Emergency Reference Guide

The Emergency Reference Guide is a resource that can be used to help employees and students prepare and plan for emergency situations. The Emergency Reference Guide offers valuable information that should be reviewed on a monthly to quarterly basis.


How To Use The Guide

In each tab there is information pertaining to that individual topic. These are the items that we encourage all employees and students to review.

In our efforts as a college to increase public safety awareness and training, a common review strategy that Public Safety finds most beneficial is the Team Meeting Review. We encourage each department, division, and team to begin by reviewing three to four sections during a team meeting. You and your team can determine the manner and order in which you conduct this review. As the seasons change, it may be most beneficial to review the College Closing, Emergency Notification, and Severe Weather portions of the Emergency Reference Guide.

If you have any questions regarding the Emergency Reference Guide or its review, please do not hesitate to reach out to Public Safety.

This guide is designed as a quick reference to prepare you for emergency situations. Faculty and staff have a responsibility to know how to respond to various types of emergencies. The safety of everyone around us depends on that knowledge and our ability to respond appropriately to emergency situations.

Become familiar with the emergency procedures outlined in the following tabs. This guide should be used for preparedness in both actual events and practice sessions. This guide is designed for reference only.

Updates to these tabs will be made on an as-needed basis.

(On-campus phones — Dial “9” first)

Emergency Numbers
Emergencies (Ambulance, Fire, Police)                            911
Public Safety (24/7) All Locations 319-398-7777


Other Important Numbers
Facilities 319-398-5561
Cedar Rapids Police/Fire Department (nonemergency) 319-286-5491
Linn County Sheriff’s Department (nonemergency) 319-892-6100
Iowa City Police/Fire Departments (nonemergency) 319-356-5275
Johnson County Sheriff’s Department (nonemergency) 319-356-6020


Site-Specific Phone Numbers
If you have any site-specific nonemergency phone numbers, please program those into your cell phone or have them on hand in your classroom and office.

Kirkwood Community College has clear procedures for reporting incidents. We encourage prompt, honest, and accurate reporting of all incidents involving students, staff, faculty, and visitors. Learn more here.

If someone is making statements regarding harming their own life or the lives of others, always take action. This can include statements about suicide or harm to self, or about harm to the life and safety of others.

If the individual making the statement is with you on campus:

  • Call 911 to expedite an emergency response to campus. If you are able, notify Public Safety (319-398-7777) that a call to 911 has been made. It is helpful to notify them so they can direct emergency services to the proper location.
    • If it is safer to do so, you may instruct another nearby individual to call 911 and/or Public Safety while you stay with the person in crisis.
  • If other people are in the space, do what you can to create a safe place for all involved. This may include dismissing a class for a 10-minute break, walking with the person in crisis to get out of a classroom or other populated space, or asking casual observers to leave. Stay with the person in crisis until help arrives.
  • If the person leaves the area, do not follow or pursue them. Keep yourself safe. Identify the person’s direction of travel, gain a physical description of the person, and relay these details to Public Safety and/or law enforcement.

If the individual has made a statement over the phone, in a virtual meeting/classroom, in writing/email or on social media regarding harming their own life (or the lives of others):

  • Call 911 if the threat is immediate. Be aware that the person may not be in your same local area, and provide the individual’s location area if possible.
  • Anytime you are unsure of whether or not a concern is imminent, during business hours, you may contact the Dean of Students office at 319-398-5540 and let them know that you need to speak with a member of the Threat Assessment Team regarding a potential mental health concern. Threat Assessment Team members can assist in determining best next steps.
  • If you are unable to speak with someone in the Dean of Students office (after hours, for example), contact Public Safety (319-398-7777) and let them know of the situation in need of response.

