Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Plans

Emergencies, disasters, accidents, injuries, and crime can occur at any time without warning. Being physically and psychologically prepared to handle unexpected emergencies is an individual and organizational responsibility. 

This section was developed to minimize the impacts resulting from an emergency. Please read thoroughly before an emergency occurs, become acquainted with its contents, and keep it in a visible, accessible location in your office for immediate reference. If you have any questions about a unique situation that is not covered in the reference, or would like additional emergency information, call the Department of Public Safety at 415-422-4222.

What You Can Do Now to Prepare

  • Keep enough emergency supplies in your office or car (medication, flashlight, comfortable shoes, bottled water, food, batteries, portable radio, etc.) for up to 72 hours in case of a serious emergency. 
  • Post these emergency procedures information in a visible location in your office or work area.
  • Become familiar with quickest evacuation routes from your building.
  • Locate the nearest fire extinguisher and pull station. 
  • Register for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first-aid, or other safety training courses.
  • Prepare a plan for yourself and your family specifying what to do, where to go, and how to cope until you are able to get home. Designate an out-of-state relative or friend to act as a contact for separated family members.

Evacuation Procedures

Before an emergency, determine the nearest exit to your location, the safest route to follow, and an alternate exit. Building evacuation routes are posted in all campus buildings. Leave the immediate area but remain available to emergency personnel. If time permits during an evacuation, secure your workplace and take personal items such as keys, bags, medication, and eyeglasses. In case of fire or other dangerous conditions, evacuate immediately  and leave personal items behind. Remember to follow directions given by the Building Marshals.

  1. Immediately evacuate. Walk, do not run.
  2. Do not use elevators.
  3. Seek out people with special needs and provide assistance. The Department of Public Safety will provide assistance as needed and can be reached at 415-422-2911.
  4. Gather outside at your designated relocation area where your supervisor or Building Marshal will take roll and account for all personnel.
  5. If you cannot return to your building, wait for instructions from the Department of Public Safety, your Building Marshal, or other individual in charge. 

In the event of a major hazardous situation to campus, it may be necessary to relocate university personnel to a relocation site listed below. Your Building Marshal will direct individuals to these areas. Stay clear of fire hydrants and responding emergency vehicles, equipment and personnel.

Zone Evacuation Site Buildings in Zone
1 Negoesco Field Koret Center
2 Fulton or Parker Street Sidewalks 

Cowell Hall

Fromm Institute

Kalmanovitz Hall

Kendrick Hall

Malloy Hall

St. Ignatius Church and Parish

Toler Residence Hall

Malloy Hall

Zief Law Library

3 Golden Gate Avenue Sidewalk (North Side)

Cowell Hall

Fromm Residence Hall

Gillson Residence Hall

Gleeson Library

Harney Science Center / CSI

Hayes-Healy Residence Hall

Malloy Hall

Memorial Gym

Toler Residence Hall

University Center


4 Lone Mountain Parking Lot / Spanish Steps

Lone Mountain Pacific Wing

Lone Mountain Rossi Wing

Lone Mountain Main

Loyola House


Masonic Avenue Sidewalks (East Side)

Turk Street Sidewalks (South Side)

School of Education

281 Masonic

6 6th Avenue and Anza Street ( South West Side) Pedro Arrupe Residence Hall

Lo Schiavo Drive (LV Turn Around)

Lone Mountain Park Lot / Spanish Steps

Lone Mountain Residence Hall / North Wing

8 Anza Street (North Side) Loyola Village Residence Hall

Lone Mountain Grass / Turk Street

Lo Schiavo Drive (LV Turnaround)

Loyola House

Lone Mountain East 





Active Shooter Situations

While the possibility of a violent event occurring on campus is extremely unlikely, the Office of Campus Resilience is available to provide active shooter education. For more information, Active Shooter Resources

  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
  • Examine the doors.  How can you secure them
  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
  • Ask yourself the "what if?" questions. This will enable you to develop effective response strategies
  • Is there a phone in the room
  • Is there a fire extinguisher or other improvised weapons nearby
  • Add USF Public Safety 415-422-2911 to your phone



If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate.

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • If possible, help others escape but do not let them hinder you.
  • Prevent others from entering the area.
  • Keep your hands visible, follow law enforcement instructions.
  • Call Public Safety at x2911 from an on-campus phone or at (415) 422-2911 and 911 when safe. This allows for Public Safety Officers to respond more quickly and assist arriving first responders.


If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the shooter is less likely to find you.

  • Your hiding place should:
    • Be out of view
    • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction
    • Not trap or restrict your movement options
  • If an active shooter is nearby:
    • Try to enter an office or room with door and lock, if possible. Blockade with heavy furniture, if possible.
    • Close any windows and shades
    • Turn off all lights
    • Silence your cell phone
    • Turn off any source of noise, remain quiet
    • Hide behind large items
  • If you are hiding (sheltering-in place):
    • Remain secure until directed by a law enforcement officer, a USF Public Safety Officer, or notification from USF Alert
    • Do not open the door to anyone other than a law enforcement officer or a USF Public Safety Officer
    • Do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a law enforcement officer or a USF Public Safety Officer


As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and / or incapacitate the active shooter.

  • Act as aggressively as possible against the active shooter
  • Improvise weapons from nearby objects
  • Yell
  • Commit to your actions

Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquakes are an infrequent reality when living in San Francisco. While we cannot predict when earthquakes will hit, we can take a number of precautions to stay safe in the event of a seismic event.

