Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 50: Safety and Security

WSU Spokane Health Sciences Suspended Operations

BPPM 50.42

For more information contact:
   WSU Spokane Facility Services


There are emergencies that may require the University to suspend some or all operations at the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus. (See also BPPM 50.40 for University-wide procedures regarding suspended operations.)

This section provides procedures regarding evaluation of and response to emergencies that may affect WSU Spokane. See the following BPPM sections for procedures for other WSU locations:

Moving Normal Operations to Suspended Operations

At the WSU Spokane campus, the Vice President/Chancellor or designee may move the campus from normal operations to suspended operations when an emergency is imminent or active.

When WSU Spokane moves from normal to suspended operations, the presumption is that the University returns to normal operations the following day unless the Vice President/Chancellor or designee communicates otherwise.

Students and employees should check the WSU Spokane Campus Alerts website for the current status of suspended operations.

WSU Spokane Triage Team

The triage team is responsible for reporting pertinent information about the emergency to the Vice President/ Chancellor and the Chief of Staff.

The following positions, their alternates, and applicable emergency specialists serve as the triage team:

  • Executive Director, Facilities Operations reports the condition of the campus and the condition and state/county/city roads during inclement weather or utility emergency.
  • Assistant Director, Facilities Operations, acts as alternate to the Executive Director.
  • Security Manager, Chancellors Office, manages and reports all events associated with public safety including active shooter, bomb threat, fire, or other criminal activity; and acts as alternate to the Executive Director and Assistant Director.
  • Director of Environmental Health and Safety or alternate presents information to the Chancellor regarding chemical releases or hazardous materials emergency or public health disease emergency.
  • Campus Communications Director, Chancellors Office, or alternate develops and distributes emergency messages via WSU mass notification systems, WSU Spokane web page, social media and other campus communications.
  • Other applicable emergency response resources as needed. See Status of Emergency Conditions below.

Status of Emergency Conditions

The appropriate triage team member identified above calls and reports the status of emergency conditions to the Vice President/ Chancellor or designee, who determines whether WSU Spokane continues in normal operations or moves to suspended operations.

Personnel Notified

The triage team member notifies the following individuals of suspended operations:

  • Chief of Staff
  • Campus Communications Director, Chancellors Office designee, or alternate; upon notification:
    • Develops and distributes emergency messages.
    • Posts suspended operations information at WSU Spokane Campus Alerts.
    • Notifies the campus community using the appropriate WSU system of communication. (See BPPM 50.40.)
    • Manages internal and external communications including:
      • Mass-notification system);
      • WSU Spokane website, social media, and other campus television and radio stations communications;
      • External newspapers and other media outlets as appropriate; and
      • Other emergency communications deemed appropriate under the current circumstances. (See BPPM 50.40.)
  • Executive Director, Facilities Services; upon notification, notifies Facilities Services leadership.
  • Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services
  • Area Administrator Human Resource Officer
  • Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
  • Other applicable emergency response resources as needed. See Types of Emergencies below.

College/Department/Unit Responsibilities

All colleges, divisions, departments, and other operating units must develop Emergency Response Plans and Continuance of Operations Plans, in accordance with Executive Policy EP25 and BPPM 50.39. In addition to other Emergency Response and Continuity of Operations responsibilities, the purpose of these plans is to:

  • Prepare for emergencies;
  • Ensure that administrators, faculty, staff, and students are informed of the suspended operations or closure of offices within the area;
  • Ensure that administrators, faculty, staff, and students are informed of the postponement of special events or activities; and
  • Reinforce the communication of any decisions reached by the Vice President/Chancellor or designee.

WSU Spokane deans are to exercise discretion in determining essential services and minimal staffing levels in accordance with BPPM 60.40 and applicable leave policies. Additional guidelines related to suspended operations are available from the Human Resource Services (HRS) Suspended Operations web page.


The procedures above are not intended to cover all possible eventualities. The University administration assumes that the decision-making and relevant communications are adapted, as appropriate, to suit the circumstances. The University administration does not assume that all individuals who may be coming to campus or on campus can be notified of an emergency.

Types of Emergencies

Various types of emergencies may occur at WSU Spokane that could require differing responses and affect different units on campus.

Campus Conditions

The designated department personnel and triage team, based on University impact, presents University leadership with relevant information and updates regarding campus conditions, public safety, and applicable health impacts after an emergency.

Decision Timeline

As soon as possible before or during an emergency, University leadership make decisions about the operational status of the campus and related facilities. In the case of imminent danger to people and/or buildings (i.e., fire or active shooter), decisions are made after the affected area is secure and the scene is stable.

Applicable Suspended Operations Resources

The table below lists possible emergencies that may occur on the WSU Spokane campus. Responsible WSU Spokane department(s) and/or personnel that work with the triage team and keep University leadership abreast of the situation are identified in the table, along with other resources that may assist the triage team as needed.

Emergency Responsible Dept. Other Resources
Inclement Weather See Inclement Weather Procedures
Active Shooter Campus Safety and Security Human Resource Services and Counseling Services
Bomb Threat/Explosive Device Campus Safety and Security Facilities and local law enforcement agencies
Fire Campus Safety and Security Facilities, EH&S, WSU Pullman Risk Mgmt. Svcs., and local law enforcement / fire depts.
Wildfire Smoke Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Facilities and local response agencies
Hazardous Materials – Biological/Radioactive Releases EH&S Facilities, Campus Safety and Security, WSU Pullman Office of Research Assurances (ORA), and local response agencies
Hazardous Materials – Chemical Releases EH&S Facilities, EH&S, Campus Safety and Security, WSU Pullman Office of Research Assurances (ORA), and local response agencies
Public Health Communicable Disease EH&S Local response agencies
Utility Facilities Services EH&S, Campus Safety and Security, WSU Pullman Office of Research Assurances (ORA), and local response agencies.

Inclement Weather Emergency

Campus Conditions

Designated personnel consult with professional weather information services and collect relevant information regarding campus conditions. The triage team member provides the Vice President/Chancellor with regular updates on campus conditions throughout the weather emergency.

Decision Timeline

While a weather emergency may be declared at any time if conditions necessitate it, the following are the most likely weather scenarios with target timelines for reaching decisions.

During Night or Early Morning Hours

If the inclement weather occurs during the night or early morning hours, the Executive Director of Facility Services reports pertinent information on the inclement weather event no later than 5:00 a.m. Such a report initiates the inclement weather procedures listed above. The triage team member reports a summary of weather factors and operational concerns based on best available information to the Vice President/Chancellor or designee no later than 6:00 a.m.

If there is advance warning of a potential weather event, the Executive Director of Facility Services notifies the Vice President/Chancellor or designee the previous evening to be on standby for a 5:00 a.m. call the following morning.

During the Day

If the inclement weather event occurs during the day, the Executive Director of Facility Services collects the pertinent weather information from the triage team and reports the information to the Vice President/Chancellor or designee as soon as possible. Such a report initiates the inclement weather procedures listed above.

Evening Classes and Operations

If an inclement weather event is expected to affect evening classes and operations, a decision should be reached no later than 4:00 p.m. to allow time to provide appropriate notice.

Revisions:  May 2022 (Rev. 594); May 2014 – new policy (Rev. 431).