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Schoolcraft College Emergency Warning System (EWS) Activation Executive Briefing

Executive Summary On September 11, 2013 at approximately 7:09 PM, the Livonia Police Department activated the Emergency Warning System (EWS) siren at the Colleges Main Campus. This Executive Briefing will outline events leading up to the Emergency Warning System siren activation, the response to the warning, and recommendations to improve the College response to future events of this type. This event was confined to the Main Campus on Haggerty Road. Damage to the Main Campus from the severe thunderstorm consisted of several broken tree branches and the toppling of the northernmost Schoolcraft College lighted sign on Haggerty Road. This sign toppled off its base, and Facilities Management personnel cleaned up the glass and made arrangements for its removal and eventual replacement. Nearby areas suffered extensive damage such as downtown Northville, which by Thursday morning on 9/12 had numerous downed large trees, branches littering yards on almost every street along with streets blocked by yellow barricade tape. Several news media trucks were present taking video of the damage. Detailed Incident Description News media throughout the day on September 11, 2013 were messaging that severe rain and wind with possible hail was possible in certain areas, mainly in the afternoon. Campus Police Authority officers monitored news and internet weather sources and as of 4:00 PM, skies were free of any indication of a storm. At 6:04 PM, due to increased TV weather coverage, Chief Steve Kaufman obtained an NOAA Weather Briefing slide-deck about the potential for hazardous conditions and emailed it to Campus Police Authority on-duty officers and off-duty command staff. This briefing (See Appendix D) described a Severe Weather Outlook This Afternoon through Tonight, which included: o o o o Severe Storms Possible After 2:00 PM Damaging Wind is Greatest Threat Localized Flooding Also Possible Due to Heavy Rain Low Risk for Tornadoes Expected Through Wednesday Night

At 7:09 PM Livonia PD activated the EWS sirens. Campus Police authority officers called Livonia PD to obtain specifics, and they confirmed that they issued a Tornado Warning. View the City of Livonia Emergency Warning System (EWS) Activation Guidelines in Addendum A. Campus Police Authority Officers made an Emergency Notification as required by the Clery Act via our fire PA system in order to message the emergency people on the Main Campus. Such notification is required as an Emergency Management best-practice, but also by the Clery Act, which can result in monetary penalties for failing to do so. Within several minutes Livonia PD had downgraded the Tornado Warning to a Tornado Watch. The timeline of events is listed below: August 1, 2013 Page 1

7:11 PM: the weather online was rechecked and we learned that a thunderstorm warning was issued for the area; we do not issue shelter in place warnings for thunderstorms. 07:13 PM: the Livonia Police Department told our officers that the siren was issued due to a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado warning, due to the weather report that showed a high probability of a tornado touchdown in the area. 07:14 PM: Contacted Sgt. Mayes who was off-duty, who gave a directive to make a campus wide announcement to seek shelter in place. 07:I5 PM: an announcement was made over the campus wide PA system to seek shelter.

The message stated: This is the Campus Security Police department; the City of Livonia has issued a tornado storm warning, we ask that all students and staff seek shelter in the center of the building away from all doors and windows. We will make another announcement with any additional updates. The message was repeated, and at 07:26 PM the sirens turned off. 07:27 PM, the Livonia Police department and they said that the sirens were turned off because the warning has been downgraded back to a watch. We were told to monitor the weather and that the sirens would sound again if another warning is issued. 07:28 PM: Sgt. Mayes gave the directive to let students return to class. 07:29 PM: Announcement was made over the campus wide PA system that the warning had been downgraded. This message stated: This is the Campus Security Police Department, the City of Livonia has suspended the Tornado Warning the situation has been downgraded from Tornado Warning to a Tornado Watch. All staff and students may return to their classrooms. We will update you if the situation worsens again. The message was repeated. Other officer actions: Officer Losey and Officer Gough patrolled the campus continuously throughout the event monitoring the area. Hundreds of phone calls came into the Campus Police phone line, at the same time Campus Police Authority officers were attempting to keep myself (Chief Kaufman), other Police command staff and V.P. Glenn Cerny informed so decisions could be made; this while remaining in contact with the Livonia Police and messaging the whole campus. At 07:40 PM officers were busy returning phone calls to staff members who asked for their call to be returned. Rave was not used during this short event to message the campus community, and at the time of this event, most Rave users were not on campus. Rave is only one of several methods we use to make Emergency Notifications. A Rave message alerts all of our campuses and people who are not oncampus. Rave will not always be used, as in this case, depending on the circumstances. We received a call the next morning from a Director whose family was on campus that night, and whose husband is an instructor. That instructor (and her) was very complimentary in how we handled the messaging, and that the details were very clear when it came over the PA system.

