In the initial minutes and hours of an emergency, university officials must assess threats to life and property, survey damages, and plan out how university staff and emergency services can best provide necessities such as shelter, food, and sanitation. During this time, students may be directed to stay in their residence hall rooms if the rooms aren't damaged, or in classrooms or dining halls in the event of an outside threat to the campus community. In addition, students who are not personally at risk from the emergency may need to carry on without services for the first 24 hours of a crisis.

To prepare for such an event, it is recommended that students keep a simple emergency kit in their rooms. In case of an emergency on campus, such as a power outage, ice storm, severe weather warning, or secure-in-place situation, students can be prepared by having a kit that includes basic items that may be hard to get during the initial hours of an emergency.

When building an emergency kit, be sure to include the items listed below, starting with at least two meals worth of nutritional foods.

Emergency Kit

Recommended Meal 1

  • 1 PowerBar
  • 1 6.75-ounce juice box
  • 1 individually packaged pudding
  • 2 4-ounce cans of fruit
  • 1 20-ounce bottle of water

Recommended Meal 2

  • 3 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 15-20 low-sodium crackers (Saltines, Triscuits, Wasa, etc.)
  • 1 individually packaged applesauce
  • 1 20-ounce bottle of water

A 6-ounce package of tuna or chicken may also be added to each meal for extra calories and protein.

In addition, you should include:

  • A can opener
  • A flashlight and batteries
  • A charged cell phone or quick-charge battery for your cell phone
  • A list of contact phone numbers (to use on a land-line phone if cell service is disrupted)
  • Any necessary prescription medications
  • Glasses, if needed
  • A complete change of clothing
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • A first-aid kit

For more information on emergency preparedness and emergency preparedness kits, visit the Department of Homeland Security or the American Red Cross.

Emergency Procedures

Resident advisors, professional live-in Housing & Residence Life staff, and facility employees, guided by Division of Student Affairs administrators, all have protocols in place for emergency events such as severe weather, fires, and illness outbreaks. To aid these protocols, students are asked to follow three simple steps in the initial stages of an emergency:

  • Stop––Remain calm and try to help others remain calm. Panic will not help people respond in a constructive and safe manner.
  • Look––Be aware of your environment. Respond to any threats that are immediately apparent. This may require activating a fire alarm, evacuating a building, taking cover, or placing yourself in a secure location.
  • Listen––Follow the directions of university officials, including faculty, staff, and Virginia Tech police. Consult the Virginia Tech weather and emergency line at 540-231-6668. If possible, you should also consult the campus television station (VTTV channels 33 and 15) or the campus radio station (WUVT 90.7 FM/WVTF 89.1 FM). Check the Virginia Tech website or the Division of Student Affairs websitefor information regarding dining, academic, or door lock schedule changes. Once you determine what is happening and are safe in your location, call to alert loved ones that you are safe. Be sure to keep calls as short as possible to leave cell phone and land lines open for other students and emergency workers.

Virginia Tech is generally a safe and friendly environment, but no community is exempt from crisis situations that may threaten the wellbeing of residents or their living and work places. Human safety is the focus of our emergency planning efforts and together we can respond to crises effectively and in the best interest of all residents.

Emergency Evacuation

Whenever a building's general fire alarm sounds, you should immediately evacuate that building in accordance with established evacuation procedures. Refer to the emergency egress policy for specific evacuation instructions and be sure to consult your resident advisor or hall supervisor if you think you will have difficulty responding to a fire alarm or evacuating quickly. Keep in mind that the local fire department and the Virginia Tech Police respond to all building alarms.