  • Create a personal preparedness kit
  • Form a communications plan with friends and family
  • First aid kit (including relevant prescription medication)
  • Hygiene products (including toothbrush, hand sanitizer, etc.)
  • Eyeglasses or contact lens care
  • Water (recommended one gallon per day)
  • Food (non-perishable)
  • Sweater / jacket
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Cash
  • Copies of Social Security Card and passport
  • Phone charger
  • Blanket
  • Can opener
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries

Watch "What You Need Before the Next Earthquake"

Emergency Go-Kit Flyer

Drop, Cover, and Hold On

  • If you are indoors:

  • Stay inside until the shaking stops.
  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there is not a table nearby, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • If you are in a stadium or arena:
    • Stay at your seat and protect your head and neck with your arms. Do not try to leave until the shaking is over. Walk out slowly watching for anything that could fall in the aftershocks. 
  • If you are outdoors:

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until shaking stops.
  • If you are in a moving vehicle:

  • Stop as quickly as safely possible and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
  • After the shaking has stopped, evaluate your surroundings.
    • Look for safety hazards such as fire, smell of gas or fumes, dangerous debris or obvious structural damage.
    • Look for injured or trapped people.
  • If you are in a building and there are no obvious hazards, do NOT evacuate.
  • If the structural integrity of your building is compromised or your surroundings are hazardous, evacuate. Use the stairs. Assist in the building evacuation of people with special needs.
  • Determine if emergency responders are needed. If yes, dial x2911 from a university phone or 415-422-2911 from an outside line.
  • Expect aftershocks. If you feel additional shaking, drop, cover, and hold on until the aftershocks stop.
  • Wait for information from USF via USF Alert and the outdoor speaker system. You may also receive information from the City of San Francisco through AM radio stations: KGO 810; KCBS 740, and KNBR 680.

Emergency Response Guide


A fire may include visible flames, smoke, or strong odors of burning. The appropriate emergency action is for people to evacuate the building quickly and safely and to notify the Department of Public Safety Dispatch at x2911 from a university phone or 415-422-2911 from an outside line. For university buildings, the Building Marshal shall work with emergency responders to provide information about the location and cause of the fire, if known, and to assist in a safe and orderly evacuation of the building.

Immediate Action

For the Person Discovering the Fire

Manually activate the fire alarm system. If it is safe for you to attempt to extinguish the fire, remember R-A-C-E-R

  • Remain calm and RESCUE anyone in immediate danger
  • ALARM - pull the nearest fire alarm
  • CONTAIN the fire - close all doors but do not lock them and call x2911
  • EXTINGUISH the fire only if you can do so safely and quickly
  • RELOCATE - evacuate the building, if necessary

After the fire is extinguished, call x2911 if you have not already done so.

For Occupants of the Building

  • Close but do not lock the doors to your immediate area
  • EVACUATE the building via the nearest exit. Assist others in exiting the building
  • DO NOT use elevators
  • Avoid smoke-filled areas

For People Evacuating from the Immediate Fire Area

  • Feel door from top to bottom. If it is hot, DO NOT proceed; go back.
  • If door is cool, crouch low and open the door slowly. Close door quickly if smoke is present so you do not inhale it.
  • If no smoke is present, exit the building via the nearest stairwell or exit.
  • If you encounter heavy smoke in a stairwell, go back and try another stairwell.

Next Actions

The responding fire department Incident Commander will control and make decisions at the scene of the fire. The fire department will decide when to turn control of the scene back to the university. The USF Department of Public Safety, and university administration, will decide when to turn control of the facility tenants.

Subsequent Procedures / Information

Depending on the nature and needs of the incident, assistance and services may be brought in from other public support agencies, university resources, or specialized contractors.


A bomb threat may come to the attention of a member of the university in a number of various ways. It is important to compile as much information as possible. The receiver of the threat should NOT attempt to notify or evacuate an entire building as this could take valuable time that would be better used to gather information on the nature of the threat. It is important to keep in mind that the vast majority of threats are false and are primarily intended to elicit a response from the building occupants. In the event that the threat is written, it is vital that the document is handled by as few people as possible as the document is evidence and it should be turned over to the Department of Public Safety. If the threat is received via email, make sure that the information is saved on your computer. As most threats are transmitted over the telephone, the following instructions are provided with that assumption in mind.

Immediate Action

  • Remain calm. If applicable, pay attention to your telephone display and record any information shown in the display window.
  • The objective is to keep the caller on the line as long as possible to attempt to gather as much information as possible. Try not to anger the caller at any time.
  • While engaging the caller, try to pay attention to any background noise and distinctive sounds (traffic, machinery, other voices, music, etc.) that may provide clues on the caller's location.
  • Note any characteristics of the caller's voice (gender, age, accent, education, etc.).
  • Attempt to obtain information on the location of the device (building, floor, room, etc.).
  • At the conclusion of the call, immediately notify DPS at x2911 from an on-campus phone or 415-422-2911 from a non-university phone.
  • If the threat was left on your voicemail, do not erase.
  • Notify the immediate supervisor within your work area.

Next Actions

The decision to evacuate a university building shall be made after a thorough evaluation of the information available, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Nature of the threat
  • Specificity of location and time of detonation
  • All circumstances related to the threat (including series of events leading to threat, political climate, etc.)
  • Discovery of a device or unusual package

The University of San Francisco Department of Public Safety will dispatch a search team and will organize the search. Local emergency services will be notified of the threat and asked to stand by for further instructions. Persons leaving the building should report to that building's assembly location.

Subsequent Procedures / Information

The university community can be of assistance to the Department of Public Safety in several ways. Staff will be more familiar with their work area than responders and may be asked to identify boxes or objects in their work area. If an evacuation of an academic building is necessary, classes will be dismissed or relocated. If a suspicious device, package, or bag is discovered, USF Public Safety Officers will notify the San Francisco Police Department for assistance. The decision to resume normal activities in the building will be made jointly by the Senior Director / Chief or a designee in consultation with appropriate individuals in university administration.

What to Do in a Medical Emergency:

  • Do not move the person unless danger is present.
  • Call x2911 from a University phone or 415-422-2911 from a non-University phone. Give Public Safety Dispatch the following information:
    • Who and where
    • Building name and location
    • Building address
    • Cross streets
    • Floor and room number
    • Nature of the emergency
    • Your call-back number


The following instructions serve as a reminder for providing emergency assistance ONLY if trained or certified.

