (wet if possible) along the bottom of the door to keep out smoke.
  • Try to close as many doors between you and the fire as possible.
  • Attempt to signal people outside of the building. If there is a telephone, call 911 and tell the dispatcher where you are.
    • Do this even if you can see fire department personnel from the window.
  • Use the telephone to notify Wilkes Public Safety x4999 of your problem and location.
    • You may also contact Wilkes Public Safety at (570) 408-4999 from a cell phone.
  • If you are trapped in an area and need fresh air, only break a window as a last resort.
    • Use caution when breaking a window to avoid injury to yourself.
  • Stay where rescuers can see you through the window, and wave a light-colored item to attract their attention.
  • Be patient. Rescue of occupants within large structures will take time.





The University Administration constantly monitors flood warnings from the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency.  The NWS has defined the following flooding alerts that are of concern:

Flood Statement (FLS):  A statement issued by the NWS to inform the public of flooding along major streams in which there is not a serious threat to life or property. It may also follow a flood warning to give later information.

Flash Flood Warning:  Issued to inform the public, emergency management and other cooperating agencies that flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely.

Flash Flood Watch:  Issued to indicate current or developing hydrologic conditions that are favorable for flash flooding in and close to the watch area, but the occurrence is neither certain or imminent.to life or property.

Flood Warning:  A release by the NWS to inform the public of flooding along larger streams in which there is a serious threat to life or property. A flood warning will usually contain river stage (level) forecasts.

Flood Watch:  Issued to inform the public and cooperating agencies that current and developing hydrometeorological conditions are such that there is a threat of flooding, but the occurrence is neither certain nor imminent.


Floods Due to Building Systems (Pipes, water heaters, drains, etc.)

  • Try to identify the source of the water and turn it off if this can be done safely.
  • If flooding is caused by pipe break, sink overflow, or other plumbing problems, notify Facilities Management, call x2349. Do not leave a voice mail message; make sure you talk with Facilities Management staff. After hours notify Public Safety, call x4999.
  • Provide sufficient information (building, floor, room, degree of flooding, or potential damage due to the flooding).
  •  If necessary and safe to do so, Facilities Management shall “de-energize any electrical” equipment and outlets in the affected areas.  Do not enter a flooded area until staff electricians have deactivated all electrical circuits.


Naturally Occurring Floods (Heavy rain, etc.)

  • If the flooding is caused by heavy rains, notify Facilities Management, call 2FIX (x2349). Do not leave a voice mail message; make sure you talk with Facilities Management staff. After business hours notify Public Safety, call x4999.
  • Attempt to close doors and windows to prevent water from entering, if possible and safe to do so.
  • Focus resources on minimizing the spread of water into other areas of the building.
  • If necessary and safe to do so, Facilities Management shall “de-energize any electrical” equipment and outlets in the affected areas.  Do not enter a flooded area until staff electricians have deactivated all electrical circuits.


Protect property and equipment:

  • Protect property and records by removing items from floors and / or covering with water resistant coverings.
  • Unplug electrical equipment such as computers and printers, etc. if safe to do so.
  • After business hours, the department head or responsible individual(s) for the area affected should be notified.
  • The department head or other responsible party should make necessary arrangements to salvage damaged movable equipment, supplies and other materials.

Evacuate personnel and report additional problems:

  • All personnel not involved in flood response efforts shall be evacuated.
  • Notify Public Safety, call x4999 or utilize the fire alarm system if an immediate evacuation is required.
  • Post a staff member at the entrance to the flooded area to keep out unauthorized personnel.

After a flood:

  • Do not return to a flooded area until authorities indicate it is safe to do so.
  • Stay out of buildings if flood waters remain around the building.
  • Use extreme caution when otherwise entering buildings. Watch for loose plaster and ceilings that could fall.
  • Be alert for fire hazards, such as broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, submerged appliances, and flammable or explosive materials.