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Lessons Learned We learned from a student who was in class, that the instructor in the BTC told his class upon hearing the PA announcement, that class was cancelled and to go home. We believe that other instructors gave their classes the same message as we had a report of many other students also in the parking lot after the announcement and getting into their cars to leave. A student posted this on the schools main Facebook page:
Hey Schoolcraft....I was in the BTC tonight when the sirens went off. I am a little concerned that no one seemed to know what to do. My teacher had to go ask someone, and that person didn't know either. We did evacuate the classroom, but when I walked out of it there were a lot of confused-looking people standing around and no one directing traffic, you know? And it wasn't until several minutes later that there was finally a PA announcement to evac the classrooms. I realize that it should be a no-brainer to go to an inner room when the sirens start, but the class immediately looks to the teacher for guidance, and he didn't have any. And again, I want to emphasize, it wasn't JUST my teacher. Also, I didn't get a RAVE alert for this. Wouldn't this kind of weather emergency warrant that? I have signed in and tested my account and it works, and I have received alerts in the past. Just wanted to bring that up too. I know we're all adults and it's not like we are a room full of children in the care of the teacher, but am I expecting too much when I think that my teacher should be able to say "when the sirens go off, we need to go here"?

An Assistant Dean advised me that it was chaos in the Bio Tech Center (BTC) and she was going classroom-to-classroom to get students into the hallways.

Recommendations Chaos is a natural state during emergencies, mostly due to lack of preparation. An Assistant Dean going from classroom-to-classroom to advice students to get into hallways points to a lack of knowledge and/or preparation by instructors. Students look to instructors for guidance in these events and instructors should have been informing students of what to do. Instructors must tell students to seek shelter instead of sending them out into a possible tornado, and they must know where to locate the shelter information on the shared drive when they are preparing for a semester. Instructors should not be cancelling class unless the campus is closed. The Campus Police Authority provides Emergency Procedures on the College website, including specific Tornado safety procedures. The City of Livonia Emergency Management department provides Tornado safety information (See Addendum B). Such safety information should be disseminated via email to all College staff/students. Install Emergency Procedures in the classroom on a wall near the door. These should be in a folder marked as such.

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Past practice has not afforded Campus Police a time slot at the Welcome Back breakfast/instructor trainings to message instructors about Emergency Procedures. I recommend that this be a catalyst to plan now for the next instructor training session at the winter Welcome Back.

Conclusions This event resulted in no known reported injuries, minor property damage, and is valuable in preparing for improved response to future incidents. Each event of this type allows the College to debrief it as a lessons learned event. This process includes an examination of what occurred, how we responded, and how we can improve the emergency response of the College. This allows for the individual departments that are responsible for the safety and risk management of students, staff and visitors, to improvement the teamwork and synergy involved in future mitigation efforts.
Steven Kaufman, M.S. Chief | Campus Security Police

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ADDENDUM A

CITY OF LIVONIA
EMERGENCY WARNING SYSTEM (EWS) ACTIVATION GUIDELINES It is the policy of the City of Livonia to provide timely notification to its citizens when severe weather conditions exist that are life threatening. Severe weather conditions are those that could result in personal injury, widespread and/or significant property damage. These conditions include, but are not limited to: The National Weather Service (NWS) issues a tornado warning or a severe thunderstorm warning with damaging winds at or near 58 mph. The NWS issues a tornado warning or severe thunderstorm warning w/damaging winds at or near 58 mph within a 10-mile buffer around the City of Livonia. Tornado or funnel cloud sightings are reported and, if at all possible, confirmed by a reliable public safety source (Police, Fire, SKYWARN spotters).

