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Emergency Management Article

Imagine that you have no electricity, no gas, no water and no phone service. Imagine that all businesses are closed and you are without any kind of emergency services. What will you do until help arrives?

Emergencies can occur without warning and can create serious risk to our Cal State San Marcos Community and families. Preparedness is the key to minimizing these types of events. The Office of Emergency Management establishes the framework for responding to and recovering from emergencies that may threaten the health and safety of the campus community and/or disrupt our programs and operations. We provide resources, guidance and training to our campus in matters related to emergency preparedness, response and recovery. It is our hope that you utilize these resources to help you prepare for unexpected emergencies.

To help with campus preparedness our department offers classroom training on Active Shooter preparedness, earthquake and fire safety, SEMS, NIMS and ICS training. All of our training sessions are consistent with state and federal SEMS/NIMS guidelines. We offer numerous online resources. Please refer to our Emergency Management web site:  for emergency preparedness procedures and resource guides.

Over the last few months the Office of Emergency Management has been busy installing a new campus Emergency Alert System. Let me be the first to introduce you to the new Alert U which will be officially rolled out the entire campus in August.

As part of our ongoing commitment to campus safety, Cal State San Marcos recently completed installation of our new campus emergency alert system. The new system is designed to immediately communicate time-sensitive emergency alert notifications to the campus via numerous delivery methods. The emergency alert system is reserved for critical incidents that pose an imminent threat to life, health and/or safety.

Alert U consists of the following components:

Desktop Alert
Desktop Alert allows for the ability to send emergency alert notifications directly to university computers. When an emergency alert is sent, the message will be displayed prominently on your computer screen (Sample message below). We advise that you read the emergency alert and follow the recommended actions. The alert can be easily cleared from the computer screen by hitting the Acknowledge button. Note – the computer must be on to receive Desktop Alerts, desktop alert will not wake the computer to deliver the notification.

Campus Phone Alert
All campus phones (offices, classrooms and common areas) are equipped with internal speakers.  During an emergency, alert messages are sent to the campus phone system and communicated via the internal speaker on the phone set. Please listen to the alert and follow the recommended action.

Outdoor Public Address Alert
Recently we installed a new outdoor public address system, consisting of (3) speaker sets located at Markstein Hall, Science II and McMahan House. During campus emergencies a voice message will sound indicating an emergency is occurring on campus and what action should be followed. The new system gives us the flexibility to broadcast emergency alerts via programmed messages within the Alert U system or live public address.

Digital Signage Alert
The university digital signage system is now equipped with emergency alert capabilities. (Sample message below)  Emergency alerts can now be broadcast via digital display devices which are located in many of the campus buildings and common areas.

Text, Cellular and E-mail Alert
If you are a current CSUSM Faculty, Staff, or Student, you are automatically registered in the CSUSM Emergency Notification System utilizing your current contact information within the University PeopleSoft System.

We strongly encourage everyone to please review and confirm that your contact information within PeopleSoft is up to date. It is important that you include a cell phone number in your PeopleSoft profile. Most people carry cell phones, which gives them the ability to quickly receive emergency alerts anywhere on campus.

During an emergency, alert messages are sent to registered cell phones via text message; cellular calls, registered home phones, and registered email addresses (note all campus email addresses are contacted). Please listen too or read the alert and follow the recommended action.  

If you wish to not be included in the text, cellular and email portion of the Emergency Notification system, you may opt out your personal contact information. If you choose to opt out you will not receive first response notifications via your personal email and phone numbers (cellular phone, text, home phone). Campus email addresses will continue to receive emergency notifications.

Campus Lockdown
Alert U gives us the capability to lock down all buildings or a single building depending on the type of emergency and/or situation. In a shelter in place scenario all buildings on campus would be locked down until the situation is deemed safe and an all clear message is communicated.   

Kellogg Library Alert
Our campus Library is equipped with an indoor public address system which is linked into our Alert U System. During and emergency the Library indoor public address system broadcasts a voice message indicating an emergency occurring on campus and recommended action.

Building Fire Alarms
Building fire alarms are in place to notify building occupants of potential fire dangers. If you hear the fire alarm, EVACUATE the building immediately.

Our campus has very specific goals in the event of an emergency:

  • Ensure the safety and security of the students, faculty, staff and visitors
  • Minimize disruption of academic programs
  • Minimize University losses, and
  • Assist the campus and community with disaster recovery

It is our mission to assist in making these goals successful. Working together we can help ensure our campus and families are better PREPARED to handle unexpected emergencies!