  • If a corrosive or toxic chemical comes in contact with your skin, immediately flush the affected area with water for at least 15 minutes, then as-soon-as-possible notify Wilkes Public Safety of a medical need. Wilkes Public Safety will arrange transportation to emergency medical services.
  • Do not attempt to clean up a chemical spill unless you are trained and have the proper protective equipment to perform the clean up.
  • Evacuate the area when there is possible danger of harmful or flammable vapors. Notify others in your immediate area to evacuate. Initiate the fire alarm when necessary.
  • Always evacuate in a calm and orderly manner to a safe predetermined location. Notify Wilkes Public Safety of any missing persons and where they were last seen.
  • Do not re-enter the area until directed by emergency personnel. 
  • To increase ventilation to the affected area, call Facilities Management at x2349 (HVAC increase) for assistance.
  • If possible, control access to the spill affected area by closing doors.
  • Check those involved for adverse medical symptoms (shortness of breath, fainting, etc.) and request immediate medical attention as appropriate.
  • Evacuees should remain in the designated predetermined safe area; until Wilkes Public Safety indicates it is safe to return to the effected area.
  • Refer to the Hazardous Materials Management Guideline, Section 3 for the Emergency - Contingency Plan (for large quantity spills).


If you are directed to shelter in place due to a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) accidental release, the air quality may be threatened and sheltering keeps you inside an area offering more protection. For a HAZMAT shelter in place situation you should, if possible, take the following actions:

  • Close all windows and doors.
  • Move to the shelter in place location.
  • Select an interior room above ground with the fewest windows or vents. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to sit.
  • Do not go outside or attempt to drive unless you are specifically instructed to evacuate.
  • Do not use elevators as they may pump air into or out of the building.
  • Share notification with others; assist persons with disabilities, if possible.
  • Try and obtain additional clarifying information by all possible means (e.g. MyWilkes, TV, radio, email, etc.)
  • It would be useful to have a cell phone, hard-wired telephone, or computer system in the shelter location to assist in obtaining additional information as well as being able to report any life-threatening conditions.



If a Human Body Fluid Spill Should Occur (Blood, Vomit, Feces, Saliva, Urine):

  •  Always notify Wilkes Public Safety when exposed to human body fluids and seek professional medical treatment.
  • Human body fluids may contain bloodborne pathogens. Bloodborne pathogens may also be free in other forms, i.e. in cell cultures or in infected animals to name a few examples. 
  • Do not clean up a human body fluid spill unless you are trained in bloodborne pathogen cleanup procedures.
  • Always treat human body fluids as an infectious waste.
  • Always wear rubber or latex gloves when handling human body fluids.
  • To remove gloves, avoid touching contaminated area of the glove and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • When danger of splashing exists, wear a face shield to prevent human body fluids from getting in your eyes, mouth or nose.
  • Avoid getting human body fluids in open sores or wounds.
  • If human body fluids come in contact with your skin, wash the area immediately with soap and water and rinse.
  • Public Safety will contact Custodial for cleanup of human body fluids.
  • Contact Public Safety for proper disposal of infectious waste.



Lockdown / Shelter in Place Response:


A Lockdown Response (Shelter-in-place) is used when it may be more dangerous to evacuate the building than to stay in the assigned rooms. Examples: Violent or potentially violent incident by an angry or deranged person, uncontrollable acts of aggression, a person or persons threatening with a gun or other deadly weapon, robbery in progress, tornado warning, hazardous materials release, etc.


You must immediately seek shelter in the nearest facility or building (preferably in a room with no windows) when:

  • You hear receive a campus Emergency Notification (text msg, phone call, email).
  • When directed by Wilkes Public Safety.
  • When directed by police or fire department personnel.


Room Lockdown Procedure:

  • Remain calm and stay with your students, visitors, employees or associate workers.
  • Lock room doors, windows and close shades immediately.
  • Notify Wilkes Public Safety of the situation as soon as possible without endangering yourself.
  • Notify Wilkes Public Safety of the type of disturbance, its location, the number of people causing it, who is involved, any weapon presence and your name. Provide as much information as possible.
  • Keep persons quiet and away from doors and windows.
  • If a gunshot is heard, keep people down near the floor and shielded under/behind room furniture as much as possible.
  • Maintain a calming influence over your group. Reassure students, visitors and employees that everything possible is being done to return the situation to a normal condition.
  • Contact   Wilkes Public Safety as soon as possible of any medical emergencies.
  • Conduct a count of all persons and report any missing person to Wilkes Public Safety.
  • Remain in the secure room until released by Public Safety.
  • If gunshots are fired and fleeing is necessary, run away in a zig zag manner, not a straight line.


Building or Campus Lockdown Response:

  • The decision to initiate a building or Campus-wide Lockdown rests with Wilkes Public Safety.
  • A Lockdown consists of moving all students, visitors, employees and others off the grounds and into the buildings, securing all entrances, and denying access to any unauthorized persons.
  • Always begin the Lockdown procedure immediately following notification to do so.
  • Cancel all outdoor activities until approved otherwise by Wilkes Public Safety
  • No person should leave a building under a Lockdown order.
  • The Building or Campus Lockdown is to remain in effect until cancelled by Wilkes Public Safety.
  • Ensure all Instructions issued by Wilkes Public Safety are followed immediately.



