What Should You Do?

Two public safety officers standing by Emergency signage

These references guide members of the University comunity about how to respond in emergency situations on or near the campus. Campus safety is a responsibility we all share. All of us play a critical role in keeping students, faculty, and staff safe on campus. Here’s how you can do your part:

  • Subscribe to Send Word Now. Send Word Now is the best and quickest way to get information in an emergency. Emergency situations develop and change very quickly. Send Word Now keeps you informed during emergency situations.  To ensure that your emergency contact information is up to date in the Send Word Now system.
  • Plan ahead. The time to think about what you would do in an emergency is now. Please take a few minutes to read through these procedures and consider how you would respond. 
  • If you SEE something, SAY something. Reporting crimes, suspicious behavior, and safety concerns to Public Safety helps to keep us all safe. Program (215) 572-2999 into your cell phone and don’t hesitate to make a report. 
  • Always carry your Knight Card. In an emergency, you may find yourself locked out of your building or area as some doors may lock to keep intruders out. Carrying your Knight Card will ensure you can move about should doors be locked. 

Active Shooter

Quickly determine the best way to protect your life.

Evacuate If Possible (RUN)

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Keep your hands visible to responding police officers.

Hide Out (HIDE)

  • Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view.
  • Block entry to your hiding place and lock doors. 
  • Silence cell phones.

Take Action (FIGHT)

  • As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger.
  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
  • Act with physical aggression. Throw items at the shooter if possible. 

Call 911 or Public Safety at (215) 572-2999 when it is safe to do so.

When leaving the area, please note that local authorities may be responding.  If you see the authorities, you should make sure your hands are raised and free of any objects.  

Lockdown: See Lockdown Procedure

Shelter in Place: See Shelter in Place Procedure



An imminent threat of violence may be cause for a lockdown of all or part of campus. Some exterior doors will lock automatically. Emergency responders will lock others manually. The goal is to limit exposure of students, faculty and staff to dangerous persons attempting to enter campus buildings. 

If a lockdown is ordered:

  • Stay inside! Do not leave the building unless an imminently dangerous situation arises inside. If outside, seek shelter in the nearest building.
  • Take shelter in a lockable room if possible.
  • Close windows, shades or blinds, and avoid being seen from outside the room if possible.
  • Turn your cell phone to silent.
  • Monitor Send Word Now and email for updates and further instructions. A description of the actor will be disseminated as soon as possible using these methods.
  • Check the Arcadia website for updates.
  • Report any emergencies or unusual conditions to Public Safety.
  • Use discretion in admitting anyone into a secure building. Require that all backpacks and other bags be left at least 30 feet from the building. Require that the person seeking shelter open all outer garments for visual inspection before allowing entry.
  • Once in a secure location, do not leave until receiving an “all clear” from a police officer, Public Safety officer, Send Word Now, email or website communication.


  • Activate the fire alarm system by pulling a fire alarm station on your way out of the building.
  • If time permits, stabilize lab procedures, turn off appliances, and unplug or disable any device that could make a dangerous situation even worse. 
  • Leave the building via the nearest exit. Warn others as you leave.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Feel doors before opening.  If the door is hot, do not open it.
  • Close doors and windows as you leave if it safe to do so.
  • Report the fire to Public Safety by calling (215) 572-2999 and/or call 911 once outside.
  • If trapped, keep the doors closed and place clothing or towels under them to keep out smoke. Signal for help by hanging an object (e.g., such as a jacket of shirt) out of the window to attract attention.
  • Remain at least three hundred (300) feet away from the building and await further instructions. Keep roadways open and beware of approaching emergency vehicles. Notify emergency responders of anyone trapped, especially anyone with a physical disability who cannot evacuate.
  • Do not go back in the building for any reason until an authorized university official deems it safe to re-enter.

You will be notified via send word now to evacuation location based upon your designated sector.

