SSMT is committed to minimizing the harmful effects of emergency situations by:
- Preventing them when possible
- Mitigating them when they occur
- Preparing for them
- Responding to them
- Recovering effectively from them
Towards these ends it adopts this plan. The procedures in this plan will be tested at least once each year.
Risk Analysis and Campus Characteristics
SSMT is located in a suburban professional center on the gulf coast of Florida, serves students from 18 into their 60's, and clinic clients who are older than that. It operates during day and evening hours.
It is a small commuter school with no campus housing. Many of the types of emergencies that might affect large institutions with thousands of residential students do not apply to SSMT.
Among the largest risks on the coast of Florida are hurricanes and tropical storms. Other risks include flooding, fire, and crime. A review of SSMT's Clery data indicate very little crime on or off campus; the last instance of crime of any sort was a robbery in 2009. The only other emergencies that SSMT has experienced in it's 35 years of existence have been tropical storms, and the emergency plan has served it well each time this occurred.
The above characteristics inform this plan.
Preparedness and Response
In 2012 the school installed a security system and camera to safeguard the school from crime during hours when the school is unoccupied.
The school has an emergency notification and timely warning system (see above) for emergencies such as tropical weather or danger of violent crime.
In the event of an emergency, the school has an emergency committee that will confirm that there is a significant emergency, determine who to notify, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system. The Emergency Committee will consist of the Director of the School, the Education Director, and the Finance Director. They will notify the Police and/or Fire Department as needed. In the absence of the any of the members of the committee on campus, any members present on campus have the authority to determine whether there is time to contact those not present, or initiate the notification system, and or a lockdown.
What You Can Do
When faced with a fire, medical emergency, explosion, hazardous materials spill or act of violence anyone on the premises aware of the emergency should do the following:
- Warn others about the emergency
- Evacuate the area if necessary
- Seek protective cover if necessary
- Report the emergency to a school administrator or faculty member
In the unlikely event that no school personnel are present, call 911 and give the operator:
- Your name
- The telephone number from which you are calling
- The location of the emergency
- Your location - campus, building, room number
- The type of emergency
Do not hang up until the 911 operator obtains all the necessary information.
Thunderstorm During Lightning:
- Stay inside
- Power down computers and turn off other electrical equipment
- Do not touch or unplug electrical cords
- Avoid water fixtures, telephone lines and any electric-conducting materials
- Tornado Watch: Conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form. SSMT has no portable buildings or trailers, so at this point the situation will be monitored. (If you are ever off campus in a portable building or trailer and a tornado watch is issued, move to a permanent building)
Tornado Warning: A tornado has been spotted in the area of the campus. Tornado warnings will be announced by the instructors. When a tornado warning is issued, all attention should be directed toward protecting life, not property.
- In the event of a tornado warning, if you are on campus, you will be instructed to stay away from exterior walls, doors, windows and items that might fall from above. The safest places in SSMT are the bathrooms and interior corridor. Occupants of Classroom 1, with it's big glass walls, should move to another room.
- Cover your head and face with your hands and arms
Tropical Storm / Flood Threat / Hurricane Threat
When SSMT closes because of a tropical storm, rain or flooding, or hurricane threat, the following activities must be completed by each department before releasing faculty and staff:
- Back-up computer hard drives. Secure backup disks and take them off site. Unplug computers, printers and other electrical appliances.
- Move contents from bottom drawers of desks and file cabinets in case of flooding.
- Move all equipment, books, papers and other valuables off the floor in case of flooding.
- Check contents of refrigerator and set to coldest setting.
- Empty trash receptacles of items likely to rot.
- Take home all personal items of value.
- Close and lock all doors and set security system.
- Monitor the radio/television for additional information or call the director. Additional information can be found at the Sarasota County disaster sites: http://www.sarasotacoad.org and https://www.scgov.net/AllHazards/Pages/default.aspx
- Move all equipment, books, papers and other valuables away from windows, off the floor and to interior areas of the building. Be sure that equipment and other valuables that are moved outside your office are tagged for easy identification and retrieval.
- Clear desktops, tables and exposed horizontal surfaces of materials subject to damage.
- Close and lock all filing cabinets and take the keys. You are responsible to keep the keys safe.
- If there is a fire, smoke is the greatest danger. Always stay low where the air is less toxic and visibility is greater.
- Remain calm
- Close doors and windows if possible, but leave them unlocked for search teams
- Assist injured or disabled persons to a designated rescue waiting area
- Use the nearest, safest route to the designated evacuation area. Be alert for hazards (smoke, debris, flames) and move quickly to the outside
- Move away from the building
- Do not block entrances
- Do not permit re-entry to the building until an emergency services official confirms it is safe
- Report any missing persons to emergency personnel
- Do not release any information about students, staff or the status of the emergency situation to the media, family, friends or the public. Direct all such inquiries to the Director or other administrator.
- If requested, assist emergency personnel. Otherwise, remain calm and stay clear of emergency operations.
SSMT has adopted threat assessment procedures developed by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Secret Service in a collaborative effort to help school and college campuses reduce violence and create safe climates.
Report suspicious behavior by students, employees or visitors to the Director at 941-957-0577.
Early Warning Signs
It is not always possible to predict behavior that will lead to violence. However, educators and sometimes students can recognize certain early warning signs. In some situations, and for some students, different combinations of events, behaviors and emotions may lead to aggressive rage or violent behavior toward themselves or others. A good rule of thumb is to assume that these warning signs, especially when they are presented in combination, indicate a need for further analysis (threat assessment) to determine an appropriate intervention.
The National School Safety Center identified the following behaviors that could indicate a student's potential for harming him/herself or others, based on a recent study.
- Severe social withdrawal
- Excessive feelings of isolation and being alone
- Excessive feelings of rejection
- Being a victim of violence
- Feelings of being picked on and persecuted
- Expressions of violence in writings and drawings
- Poor or deteriorating performance
- Uncontrolled anger
- Pattern of impulsive, intimidating or bullying behavior
- History of disciplinary problems
- Prejudicial attitudes and intolerance for differences
- Affiliation with gangs
- Access to, possession of, or use of firearms, explosives or weapons
- Threats of violence when angry
- Preference for books or videos with violent themes
- Background of substance abuse, including alcohol
- Few or no close friends
- Often depressed and has significant mood swings
- Has threatened or attempted suicide
- Displays cruelty to animals
When a person(s) exhibits hostile actions, e.g. hostile confrontation, person with a weapon, active shooter or similar type of threat, immediately call 911 and notify the Director or other administrator. Do not try to engage or separate combatants. Await the arrival of security and/or local police.
- Move quickly; don't wait for others to validate your decision
- Leave belongings behind
- Survival chances increase if you are not where the hostile person is or to go where he can't see you
- Call 911 and give the operator:
- Type of emergency
- Location - campus, building, room number
- Location of emergency
- Your name and title
- The telephone number from which you are calling
- The number of combatants, description, and type of weapons
- If a hostile person is between you and the exit remain in place and hidden
- Avoid places that might trap you or restrict movement
- Find a room that can be locked with objects to hide behind
- Lock the door or stockade the door with heavy objects
- Turn out lights, become totally silent
- Turn off noise producing devices
- Call 911 if you can without alerting the hostile person
- If two or more of you, DO NOT huddle together
- Quietly develop a plan of action in the event the hostile person enters
- Remain calm