Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 50: Safety and Security

WSU Tri-Cities Suspended Operations

BPPM 50.43

For more information contact:
   WSU Tri-Cities Finance and Administration


There are emergencies that may require the University to suspend some or all operations at the Tri-Cities 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 Tri-Cities. See the following BPPM sections for procedures for other WSU locations:

Moving Normal Operations to Suspended Operations

At the WSU Tri-Cities campus, the Chancellor or designee may move the campus from normal operations to suspended operations when an emergency is imminent or active.

When WSU Tri-Cities moves from normal to suspended operations, the presumption is that the University returns to normal operations the following day unless the Chancellor or designee communicates otherwise.

Students and employees should check WSU Tri-Cities Alerts for the current status of suspended operations.

WSU Tri-Cities Triage Team

The triage team is responsible for providing pertinent information about the emergency.

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

  • Campus Facilities Executive
  • Campus Safety and Security Director
  • Other applicable emergency response resources as needed.

Decision Process

The triage team briefs the Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration regarding conditions and makes a recommendation regarding campus operations. The Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration then briefs the Chancellor.

The Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Services, by request of the Chancellor, provides information about any academic or student events happening that may need to be considered if operations are suspended. This information is for planning purposes, to determine impacts of closure, and identify additional communication requirements.

The Chancellor, based on the recommendation of the triage team and other relevant factors, makes the final decision on whether to move to suspended operations.


If WSU Tri-Cities moves to suspended operations, the triage team representative notifies the following personnel:     

  • Campus Safety and Security; upon notification:
    • Posts suspended operations information on the WSU Tri-Cities Alert website.
    • Notifies the campus community using the appropriate WSU system of communication. (See BPPM 50.40.)
  • Director of Marketing and Communications; upon notification:
    • Updates the campus website banner;
    • Manages external communications;
    • Notifies television and radio stations, external newspapers, and other media outlets as appropriate; and
  • Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs
  • Human Resource Consultant
  • WSU Chief of Staff
  • Other applicable emergency response resources as needed. See Types of Emergencies below.

Types of Emergencies

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

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.

NOTE: In the event of a serious incident, such as an active shooter event or nuclear emergency, decisions regarding campus operations are likely to be made by local emergency management authorities.

Applicable Suspended Operations Resources         

The table below lists possible emergencies that may occur on the WSU Tri-Cities campus. Responsible WSU Tri-Cities 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 Svcs. and Counseling Svcs., and local law enforcement and EMS agencies
Bomb Threat/Explosive Device Campus Safety and Security Facilities and local law enforcement agencies
Fire Facilities EH&S, Campus Safety, WSU Pullman Risk Mgmt. Svcs., and local law enforcement / fire departments
Wildfire Smoke Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Facilities and WSU Pullman Cougar Health Svcs.
Hazardous Materials – Biological/Radioactive Releases

Note: WSU Tri-Cities does not currently use biological or radioactive materials that create a significant emergency. Researchers who wish to use materials posing a radiation or biological hazard must notify WSU Tri-Cities EH&S before acquiring such materials.

EH&S Facilities, Campus Safety and Security, WSU Pullman Cougar Health Svcs. and Office of Research Assurances (ORA), and local response agencies
Hazardous Materials – Chemical Releases EH&S Facilities, Campus Safety and Security, WSU Pullman Cougar Health Svcs. and Office of Research Assurances (ORA), and local response agencies
Nuclear Campus Safety and Security Local response agencies
Public Health Communicable Disease EH&S WSU Pullman Cougar Health Services, and local response agencies /public health officials
Utility Facilities Services EH&S, Campus Safety and Security, WSU Pullman ORA, and local response agencies.

Note:  The WSU Tri-Cities campus is unlikely to be directly impacted by flooding, but local/regional flooding may create significant disruption of local transportation and/or impact to students and employees.

Facilities Services EH&S and local response agencies
Civil Unrest Campus Safety and Security Facilities Services 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 Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration provides the Chancellor with regular updates on campus conditions throughout the weather emergency as follows:

  • Campus Facilities Executive reports the condition of the campus and any planned activities that may be affected.
  • Campus Safety and Security Director reports the condition of the state/county/city roads, local transit system, K-12 schools, and PNNL/Hanford site.
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 triage team reports pertinent information on the inclement weather event no later than 5:15 a.m. Such a report initiates the inclement weather procedures listed above. The triage team representative reports a summary of weather factors and operational concerns based on best available information to the Chancellor or designee no later than 5:30 a.m.

During the Day

If the inclement weather event occurs during the day, the triage team representative collects the pertinent weather information from the triage team and reports the information to the 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 3:00 p.m. to allow time to provide appropriate notice.


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.

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