If an individual is demonstrating unusual behaviors (nonsensical speech, appearing disconnected from reality, presenting as seeing/hearing/responding to things that are not there, etc.):

  • If you speak to them, use a calm and polite tone.
  • In an enclosed space, leave yourself access to the exit while also not blocking their access to the exit.
  • Do not touch or grab the individual or attempt to interrupt physical behaviors such as pacing.
  • If they do not respond to you, refrain from yelling or gesturing to get their attention.
  • Call Public Safety (319-398-7777) and notify them that an individual needs assistance. If Public Safety is not available to respond immediately, you may also call 911, especially if the person is in danger (such as wandering into a busy street).
  • Maintain enough space to keep yourself safe, but stay nearby to assist Public Safety or emergency services in identifying the location of the individual.
  • Be prepared to give a report of what you witnessed.
  • Dissuade others from gathering or staring, as this can increase agitation for the individual in need of assistance.

General Information: Counseling Services

  • Counseling Services should not be your first contact in these situations, as they do not have the same capacity as Public Safety does to respond safely and quickly.
    • Counseling Services can be called in to consult but should not be the first call made for an emergency response.
  • The Dean of Students office (319-398-5540) should be contacted if the concern is of a disruptive or conduct nature.
  • Kirkwood’s counselors are happy to provide nonemergency consultation to faculty and staff regarding a student’s emotional well-being. Call 319-398-5540 to request a consultation time with a member of the Counseling Services team.
  • For the safety of all involved, counselors do not meet with individuals in distress in locations outside of the Counseling Services office.
    • If the student is willing and able to come to the Counseling Services office during business hours, staff will work to find a counselor with whom the student can meet.
    • If the student is unable or unwilling to come to Counseling Services, or if the incident occurs outside of business hours, Public Safety should be contacted for assistance in de-escalating and resolving the situation.

Crisis Help Lines
Many people assume that there either needs to be a threat of suicide made or that the individual in distress must be the one to call. Helpers can call these numbers to request guidance and support in a situation as well. If someone is struggling with an emotional or mental health concern but does not believe they need an emergency response, you can either provide the emergency number information or call a crisis line with them and talk to the support person together.

Foundation 2 (319-362-2174 or 800-332-4224) is a local crisis support resource in Cedar Rapids, and they are networked with crisis lines across the state and nation. Regardless of where you are calling from, they will be able to connect you, or the person you are helping, with local crisis support in their area. There are a number of nationally based resources that individuals can reach out to 24/7. This is helpful information to know outside of regular office hours when Counseling Services staff may not be available to assist.

Bomb Threat:

If a bomb threat is received, do the following:

  1. Keep the caller on the line as long as possible.
  2. Don’t be abrupt; speak in a normal tone.
  3. Record the caller’s phone number, if you have caller ID.
  4. Record the exact time of the call.
  5. Record every word exactly as spoken by the caller.
  6. Listen closely to determine the following:
    a. Sex of the caller
    b. Young or old, age
    c. Odd expressions or slang, an accent 
    d. Speech patterns, talking fast or slow
    e. Background noise, or lack of
    f. Other relevant information
  7. Call 911 immediately and then notify Public Safety (319-398-7777) after the caller hangs up.

Suspicious Item:

  1. Do not touch, move, or disturb the item.
  2. Call Public Safety (319-398-7777) immediately.
  3. Keep people away from the area until help arrives.

Threats by Mail:

  1. Put the item down; do not handle the letter, envelope, or page.
  2. Call Public Safety (319-398-7777) immediately.
  3. Do not allow anyone to handle or look at the item.

College closings will be communicated through Kirkwood’s website, email, radio/TV, Kirkwood Alert, and a variety of other sources.

All campus closings, including individual sites, will be coordinated through the President’s office and Facilities.

Generally, if on-campus classes are canceled, classes at all off-campus locations will also be canceled. This will apply to credit and continuing education courses and programs. Some programs and functions may continue (Truck Driving, The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, Kirkwood Center, Equestrian Center) with the approval of the president and/or responsible vice president.

Announcements will indicate whether the cancellations apply to day or evening classes.

If advised the college is closing while you are at work:

  1. Complete immediate task/class business.
  2. Shut down computers and other equipment.
  3. Gather personal belongings quickly (keys, purse, backpack, etc.).
  4. Close doors as you leave.
  5. Leave campus by the specified time.

At home:

  1. Monitor the news, Internet, email, and other sources for opening information.


304.2 Cancellation and Delay


Notification in an emergency will be through a variety of means depending on the emergency.

