The following procedures are for the use of all members of the Queen’s community. You are encouraged to review them periodically. Should you be involved in any of the possible emergency situations detailed here, knowledge of the appropriate procedures to follow will greatly reduce the threat of harm to yourself and others.
Information about the Emergency Notification System is located on the Services page.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding these procedures, do not hesitate to contact us via email at email@example.com or by calling 613-533-6733.
Download "Responding to Emergencies" Booklet (PDF, 581 KB)
Emergency Notification System (ENS)
On campus ‘real-time’ Emergency Notification Systems (ENS) disseminate clear information before, during and after emergency situations.
A public address system using a siren signal followed by voice instructions will alert the campus community to take shelter and if safe to do so, check one of the current Emergency Notification platforms for information and instructions.
The Emergency Notification platforms at Queen’s University consist of:
- Emergency Notification System (campus-wide public address system with emergency tones and pre-recorded messages)
- SeQure Safety App (push notifications)
- Twitter – twitter.com/campussecurity (messages, updates)
- Queen's email (emails can be distributed by Campus Security to all student, faculty and staff accounts)
- Queen’s homepage – queensu.ca (messages, updates)
- Queen's Faculty and Department webpages (messages, updates)
- Queen’s Status Line – 613-533-3333 (messages, updates)
- News/Media feeds – contact local print/radio/TV (pre-crafted messages, updates)
What do the siren tones sound like?
Listen to a simulation of one of the siren sounds.
("Wail Whoop": 15 secs (WAV, 488 KB) - MP3 version, 245 KB)
Emergency P.A. System Activation Types:
General Emergency: "Wail Whoop" for 15 secs.
“Attention: emergency condition occurring on campus. Seek shelter immediately. Check Queen’s notification channels for information.”
All Clear: Steady tone "Wail Whoop" for 15 secs.
“All Clear. The Emergency is over.”
Evacuation Warning: Steady Tone for 15 secs.
“Attention: Mandatory emergency evacuation required. Follow evacuation routes. Check Queen’s notification channels for information.”
Hostile Intruder: Steady Tone "Whoop" for 18 secs.
“Attention: Hostile intruder on campus. Find shelter or leave campus immediately. Check Queen’s notification channels for information. OBEY POLICE and emergency personnel.”
Active Shooter: Steady Tone "Whoop" for 18 secs.
“EMERGENCY! Active shooter on campus. Seek shelter or leave campus immediately. OBEY POLICE and emergency personnel.”
The sirens indicate emergencies that require you to seek immediate shelter. The most likely cause of these unsafe outdoor conditions is severe weather, but other causes may include the unlikely occurrences of an environmental hazard or an armed individual on campus.
The sirens are only used for emergencies that impact or present a danger to the main campus.
A "silent test" of the system is performed automatically each day, in addition to periodic full scale tests that will be pre-announced with a campus wide email, along with posting on the Queen's University home page and other channels.
The Test siren sound is a Westminster Chime (WAV, 880 KB), with the following PA System announcement: “Attention: this is a test of the Queen’s Emergency Notification System. This is not an emergency. This is only a test.”
- When you hear the sirens you should immediately follow instructions stated in the PA announcement.
- Follow the instructions outlined in our "Active Threat" procedures below under the Violence on Campus section.
- Remain inside until the sirens stop and you hear the “all clear” notification.
- If you have access to the internet, television or radio, you can receive up to date information by monitoring one of our other Emergency Notification platforms listed above.
- The sirens indicate emergencies that require you to seek immediate shelter. The most likely cause of these unsafe outdoor conditions is severe weather, but other causes may include the unlikely occurrences of an environmental hazard or an armed individual on campus.
- The sirens are only used for emergencies that impact or present a danger to the main campus.
PA System speakers are located on top of both Humphrey and Chernoff Halls on main campus, and there is a pole mounted system at west campus. A fourth PA System was added to the roof of Stauffer Library during the summer of 2011. (Map below)
Fire, Smoke, Gas and Biohazards
Evacuations, spills and leaks
- Know the location of the fire exit, fire alarm, and fire extinguisher closest to your office or classroom.