These guides are to be used to help determine when to activate the Emergency Warning System. Activation can only be initiated by, or at the direction of, the Police Desk Officer-In-Charge. EWS ACTIVATION PROCEDURES: When NWS issues a Tornado Warning or Severe Thunderstorm Warning meeting activation criteria . Confirm the warning has been issued for an area affecting the City of Livonia. If in doubt, verification can be made by contacting the NWS at 248-625-4249. Emergency Warning Sirens. There are currently twelve (12) outdoor electric sirens placed strategically throughout the City. The sirens are on battery back-up and will function during a power outage. Cable Voice Override. This allows the user to be heard over ALL cable channels that are being viewed by Brighthouse cable subscribers in the Livonia/Farmington/Novi subscription area. This feature is no longer exclusive to only Livonia residents, nor does it reach non-Brighthouse users (ex; satellite TV subscribers) City Channel 8 Emergency Message. This system allows the user to create and update a message bulletin. This bulletin will only display on City Channel 8. AM1670. Emergency messaging on city owned AM radio station (AM1670) can be initiated from the Dispatch Center. Instructions for interrupting AM1670 programming are also contained in the EWS binder at Position 3 in Dispatch. Complete the Emergency Warning System Activation form (Dispatch or in Blank Forms Compile information related to personal injury, damage, times of warnings, etc.

UPDATES/EXTENSIONS/CANCELLATIONS: There is NO All Clear warning issued with the Emergency Warning Sirens. Consider updating severe weather warnings every 10-15 minutes on the City Channel 8 Emergency Message, Cable Voice Override and AM1670. This may reduce in-coming telephone inquiries. If you haven't received an expiration or cancellation of the warning after the issued time, call the NWS (248625-4249) to inquire and if indicated, extend, cancel or expire the warning.
06/02/09

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ADDENDUM B

Preparing for a tornado / thunderstorm: Plan ahead. Be sure everyone in your household knows where to go and what to do in case of a tornado or thunderstorm warning. Know the safest location for shelter in your home, workplace and school. Load bearing walls near the center of the basement or lowest level generally provide the greatest protection. Know the location of designated shelter areas in local public facilities, such as schools, shopping centers and other public buildings. Have emergency supplies on hand, including a battery-operated radio, flashlight and a supply of fresh batteries, first-aid kit, water and cell phone. Make an inventory of household furnishings and other possessions. Supplement it with photographs of each room. Keep in a safe place.

What to do when a tornado / thunderstorm warning is issued for your area: Quickly move to shelter in the basement or lowest floor of a permanent structure. In homes and small buildings go to the basement and get under something sturdy. If no basement is available, go to an interior part of the home on the lowest level. A good rule of thumb is to put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible. In schools, hospitals and public places move to designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest floors are generally best. Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Broken glass and wind blown projectiles cause more injuries and deaths than collapsed buildings. Protect your head with a pillow, blanket or mattress. Mobile homes and vehicles offer virtually no shelter. Leave them and go to the nearest shelter. If there is no shelter nearby, the best alternative is to find a low spot away from trees, fences and poles, but not in a place subject to flooding. Shield your head with your arms. If you are boating or swimming, get to land and shelter immediately. Follow 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. Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur greater than 10 miles from any rainfall. If you feel your skin tingle or hair stand on end, lightning may be about to strike. Squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Minimize contact with the ground. Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances not necessary for receiving weather information. Use plug-in telephones only in an emergency.

After a tornado / thunderstorm:

Inspect your property and motor vehicles for damage. Write down the date and list damages for insurance purposes. Check for electrical
problems and gas leaks and report them to the utility company at once. Watch out for fallen power lines. Stay out of damaged buildings until you are sure they are safe and will not collapse. Secure your property from further damage or theft. Use only approved or chlorinated supplies of drinking water. Check food supplies.

Anytime: Listen for NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, or local radio, television and cable stations for the latest weather updates. Make sure your NOAA Weather Radio has a battery back up. For NOAA Weather Radio information, including a station near you, see the NOAA Weather Radio page on the Internet at weather.gov/nwr/. A number of related publications produced by the National Weather Service, American Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency are available on-line at www.weather.gov/om/brochures.shtml

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ADDENDUM C

NWS Slide Deck

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