  • Sector A: Castle, Delran Pavilion, Ruck Health Center, Murphy Hall, Easton Hall, Brubaker Hall, KUCH Center (Commons), Spruance Center, Tennis Courts, 2005, 2035, 2053, 2059 and 2063 Church Road.
  • Sector B: Kistler Hall, Thomas Hall, Dilworth Hall, Blankley Alumni House, Heinz Hall, Knight Hall, Taylor Hall, Boyer Hall, Landman Library, Dining Hall and Mail Room
  • Sector C: Larsen Hall, Oak Summit, 16 Forsythe Ave., President’s House, 6 Royal Ave., Kanami, Green House, 776, 777, 782 Limekiln Pike

Bomb Threat

Bomb threats usually come by telephone. If you receive a bomb threat call, remain calm and obtain as much information as possible from the caller.

  • When will the bomb explode?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause it to explode?
  • Where is the bomb?
  • What does the bomb look like?
  • Did you place the bomb?
  • If not, who placed the bomb?
  • Why did you place the bomb?
  • How many bombs are there?
  • What is your address?
  • What is your name?
  • Notify Public Safety by calling (215) 572-2999 and immediately provide the information you have obtained. Describe the caller’s voice, any background noises you heard, and the exact wording of the message.
  • Do not touch suspicious packages, items or people in the area.
  • Follow instructions from first responders regarding evacuation assembly areas

Suspicious Package

  • Do not open the suspicious item. If you have opened it, remain calm.
  • Notify Public Safety at (215) 572-2999 immediately. 
  • Do not move the item or examine it further.
  • Keep others out of the area. Close off the area if possible.
  • If possible, limit the use of two-way radios and cell phones near the suspicious item.
  • If the item is leaking any substances or powder with which you have come into contact, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, mouth, or any part of your face. Do not touch others or let others touch you.
  • Wash your hands and arms from the elbow down with soap and hot water.
  • Do not attempt to clean or cover anything that might have spilled from the item. 
  • Follow all instructions given by emergency responders.

Large Chemical Spill

  • Notify Public Safety at (215) 572-2999 immediately.
  • Do not attempt to clean up the spill.
  • Remove yourself and others from the area.
  • Close doors to isolate the area.
  • If anyone had contact with the hazardous material, they should be isolated and await treatment by emergency personnel. Do not leave the site until you are cleared by emergency responders.
  • Do not pull the fire alarm unless there is a fire.
  • Provide first responders with information about the spill, the chemical and the spill area.
  • Evacuate the building if first responders ask you to do so.
  • Re-enter the building only when an “all clear” is provided by first responders.

Emergency Contacts and Resources

Public Safety: Emergency – (215) 572-2999

Public Safety: Non-Emergency – (215) 572-2800

Public Safety (during a phone outage) – (215) 290-9700

Off-Campus Emergencies – Cheltenham Police – 911 

Weather Closing and Emergency Hotline – (215) 572-2800

Facilities Management – (215) 572-2992

Facilities (after hours/holidays) – 215-572-2800

Disability Services – (215) 572- 4033

Student Health Services – (215) 572 - 2966

Counseling Services – (215) 572-2967

Student Affairs – 215-572-2933

Employee Assistance Program: Check HR website or call HR at – (215) 572- 2173

UNIT Helpdesk (Phone/internet outage) – (215) 572-9700

Marketing and Communications – (215) 572- 2191

Office of Equity and Civil Rights/Title IX – (215) 517-2659

Office of Institutional Diversity – (215)-572-4088

The College of Global Engagement Safety Officer – (215)-572-2822

Emergency Notification

One or more of the following methods, as well as additional communication channels, may be used to notify the campus community of various emergency events that may impact students, staff, faculty, and visitors on campus.

  • Send Word Now. Important emergency alerts, notifications, and updates are sent to all registered devices, including cell phones and email accounts when there is an immediate threat to the safety of the university community. Employees and students are automatically enrolled in the Send Word Now system.  Please make sure your emergency contact information is up to date by accessing the following website:  http://contactinfo.theacademy-ibt.com/Default.
  • Public Safety Website. Critical information and updates are posted on Public Safety’s home page and may be viewed both internally (students, faculty and staff) and externally (parents, alumni and other constituents).
  • E-mail. Broadcast e-mails are sent to Arcadia students, faculty and staff.
  • Telephone. Broadcast voicemails are sent to faculty and staff and can be accessed both on and off campus through individual voicemail accounts. Critical information is posted on the Arcadia University Emergency Hotline, (215) 572-2800.