Always call 415-422-2911 or 911 for medical assistance.

Immediate Actions

To Start Breathing (Victim is not Breathing but has Pulse)

  • Call 415-422-2911. Perform rescue breathing, if trained or certified.
  • With the victim's head tilted back and chin lifted, pinch the nose shut.
  • Give two slow breaths. Breathe into the victim, until chest gently rises.
  • Check for a pulse (on neck).
  • If there is a pulse, but victim is still not breathing, give one slow breath every five seconds (twelve times a minute).
  • Re-check pulse and breathing every minute. Continue rescue breathing as long as victim is not breathing or until medical assistance arrives.

To Give Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (Victim is Not Breathing and has no Pulse)

  • Call 415-422-2911. Do CPR and rescue breathing, if trained or certified.
  • Find the notch where the lower ribs meet the breastbone. Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone. Place your other hand on top of the first.
  • Position shoulders over hands. Compress chest fifteen times, using a smooth, even rhythm.
  • Give two slow breaths.
  • Do three more sets of fifteen compressions and two breaths.
  • Re-check pulse and breathing for about five seconds.
  • If there is no pulse, continue sets of fifteen compressions and two breaths.
  • Continue until medical assistance arrives or until victim starts breathing and has a pulse.

Abdominal Thrust for Choking Victim

  • Call 415-422-2911 for emergency instructions.
  • Get behind the victim. Wrap your arms around the victim's waist, just above the navel.
  • Clasp your hands together with a doubled fist. Press in and up in quick thrusts.
  • Be careful not to exert pressure against the victim's rib cage with forearms.
  • Repeat procedure until choking stops.

To Stop Bleeding

  • Call 415-422-2911.
  • Apply pressure directly onto the wound with a sterile gauze, clean handkerchief, or gloved hand.
  • Maintain a steady pressure for five to ten minutes.
  • If victim is bleeding from an arm or leg, elevate it.
  • Stay with victim until help arrives.

Seizures and Unconscious Victims

  • Do not leave victim alone.
  • Call 415-422-2911 for assistance.

Heat-Related Illness

  • Get victim to a cool place.
  • Loosen tight clothing.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to the skin.
  • Fan victim.
  • If victim is conscious, give cool (not cold) water to drink.
  • Call an ambulance if victim refuses water, vomits, or loses consciousness.


Suspicious packages are not limited to those delivered by commercial or U.S. postal carrier. If you receive or discover a suspicious package or foreign device, do not touch it, tamper with it, or move it. Dial x2911 (415-422-2911 from a non-university phone) immediately and report it to the Department of Public Safety.

Detecting Suspicious Packages or Letters

Suspicious packages are not limited to those delivered by a commercial or U.S. postal carrier. The U.S. Postal Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms have designated the following characteristics as indicators of suspicious packages:

  • Lumps, bulges, or protrusions on the package
  • A lopsided or heavy-sided package
  • Handwritten addresses or labels from companies (check to see if the company exists and if they sent a package or letter)
  • Packages wrapped in string
  • Excess postage on small packages or letters
  • No postage or uncanceled postage
  • Handwritten notes such as "To Be Opened By..."
  • Restrictive markings such as "confidential" or "personal"
  • Improper spelling of common names, places, or titles
  • Generic or incorrect titles, titles with no names attached
  • Oily discolorations or crystallization on wrapper
  • Protruding wires, string, tape, etc.
  • Hand delivered or "dropped off for a friend" packages or letters
  • No return address or nonsensical return address
  • Foreign mail, air mail, and special-delivery packages
  • Any letters or packages arriving before or after a phone call from an unknown person asking if the item was received

Immediate Actions

If you receive or discover a suspicious package or foreign device, do not touch it, tamper with it, or move it. Dial x2911 (415-422-2911) immediately to report.

Packages or Letters Containing a Powdery Substance or Anthrax Threat

  • Call x2911 (415-422-2911)
  • Immediately secure and evacuate area. Move people away. Do not move or open the package. Do not investigate too closely. Do not cover or insulate the package.
  • Turn off ventilation, if able, or call Facilities Management at x6464 (415-422-6464) to do so.
  • Thoroughly wash hands, remove clothing, and place clothing in plastic bag.
  • Do not return to area until cleared by the Department of Public Safety or first responders.


An explosion is caused by a rapid expansion of gas from chemical reactions or incendiary devices. Signs of an explosion may be a very loud noise or series of noises and vibrations, fire, heat or smoke, falling glass or debris, or building damage.

Immediate Action

  • Get out of the building as quickly and calmly as possible. Call x2911 from a university phone or 415-422-2911 from an outside line.
  • If items are falling off of bookshelves or from the ceiling, get under a sturdy table or desk.
  • If there is a fire, stay low and exit the building as quickly as possible. Activate the building fire alarm system, if possible.
  • If you are trapped under debris, tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are.
  • Assist others in exiting the building and move to designated evacuation areas. Keep streets and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.
  • Untrained people should not attempt to rescue people who are inside a collapsed building and should wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
  • Once outside, move at least 150 feet away from the building and proceed to the designated area for evacuation. Keep roadways and walkways clear for emergency vehicles.

Next Actions

The emergency services Incident Commander will make decisions regarding the control and abatement of the explosion incident and will determine if it is safe to re-enter or re-occupy the building.

Subsequent Procedures / Information

Depending on the nature and degree of the explosion incident, other support agencies and university resources may be brought in for services or assistance.



A hazardous materials incident may be a spill or release of chemicals, radioactive materials, or biological materials inside a building or into the environment. The user may manage simple spills if they are adequately trained to do so. Major spills or emergencies require assistance from 24-hour emergency services - including USF Environmental Safety Office and the San Francisco Fire Department. The university does not have a fire department or HAZMAT team.

