Policy: Emergency Management

Trinity emergency phone number: 202-884-9111
Emergency recorded message: 202-884-9009
Website announcements: www.trinitydc.edu

To get emergency alerts on your cell phone, text trinitydcalerts to 866-925-2949 and follow the instructions in the response text.

In the event of an emergency, please watch your texts and check your Trinity email for additional announcements and instructions.

Trinity Emergency Response Guide 2022


Trinity maintains this emergency management plan to direct responses to various levels of emergencies, both on the campus (e.g., a fire or major accident) and external conditions (e.g., weather-related, city or federal disruptions and security threats).

The goal of this plan is to protect the safety and security of students, faculty, staff, visitors and all people within the campus community. In all cases, when safety and security are in danger, the managers responsible for implementing this plan may and must make decisions that will protect the people in Trinity’s care. Because no written document can anticipate all situations, the managers responsible have continuing authorization to use their best judgment in any particular emergency situation.

I. Communications and Chain-of-Command

Because continuous clear and consistent communications are the heart of any effective, sustained response to an emergency, this document begins with communications guidelines.

A. Chain of Command

Emergency situations require rapid responses and clear decisions and directions.  An emergency response situation must necessarily adhere to formal chain-of-command protocols. The purpose of a clear chain-of-command is to establish authority and responsibility for communications, for making decisions about the operations of the campus (e.g., whether to stay open or to suspend operations), directions to occupants about shelter and protective actions, communications with the campus community and with families, and all related aspects of emergency management.

In any emergency, the senior staff will be communicating frequently with each other and other managers, and will make public announcements as quickly as possible. All members of the campus community are expected to respect the chain-of-command during emergency situations and to follow directions given by the respective managers during those times.

The following list indicates the chain-of-command with particular duties and responsibilities for emergency management situations:

President: directs the overall emergency response program, and has the final authority and responsibility for all major decisions relating to all aspects of emergency response.  In the absence of the president, the provost has authority to direct the emergency response until the president is available.  In the absence of the president and provost, then the next most senior executive assumes assume oversight authority until the president is available.  In any instance in which the president is off campus but available by phone, the vice presidents are responsible to keep an open line of communication with the president during the emergency.

Provost: acts in the president’s absence, providing direct supervision of all primary emergency staff and procedures on campus until the president arrives.  The provost is also responsible to oversee and communicate with deans and faculty for all academic dimensions of emergency situations.

Chief Financial Officer:  responsible for addressing financial issues arising in emergencies; also responsible for damage assessments, claims relationship with Trinity’s insurance company, and immediate oversight of facilities for any emergencies involving buildings and grounds.

Director of Public Safety: in charge of all police, fire, rescue relationships, communications with local and federal authorities, coordination of response personnel on campus, management of emergency scene on campus, and works closely with the president, provost and executive staff in emergency situations.

Executive Director of Human Resources: responsible for communications and services for all personnel in emergencies.

The Academic Deans: coordinate responses with the provost, and are responsible for communication with faculty in their respective schools and general support of the emergency response plan.

Vice President for Institutional Advancement: responsible for all communications with the media and, in consultation with the president, all public statements about the emergency.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students: responsible for coordinating those aspects of the emergency response program affecting student health and welfare, including first aid and emergency medical calls for injured students, ensuring communication and supply delivery as necessary to residence halls, counseling support, communications with parents and families; coordinating the responses of all student services personnel; and keeping the vice presidents and president informed of the conditions among students during the emergency.

Director of Health Service: chief campus officer responsible for all emergency medical responses including organizing and dispensing medicine, directing medical personnel responding to a crisis situation, responding to public health emergencies and communication with public health authorities.

Director of Housing and Residence Life Staff: responsible to manage overnight emergency situations and to implement those parts of this plan affecting residents.

Director of Facilities: responsible for building supplies and crew support for any plant emergency.

Director of Food Service: responsible to maintain and deliver water and basic emergency food supplies.

Director of Technology Services: responsible for all information technology and telephony systems, and ensures the ability of systems to remain functional and effective during emergency situations.

Vice President for Enrollment Services: responsible for all registration, enrollment, financial aid and related systems and services, this vice president facilitates communications during emergencies and, with the provost, helps to direct the relocation of classes and academic functions if emergencies require displacement from assigned locations.

Other Managers: responsible to facilitate all aspects of this plan as appropriate, and to implement directions given by the senior staff.

B. Communications

1. Emergency Staff Telephone List

The Emergency Staff Telephone List, promulgated to staff periodically by the Office of Human Resources to staff managers, is an essential tool to keep everyone informed whenever any emergency situation occurs. The list has all emergency telephone numbers of all senior managers and supervisors. All staff and faculty should update their contacts regularly to include Trinity key personnel phone numbers.  The Provost and deans also maintain lists of faculty emergency contact numbers and oversee plans for faculty notifications during emergencies.