Examples are:

  • Fire Alarm – If the fire alarm system activates, leave the building immediately. Never assume it is a false alarm. Do not call others to ask if it is real. Do not attempt to re-enter the building until advised by officials it is safe. DO NOT attempt to silence or reset the alarm.
  • Alertus – Sends emergency alert notifications to any desktop computer that is logged in to the Kirkwood network.
  • Kirkwood Alert – Sends emergency information and alerts to your cell phone and email. Sign up at here.
  • Outdoor Warning Sirens/Speakers – Operated by local authorities, they provide outdoor notification of emergencies. Examples are severe weather, nuclear alert, etc., and may be siren or voice notification.
  • Radio/TV – Provides a variety of information on emergencies and college closing information.
  • Kirkwood Website
  • For additional information visit Public Safety.


304.20 Timely Warnings and Emergencies

It is the responsibility of each faculty member, staff member, and student to be familiar with the Emergency Reference Guide and the location of the nearest exit(s).


  • Advise everyone to leave the area.
  • Listen to and follow all instructions.
  • Gather personal belongings quickly if possible.
  • Close doors as you leave.
  • Leave the building by the closest exit or as directed.
  • Use stairwells for evacuation.
  • Notify Public Safety or emergency officials of anyone needing assistance.
  • Once outside, do not block exits or emergency vehicle access; move away from the building.
  • Wait for “All Clear” from campus officials before re-entering.


  • Use the elevators.
  • Attempt to re-enter the building until advised by officials it is safe to do so.

To report fire, or if you see or smell significant smoke:

  1. Pull the fire alarm pull station closest to the problem.
  2. Close doors as you leave.
  3. Leave the building by the closest exit or as directed. Do not use the elevators.
  4. Call 911, and then call Public Safety (319-398-7777).
  5. Notify Public Safety or officials of anyone needing assistance and last known location.
  6. Once outside, move away from the building; do not block exits or emergency vehicle access.

If the alarm sounds:

  1. Close doors as you leave.
  2. Evacuate the building immediately. Do not use the elevators.
  3. Once safe, call Public Safety (319-398-7777).
  4. Notify Public Safety or officials of anyone needing assistance.
  5. Once outside, move away from the building; don’t block exits or emergency vehicle access.

Note: Do not attempt to extinguish the fire unless you have 1) reported it or 2) can do so safely without putting yourself or those around you in greater danger.

To use a fire extinguisher, use P.A.S.S.:

  1. Pull the pin.
  2. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire or the side closest to you.
  3. Squeeze the handle.
  4. Sweeping motion used across the fire.


  • Assume it’s a false alarm.
  • Ask if you should evacuate — just evacuate.
  • Gather around the exits.

Note: Be familiar with the location of fire extinguishers and alarm pull boxes on your floor/building.

Hazardous materials are substances that are flammable or combustible, explosive, toxic, noxious, corrosive, oxidizable, an irritant, or radioactive. A hazardous material spill or release can pose a risk to life, health, or property. An incident can result in the evacuation of a few people, a complete building, or an entire campus.

Employees should ensure that extreme care is taken in the use of hazardous materials in all processes, production stages, storage, and shipment. Personnel should be advised of the risks associated with handling hazardous materials and receive training on how to protect themselves.

Employees should only attempt to clean up a spill that does not threaten human health or the environment when it is safe to do so and if they are thoroughly familiar with the hazards and requirements of the material. Personal protective equipment should be worn to prevent further injury and contamination. For any spill/releases that are immediately dangerous to life or health, initiate evacuation procedures and call 911. If safety precautions permit, after calling 911, contact Public Safety at 319-398-7777.


  • To report any release or spill of hazardous materials, call 911.
  • In case of imminent danger and emergency personnel have not yet arrived, evacuate the immediate risk area. Use the evacuation procedures listed in this guide.
  • The Fire Department bears primary responsibility for rescue of personnel and for containment and neutralization of hazardous materials spills to the extent possible.
  • Cleanup and disposal of hazardous materials will be accomplished as directed by the Fire Department incident commander.
  • If a hazardous spill occurs on roadways outside the campus, call 911. The Fire Department incident commander will decide if evacuation is needed or whether it is best to remain inside a building.