Immediate Action

Simple spills should be cleaned up by the person that caused the spill if they are adequately trained to do so.

For major spills or emergencies:

  • Dial x2911 from a university phone or 415-422-2911 from an outside line.
  • Evacuate, assemble at a safe distance, and ensure a Building Marshal is available to communicate with any arriving first responders.
  • Account for all individuals.
  • Wait for, and provide, information to responders.

Next Actions

The decision to call for emergency assistance may be made by the user, a person discovering an incident, or the responders receiving the call for assistance.

  • Determine if emergency responders are needed
  • Determine if immediate hazards are under control and the situation is stabilized
  • Determine if the site can be reoccupied or if further remediation or repair is needed

The decision that an incident is controlled and stabilized is made by the emergency response agency (local fire department, Environmental Safety Office, or a HAZMAT team). After immediate hazards have been controlled and stabilized, the transfer of authority and responsibility for the site will be returned to the university.

Emergency agencies may request input for decision making from university resources to determine that reoccupation is safe.

Subsequent Procedures / Information

Depending on the nature and needs of the incident, assistance and services may be brought in from other public support agencies, university resources, or specialized contractors.


It is understood that from time to time the University of San Francisco may experience infrastructure issues that could impact university operations. These include electricity, computer, steam, water, or telephone failures. The inherent danger during a major power outage is panic. Try to remain calm. In the event of a major, campus-wide outage, USF has emergency generators that will immediately provide emergency power to selected areas of campus.  

Immediate Action

  • If a critical incident is experienced relating to water, electricity, or steam, call Facilities Management at x6464 on a university phone or 415-422-6464 from an outside line.
  • If a critical incident is experienced related to telephone or computer systems, call Information Technology Services at 415-422-6668.

In Case of Major, Campus-Wide Power Outage

  • Remain calm.
  • Follow directions from the Department of Public Safety for immediate action.
  • If evacuation of a building is required, week out people with special needs and provide assistance. Call x2911 for additional assistance.
  • Laboratory personnel should secure all experiments and unplug electrical equipment before evacuating. All chemicals should be stored in their original locations. Provide natural ventilation by opening all windows and doors. If this is not possible, or natural ventilation is inadequate, evacuate the laboratory until the power is returned.
  • Do not use candles or other types of open flame for lighting.
  • Unplug all electrical equipment, including computers and turn off light switches.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Doors equipped with key-card readers will lock and limit entry.

If People are Trapped in an Elevator

  • Tell passengers to stay calm and that you are getting help.
  • Call 415-422-2911 and provide information.
  • Stay near passengers until Public Safety or assistance arrives, provided it is safe to stay.

Next Actions

The first responders will determine whether a critical incident exists and will report to the appropriate department heads. In the event that a critical incident exists, the Incident Management Team will be convened.

Subsequent Procedures / Information

Depending on the nature and needs of the incident, assistance and services may be brought in from other public support agencies, university resources, or specialized contractors.


Terrorism is defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian populations, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) may potentially be deployed by terrorists and can be categorized into five groups using the acronym CBRNE - chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive.

First responders in San Francisco have been trained to recognize the effects resulting from a CBRNE attack and to respond accordingly. Hospitals across San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area have decontamination equipment and personnel trained to treat the effects of CBRNE agents.

The network of local and state public health department, local hospitals, pharmacies, and the federal Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) maintains supplies of antibiotics, antivirals, and vaccines to treat known biological agents. In the event of a need to vaccinate or otherwise distribute medication to a large segment of the local population, the local and state public health departments maintain plans for mobilizing regional resources.

Immediate Action

Instruction on what to do in the event of a CBRNE attack will be disseminated through the city, county, and university Public Information Officers. It is recommended that you have a battery-operated radio or television available for listening / viewing for use in this type of emergency. 

Prepare to deal with a terrorist incident by adapting many of the same techniques used to prepare for other crises, such as being alert to your surroundings - including any conspicuous or unusual behavior, having a personal plan, and being familiar with the evacuation plan for your building. In the event of a terrorist attack, follow the directions of authorities and the procedures drawn up in the preparedness plan.

Mask: Put on breathing protection such as a mask or cover mouth and nose with a cloth.

Move: If indoors, move to the highest, most interior room of a house or building. If outdoors, move laterally and upwind away from any smoke or aerosol cloud.

Shelter: Seek shelter in a building or covered structure. If in a vehicle, pull over and turn off the engine, air conditioner, heater and vents, and roll up the windows.

  •  Turn off all electrical appliances, fans, air conditioners, furnaces, etc.
  • Close and lock all windows, vents, doors, and other openings
  • Seal room windows and doors with duct or masking tape
  • Seal door thresholds with wet towels
  • Sit adjacent to an inner wall and away from outer walls and windows. Do not smoke, light candles, or use any sources of open flame.

Next Actions

Evacuation: Be prepared to evacuate your home or workplace if circumstances require it. Follow the steps in your personal family disaster plan to be sure you have the necessary items with you.

Listen: Keep calm and listen to the radio / TV for official news updates. Stay indoors until notified by authorities that it is safe.


  • Minimize contact with all outside surfaces
  • Remove contaminated clothing and jewelry as soon as possible and place in separate, sealed plastic bags
  • Wash exposed skin with soap and water and shampoo hair

Seek Care: If exposure is known or suspected, report to the nearest medical facility as directed by public health officials for evaluation and treatment. Inform the staff you may be contaminated.

Assist Others: As circumstances and your training permits, assist others in your building or neighborhood. Depending on the magnitude of the incident, assistance from emergency services personnel may be significantly delayed. Preparing beforehand by seeking training through the American Red Cross, the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT), or other organization can provide a valuable community service.