Building Evacuation

  • All building occupants are required to evacuate when the fire alarm sounds or upon the orders of an authorized university official such as a Public Safety officer or a local first responder.
  • If time permits, stabilize lab procedures, turn off all appliances, and unplug or disable any device that could make a dangerous situation even worse. 
  • Move to the closest exit using stairwells only in a safe and orderly manner. Take personal belongings with you. Do NOT use elevators.
  • Remain at least three hundred feet away from the building and await further instructions. Keep roadways open and beware of approaching emergency vehicles. Notify emergency responders of anyone trapped, especially anyone with a physical disability who cannot evacuate.
  • Do not go back in the building for any reason until an authorized university official or local first responder deems it safe to re-enter.

Large-Scale Evacuation

  • If evacuation of part or all of the campus is necessary, monitor Send Word Now, e-mail and the University website for additional information.
  • Those in need of transportation will be directed to areas to await transport to an off-campus site.

Evacuating the Disabled

Pre-Planning is important. If you many need assistance evacuating in an emergency, you should pre-plan and contact the Office of Disability Support Services. Disability Support Services works with the Public Safety Department regarding living arrangements and class schedules of students with physical disabilities or mobility issues.  Employees with physical disabilities or mobility issues should contact the Public Safety Office directly for assistance in pre-planning. 

  • Evaluate your need to identify yourself as someone who requires assistance during an evacuation. Some people who may need assistance have no visible disability. 
  • Master the skill of giving quick information on how to best assist you. Be clear and concise. If you have difficulty speaking, consider using a carry-with-you preprinted message.
  • Establish a personal network consisting of people who are regularly in the same area as you. Do not depend on any one person as they may not always be available. Assess your own abilities and communicate your capabilities and limitations to those in your network. 
  • Determine all your evacuation options and prioritize them. Consider the pros and cons of each:
    • Being carried – You have a chance to get out but you and/or your helpers may be injured in the process.
    • Evacuation chairs – Evacuation chairs are safer than being carried and you do not have to wait for responders to reach you. These take practice to use safely, however, and the device has to be nearby. 
    • Areas of Refuge – Areas of refuge are fire-resistant spaces where people unable to use stairs can call for help by a way of two-way communication devices. An area of refuge is a good option if you feel that you may be injured if you evacuate using the stairs; however, they are typically not available in older buildings and you may be overcome by smoke before getting help from rescue personnel. 
    • Use of elevators – Elevators are useful in non-fire emergencies however they are shut down automatically if the fire alarm is activated. The elevator shaft can also become a chimney for smoke and the power can go out, leaving the elevator stuck between floors.

Evacuation Procedures

  • Attempt a rescue evacuation only when a person with a physical disability is in immediate danger and cannot wait for professional assistance.
  • If the building has an Area of Refuge, assist the person with a disability to that area. If possible, at least one person should wait with the person with a disability. For buildings that do not have an Area of Refuge, the person with a disability should be moved to the nearest stairwell, or a room with the door shut which is well clear of any hazardous area.
  • Ask others leaving the building to notify emergency responders that a person with a disability needs assistance in evacuation. Give the specific location. 
  • If waiting for rescue is not an option, two physically able occupants of the building should be invited to volunteer to assist the person with a disability in evacuating. Ask how the person can best be assisted or moved, and whether they require any special considerations or items that need to come with them. Keep in mind that you may need to clear debris in order to safely evacuate.
  • Do no use elevators unless told to do so by emergency responders?

Medical Emergencies

  • Do not move a seriously injured person unless there is a life threatening situation. 
  • Call Public Safety at extension 2999 or (215) 572-2999.
  • Give your name, location, and telephone number.
  • Give as much information as possible regarding the nature of the injury or illness, whether or not the victim is conscious, etc.
  • Do not hang up until directed to do so by the operator.
  • Return to the victim; administer first aid if you know how; and keep the victim as calm and comfortable as possible.
  • Remain with the victim. A Public Safety Officer will respond immediately to the scene and will summon additional medical personnel if necessary.