First Aid

Any spill resulting in personal exposure should be treated immediately according to the medical information on the safety data sheet (SDS).

  • Eyes: Assist the person to the sink/eyewash and flush eyes thoroughly with water for a minimum of 15 minutes. Call 911 and Public Safety (319-398-7777). Send the SDS for the chemical with the patient.
  • Inhalation: Assist in moving the person to fresh air. Call 911 and Public Safety (319-398-7777). Send the SDS for the chemical with the patient.
  • Skin: Remove soaked clothing and flush thoroughly with water. Call 911 and Public Safety (319-398-7777). Send the SDS for the chemical with the patient.

In the event of a utility failure on campus, take the following actions:

  1. If the utility failure occurs during regular working hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday), immediately notify Public Safety at 319-398-7777.
  2. If there is potential danger to building occupants, or if the utility failure occurs after hours or on weekends or holidays, notify Public Safety at 319-398-7777.
  3. If a hazard exists, activate the building alarm and report the emergency by phone to Public Safety at 319-398-7777.
  4. When an alarm sounds continuously, evacuate the building.
  5. In the event of an evacuation, assist persons with disabilities in exiting the building.
  6. Do not use elevators in case of power loss.
  7. Once outside, move to a clear area at least 500 feet away from the affected building(s). Keep the streets, fire lanes, hydrants, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.
  8. Do not return to an evacuated building unless you are told to do so by a college official.

Gas Leak

If a gas odor has been detected inside of the building:

  1. Activate the fire alarm as you exit the building.
  2. Call 911 immediately.
  3. Notify Public Safety at 319-398-7777 once you’re evacuated and clear of the building.
  4. In the event of an evacuation, assist persons with disabilities in exiting the building.
  5. Do not use elevators in case of power loss.
  6. Once outside, move to a clear area at least 500 feet away from the affected building(s). Keep the streets, fire lanes, hydrants, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.
  7. Do not return to an evacuated building unless you are told to do so by a college official.

If a gas odor has been detected outside of the building:

  1. Call 911. Identify, as best you can, the smell and the location in which you smelled it.
  2. Notify Public Safety at 319-398-7777 once you are clear of the building/location of smell.
  3. Discourage others from entering the contaminated area.
  4. Re-entering the building or buildings is not allowed until the Fire Department or law enforcement personnel declare it is safe to do so.

For a medical emergency:

  1. Call 911.
  2. If possible, have someone else contact Public Safety at 319-398-7777.
  3. Provide as much information as possible to the responders about the ill or injured patient and the location of the emergency. If possible, have someone remain with the patient while the calls for assistance are being made.
  4. Do not move the person who is ill or has been injured unless they are in imminent danger.
  5. Keep the area clear and have someone watch for emergency responders to help direct them to the patient.

In the event the Duane Arnold Nuclear Center issues an Area/General Evacuation, this will be communicated through Kirkwood’s website, email, Kirkwood Alert, and a variety of other sources. If the outdoor warning sirens sound, tune to the Emergency Broadcast Network on a radio (AM 600 or 96.5 FM) for immediate emergency information.

In most cases, you will not be permitted to drive to the northwest or northeast parts of Cedar Rapids.

In the event of a general evacuation, evacuate immediately in one of the following directions. These are the primary routes:

  • Hwy. 30 East
  • W6E Ely Rd SE
  • I-380 South

Note: This could be modified according to weather conditions and the location of the incident. The evacuation area and routes are subject to change.

A TORNADO OR THUNDERSTORM WARNING is issued by the National Weather Service and means a tornado or severe thunderstorm has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.

