Bemidji State University has a number of plans and procedures in place to respond to an emergency or disaster. The goal of these plans and procedures is to have a consistent and clear approach on how to handle any emergency or disaster that affects the university.

BSU is required by various federal and state laws to develop disaster plans, policies and procedures. BSU Emergency Management will provide planning and technical support to all BSU departments, units and stakeholders.

BSU/NTC Emergency Plans and Information

Bomb Threat Call Procedures

Most bomb threats are received by phone. Bomb threats are serious until proven otherwise. Act quickly, but remain calm and obtain information.

If a Bomb Threat is Received by Phone

  1. Remain calm. Keep the caller on the line for as long as possible. Listen carefully. Be polite and show interest.
  2. Write down as much detail as you can remember. Try to get exact words.
  3. DO NOT HANG UP, even if the caller does.
  4. If possible, write a note to a colleague to call the authorities or, as soon as the caller hangs up, immediately notify them yourself.
  5. Immediately upon termination of the call, call 911 from a different phone and await instructions.

If a bomb threat is received by handwritten note, call 911. Handle the note as minimally as possible.

If a bomb threat is received by email, call 911. Do not delete the message.

Signs of a Suspicious Package

It is impossible to describe the appearance of a typical suspicious mailing, but the FBI has identified the following as common features of threatening letters.

  • No return address
  • Excessive postage
  • Hand written or poorly typed addresses
  • Misspelling of common words
  • Restrictive markings such as “Confidential,” “Persona,” etc.
  • Excessive weight and/or a feel of a powdery substance

Do Not

  • Use two-way radios or cellular phone; radio signals have the potential to detonate a bomb.
  • Evacuate the building until police arrive and evaluate the threat.
  • Activate the fire alarm.
  • Touch or move a suspicious package.

If You See Fire or Smoke

  • Immediately activate the fire alarm, if it is not already sounding.
  • Move to the closest, safe exit. Then, proceed to the External Assembly Point designated for your building or work area.
  • Call 911 or have someone make the call.

As You Evacuate

  • Close doors to isolate fire and contain smoke, if it can be done safely.
  • Check doors with back of the hand opening; if hot, move to alternate exit.
  • If the door is not hot, open it slowly and check for smoke and odors; if they are strong, close the door and move to an alternate exit.
  • if smoke and odors are tolerable, proceed, staying low to the floor to lessen exposure to smoke.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Help those needing assistance to evacuate, if it can be done safely.
  • Report the location of anybody left in the building to emergency responders.
  • Do not return to the building until an “All Clear” is announced by the Fire Department, Public Safety or other recognized authority.
  • Silencing of the alarm is not a signal that it is safe to re-enter the building.

If You are Unable to Evacuate

  • Move into a room as far away from the source of the fire as possible and close the door.
  • Seal the place at the bottom of the door the best you can, to reduce smoke penetration.
  • If possible, call or take other actions, such as hanging something outside a window, to notify emergency responders of your location.

Use a Fire Extinguisher Only If

  • You have been trained on fire extinguisher use.
  • You are confident in your ability to extinguish the fire.
  • The fire is small; no bigger than the size of a wastebasket.
  • The fire department has been notified and evacuation has begun.
  • You have a safe exit route the fire cannot block.

The potential for hazardous materials spills exists throughout campus. Cleaning chemicals are used and/or stored in most campus buildings. Laboratories, shops, studios and maintenance areas use and store chemical and biological products and wastes associated with their activities. Contractors may bring their products onto campus. Those using the products are expected to clean up small spills that do not pose an immediate health or safety hazard. Spills that are known to be hazardous or are too large to be cleaned up by the users should be handled similar to a fire emergency. Spills of unknown products should be considered hazardous until proven otherwise.

If you Encounter a Hazardous Material Spill or Leak

  • Evacuate the area
    • Use the fire alarm if there is an immediate hazard and the entire building needs to be evacuated or notify those in the affected area if only a partial evacuation is needed.
    • Shut off electrical equipment if possible and it is safe to do so
    • Proceed to emergency exits; do not use elevators
    • Help those needing assistance to evacuate
    • If the spill is outside, stay up-wind and up hill from any hazardous vapor, gas or liquid
  • Confine the spill area
    • Close doors and isolate
    • If possible, open outside windows, if it is safe to do so
    • Establish exhaust ventilation if possible
    • Vent fumes only to the outside of building
    • If the room is not vented to the outside of building, close off room
  • Report the spill
    • Call 911
    • State the emergency
    • Give the buildings E911 address and the location of the spill in the building
    • Report and injuries
    • Report the name and amount of the material spilled, if known
  • Secure the area
    • Prevent access to spill area
    • Lock doors leading to spill area
    • Place barricades and warning notices at access points
    • Post staff by commonly used entrances and direct people to use other routes

First Aid for Hazardous Materials Injuries

CAUTION: DO NOT go back into an area where a chemical spill has occurred! In many documented cases, rescuers not wearing proper protective equipment have been overcome by toxic or asphyxiating fumes and died while trying to rescue other victims. Do not make this mistake!