Subsequent Procedures / Information

Depending on the nature and needs of the incident, assistance and services may be brought in from other public support agencies, university resources, or specialized contractors.


Violent incidents, including but not limited to acts of terrorism, an active shooter, assaults, or other incidents of workplace violence can occur on campus or in close proximity with little or no warning. An "active shooter" is considered to be a suspect or assailant whose activity is immediately causing serious injury or death and has not been contained.

The USF Department of Public Safety has adopted nationally accepted law enforcement response procedures to contain and terminate such threats as quickly as possible. The following information regarding law enforcement response will enable you to take appropriate protective actions for yourself. Try to remain calm as your actions will influence others. The following instructions are intended for incidents that are of an emergent nature (i.e., imminent or in progress).

Immediate Action

Leave the Area

If possible, your first action should be to leave the area if you feel safe to do so. Always try and escape or evacuate even if others insist on staying. Work to encourage others to leave with you but do not let them slow you down if they decide not to. It is important to remember to leave behind any belongings. Once you are in a safe area, try to prevent others from walking into the danger area and call 415-422-2911.

Secure the Immediate Area

Whether in a classroom, residence hall room, office, or restroom:

  • Lock or barricade the door, if able. Block the door using whatever is available - desks, tables, file cabinets, other furniture, etc.
  • After securing the door, stay behind solid objects away from the door as much as possible.
  • If the assailant enters your room and leaves, lock or barricade the door behind you.
  • If safe to do so, allow others to seek refuge with you.

Protective Actions

Take appropriate steps to reduce your vulnerability:

  • Close blinds
  • Block windows
  • Turn off radios and computer monitors
  • Silence cell phones
  • Keep people calm and quiet
  • After securing the room, people should be positioned out of sight and behind items that might offer additional protection - walls, desks, file cabinets, bookshelves, etc.

Unsecured Areas

If you find yourself in an open area, immediately seek protection:

  • Put something between you and the assailant.
  • Consider trying to escape if you know where the assailant is and there appears to be an escape route immediately available to you.
  • If in doubt, find the safest area available and secure it the best way you can.

Call x2911

Emergency situations should be reported to DPS Dispatch by dialing x2911. Dispatch will then be able to send USF Public Safety Officers as well as contact the San Francisco Police Department. You may hear multiple rings - stay on the line until it is answered; do not hang up. Be prepared to provide the operator with as much information as possible. This may include:

  • What is happening
  • Where you are located including building name and room number
  • Number of people at your specific location
  • Injuries, if any, including number of injured and types of injuries
  • Your name and any other information requested

Try to provide information in a calm, clear manner so that the dispatcher can quickly relay your information to responding law enforcement and emergency personnel.

What to Report

Try to note as much information as possible about the assailant, including:

  • Specific location and direction of assailant
  • Number of assailants
  • Gender, race, and age of the assailant
  • Language or commands used by the assailant
  • Clothing color and style
  • Physical features - height, weight, facial hair, glasses, etc.
  • Type of weapons - handgun, rifle, shotgun, explosives, etc.
  • Description of any backpack or bag
  • Do you recognize the assailant? Do you know their name?
  • What exactly did you hear? Explosions, gunshots, etc.

Treat the Injured

Dispatch will notify law enforcement and other emergency services agencies - fire and rescue. EMS will respond to the site, but may not enter the area until it is safe for them to do so. You may have to treat the injured as best you can until then. Remember basic first aid:

  • For bleeding, apply pressure and elevate. Many items may be used for this purpose including clothing, paper towels, newspapers, etc.
  • Reassure those in the area that help will arrive. Try to stay quiet and calm. 

Un-securing the Area

  • The assailant may not stop until his objectives have been met or until engaged and neutralized by law enforcement.
  • Always consider the risk exposure by opening the door for any reason.
  • Attempts to rescue people should only be made if it can be done without further endangering the persons inside of a secured area.
  • Be aware that the assailant may bang on the door, yell for help, or otherwise attempt to entice you to open the door of a secured area.
  • If there is any doubt about the safety of the individuals inside the room, the area needs to remain secured.

Law Enforcement Response

USF Public Safety Officers will immediately respond to the area assisted by other local law enforcement agencies if necessary. Remember help is on the way. It is important for you to:

  • Remain inside the secure area.
  • Law enforcement will locate, contain, and stop the assailant.
  • The safest place for you to be is inside a secure room.
  • The assailant may not flee when law enforcement enters the building but instead may target arriving officers.

Injured Persons

Initial responding officers will not treat the injured or begin evacuation until the threat is neutralized and the area is secure.

  • You may need to explain this to others in order to calm them
  • Once the threat is neutralized, officers will begin treatment and evacuation


Responding officers will establish safe corridors for persons to evacuate.

  • This may be time consuming.
  • Remain in secure areas until instructed otherwise.
  • You may be instructed to keep your hands on your head.
  • You may be searched.
  • You may be escorted out of the building by law enforcement personnel. Follow their instructions.
  • After evacuation, you may be taken to a staging or holding area for medical care, interviewing, counseling, etc.
  • Once you have been evacuated, you will not be permitted to retrieve items or access the area until law enforcement releases the crime scene.

Next Actions

Assistance from local and state law enforcement agencies will be provided under existing mutual aid agreements. The decision to call in outside agencies or to close all or a portion of campus will be made by the Senior Director / Chief, or designee, and other appropriate individuals in the university administration. Information will be released to the USF community as quickly as circumstances permit.

Subsequent Procedures / Information

We cannot predict the origin of the next threat. Assailants in incidents across the country have been students, employees, and non-students. In many cases, there were no obvious specific targets and the victims were unaware they were a target until attacked. Being aware of your surroundings, taking common sense precautionary measures, and heeding any warning information can help protect you and other members of the community.


Severe weather conditions can occur suddenly or be forecasted ahead of time. Severe weather likely to occur in this area includes dense fog, heavy rains, and high winds.