If you see or hear a fire, or smell smoke
- Pull the closest fire alarm
- Dial 36111 (external 613-533-6111) from a safe location on any campus telephone --or--
use the blue light or yellow emergency telephones to give Campus Security all the pertinent facts
- You might try to put out the fire using existing equipment - use your best judgment
If the fire does not go out or spreads, leave the area immediately
- Close all doors
- Assist people with disabilities or children, as required
- Exit by stairwells; do not use elevators
- Leave the building by the nearest safe exit
- Wait outside the building as directed by security or the Fire Department
If you are trapped
- Dial 36111 (external 613-533-6111) to notify security
- Place towels/clothes (wet if possible) at the bottom of the door
- Open windows, if possible
- Stay close to the floor if there is a lot of smoke
If your clothes catch fire
- Drop to the ground
- Roll to smother the flames. If someone else's clothes catch fire have them stop, drop and roll. Try to smother the flames with a piece of clothing.
To using an Extinguisher, think "PASS"
- PULL the safety pin at the top of the extinguisher.
- AIM the nozzle/hose at the base of the flames
- SQUEEZE or press the handle.
- SWEEP from side to side at the base of the fire until it is out.
Know your Extinguisher:
- Type A (green triangle) - use for paper and wood
- Type B (red square) - use for flammable liquids such as gas, oil, paint
- Type C (blue circle) - use for electrical fires involving wires or appliances.
- See "Responding to Emergencies" Booklet - Fire Evacuation (PDF, 581 KB)
Spills and Leaks: Radiation, Biohazards or Chemical Agent
If you cannot control or contain the spill through individual department procedures, dial 36111 (external 613-533-6111).
Localized Minor Chemical Spill/Leak
Familiarize yourself with your department's control individual procedures, which cover:
- evacuation of the immediate area
- containment and control appropriate personal protective equipment
- incident documentation and investigation
- notification of the Director of Environmental Health and Safety
Major Chemical Spill/Leak
If the spill/leak exceeds the capacity of your department's individual procedures or if you are in doubt as to how to handle the spill:
- Evacuate the immediate area.
- Dial 36111 (external 613-533-6111) and inform Campus Security of
- exact location of spill/leak
- name and nature of chemical, its hazards.
- volume or extent of leak
- any person(s) who may have been contaminated
Campus Security will then notify the appropriate internal and external agencies.
Call the Campus Security at 36111 (external 613-533-6111) if you discover or disturb fibrous asbestos material.
Bomb Threats and Suspicious Items
Bomb threats, suspicious mail and packages. Report any suspicious mail or packages immediately to the Queen's Emergency Report Center at 613-533-6111.
All bomb threats are considered valid until proven otherwise.
Most bomb threats are made directly by telephone. If you receive a bomb threat, follow these procedures:
- Listen to what the caller is saying
- Be calm and courteous
- Do not interrupt the caller or hang up
- Obtain as much information as you can. Suggested questions are listed below.
- Do not put caller on hold.
- If possible, signal a co-worker to dial extension 36111 (external 613-533-6111), or dial it yourself when the call is finished.
- If you have call display, record the number.
Ask these questions:
- When will it explode? ________ am/pm
- Where is it? Classroom, office, hallway, stairwell, garbage pail, other
- What does it look like?
- Where are you calling from? (Check your call display if you have one.)
- What is your name?
- Why did you place the bomb?
Record this data:
Date: __________________ Time: ________ am/pm
Exact wording of threat:
Characteristics of Caller: (circle most appropriate responses)
Sex: M / F
Accent: English / French / Asian / Middle-Eastern / Spanish / Italian / Other (describe)
Diction: Deliberate / Rushed / Clipped / Slurred Lisp / Nasal / Other
Manner: Calm / Emotional / Threatening / Vulgar
Other identifying information:
Background Noise: Traffic Horns / Children's Voices / Television / Animals / Other
Was caller familiar with area? Yes No
Who took the call:
From which department:
Call Campus Security at extension 36111 immediately (external 613-533-6111) after completing the call. Do not call the police; a suspicious package must be found before the Bomb Disposal Unit Will be detached.
Campus Security will evaluate any bomb threat received and decide on a plan of action.