Reporting a Crime

All crimes should be reported to the Public Safety Department at (215) 572-2999. Public Safety personnel will respond and will call local police for assistance if necessary. The Public Safety Office is located on the ground floor of Dilworth Hall.

If you witness a crime in progress, call Public Safety immediately. Give your name, location, and phone number. Do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you to do so. Remain at the location until an officer contacts you unless it is not safe to do so. 


Shelter-in-place is designed to keep you safe while indoors if dangerous environmental conditions exist, such as extreme weather or a hazardous materials release.

If a shelter-in-place is ordered:

  • If outside, seek shelter in the nearest building, preferably in an interior room with few windows.
  • Allow access to others seeking shelter. Remember: A Shelter-in-Place order means there are dangerous environmental conditions but NOT any known threat of violent behavior. Allowing others into the building will not jeopardize your safety. 
  • Close all exterior doors, windows and any other openings to the outside. 
  • Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary.
  • Monitor Send Word Now and email for further instructions.
  • Report any emergencies or unusual conditions to Public Safety.
  • Do not leave the building until receiving the “all clear” from a police officer, Public Safety officer, Send Word Now, email, or website communication.

Student In Distress

If you are in contact with a student who appears to be an immediate threat to their own safety or the safety of others, call Public Safety at (215) 572-2999.

Recognize Symptoms

  • Significant change in academic performance and/or classroom conduct
  • Unusual behavior or appearance
  • Traumatic event or change in relationships
  • Reference to suicide, homicide, or death

Respond to the Student

  • Speak privately with student
  • Directly and candidly discuss your observation and concerns
  • Offer support and assistance
  • If you are uncomfortable responding to the student directly and the student is not in crisis, contact the Office of Student Affairs at 215-572-2933.  
  • If the student is in crisis, immediately call Public Safety at 215-572-2999.

Refer to a Mental Health Professional at Counseling Services

  • Be caring, firm, and straight-forward in your referral
  • Consider calling from your office or escorting student to Counseling Services

Consult with On-Campus Resources – Discuss your concerns about a student with any of the following on campus resources.

  • Counseling Services
  • Student Health Services
  • Public Safety
  • Office of Student Affairs
  • CARE Team (AU Concern Form)

Winter Storm

Arcadia University implements the following procedures for announcing delays/closings during periods of inclement winter weather:

  • The decision to delay or close the University due to inclement weather is made by Vice President for Administration and Finance (CFO), in consultation with senior University officials.
  • Closings and delays are announced using the following methods:
    • Send Word Now  
    • Broadcast voicemail messages to University phones
    • KYW Radio – 1060 AM
    • Emergency/Weather closing hotline at 215-572-2800
    • University Website
  • Do not come to campus when a weather-related closing is announced. Employee access to inner-campus is typically limited to emergency vehicles and snow removal personnel. If a weather closing is possible, take any needed items from campus in advance as you may not be permitted to enter until snow removal is complete.

Tornado/Severe Weather

  • A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when tornadoes are possible in the area.
  • A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted, or indicated by weather radar, in the area.
  • Monitor local TV stations, Send Word Now and weather websites for severe weather updates.
  • Be prepared to take shelter on the lowest level of your building or residence hall if a tornado warning is issued.
  • Do not pull the fire alarm to alert others of a tornado warning. 
  • Stay away from windows and exterior doors. Move to an interior hallway for shelter. Wait for an all clear notification prior to returning to your work area, classroom, or living area.
  • If outdoors, lie in a ditch, low-lying area, or crouch near a building if shelter is not available or if there is no time to get indoors.