Immediate Actions

Heavy Rains and Flooding

  • In the event of extensive roof / window leaks or imminent flooding of ground floor areas, unplug electrical devices and secure all equipment by moving or covering it.

High Winds

  • Remain inside the building, away from windows.
  • If outside, avoid areas with the heaviest concentration of trees. Stay clear of sagging or downed power lines.

Emergency situations that require immediate action and response are reported to the Department of Public Safety at 415-422-2911. Other hazardous conditions that pose a danger to individuals or campus property should be reported to Facilities Management at 415-422-6464 (7:30am - 4:30pm) or Department of Public Safety at all other times.

Next Actions

The decision to close campus or discontinue normal operations is made by the President. The community would be notified of this decision through email and phone call. The local media would also be notified and would also provide updates.


Flooding at the University of San Francisco would most likely be a result of area flooding from major, multiple rainstorms or a nearby water-main break. In the event of weather-related flooding, the Department of Public Safety will monitor the National Weather Service and other emergency advisories to provide guidance on any necessary actions including evacuation of areas and cancellation of classes.

Immediate Action

In Case of Minor Imminent Flooding

  • Secure vital equipment, records, and chemicals by moving to higher, safer ground. Shut off all electrical equipment. Secure laboratory experiments. 
  • Wait for instructions from the Department of Public Safety for immediate action. 
  • Do not return to your building, if you have evacuated, unless you have been instructed to do so from university administration.

In Case of Major Imminent Flooding

  • In the event of major flooding, the impacted areas of campus should be evacuated immediately.
  • Do not walk or drive into flooded areas such as streets and intersections.  (Sewer covers or storm drain covers may be missing and pose an unseen hazard)

Next Actions

After a Flood

  • Flood dangers do not end when waters begin to recede. Listen to communications from the university, as well as local media, and do not return to the area until authorities indicate it is safe to do so.
  • Stay out of buildings if floodwaters remain in or around the building.

Pandemic Influenza / Infectious Disease Prevention and Response Plan

The University of San Francisco Pandemic Influenza / Infectious Disease Prevention and Response Plan was written to address the university's preparedness activities and response to a pandemic that impacts the university community and to minimize impact on operations, students, faculty, and staff. While this plan's primary focus is influenza, it was developed with the intention that it is to be read, understood, and utilized in response to threats and real-world occurrences of any type of epidemic or any disease outbreak that becomes a worldwide pandemic impacting the university. This plan is not limited to a singular disease outbreak, but rather was designed to serve as an all-encompassing template for any potential outbreak. It may be modified in the future to be tailored to a specific disease outbreak.

A pandemic is described as a widespread outbreak of a communicable disease which crosses international borders and impacts populations worldwide. These outbreaks are usually characterized by waves of illness spread across an extended period of time. An epidemic, on the other hand, is an outbreak or unusually high occurrence of a disease within a specific population or area. These outbreaks are more localized without the potential sweeping worldwide impact. If an epidemic or pandemic were to occur, higher education will likely be among the industries most severely impacted due to the risks resulting from open and accessible campuses and travel by students, faculty, and staff. These potential impacts include, but are not limited to, large numbers of absenteeism among students, faculty, and staff due to illness; increased demands on student health and counseling; unavailability of essential services; and significant loss of revenue.  

During a pandemic, the primary challenges facing the university will likely be:

  • Managing student, faculty, and staff exposure to potential infection both on campus and while engaging in activities off-campus
  • Complying with local, state, and federal mandates regarding response to a pandemic while complying with all appropriate local, state, and federal agencies
  • Maintaining progress of students towards degrees and faculty research while complying with any orders to close the campus
  • Loss of income due to potential closure of campus and the inability to continue to hold classes

Planning a response to a potential public health emergency follows a similar planning cycle as other campus emergency plans. These plans will be reviewed and adjusted periodically by the Office of Campus Resilience, in conjunction with university stakeholders. This plan may be adjusted per incident due to specific incident details.

Influenza Background

Influenza is one of the most common and prevalent viral infections seen worldwide and is divided into three types - influenza A, B, and C viruses. Influenza A and B are the two types that are infectious to humans, with Influenza A being the type that causes epidemics and pandemics. Influenza is a respiratory virus and the representative flu-like symptoms are fever, headache, malaise, and body aches.

The influenza virus is spread through small airborne droplets during talking, breathing, and coughing. These droplets may remain viable and infectious on surfaces, such as countertops, for as long as a day.

Seasonal influenza is seen annually and circulates worldwide. Influenza that is seen annually has an attack rate much lower than pandemic influenza. It is estimated that between 5-10% of adults and between 20-30% of children worldwide are affected each year. While many of those affected will have only minor symptoms, illnesses can result in hospitalization and death. This is mainly found among higher risk population groups which include the very young, elderly, and chronically ill. Seasonal influenza is estimated to result in three to five million cases of severe illness and approximately 250,000-500,000 deaths annually. The most effective way to prevent disease annually is through vaccination. 

Below is a table provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services comparing the seasonal influenza and the characteristics of a pandemic influenza:

Seasonal influenza pandemic influenza
Happens annually and usually beaks in January or February Rarely happens (4 occurrences in the last 100 years)
Usually some immunity built up from previous exposure People have little to no immunity because they have no previous exposure to the virus
Usually only people high at risk, not healthy adults, are at risk of serious complications Healthy people may be at increased risk for serious complications 
Health care providers and hospitals can usually meet public and patient needs Health care providers and hospitals may be overwhelmed
Vaccine available for annual flu season Vaccine probably would not be available in the early stages of a pandemic
Adequate supplies of antivirals are usually available Effective antivirals may be in limited supply
Seasonal flu-assisted deaths in the United States have ranged from 3,000 to about 49,000 over the past 30 years Number of deaths could be high
Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and muscle pain Symptoms may be more severe
Usually causes minor impact on general public, some schools may close and sick people are encouraged to stay home May cause major impact on general public, such as widespread travel restrictions and school or business closings
Manageable impact on domestic and world economy

Potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy


Pandemic Overview

Epidemics and pandemics are a result of mutations and reassortment of influenza strains. This mutation occurs due to the virus' ability to infect and replicate in both humans and many animal species - most notably birds and pigs. Multiple strains are able to infect a host, and through a random recombination of these strains, a new virus may form. These mutations are known as antigenic drift and antigenic shift.