On Main Campus:

  • Report all medical emergencies occurring on campus to Wilkes Public Safety.
  • Always determine and report if the person is conscious or unconscious. The report of an unconscious person initiates the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) procedure.
  • Wilkes Public Safety will dispatch Officers to the scene.
  • Wilkes Public Safety Officers are trained in first-aid, CPR and AED use.\
  • Wilkes Public Safety will call the EMS Squad, whenever necessary.
  • Emergency telephones with emergency numbers are located in public areas on campus for use by college students, visitors and employees.
  • The person reporting the emergency must stay on the telephone line until released by the Wilkes Public Safety in order to assure that all necessary information is completed.
  • Wilkes Public Safety officers will provide first aid until the EMS squad arrives.
  • The EMS squad crew will take over treatment of injured or sick person and transport them to a local hospital, whenever necessary.
  • Students, visitors and employees needing treatment beyond first aid will be sent to a local medical establishment or hospital for treatment.


Off Campus Sites:

·         Call 911 direct on an outside line and request an EMS unit.


Report accident or illness incident to Wilkes Public Safety (x4999) immediately after situation is under control. Accidents forms must be filled out and filed with Wilkes Public Safety.




What is a Flu Pandemic?

An influenza (flu) pandemic is a global outbreak of disease that occurs when a new flu virus appears that can spread easily from person to person. Because people have not been exposed to this new virus before, they have little or no immunity to the virus; therefore serious illness or death is more likely to result than during regular seasonal flu.


How does influenza spread?

The virus spreads most readily through contact, by touching contaminated surfaces, then subsequently touching eyes, noses or mouth. Human influenza can be transmitted from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes.


Infection Control:


The primary strategies for preventing spread of pandemic influenza. Persons should:

  • Stay at home, if possible;
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing;
  • Wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers frequently; and
  • Try to maintain spatial separation of at least three feet from others.


Hand, Cough and Sneeze Hygiene:

  • When sneezing or coughing, cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or upper arm if a tissue is not available.
  • Dispose of used tissues in a wastebasket and wash hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing nose.
  • Use warm water and soap or alcohol based hand sanitizers to clean hands.
  • Wash hands before eating or touching eyes, nose, or mouth.


Social Distancing: In a pandemic, the risk of getting the flu is greatest when one has close contact with an infected person. Social distancing measures such as school closure, telecommuting or staggered work shifts for the workforce, and cancellation of public gatherings may be effective in reducing transmission risks.


Antiviral Drugs: When a pandemic begins, a virus-specific vaccine may not be available until 4-6 months after identification of a pandemic virus. The supply of antiviral drugs will likely be limited throughout the pandemic. Moreover, scientists cannot be certain what antiviral drugs will be effective against a pandemic virus. For these reasons, infection control and social distancing measures will be the keys to limiting transmission, delaying the spread of the virus, and protecting people.


School Closings: The University Administration, or government agencies in authority may order the University closed during a severe pandemic. Mission essential personnel will maintain operations in a standby mode. Certain University departments may be required to work from home.


Contact www.pandemicflu.gov for further information.




  • Notify Wilkes Public Safety immediately for a power outage. If an extended power outage, Public Safety will notify the Provost and notify the heads of designated academic departments (Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences).
  • The Wilkes University buildings listed below are equipped with automatic standby electrical generators that will provide minimal lighting and power to a few selected elevators. If the call button lights and elevator responds to your call, it is safe to use.
    • University Tower
  • Remain where you are unless directed by Wilkes Public Safety to relocate or evacuate.
  • If the situation could expose students or employees to danger, implement the appropriate emergency procedures, i.e., evacuate horizontally to another building, or move outside to a safe location.
  • During power outages, open blinds to let in outside light.
  • During power outages, turn off electrical equipment or appliances that may be damaged or cause damage once power is restored, i.e., computers, monitors, cooking equipment, etc.
  • If instructed to evacuate, proceed cautiously to the nearest exit and outside. Report any missing persons to Wilkes Public Safety and where they were last seen.



The University Administration constantly monitors severe and changing weather conditions.  The National Weather Service (NWS) has defined four severe weather alerts that are of concern.


SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH:  A severe thunderstorm watch means weather conditions are such that a severe thunderstorm could develop, but has not at this time. This alert usually lasts for five or six (5 or 6) hours.