2. Email, Website, Text Messages and Other Emergency Announcements

In the event of a major emergency, every effort will be made to notify all staff, faculty and students as immediately and personally as possible. These methods will be used to communicate with the campus community:

  • Text message alerts will go out immediately (to sign up for text message alerts, text trinitydcalerts to 866-925-2949 on your cell phone. (Responsibility:  Timothy Russell and Ann Pauley)
  • Broadcast email will go to all mailboxes whenever a decision is made to cancel classes, close entirely, or other action affecting everyone; Please check your Trinity email frequently for messages during the emergency (Responsibility: Pat McGuire)
  • Website information will be posted as quickly as possible on the home page www.trinitydc.edu (Responsibility: Ann Pauley);
  • Emergency Number – 202-884-9009 – will have a recorded announcement about the emergency (Responsibility: Tracey Prince Ross)
  • Television and Radio – announcements about the status of classes and work (Responsibility: Ann Pauley);

Please try to use these communications loops when trying to determine whether to come to work or attend class. Please do not call Security or the Front Desk, since these lines need to stay open for other emergency information.

3. Emergency Information Concerning Students, Faculty, Staff and Visitors On Campus

In an emergency situation, families and friends may want to locate a member of the campus community. In the event of a catastrophic emergency, Trinity may create and announce a separate telephone number to handle incoming calls for information about people on campus. In other kinds of emergency situations, the following offices will facilitate locating the person to the greatest extent possible:

Resident Students: 202-884-9316 Housing Office

All Students:  202-884-9611 Dean of Student Services

Students in Class: 202-884-9530 Office of Enrollment Services

Staff: 202-884-9120 Office of Human Resources

Faculty: 202-884-9220 Academic Affairs

Conference Guests: 202-884-9136 Conference Office

Trinity Center Patrons:  202-884-9092 Trinity Center Desk

Students can help to facilitate emergency communications by being sure that someone always knows your whereabouts. In particular, if you are a resident student, please be sure your roommate or neighbors know where you will be if you leave the campus.

4. Weather Emergencies, Snow Closings, Other Closings

The most typical use of the emergency communication system is for snow and other weather-related situations. Here’s how those decisions are generally made:

  1. in a weather emergency, the president and provost confer to determine whether to cancel classes or close the college entirely; this decision is based on broadcast information about the severity of the storm, the likely duration, and other area closings, especially government and schools;
  2. if the weather emergency is forecast at night but has not begun, it is unlikely that the decision whether to have classes will be made until the morning; such decisions usually are made around 6:00 a.m. and the communications loop begins at that time;
  3. if the weather emergency begins during the daytime, the senior staff confer and make a decision based on all available information, and that decision is communicated as quickly as possible.

In any emergency situation, as circumstances require, the president or provost may act to suspend or cancel classes, close offices, send personnel home or keep personnel on campus until the emergency subsides. This decision will be communicated as quickly as possible through all of the communication loops listed above, and on-campus through posting signs and sending messages to classrooms.

NOTE:  When Trinity’s main campus is closed, Trinity classes at THEARC are also cancelled.

5. Other Emergency Communications

When an emergency arises, in the first moments communications might be coming in from many sources. The goal of an emergency communication plan is to get control of information and communications as quickly as possible, and to activate the emergency response plan.

Whoever gets the first notice of an emergency is responsible to activate the emergency notification plan. While it is true that not all emergencies need a full response from the President on through the chain-of command, the obvious rule should be:


In any emergency, the top priority is getting medical help for any injured person, and getting police, fire and rescue services to the campus quickly.

If the emergency involves injury, fire or other damage to buildings, the first call should be to the Public Safety Dispatcher (202-884-9111) with an accurate description of what is happening. The Public Safety Dispatcher is the person who calls for the ambulance, police, fire and rescue.

Please do not place the call directly to outside police or fire, let the Public Safety Dispatcher do that.

Please note the importance of using the Security Dispatcher to make this call: minutes can be lost if rescue personnel go to the wrong building, or if there is confusion about what the nature of the emergency is; the Dispatcher is trained to make the call and to alert other personnel on campus about the emergency.

  • Emergencies During the Daytime or When Classes are in Session

If an emergency occurs during the daytime when offices are open, or during evening and weekend class times, the first manager or faculty member on the scene should make every effort to activate the communication loop to senior staff. More communication, not less, should be the rule, so do not assume that someone else has made the calls.

