Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 50: Safety and Security

WSU Vancouver Suspended Operations

BPPM 50.44

For more information contact:
   WSU Vancouver Finance and Operations


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

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

Moving Normal Operations to Suspended Operations

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

When WSU Vancouver 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 VanCoug Alerts for the current status of suspended operations.

WSU Vancouver Triage Team

The WSU Vancouver triage team is responsible for providing pertinent information about the emergency to the triage team representative, the Director of WSU Vancouver Public Safety, who briefs the Chancellor.

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

  • Associate Vice Chancellor, Facilities Services reports the condition of the campus.
  • Director of Public Safety reports:
    • The condition of state/county/city roads and emergency conditions;
    • The status of Vancouver Transit System, if available; and
    • The status of planned activities on the University calendar that may be affected.
  • Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs reports any special academic situations (e.g., exam week), if applicable.
  • Vice Chancellor of Finance and Operations coordinates with other team members to make a report to the Chancellor.
  • Other applicable emergency response resources as needed. See Types of Emergencies below.

Status of Emergency Conditions

The triage team representative calls and reports the status of emergency conditions to the Chancellor or designee, who determines whether WSU Vancouver continues in normal operations or moves to suspended operations.

Personnel Notified

If WSU Vancouver moves to suspended operations, the triage team representative notifies the following personnel:

  • Public Safety; upon notification:
  • Marketing and Communications; upon notification:
    • Manages internal and external communications.
    • Notifies television and radio stations, external newspapers, and other media outlets as appropriate.
  • Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs
  • Director of Human Resources
  • 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 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 Chancellor or designee.

WSU Vancouver directors and vice chancellors 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 will be 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 a weather emergency.

Types of Emergencies

Various types of emergencies may occur at WSU Vancouver 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 Vancouver campus. Responsible WSU Vancouver 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 Dept. of Public Safety Human Resource Svcs. and Counseling Svcs., and local law enforcement and EMS agencies
Bomb Threat/Explosive Device Dept. of Public Safety Facilities, and local law enforcement agencies
Fire Facilities EH&S, Public Safety, WSU Pullman Risk Mgmt. Svcs., and local law enforcement / fire depts.
Wildfire Smoke Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Facilities and Health Services
Hazardous Materials – Biological/Radioactive Releases EH&S Facilities, Public Safety, Health Services, WSU Pullman Office of Research Assurances (ORA), and local response agencies
Hazardous Materials – Chemical Releases EH&S Facilities, Public Safety, Health Services, WSU Pullman Office of Research Assurances (ORA), and local response agencies
Public Health Communicable Disease Dept. of Public Safety Health Services, and local response agencies /public health officials
Utility Facilities Services EH&S, Public Safety, WSU Pullman 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 representative provides the 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 triage team reports pertinent information on the inclement weather event no later than 5:45 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 6:00 a.m.

If there is advance warning of a potential weather event, the triage team representative notifies the triage team the previous evening to be on standby for a 5:45 a.m. call the following morning.

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 4:00 p.m. to allow time to provide appropriate notice.

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