Utility/Phone/IT Failure

Utility Failures

  • Immediately report utility failures during regular work hours (Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) to the Facilities Management Office at 215-572-2992.
  • Immediately report utility failures after regular work hours, on weekends, and on holidays to Public Safety at 215-572-2800

Phone & IT Failures

  • Call the IT Helpdesk at 215-572-2898 during normal business hours to report an outage. If this number is not working, call the Public Safety alternate phone number listed below.
  • In the event of a campus-wide phone failure, Public Safety’s normal phone numbers will not work, including the emergency number. Public Safety’s alternate phone number in a power outage is 215-290-9700.

Media Calls

Marketing and Communications serves as the point of contact for all media inquiries. During an emergency situation, it is especially important that reporters be directed to Marketing and Communications, whose staff will speak on behalf of the University and have the most accurate and up-to-date information available about an incident. In addition, Marketing and Communications works closely with emergency responders to coordinate what information can or should be released to the general public. 

When receiving any calls from a media representative, please take the following steps:

  • Direct all media inquiries to Marketing and Communications at 215-572-2191
  • To assist Marketing and Communications in responding as quickly as possible, feel free to obtain the following information and forward it on:
    • The reporter’s name and phone number
    • The media organization they represent
    • The type of information they are seeking
    • The reporter’s deadline
  • Regardless of the situation or what the media questions might be, never say “No Comment.” A better response is, “Our Office of Marketing and Communications who handles media questions, and they will be able to assist you.”
  • Never talk “off the record” with the media. Always assume that they will use any information that they obtain in their report. 

Elevator Failure

If you become trapped in an elevator, the following actions should be taken:

  • DO NOT panic. Use the elevator phone or your cell phone to call for assistance.
  • Press the ALARM or HELP button to notify others who may be nearby.
  • DO NOT attempt to force the door open or attempt to climb out of the elevator car. The elevator may re-start without warning.
  • Your best course of action is to relax, get comfortable, and wait for professional assistance. Even if the air temperature feels warm, there is plenty of air circulating in the elevator and throughout the shaft.
  • Provide the following information to Public Safety:
    • Your name
    • Total number of people in the elevator
    • Report any injuries, medical conditions, or disabilities
  • Public Safety will contact Facilities Management and/or the fire department to get you out.

Hostage Situation

If you witness a hostage situation:

Immediately remove yourself from any danger and notify the Department of Public Safety at x2999 or (215) 572-2999. Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Location and room number of incident.
  • Number of possible hostages and hostage takers.
  • Physical description and names of hostage takers, if possible.
  • Any weapons the hostage takers may have.
  • Your name, location and phone number.

If you are taken hostage:

  • Remain calm, be polite and cooperate with your captors.
  • DO NOT attempt escape unless there is an extremely good chance of survival. It is safer to be submissive and obey your captors.
  • Speak normally. DO NOT complain and avoid being belligerent or argumentative.
  • DO NOT draw attention to yourself with sudden body movements, statements, comments or hostile looks. 
  • Observe the captors and try to memorize their physical traits, voice patterns, clothing or other details that can help provide a description later.
  • Avoid getting into political or ideological discussions with the captors. 
  • Try to establish a relationship with your captors and get to know them. Captors are less likely to harm you if they respect you. 
  • If forced to present terrorist demands to authorities, either in writing or on tape, state clearly that the demands are from your captors. Avoid making a plea on your own behalf. 
  • Try to stay low to the ground or behind cover from windows or doors, if possible. 

In a rescue situation:

  • DO NOT RUN. Drop to the floor and remain still. If that is not possible, cross your arms, bow your head, and stand still. Make no sudden moves that a responder may interpret as hostile or threatening.
  • Wait for instructions and obey all instructions you are given.
  • Do not be upset, resist, or argue if a rescuer isn’t sure if you are a terrorist or a hostage. 
  • Even if you are handcuffed and searched DO NOT resist. You will be taken to a safe area, where proper identification and status will be determined.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is having or attempting to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another individual without consent. This includes sexual intercourse or sexual contact achieved by the use or threat of force or coercion, where an individual does not consent to the sexual act, or where an individual is incapacitated. Having or attempting to have non-consensual vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, however slight, with any object or body part, with another person is considered sexual assault.