Antigenic drift occurs every two or three years and causes localized, less severe outbreaks. These smaller changes in genes occur over time and the genetic changes often cause viruses that are closely related to one another. An immune system exposed to one of these "drifted" viruses still maintains some cross-protection and will usually recognize and respond to the virus in much the same manner as prior to the drift occurring.

Antigenic shifts occur much less frequently but are the cause of the major influenza pandemics of the past. Shifts are major, abrupt changes in viruses resulting in a new protein structure. These shifts usually occur in animal populations which produces a subtype so different than what is commonly occurring in humans that most people do not have any immunity to this new virus.

Past Pandemics

The "Spanish" Influenza of 1918-1919

The first pandemic of the 20th century, the "Spanish" influenza of 1918 is estimated to have impacted one third of the world's population at the time - approximately 500 million people. Total deaths for this pandemic is estimated to have been anywhere from 50 million to potentially as high as 100 million worldwide. Outbreaks occurred simultaneously in both Europe and the United States and lasted over three waves. This pandemic mostly affected adults between the ages of 20-40, which is unusual for influenza. Nearly half of the deaths attributed to this pandemic affected this age group. It is also believed that each pandemic following this has been attributed to this strain as it has remained within the swine population.

The "Asian" Influenza of 1956-1957

This epidemic was believed to have started in China in late 1956 and spread throughout Singapore and Hong Kong in early 1957 before making its way to the United States in the summer of 1957. The World Health Organization estimates that the pandemic was responsible for approximately two million deaths worldwide with 70,000 of those occurring in the United States. This flu strain underwent a shift and caused a milder pandemic that occurred from 1968-1969. 

The "Hong Kong" Influenza of 1968-1969

The first outbreak of this pandemic occurred in July 1968 in Hong Kong with extensive outbreaks spreading throughout Vietnam and Singapore shortly thereafter. By fall, the flu had spread to the Philippines, India, Australia, parts of Europe, and the United States. In comparison to the previous two pandemics, this pandemic had a lower death rate which may be attributed to the similarity of the 1957 strain and previously built upon immunity. In the United States, approximately 34,000 people died.

The "Swine" Influenza of 2009

The latest pandemic appeared in the spring of 2009 as a reassortment of bird, swine, and human influenza viruses combined with a Eurasian pig flu virus into a new strain. The index case for the pandemic was in Mexico before spreading to the Untied States. Eventually, the influenza virus spread to the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. By 2010, at the end of the pandemic, there was an estimated 623,000 people infected worldwide with approximately 18,000 deaths.

Pandemic Risks

Pandemics present risks to the general population outside of the university setting which must be considered and addressed. These risks include:

  • Unpredictability - The seasonality or appearance of a pandemic cannot be predicated with certainty. Historically, influenza pandemic waves occur in the fall and winter though the potential is there for waves to occur outside of this time frame.
  • Unknown Timeline - In an affected community, a pandemic stage will normally last approximately 6-8 weeks. Multiple waves, periods during which community outbreaks occur, of illness could occur with each wave potentially lasting between 2-3 months. 
  • Unavailability of Medical Interventions - Vaccination is widely considered the first line of defense for reducing a high morbidity and mortality rate that will inevitably accompany a pandemic. However, due to a variety of reasons, no country will have enough vaccine at the start of a pandemic for its population. Additionally, large-scale vaccine production should not be expected to begin until three to six months following the emergent pandemic, depending on the nature of the pandemic. The best case scenario will see the development of a vaccine following the first wave of a pandemic. Antiviral drugs will be expected to be the most useful for prophylaxis and for treatment. There are stockpiles of these drugs as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). These stockpiles contain large quantities of medicine and medical supplies that may be deployed to assist the American public in the event of a public health emergency.
  • Disruptions - Expect major disruption to public transportation, health and public service, and normal life and business operations due to large absenteeism of personnel in those industries. 

Pandemic planning is based on assumptions regarding the evolution and potential impacts of a pandemic. Defining the scope of a pandemic is challenging due to the potential for large differences in severity when compared to prior pandemics. These differences are largely related to the severity of infections and the virulence of the viruses. However, the major pandemics of the 20th century, influenza pandemics, share similar characteristics. These similarities are noted in the below assumptions:


  • Susceptibility to the pandemic may be universal.
  • The clinical disease attack rate will be 30% of the overall population. Illness rates will be highest among school-age children (about 40%) and decline with age. Among working adults, an average of 20% will become ill during an outbreak.
  • Of those who become ill with influenza, 50% will seek outpatient medical care.
  • Risk groups for severe and fatal infections cannot be predicted with certainty.
  • The typical incubation period for influenza averages two days. This plan assumes this would be the same for a novel strain.
  • On average, about two secondary infections will occur as a result of transmission from someone who is ill. 
  • Persons who become ill may shed virus and transmit infection for up to one day before onset of symptoms.
  • In an affected community, a pandemic outbreak will last about six to eight weeks, with at least two pandemic waves likely.
  • General absenteeism in the community attributable to illness may reach 40% during the peak weeks of a community outbreak.
  • Facilities and infrastructure will remain unaffected and functional during a pandemic.

