MParents: Emergency Preparedness : Health and Safety

Health and Safety


Emergency Preparedness at the University of Michigan

As a parent of a college student, the tragedies at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, and other college campuses probably have you wondering, “Will my son/daughter be safe at Michigan?” The University of Michigan is committed to protecting the safety and security of our community. But emergencies, disasters, accidents, injuries, and crimes can occur without warning at any time.

Encourage your student to sign up for the U-M's Emergency Alert system. The U-M Emergency Alert is a mass, urgent notification system, comprising a variety of media (text and voice messages, and emails) by which the University can notify students of an active, major campus emergency. When the U-M Department of Public Safety & Security (DPSS) determines there is an active emergency in which the public safety of the campus may be at risk, they will initiate an urgent notification through the U-M Emergency Alert system. Examples are:

  • When a person actively shooting a weapon is on the loose
  • When a tornado is predicted to strike the campus area
  • When a major hazardous material spill is impacting a large portion of campus.

As a large multi-campus system, we require more than a single mode of notification in an emergency. U-M Emergency Alert is one part of the array of communication methods DPSS uses during campus emergencies, such as DPSS crime alerts, regular campus e-mails and local news media outlets.

In order to receive these urgent notification alert messages, students may register phone numbers and a device to receive text messages. Additionally, the University automatically will register all student U-M e-mail addresses.

The U-M Emergency Alert system is one part of U-M's long-standing emergency plans, and national campus tragedies remind us all of the need to be prepared. We continually review and update our preparedness measures to address evolving threats. Staff members from the Department of Public Safety & Security, Occupational Safety and Environmental Health, the Health Systems, Plant Operations, Student Life, among others, have been working together to coordinate efforts for emergency preparedness at the University. Plans are continually reviewed and revised, where necessary, to help ensure that the University of Michigan is a safe and secure environment for our students.

University officials have completed a number of initiatives, including:

  • Emergency response protocols have been established.
  • Evacuation plans for University buildings, including residence halls, are in place and have been reviewed.
  • Lab security plans have been analyzed, assessed, and updated in collaboration with governmental agencies, such as the FBI, Washtenaw County Public Health Department, and the Ann Arbor Fire Department.
  • Emergency procedures have been revised, with detailed instructions for many types of emergencies.
  • Effective relationships are well established with many local, state, and federal agencies to assist our administration in continuing to analyze any potential threats or actual emergencies.
  • Police and security patrols throughout buildings and campus property occur on a regular basis.
  • Operational staff members have been trained through our “Eyes and Ears” program to assist community members with emergency needs.
  • Our Level I Trauma Center is fully prepared to care for injured persons in a mass emergency, including those that involve biological, chemical or radiological materials.
  • Health System experts have been working with other healthcare and emergency response officials in southeast Michigan in preparation for a coordinated emergency medical response.

Being physically and psychologically prepared to handle unexpected emergencies is an individual as well as an organizational responsibility. Students receive safety information at orientation and in their residence halls, but parents can also encourage students to be prepared for emergencies. For more information, please visit the Emergency Management website, and encourage your student to review the site too. You should also encourage your student to sign up for the Emergency Alert System.

It is our hope that you will use this information and these websites as a resource to help prepare your student for emergencies. This is one part of their college education that we hope they will never have to use.