- You may be asked to participate in a search - but you are under no obligation to do so.
- Identify any suspicious package, briefcase, etc., if your area is being searched.
- If searching - you will be teamed up with Campus Security and specific instructions given.
- Limited searches include:
- broad search of such areas as washrooms, lobbies, stairwells, corridors, and hallways
- thorough search of key and critical areas such as mechanical and computer rooms etc.
- detailed search of specific area, if indicated by the threat
If you are not searching:
- Identify any suspicious package, briefcase, etc., if your area is being searched.
- Assist in the evacuation of students, if one is ordered by Campus Security
- Exit by a route previously cleared by Campus Security.
Report any suspicious mail or packages immediately to the Queen's Emergency Report Center at 613-533-6111.
Violence on Campus
Active shooter, assault, aggressive behaviour
What are some of the reasons for the prevalence of workplace violence?
Some factors are societal or personal in nature such as the prevalence and glorification of violence in our society, drug or alcohol abuse, reaction to family stress, poverty, domestic violence or access to deadly weapons. It should be noted that access to firearms is much more strictly controlled in Canada.
Others are workplace related. They include:
- job insecurity brought on by downsizing and the stress of extra work and guilt for those whose jobs remain
- job stress or the stress of exams
- lack of clear policy, rules of conduct and awareness training concerning violence in the workplace
- less than thorough hiring, training and supervision practices for employees
- ineffective or non-existent violence reporting procedures
- reluctance by managers to discipline employees or students in a timely manner when warranted
- failure to monitor dangerous employees/students after disciplinary action
- inadequate physical security
- an autocratic or abusive management style
- an atmosphere of indignity that tolerates bigotry, sexual harassment or general disrespect and intolerance of others
- serious unresolved workplace issues
- past incidents of workplace violence
Finally, some types of jobs are more at risk of violence than others, for a number of reasons. They include jobs that:
- have contact with the general public
- exchange money, such as retail clerks who are at the highest risk of workplace violence of all professions. The next most risky profession is police officer.
- delivers passengers, goods or services
- has a mobile workplace such as a taxi, security vehicle, or parking enforcement vehicle
- work with unstable or volatile persons in health care, social services or criminal justice settings
- require employees to work alone or in small numbers
- require employees to work late at night or in the early morning
- require employees to work in high crime areas
- involve guarding valuable property or possessions
Can workplace violence be anticipated?
In almost all cases, incidents of workplace violence are preceded by a number of warning signs. Some are very overt and clear, some are more subtle. They include:
- Direct or veiled threats of harm. One of the perpetrators in Littleton, Colorado had a personal web site that clearly stated his intention to kill people at his school and destroy the school.
- Intimidating, belligerent, harassing or other inappropriate and aggressive behaviour.
- Numerous conflicts with supervisors and other employees or students.
- Bringing and/or brandishing a weapon at work or school.
- Making inappropriate references to or a fascination with weapons.
- Statements indicating fascination with incidents of workplace violence, approval of the use of violence to resolve a situation or identification with perpetrators of workplace homicide. The Taber gunman was allegedly inspired by the two Littleton murderers.
- Statements indicating desperation to the point of suicide.
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
- Extreme changes in behaviour such as increased absenteeism, mood swings, deterioration of personal hygiene, deteriorating job performance.
- Increased numbers of complaints from coworkers, subordinates or students.
Each of these behaviours is a clear sign that something is wrong. None should be ignored.
Can workplace violence be prevented?
The short answer is no; there is no foolproof way to completely prevent violence in the workplace, or anywhere else. However, there are a number of preventative measures that can be taken to significantly reduce the risk of violence in your workplace.
What do I do if faced with a violent or a potentially violent situation?
If you notice a colleague, student or co-worker exhibiting some or all of the above behaviours, report it to your unit head, your unit safety officer or Campus Security immediately. It is not your responsibility to determine if there is a real threat, or to provide counseling or assistance to the individual. It is, however, your responsibility to report it so that the qualified professionals at Queen's can assess and deal with the situation. If violence is imminent or actually occurring, report the details to Campus Security immediately at 36111.