Campus Specific

  • The first wave will occur during either the fall or spring semester while classes are in session.
  • Students may begin to depart campus of their own volition when the first cases occur.
  • Faculty and staff absenteeism will mirror the general population's rate and will be in the 40% range. This number will increase quickly when local K-12 schools, businesses, and other work locations begin to close as members of the university community will remain home to care for family members.
  • If the decision is made for USF to cancel classes and advise students to return home, it is expected that some students will remain at USF because of travel restrictions or because they do not have suitable alternative living options. Examples of these students include:
    • International students and domestic students living in residence halls that cannot travel home
    • Students, both undergraduate and graduate, living in off-campus housing will remain in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area
  • Any public health recommendations for isolation, quarantine, and social distancing are likely to rely on voluntary participation to be effective. USF will provide for isolation and quarantine of students and residents of USF residence halls.
  • Recovery and resumption of normal campus activities will be slow and difficult with great emotional, physical, and financial impact to individuals and the institution.

The University of San Francisco identifies six levels occurring before and after pandemic. Each level has associated actions with it that are to be taken by the university once certain trigger points are met. These phases are based on pandemic phases created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Federal Government Response Stages (FGRS). The WHO and FGRS phases are broken out below:

WHO Phases

Federal Government Response Stages



No animal virus circulating among animals have been reported to cause infection in humans








New domestic animal outbreak in at-risk country


An animal influenza virus circulating in domesticated or wild animals is known to have caused infection in humans and is therefore considered a specific potential pandemic threat



An animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus has caused sporadic cases or small clusters of disease in people, but has not resulted in human-to-human transmission sufficient to sustain community-level outbreaks




New domestic animal outbreak in at-risk country




Suspected human outbreak overseas


Human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to sustain community-level outbreaks has been verified










Confirmed human outbreak overseas


The same identified virus has caused sustained community level outbreaks in two or more countries in one WHO region



In addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5, the same virus has caused sustained community level outbreaks in at least one other country in another WHO region


Widespread human outbreaks in multiple locations overseas


First human case in North America


Spread throughout United States


Recovery and preparation for subsequent waves


Changes from one phase to another are triggered by several factors including the epidemiological behavior of the disease and the characteristics of the circulating virus.

Inter-Pandemic Period

No new virus subtypes have been detected in humans during this phase. However, a circulating animal influenza virus subtype is prevalent and potentially poses a substantial risk to humans.

Pandemic Alert Phase

This phase is characterized by evidence of human infection in a new virus subtype. No human-to-human spread of the disease may be seen in this phase, or, in rare instances, there may be some close, localized human-to-human transmission. This would suggest that the virus is becoming more adapted to humans, but it may not yet be fully transmissible. There are still no cases within the local community or on the USF campus.

Pandemic Phase

Increased and sustained transmission of infection in the general population. In this phase, there are cases either in the local community or on USF campus.

In the event that the pandemic influenza significantly impacts campus operations, the campus will implement specific response processes and measures and will use the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), in addition to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to manage campus response activities. This is similar to the operations that the university will conduct no matter the situation.

The Incident Command System (ICS) structure will be modified to address pandemic management as well as continuity planning for campus operations. Early activation of the response is critical and will best allow the university to devise the most appropriate response strategy.

President's Cabinet

The President's Cabinet is responsible for directing the strategic response to a pandemic incident. This group will be comprised of the following and will oversee long-term, continuity response rather than the detailed response operations:

  • President
  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Vice President for Business and Finance and Chief Financial Officer
  • Vice President for Information Technology Services and Chief Information Officer
  • Vice President for Marketing Communications
  • Vice President for Development
  • Vice President for International Relations
  • General Counsel
  • Vice Provost of Student Life

Command Staff

The Command Staff is responsible for assisting the Emergency Operations Director when needed at the time of the emergency. If necessary, this group is responsible for the tactical control of the incident rather than the strategic response. This group consists of the following:

  • Emergency Operations Director
  • Safety Officer
  • Security Officer
  • Public Information Officer

Planning Section

The Planning Section is responsible for overall emergency policy ans well as coordination of response efforts. The Management Section Staff, which is to be headed by the Senior Director of Public Safety, is responsible for providing advice to the Senior Director on policy matters. Staff will also assist in the development of overall strategy and formulation of relevant rules, regulations, policies, etc. The Section includes the following staff functions and will be designated at the time of activation:

  • Academic Programs
  • International Programs
  • Athletics
  • Faculty personnel
  • Staff personnel

Operations Section

The Operations Section's primary responsibility is to manage the operations of the various response elements that are related to the pandemic response. These elements include, but are not limited to, the following and will be designated at the time of activation:

  • Public Safety
  • Facilities Management
  • Student Life
  • Health Promotion Services
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Office of Grants and Contracts

Logistics Section

The Logistics Section's primary responsibility is to ensure the acquisition and mobilization of resources to support the pandemic response effort. This section is responsible for providing communication services, acquiring equipment and supplies as well as arranging for food, lodging, and other support services as required. The Logistics Section includes, but is not limited to, the following and will be designated at time of activation:

  • Care and Shelter
  • Supplies
  • Communication

The impact of a pandemic on the USF campus community is one that cannot be predicted with any great accuracy. However, through the planning and execution of a campus Business Continuity Plan (BCP), the potential impact can be mitigated. It must be noted that when absentee rates threaten the safe continuity of operations at USF, the university may look to close. It is important to recognize that closure may be directed by any one of the following:

  • The California Department of Public Health, acting through City and County Public Health Offices, may invoke social distancing measures which may include the closing of schools.
  • The President of USF, or designee, may order the cancelation of classes and cessation of all but critical functions of the university.

The closing of USF notification, and any evacuation of campus, will be made in accordance with the USF Emergency Operations Plan.

The recovery efforts and reopening of USF may occur after an unknown period of time. A number of factors including the number of faculty, staff, and students that will be able to return to campus will ultimately be the deciding factors of the resumption of operations. The President's Cabinet shall determine when and whether partial, incremental, or full return to normal operations is most appropriate.