How to assist an individual reporting sexual assault:

  • Assist the individual to get medical attention as soon as possible:
    • Contact Student Health Services at 215-572-2966 or go to Health Services.  After hours and on weekends, contact Public Safety at 215-572-2999.   Medical attention at the local hospital is required to preserve evidence should you seek criminal prosecution. It is important to know if you go to the hospital; the local police will be called. 
    • If you suspect they may have been given a predatory rape drug, please give health care professionals this information. A urine sample can be collected within 72 hours of a sexual assault for predatory drug testing. The cost for this test is paid for by the University.
  • Seek free confidential counseling at the University Counseling Services or via Montgomery County Victim Services, 610-277-5200, address 325 Swede St. Norristown, PA 19401
  • Contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator, at 215-572-2659 to discuss their options and for support resources.
  • Contact Arcadia Department of Public Safety at (215) 572-2999 
  • The individual should also consider contacting the police department where the incident took place to file a report and to obtain additional resources.

What to do in the event you or a friend are sexually assaulted:

  • Get medical attention as soon as possible:
    • Contact Student Health Services at 215-572-2966 or go to Health Services.  After hours and on weekends, contact Public Safety at 215-572-2999.   Medical attention at the local hospital is required to preserve evidence should you seek criminal prosecution. It is important to know if you go to the hospital, the local police will be called.
    • If you suspect that you may have been given a predatory rape drug, please give health care professionals this information. A urine sample can be collected within 72 hours of a sexual assault for predatory drug testing. The cost for this test is paid for by the University.
  • Contact Public Safety at (215) 572-2999 and/or the local police department where the incident took place to obtain all your options. 
  • Do not drink anything or chew anything, change clothing, shower, wash, douche, or use the toilet prior to a medical exam. Do not apply medication to injuries unless absolutely necessary.
  • Do not disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred.
  • Do not store your clothing in anything other than a paper bag.
  • See free confidential counseling at the University Counseling Services.
  • Discuss your options and receive support from University’s Office of Civil rights and Equity/Title IX, at 215-572-2659.
  • Contact Arcadia Department of Public Safety at (215) 572-2999 
  • The individual should also consider contacting the police department where the incident took place to file a report and to obtain additional resources.

Additional Information

Consent if often a critical issue in sexual assault cases. Each participant in a sexual encounter is expected to obtain and give consent to engage in all forms of sexual activity:

  • Consent is an explicitly communicated, reversible mutual agreement in which all parties are capable of making a decision. It is informed, voluntary, and actively given.
  • Consent exists when all parties exchange mutually understandable affirmative words or behavior indication their agreement to participate voluntarily in sexual activity. 
  • Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of an active response alone.
  • A person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent. 
  • An individual who is physically incapacitated from alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily), or is unconscious, unaware or otherwise physically impaired is considered unable to give consent.
  • Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is never an excuse for sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other sexual misconduct and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.
  • Just because someone has consented to sex in the past, doesn’t mean that they’re consenting now.

Preparing For a Disaster

  1. Get a kit of emergency supplies.
    Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer. While there are many things that might make you more comfortable, think first about fresh water and food. Always have a ready supply of water along with some non-perishable food – enough to get you through a few days. 
  2. Make a plan for what you will do in an emergency.
    Plan in advance what you will do in an emergency. Be prepared to assess the situation. Use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Work out a communication plan with your family in the event that cell service was not available. Consider how far you would have to travel to get home and where you might go if you were unable to initially go home. Do you have friends or relatives within driving distance to Arcadia? Communicate in advance with your family in advance in the event you lose communication with them. 
  3. Be informed about what might happen.
    Send Word Now is the University’s primary method of emergency communication. Go to the website to make sure your emergency contact information is up to date in the Send Word Now system.

Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family emergency plan, are the same for both a natural or manmade emergency. However, there are significant differences among potential terrorist threats, such as biological, chemical, explosive, nuclear and radiological, which will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. By beginning a process of learning about these specific threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency.



Arcadia has automated external defibrillators (AEDs) placed around campus. Click here for locations