Specifically, if someone is angry or hostile:
- stay calm and listen attentively
- maintain eye contact
- be courteous and patient
- keep the situation in your control
If someone is swearing, shouting and threatening:
- discreetly signal a coworker or a supervisor that you need help
- do not make any calls yourself
- have someone call security
If someone is threatening you with a weapon:
- stay calm, quietly signal for help
- maintain eye contact
- stall for time
- keep talking but follow instructions
- don't try to grab the weapon
- watch for a safe chance to escape
If you are a supervisor or unit head and you are informed that someone is exhibiting some of the warning signs listed above:
- Talk to the individual; try to find out what the problem is and how it can be resolved. Do not delay in addressing the issue; very often violence can be prevented if the underlying problem is dealt with expeditiously and not allowed to escalate.
- Take disciplinary action if the behaviour warrants it; make it very clear to the person that violent, threatening or intimidating behaviour of any sort will not be tolerated. Ensure the individual understands the parameters of acceptable behaviour and the sanctions for breaching those parameters.
- Refer the individual to the Employee Assistance Program (if an employee) or Student Wellness Services (if a student).
- Consider moving the individual to another worksite or offering paid leave as a temporary solution while the problem is being sorted out.
- If the individual has threatened violence to someone, or others are in fear of their safety, refer the matter immediately to Campus Security. Equally, if the individual does not agree to address the behaviour and any underlying problems, refer the matter to Campus Security.
- If there is immediate threat of violence, or violence is occurring, notify Campus Security immediately. If it is not safe for you to do so, try to signal to someone else to get help.
The most effective way of protecting yourself from workplace violence is to recognize the warning signs and report every incident, no matter how minor, so that immediate action can be taken to address the situation. Dismissing them as bravado may cost lives. Campus Security will listen to your concerns and will take appropriate action.
Active Threat on Campus
- Remain Calm.
- If you are not at risk of injury during a hostile situation and communication is available, call 911.
- Remove yourself from any open area and move to the closest safe location.
- If unable to notify the Kingston Police or Campus Security, summon help discreetly by any means at your disposal.
- Lock your office/classroom and barricade the door.
- Close and stay away from windows, turn off the lights & audio equipment, ringers on cell phones and have occupants sit on the floor.
- Do not sound the fire alarm!
- Do not leave your secure area until notified by the Kingston Police or Campus Security. Avoid open areas and be as quiet as possible.
- Once the Kingston Police or Campus Security arrive, follow all of their instructions quickly and quietly.
- During a hostile situation, if the fire alarm sounds, do not evacuate unless you smell smoke or suspect fire.
- Trust your intuition. Every situation is different and every person’s response is an individual decision.
- Familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Know the locations of phones (including campus emergency and assistance phones), designated emergency exits, and other possible avenues for help.
- If you are suspicious of people hanging around or that look out of place, do not hesitate to contact Campus Security at 36111.
Armed Robbery / Armed Threats / Hostage Takings
If you are confronted by an armed individual, the University recommends that you co-operate fully with any demands. You should give up deposit bags or personal items, and should follow any requests that do not endanger the lives of others.
Call 911. Do not hang up the phone until the operator tells you to do so (unless it is no longer safe to stay on the line.)
These are general guidelines; there may be some situations that make them ineffective or even dangerous. Follow these guidelines only if it safe to do so.
Do not try to stop, hold, or trap an armed individual.
If you see an armed confrontation taking place but are not directly involved, try to get away and contact 911.
Try to memorize what the individual looks like and is wearing.
Follow all the instructions of Campus Security and/or the Kingston Police upon their arrival.
Civil Disorder / Riots
Kingston Police will take the first actions to deal with civil disorder and riots.
Queen’s faculty, staff and students are advised to:
- Stay calm. Physical confrontations should be avoided, except in self defense.
- Contact 911 and Campus Security at ext. 36111(external 613-533-6111), or have someone else do it, if confronted by unruly people.
Calm and reasonable reactions can often buy time for Police and Campus Security to take appropriate action.
If the situation gets worse and you feel in physical danger, move to an area where you can lock the door. Call 911. Remain there until it is safe to leave.
Critical injuries are defined as injuries that:
- place life in jeopardy
- make someone unconscious
- result in a substantial loss of blood.