If the emergency involves injury, fire or building damage, the first call should be to the Security Dispatcher who will summon additional assistance, notify the Director of Campus Safety and other personnel on duty. The call for rescue personnel should be made immediately upon the assessment of the nature of the emergency and the need for assistance. If immediate first aid is required, the Director of Health Services should be called to the scene.

The Director of Public Safety should activate the notification chain as quickly as possible. The Vice President for Student Affairs  should be notified immediately if a student is involved.  The Provost should be notified immediately if a faculty member is involved.  The President should be notified as quickly as possible in any case that requires an ambulance, police, fire or rescue to come to the scene. The vice presidents should be called as quickly as time permits, depending upon the emergency, and they should then activate the rest of the notification loop.

  • After-Hours, Nighttime and Weekend Emergencies

At night and on weekends, or when Trinity classes are not in session, emergency management still requires a common sense approach, with the most senior person on the scene taking charge of the situation until help arrives.

In cases of residence hall calls, if the Public Safety Dispatcher gets a call from a residence hall, depending on the nature of the message the dispatcher should first call the Residence Director or R.C. on duty to go to the scene for further assessment. However, in all cases, if the Dispatcher believes that the first call indicates a genuine emergency requiring immediate outside support, the police, fire or ambulance call should be made first.

The residence life staff member on duty should go to the scene and take responsibility for directing the management of the scene. The residence life staff member should determine whether additional personnel need to be called to the scene.

The residence life staff member should notify the director of housing, vice president for student affairs, dean of students, and other necessary personnel as quickly as possible in any case of personal injury or transport to a hospital. The president should also be notified immediately of any situation that involves police or fire responses to the campus. In cases of emergency medical responses, the president must also be notified immediately in a case of serious injury or life-threatening medical condition. The president will call the vice presidents as circumstances warrant.

The Director of Facilities Services and appropriate Facilities Personnel should be called to the scene in any case that involves damage to a building or major failure of a building system in a way that presents the potential for harm to the residents. The residence director on the scene has the discretion to make this judgment call.

In the case of nighttime and weekend emergencies, the Residence Director or most senior manager on the scene will determine what other personnel need to be called to the scene.

6. Managing the Emergency Scene

Upon receiving emergency notification, the Public Safety Director or supervisor on duty will go immediately to the scene and will determine the need to call additional public safety personnel. The ranking member of the management team present on the scene should also determine the need for additional management personnel to facilitate management of the scene. These principles should apply to scene management:

  1. Do not go to the scene unless specifically instructed to do so; in most cases, it is better for all managers, staff and students to continue routine work rather than rushing to the scene of a fire truck or ambulance;
  2. If you are at the scene, do not interfere with security, fire or rescue personnel in the performance of their duties, and provide only that information that is necessary to get them to the emergency site; never argue with security, fire or rescue personnel in the course of the emergency;
  3. Crowds should not congregate at the scene, since the site may be unsafe and crowds can get in the way of rescue personnel; management personnel on the scene should take immediate charge of moving students and others away from the scene, and getting the crowd to move to another location as necessary, or to return to class and work;
  4. If the deployment of security personnel to the emergency scene leaves other functions uncovered (e.g., directing traffic away from the scene, covering the front desk, etc.) the managers at the scene should step in to fulfill those functions until security personnel can resume their routine duties;
  5. In complex emergency scenes, the managers present must use common sense in ascertaining the appropriate actions to take, including maintaining calm; moving uninjured persons away from the scene to a safe location is an important part of scene management;
  6. Injured persons should not be moved, but simply made as comfortable as possible until professional help arrives; staff who do not have professional first aid training should not attempt to perform first aid; in no case should a member of the staff attempt to pick up an injured person or to transport an injured person to the hospital in a private car;
  7. Claims and complaints will be handled separately, after the emergency subsides;
  8. Trinity reserves the right to bar entry to any emergency scene for any length of time; students, faculty and staff should not try to re-enter buildings or spaces that have been cordoned-off until such time as the space has been approved for re-entry. In no event may any individuals re-enter buildings until the ‘all clear’ signal is given by security or senior personnel.

II. Ensuring the Safety and Welfare of All Persons on Campus

A. Building Evacuation Routes and Fire Safety Education

The Director of Public Safety, working with the Director of Facilities, is responsible to maintain current building evacuation routes and the fire safety education program. Separate booklets are promulgated on fire safety and security.

Evacuation route notices should be posted in every residential room, offices and corridors. Regular inspections should be conducted to be sure that the routes are functional.

Fire Safety education, including fire drills, should occur on a schedule each semester, and the President should be notified of the plan and schedule.