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING:  A severe thunderstorm warning means a severe thunderstorm has developed and will probably affect those areas stated in the alert message.

TORNADO WATCH:  A tornado watch means weather conditions are such that a tornado could develop, but has not at this time. This alert usually lasts for five or six (5 or 6) hours.

TORNADO WARNING:  A tornado warning means a tornado has formed and was indicated by weather radar or sighted, and may affect those areas stated in the alert. This alert usually lasts for one (1) hour.


Severe Weather / Tornado Response:

  • If you receive notification of a tornado warning or sight a tornado, move to the lowest level in the interior hallway of the building as quickly as possible. Notification may be received via the Wilkes Emergency Notification System, news/weather reports, weather radio, etc.
  • Stay away from windows and areas with a large expanse of glass.
  • Avoid auditoriums, gymnasiums, and other large rooms with free-span roofs.
  • If disabled cannot safely move to the lowest level, direct or assist them to an interior hallway away from windows and areas with a large expanse of glass.
  • Protect your head and face. If possible, get under a sturdy table or other structure.
  • Monitor local weather broadcasts, if a radio is available.


Severe Weather / Tornado Preparation:

  • Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
  • Be alert to blowing debris.
    •  Tornado danger signs included dark, almost greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark, low-lying cloud or a load roar, similar to a freight train.
  • Heed shelter-in-place or evacuation requests made by officials or announcements on radio/television.
  • Close outside doors and window blinds, shades or curtains. Stay away from doors, windows and exterior walls. Stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.
  • During lightning, do not use wired telephones, touch electrical appliances or use running water. Cordless or cellular telephones are safe to use.
  • Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flash flood.
  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Six inches of swiftly moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Stay indoors and limit travel to only absolutely necessary trips. Listen to radio/television for updates.



Snow and Ice conditions: 

Whenever snow and ice conditions become so extreme and to the point that it could impact our Campus, a decision to postpone or cancel classes may be announced over the Emergency Alert System or, listen to local area radio and TV stations prior to coming to the Campus. Announcements are also posted on the Wilkes web site – www.wilkes.edu. (Please do not call the Public Safety Office for snow information). Should weather become severe after the University opens, impending closing announcements will be made over the Emergency Notification System.


Cancellations and Closures

Normally, snow or low temperatures are not reasons to close the university, but significant amounts of snow might warrant a delay in opening the campus. Blizzard conditions or snow combined with severe wind chills may warrant closing the campus. Severe winter weather conditions may result in classes being cancelled, a campus closure, or a delay opening of the campus.


Alerts and Notifications

Wilkes University emergency notification system offers multiple channels for alerting you to cancellations and closures due to severe winter weather. You can also sign up to receive alert text and/or email messages.


For the most reliable postponement, closing and reopening information, members of the Wilkes community and visitors should rely on the only three official sources of information:





  • Package or envelope discovered with a suspicious powdery substance on the outside.
  • Received unexpectedly or sent by someone unfamiliar to you.
  • Excessive postage, handwritten or poorly typed address, incorrect titles or titles with no names, or misspelling of common words.
  • Addressed to someone no longer with the University or with outdated postmarks.
  • No return address or one that cannot be verified as legitimate.
  • Unusual weight, given package size, lopsided or oddly shaped.
  • Unusual amount of tape, string, or other wrapping material.
  • Marked with restrictive endorsements, such as “Fragile”, “Personal”, “Confidential”, or “Rush-Do-Not-Delay”.
  • Strange odor, stains, or noises (rattle, clicking, etc.).
  • Appears to contain electrical wire or tin foil. Return address not consistent with postmark.



  • Never touch any package that is suspicious! Do not attempt to touch, move or open as it could explode or spread!
  • Isolate the suspicious package by evacuating the room and locking the door, if possible.
  • If the suspicious package is discovered while handling, avoid dropping, throwing, or other abrupt shock movement since this can cause detonation of certain devices. Gently set the package down.
  • Call 911 and Wilkes Public Safety (x4999) immediately from a safe location! Do not use a radio or cell phone within 100 feet of the object.
  • Describe what the package looks like and its location.
  • Evacuate others in the area by following established evacuation procedures.
  • If you have had direct skin contact with the package, wash hands, arms, and etc., with soap and rinse with a plentiful quantity of water for 15 minutes.
  • Account for missing persons: always notify Wilkes Public Safety of any missing persons when evacuating an area.
  • Always follow precautionary directions given by Wilkes Public Safety.