- cause an arm or leg to break.
- cause the amputation of a leg, arm or foot (but not a finger or toe).
- cause burns to a major portion of the body.
- cause the loss of sight in an eye.
If you witness or are involved in a critical injury, call – or have someone else call – 911 and Campus Security at ext. 36111 (external 613-533-6111) immediately. Give the exact location of the injured party, the type of injury and what, if any, first aid is being administered. Campus Security will ensure an ambulance is dispatched and send a security supervisor, trained in first aid and CPR to the scene.
Administer first aid until help arrives, using the St. John’s ABCs:
A – clear airway if blocked
B – check for breathing. If there is none, commence emergency breathing.
C – verify circulation by checking for a pulse. Apply pressure to any major bleeding and commence CPR if no pulse is present.
All accidents resulting in critical injury are reported to the Ministry of Labour; those resulting in death to the Coroners. This is done by the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.
Campus Security will safeguard the site until all investigations are carried out
Violent Crime Resulting in Death or Critical Injury
911. Tell them what happened, the exact location of the incident, the extent of the injuries to the victim (if known) and whether or not the perpetrator is still at the scene. Provide as accurate a description of the assailant as possible. Contact Campus Security and Emergency Services at 613-533-6111 (36111 internal)
Administer first aid if it is safe to do so.
Stay on the scene, in a safe place, to assist Campus Security and emergency response teams as required.
Disasters, Utility Failures, Fraud
Natural disasters; identity fraud and scams; gas, water, electrical services failures, elevators.
The following procedures are for the use of all members of the Queen’s community. You are encouraged to review them periodically. Should you be involved in any of the emergency situations detailed below, knowledge of the appropriate procedures to follow will greatly reduce the threat of harm to yourself and others.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the following procedures, do not hesitate to contact us via email or by phoning 613-533-6733.
- Stay indoors, if already there. Emergency evacuations will be made when it is safe to do so.
- Sit under sturdy furniture or against central inside walls.
- Stay away from glass windows and doors.
- Do not use elevators.
- Avoid using the telephone, unless you are in a life or death situation.
- If you are outside, stay away from buildings, bridges, and utility wires.
- Avoid running through or near buildings where there is danger of falling debris.
- Buildings will be evacuated after the earthquake, after-shocks, and tremors have stopped.
Do not re-enter any building unless you receive permission from Campus Security.
Floods can usually be anticipated, unless they are a flash flood caused by torrential rainfall or caused by the bursting of a storage tank or water main.
Flash flood watch is a warning given whenever heavy rains are either occurring or expected, that may cause flooding in a particular area.
Flash flood warning is urgent and is given whenever there has been a dangerous rise in water level, caused by heavy rains, ice jam break-up, earthquake, or dam failure.
Remain in a safe place in any flood, and follow instructions that will be given from time to time by Campus Security.
Tornadoes are violent local storms with winds of tremendous speed that can reach 200-400 mph. The individual tornado appears as a rotating, funnel shaped cloud that extends toward the grown from the base of a thundercloud. It varies from gray to black in colour, and the spinning action gives off a sound similar to an airplane. These short-lived storms are the most violent of all atmospheric phenomena, and are the most destructive in small areas.
- Tornado watches are issued when the conditions are right for tornadoes to develop.
- Tornado warnings mean that a tornado has actually been sighted in the area, or is indicated by radar.
Response Procedure Tornado Watch
- Listen to a radio or watch television for up-to-date weather service announcements.
- Watch the sky, especially to the south and southwest. Tornadoes usually move from the west to the east.
If you are outdoors:
- Get indoors, preferably in a substantial steel-frame, reinforced concrete building.
- If you can't get indoors, go to the nearest ditch, culvert or low-lying area, take cover, and lie flat
If you are indoors:
- Move to the basement
- Open doors on the sides of the building away from the approach of the tornado, but stay away from them to avoid flying debris.
- Close doors on the sides of the building toward the approach of the tornado.
- Stay away from windows to avoid being hit by broken glass.
The National Weather Service monitors the development of hurricanes and provides then following information.
Hurricane watches indicate that hurricanes are close and that everyone in the area covered in the watch should listen for further advisories and be ready to take precautionary action.