  • Remove victims from spill area to fresh air (but do not endanger your own life by entering areas with toxic gases).
  • Immediately remove contaminated clothing while avoiding contaminating
    yourself.
  • Flush skin or eyes with running water for 15 minutes.
    • Effects from chemical spills may not be felt immediately, but it is very important to wash quickly and thoroughly. Some chemicals can cause severe tissue damage that is not apparent until hours later.
  • Get medical attention for victims.
  • Chemical spills over large areas of the body.
    • Remove contaminated clothing while flushing with water from safety shower or other source of water.
    • Flush affected body area with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes.
    • Resume flushing with water if pain persists.
    • Wash off chemicals with mild detergent and water; do not use neutralizing chemicals, unguents, creams, lotions or salves.
    • Get immediate medical help.
    • Make sure medical personnel understand exactly what chemicals are involved

In most cases, mechanical or utility problems will not cause life threatening or other serious threats to the health and safety of building occupants. However certain failures, such as power outages and loss of phone service can pose safety and security hazards and disrupt business operations. Such problems, though typically short in duration, may require actions to be taken to protect personnel and property.

If a Mechanical or Utility Failure Creates an Emergency Situation

  • Immediately call or have someone call 911.
    • State the emergency.
    • Give the exact location of the emergency.
  • Activate the fire alarm if an immediate evacuation is necessary.
  • Proceed to the assembly point designated for the building.
  • To the best of your ability, help those needing assistance move to the assembly point or a safe area in the building, if safe to do so.
  • Report to the building’s Emergency Coordinator or other person designated to account for employees.
  • Report the location of anybody left in the building to emergency responders or 911.
  • Do not return to the building until an “All Clear” is announced by the Fire Department, the Department of Public Safety or other recognized authority.
  • Silencing of the alarm is not a signal that it is safe to re-enter the building.

If the Hazard is Not an Immediate Threat, Contact

  • BSU Physical Plant at (218) 755-3988
  • NTC Building and Grounds at (218) 333-6653

There are the policies and procedures to be followed if a student or member of the campus community is experiencing a mental health issue. If the person is an intimidate threat to themselves or others, call 911.

General Mental Illness Symptoms

  • Confused thinking
  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability
  • Extremely high and low moods
  • Excessive fear, worry or anxiety
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Strong feelings of anger
  • Delusions or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not really there)
  • Increasing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Denial of obvious problems
  • Many unexplained physical problems
  • Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Changes in school performance, failing grades
  • Intense fear of gaining weight

If the Person is Not an Immediate Threat

  • Contact the Student Center for Health & Counseling at (218) 755-2053 and ask to speak with a member of the Counseling Staff.
  • You may be asked to walk the person to SCHC.
  • The SCHC is open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. while classes are in session and is located on the 1st floor of Cedar Hall.

If Classes are Not in Session

  • Call the Mobile Crisis Response Team, a regional community resource at (800) 422-0045. Their services are available 24 hours a day.

It is highly unlikely that BSU or NTC offices, personnel or students would receive mail that may pose a health threat. In today’s uncertain world, everyone should nonetheless be alert to possible incidents and know how to proceed if one is encountered. The following procedures are suggested to help you screen your incoming mail.

If you Receive a Suspicious Letter

While experience has shown that most suspicious mailings are hoaxes, the threatened use of a biological agent must be treated as real. If the agent is reported as anthrax, understand that it is not contagious and treatment is readily available if administered before the onset symptoms. Bemidji State University has developed a plan to handle suspicious mailings should you receive one.

  • Do not ignore the threat but remain calm.
  • Do not open the letter or package or pass it to others. Seal it in a plastic bag or cover it with any material available.
  • If the mailing is opened, do not attempt to clean up any spilled contents. Cover the spilled contents and mailing. Then, leave the room and close the door so others cannot enter.
  • Wash your hands in warm, soapy water.
  • Call 911 to report the incident.

Signs of a Suspicious Package

It is impossible to describe the appearance of a typical suspicious mailing, but the FBI has identified the following as common features of threatening letters.

  • No return address
  • Excessive postage
  • Hand written or poorly typed addresses
  • Misspelling of common words
  • Restrictive markings such as “Confidential,” “Persona,” etc.
  • Excessive weight and/or a feel of a powdery substance

All “junk mail” should be left unopened and be places in the trash. If you are not aware of the sender of the mailing, do not open it.

You should know that it is a federal offense to utilize the U.S. Postal Service to perpetrate a hoax that threatens the safety of others. Federal officials have assured the public that all hoaxes will be investigated and those responsible will be prosecuted.

In Case of Suspected Terrorist Activity or Threats

  • Report the threat to law enforcement officials at (218) 333-9111.

Any criminal act the occurs on campus that manifests evidence of terrorism will be an immediate Level 3 emergency. The Emergency Campus Plan will be activated and the Emergency Management Team will be mobilized. The City of Bemidji has an Emergency Response Team that will respond to any threats in the community including BSU.