The plan for building evacuation must include designated meeting locations for each group of people in the building, and a process for accounting for personnel. The Director of Public Safety, working with the senior staff, will prepare and disseminate a detailed set of instructions and designated team leaders for post-evacuation group assembly and rollcall.

If the building evacuation lasts for any length of time, all personnel should move to a central location away from the evacuated building. Following are meeting location sites following building evacuation:

  • Alumnae Hall — location in the event of the evacuation of Main Hall.
  • Main Hall – O’Connor Auditorium is the immediate alternative location for evacuations of the Payden Center.
  • Payden Center – location in the event of the evacuation of the Library.
  • The Trinity Center is the immediate alternative location for evacuations of Alumnae Hall, Cuvilly or Kerby Halls.

If residence halls have to be evacuated for any length of time, accommodations will be made in other buildings. In extreme situations, residents in buildings that are not affected by the emergency may be asked to share rooms with displaced residents of other buildings.

B. Central Campus Meeting Location

In the event of an emergency that is sufficiently grave to require total-campus communications on a sustained basis, Social Hall will be the central point for the community to gather for information, discussion and televised news reports. In such an emergency, we ask managers who do not have specific duties to be present in Social Hall to assist students and other staff.

C. Campus Shuttle

The Campus Shuttle will NOT operate during severe weather emergencies. The operation of the Shuttle may be interrupted, changed or re-directed in other kinds of emergencies.

D. Shelter Locations and Seeking Shelter in a Sudden Storm

In the event of an emergency that requires ground-level or below-ground shelter, the president will order the activation of shelter locations on campus. These locations include:

  • Main Hall Basement Corridor and Sub-basement
  • Alumnae Hall Basement
  • Cuvilly Basement

In the absence of a specific direction from the president or designee, people on campus should know key elements of safety in various kinds of emergencies:

  • In a weather-related emergency such as a tornado or other kind of severe wind storm, move away from windows and move to the central corridor; people on upper building floors should try to get to the first floor or basement;
  • Do not go outside during heavy wind, lightening or other severe weather conditions; if already outside, get to shelter, but do not go under trees; if in a car, get out of the car and seek the lowest possible point on the ground.

E. Establishing Building Security

All students and personnel in campus are expected to wear their ID’s at all times. In the event of an emergency, the Director of Public Safety may enforce ID checking at every entrance.

Depending upon the nature of the emergency, building access or egress may be limited or stopped entirely for security or safety purposes. All personnel on the scene are expected to cooperate with directions about remaining in one place, moving to a particular location, staying away from other locations, and other directions intended to contain and control the emergency situation.

F. Reporting Suspicious Activities

All personnel on campus can be part of helping to maintain Trinity’s sense of security and well being. Without triggering undue anxiety or false alarms, all member of the community should be alert to possible suspicious activity, and should know how to respond. Following are some guidelines for responses:

  • If you see an activity taking place somewhere on campus (or on the sidewalks or streets immediately near the campus) that gives you cause for concern, call Security (202-884-9111) to check it out; chances are the activity is perfectly fine, but once in a while there’s a problem; do not try to figure it out yourself, but use this rule: if you question whether the activity is right, call Security to check it out.
  • Use extreme care in making judgments about individuals, since no one should be targeted as a ‘problem’ because of their personal appearance or dress; judge behavior, not appearance. A person who is in a place where he or she should not be, or at an odd hour, or acting in a strange manner is engaging in conduct that merits a call to Security.
  • Mail: Pay attention to pieces of mail that you are opening, and if you have any cause for concern, do not open the item, and instead, call a manager to the scene who will make a determination about whether to call Security and to take additional steps.
  • Communications: Any forms of threatening communications should be reported immediately to Security, including mail, telephone calls and voicemail messages, emails or other forms of communication.

G. D.C. Emergency Preparedness Relationship

Trinity maintains communication with the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness through the Director of Campus Safety. In an emergency affecting the entire city, the Director will open communication lines with OEP, police and other agencies necessary to support Trinity in the emergency.

H. Availability of Medical Help and Supplies

Trinity maintains emergency medical supplies in various locations, and the managers listed above may access those supplies as the circumstances warrant. Trinity’s first response in any case of injury is to call professional medical personnel to the scene, including the Director of Health Services during the daytime. Residence Hall directors and other staff are also trained in basic first aid and CPR.

The Director of Health Services, is responsible to oversee follow-up medical services for the campus community, including mental health services and any comprehensive health follow-up, e.g., a need for innoculations or other kinds of treatment for persons exposed to health hazards.

In the event of a public health emergency in Washington, the Director of Health Services will maintain communication with public health authorities, and members of the campus community will receive additional directions about the availability of treatment appropriate for the emergency.