Hurricane warnings indicate that forecasters believe an area will be hit by a hurricane. Anyone in the area should take full precautions against the storm. Flooding and tornadoes created by the hurricane pose the greatest danger.
Response Procedure Hurricane Watch
- Listen to the radio or watch television for weather advisories.
- Be prepared to evacuate, upon the direction of Campus Security or external emergency services.
Post Emergency Response
- Gas leaks are likely; proceed with caution
- Do not use elevators
- Use the telephone only in cases of serious injury, fire or other imminent danger
- When it is safe to do so, check coworkers for injury, offer first aid, and assist people with disabilities
Dial 36111 for Campus Security.
Gas or water services failures create different problems than a power failure. When natural gas supplies fail, many devices that were lit and operating before the failure may still have a gas flow. This could cause an explosive atmosphere. Physical Plant Operations will be contacted by Safety and Security Operations to ensure all necessary valves are shut off.
It is the responsibility of the department head or supervisor of areas requiring the use of gas-fired appliances to develop procedures and assign authority to specific staff members to supervise the operation of all gas-fired appliances.
Water supply failure can cause minor inconveniences such as inoperable sinks and washrooms to the shut-down or burn-out of water-cooled equipment service interruption to main telephone/security alarm control rooms, to the loss of water needed for fire protection systems.
Drinking water on campus can be contaminated by improper internal/external connection or by deliberate tampering, for example.
Dial 36111 (external 613-533-6111) for Campus Security.
Certain essential University services, such as emergency lighting, some telephones, and the fire alarm systems will continue to function during a power failure, but lighting will be minimal and is designed only for providing illuminated exits.
An extended power failure, from whatever cause, would result in serious problems that could adversely affect the everyday activities of the University. Given the scope of potential problems caused by a power outage, it is the responsibility of each department head to formulate guidelines and/or instructions necessary for the safety of employees and preservation of University property.
Pick up lift phone on the control panel to alert Campus Security. Do not attempt to pry open the elevator doors.
In elevators with two-way communications
Most campus elevators are equipped with two-way devices so that you can speak to Campus Security officers. They will initiate rescue procedures and will remain in contact with you.
In elevators without two-way communications
If you are trapped in one of these elevators, push the emergency button repeatedly. People in the vicinity will hear the alarm and will contact Campus Security by dialling 36111 (external 613-533-6111).
Knowing how to recognize when someone is trying to scam you is the most effective means of protecting yourself. Many scams and frauds are phone and internet based, if something seems too good to be true, it likely is. If you suspect you have been a victim of Fraud, contact the Kingston Police.
Phishing emails should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org for review and possible action. If you have provided any information as a result of phishing, change your passwords.
More information on fraud and scams can be found at the RCMP website.
Or at the Queen's ITS webpage on cybersecurity.
Should you be involved in any of the possible emergency situations detailed below, knowledge of the appropriate procedures to follow will greatly reduce the threat of harm to yourself and others. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the following procedures, do not hesitate to contact us via email at email@example.com or by phoning 613-533-6733.
The person in charge of each class, meeting or other activity must ensure that each person who is non-ambulatory receives assistance from two helpers:
- The helpers assist this person to proceed to the nearest safe exit or stairwell on that floor.
- One helper is to remain, while the other proceeds to the ground level exit to notify the fire department, police or campus security, which will complete the rescue.
Elevators are not used unless specifically operated by fire fighting personnel.
The person in charge of each class, meeting or other activity must ensure that the nature of the emergency is explained to the individual quickly and clearly. The person must then be guided to the nearest safe exit and provided any further assistance necessary.
The person in charge of each class, meeting or other activity must ensure that the nature of the emergency is explained by speaking slowly, clearly or by writing a note to the individual quickly and clearly.
The person must then be guided to the nearest safe exit and provided any further assistance necessary.
University members are obligated to assist these community members, if they are on their own, during building evacuations and other emergencies.
The Student Death Protocol is intended to organize in a systematic manner the university’s response to a death of a student to ensure rapid, effective communication and follow-up that is sensitive to the unique circumstances of the situation.
Find Policies and Protocols on the Student Affairs website.