In the event that weather conditions deteriorate and time permits, a “Take Shelter” warning will be issued. Notification will be as follows:

  • Outdoor warning sirens/speakers will be activated by the county or city. Outdoor warning sirens are sounded for tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings with 70 mph winds or greater, or for golf-ball-size hail or larger.
  • Students, faculty, and staff may be notified via Kirkwood Alert. In some instances, emergency alerts may not be sent late night or on weekends.
  • Department offices shall ensure, to the best of their efforts, that all personnel in their areas have been notified. It is important that every room on every floor of every building be notified of threatening weather conditions.
  • Students, staff, and faculty should move into designated shelter areas during both a tornado and severe thunderstorm warning.
    • Seek shelter in building interiors, lower level if possible.
    • Avoid windows and large open areas.
  • If the outdoor warning sirens activate, take shelter immediately.
  • Each campus is responsible for maintaining and monitoring a weather radio.

Threat On Campus

If you become aware of a shooter or other similar threatening situation, or if you are notified via Kirkwood Alert, do the following immediately:

  1. Call 911, followed by Public Safety at 319-398-7777 if it can be done safely.
  2. Follow the directions given in the Kirkwood Alert emergency message and/or by 911 Dispatch.
  3. Do not call others to ask about the emergency. If you have critical information, call 911 Dispatch. Do not investigate what is happening.
  4. After the Active Threat event, Kirkwood will issue an “All Clear” notification followed by further instructions at the appropriate time.

AVOID — If the threat is in your building or immediate area:

  1. If you can get out, do so. Leave belongings behind.
  2. Help others escape if possible. Discourage others from entering the area.
  3. Call 911 when you are safe.

If the threat is not in your building or immediate area:

  1. Secure all interior and exterior building doors if possible.
  2. Avoid the area of known activity (Kirkwood Alert will notify you of the problem area).
  3. Stay in place until notified of an “All Clear.”

DENY — If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide:

  1. Secure the door to your classroom or office immediately. If the door won’t lock, block the door with furniture or alternative resources.
  2. Turn off lights, close interior blinds, and stay away from doors and windows.
  3. Silence cell phones and remain quiet.
  4. Stay in your area until notified by officials it is safe to leave, or otherwise directed.

DEFEND — As a last resort, and only if your life is in danger:

  1. Attempt to incapacitate the attacker.
  2. Act with physical aggression.
  3. Improvise weapons.
  4. Commit to your actions.

For additional training information, contact Public Safety at 319-398-7777.

  • Dial 911 for emergencies or to report a crime in progress. Follow immediately with a call to Public Safety, 319-398-7777.
  • Contact Public Safety, regardless of location, by dialing 319-398-7777 (24/7) if you witness or are the victim of a crime or any criminal activity on Kirkwood property or at any Kirkwood-sponsored event.
  • When a situation may pose a serious threat to students, faculty, or staff, alerts and warnings are issued through a variety of sources, including the emergency notification system, Kirkwood Alert.
  • For more information visit Public Safety.

Emergency Plan FAQs

The Public Safety and Facilities departments oversee the emergency response plans and operations. Departments coordinate contingency plans and continuity of operations plans for their staff and areas of responsibility. Kirkwood conducts emergency response exercises each year, such as tabletop exercises, field exercises, and tests of the emergency notification systems on campus.

These tests are designed to assess and evaluate the emergency plans and capabilities of the college. Public Safety officers and Facilities supervisors receive training in incident command and how to respond to critical incidents on campus.

When a serious incident occurs that causes an immediate threat to the campus, the first responders to the scene are usually the Public Safety officers, Facilities staff, and local emergency response agencies working together to manage the incident. Depending on the nature of the incident other Kirkwood departments and other local or federal agencies may also be involved as needed.

General information about the emergency response and evacuation procedures for Kirkwood is publicized each year as part of the college Clery Act compliance efforts. 

Members of the Kirkwood Community are notified annually that they are required to notify Kirkwood Public Safety of any situation or incident on campus that involves a significant emergency or dangerous situation that could have an immediate or ongoing threat to the health and safety of students and/or employees on campus. 

Anyone with information possibly warranting a timely warning should call the Public Safety office at 319-398-7777.

The Kirkwood Alert emergency notification system can help you stay up-to-date on what's happening and get crucial information right away. 

Sign up for the emergency notification system and use the Kirkwood website for obtaining updates in the event of an emergency on campus. You can choose to receive emergency notifications by text or email.