I. Damage Claims and Complaints After an Incident

When a major emergency is in process, as a general rule it is not possible to respond immediately to claims about property damage or complaints about how the incident is being handled.

At an appropriate time after the cessation of the immediate emergency, the Chief Financial Officer will communicate with the campus community concerning the process for making claims and filing complaints. The CFO will oversee an orderly process for claims settlement and complaint resolution, and this process may involve other members of the senior staff as appropriate.

As a general matter, Trinity is not liable for damage to or loss of any personal property on campus, including automobiles and tangible property in student rooms, lockers or offices. Students, faculty and staff should check their auto insurance and homeowners insurance policies to ensure adequate coverage of your personal property.

III. Supplies and Equipment

All offices should keep basic emergency supplies in a readily accessible location. Such supplies include, at minimum, flashlights and batteries, a first aid kit, and modest cleaning supplies such as paper towels.

Students should also keep flashlights and batteries in their rooms or lockers.

Public Safety maintains additional flashlights and batteries, as well as first aid supplies.

Facilities maintains additional flashlights and batteries, first aid supplies, cleaning equipment, portable generators and heaters, and other kinds of equipment necessary to address plant emergencies.

Food Service maintains a three-day emergency supply of bottled water and nonperishable food.

Health Services maintains first aid supplies, gloves and masks, and related health equipment.

IV. Information Systems

Trinity performs disk-based backups of all information system on a regular basis and are transmitted to a secure Tier 1 cloud provider for off-campus storage. Additional short-term SAN level snapshots of production systems are resident in memory for rapid recovery. All systems are hosted on redundant servers with high-speed interconnects. Redundant internet service providers provide connectivity to the internet.

V. Other Emergency Issues

No emergency plan can anticipate every circumstances, particularly when the nature of the emergency is external. Common sense and a disposition to be responsive and helpful are essential qualities for all managers and staff to maintain through the emergency situation.

In the event of an external emergency imposing travel restrictions, Trinity will make its campus housing available for all people on campus to the extent necessary and possible. Without additional authorization, should the emergency require opening rooms, residence hall staff should proceed to do so immediately.

Telephones, televisions and web access are crucial communications devices during emergencies, and every effort should be made to keep them free for emergency use. During emergencies, all campus telephones may be made available to students for phone calls to families, and in the same way, office computers may be made accessible for email.

International students may experience special problems during times of national emergencies, and Trinity will make every effort to help international students contact families and receive support during the emergency period.

Military personnel who are students, faculty or staff of Trinity College may fulfill their military duties without any penalty; students who are called to active duty during a semester will have their tuitions reimbursed and loans deferred; staff called to active duty will have their positions protected.

Economic concerns may affect some members of the community during an emergency. Staff who learn of such concerns should bring those issues to the attention of the Dean of Students or Vice President for Financial Affairs, and every effort will be made to connect the affected persons with sources of economic relief.

Mental health concerns often affect many in the community during an emergency, even those not directly impacted by the problem. Trinity will make every effort to notify the campus community of available mental health resources. Municipal or Federal Directives concerning the emergency situation will be communicated to the campus community as soon as they are known.

VI.  Emergency Requiring Long-term Campus Closure

In accordance with Trinity’s Framework for Academic Governance, any discontinuation of programs is a deliberative process; a timetable is established to allow students enrolled in a discontinued program sufficient time and support to complete their degrees.  In the event of a sudden or complete institutional failure, Trinity will comply with all relevant federal financial aid regulations and other applicable laws to ensure students are made whole for services they may have paid for but did not receive.  In addition, all information that is critical to Trinity’s mission, including student transcripts, is stored in duplicate on servers in a neighboring state, in the event of the loss of Trinity’s physical plant

VII. Contacts

This document is maintained in the Office of the President. Questions or comments, or suggestions for changes in this plan, may be submitted to the President, Vice Presidents, Deans, Director of Human Resources or Director of Campus Safety at the numbers/emails below:

President Patricia McGuire

Dr. Carlota Ocampo, Provost

Ms. Andrea Glascoe
Director of Public Safety

Mr. Grant Gonzalez
Interim CFO

Ms. Ann Pauley, Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Dr. Karen Gerlach, Vice President for Student Affairs

Ms. Michele Bowie, Dean of Student Services

Ms. Tracey Prince Ross, Executive Director of Human Resources

Mr. William Shaffer, Director of Facilities Services

Mr. Michael Burback, Director of Technology Services

Dr. Sita Ramamurti, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Brigid Noonan, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions

Mr. Thomas Mostowy, Dean of the School of Professional and Graduate Studies