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Safety Blog

Safety training courses offered at K-State

Emergency preparedness is the shared responsibility of all campus and community members. K-State offers the following training opportunities to help prepare individuals for potential emergency situations.

ALICE training

Offered by the K-State Police Department ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, training teaches participants what to do in the event of a violent intruder situation. ALICE is an options based response that allows people in a crisis situation to use the information they have to take proactive steps to save their lives. Open enrollment ALICE training sessions are offered regularly on campus or can be scheduled for a class, group, or department. Trainings are posted in HRIS when available. K-Staters can also watch a short video that highlights the ALICE strategies on the ALICE trainingpage. For more information on scheduling ALICE training contact Sgt. Chad Jager with the K-State Police Department at 785-532-1132 or cwj7667@k-state.edu.

Stop the Bleed training

No matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders will always be first on the scene. A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes, therefore it is important to quickly stop the blood loss. Those nearest to someone with life threatening injuries are best positioned to provide first care. According to a recent National Academies of Science study, trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans under age 46. Stop the Bleed training teaches proper bleeding control techniques, including how to use your hands, dressings and tourniquets to save someone’s life or your own. The K-State Police Department regularly offers open enrollment classes on campus. Trainings are posted in HRIS when available. Stop the Bleed training can also be scheduled for specific groups or departments. Contact Sgt. Chad Jager with the K-State Police Department at 785-532-1132 or cwj7667@k-state.edu for more information on Stop the Bleed training.

K-State also has co-located at least one bleeding control kit with each publicly available automated external defibrillator on campus. You can locate AEDs via the safety map in the LiveSafe app.

First Aid training

The Lafene Health Center offers first aid certification to K-State students, faculty, staff and the public through the American Heart Association. See the Lafene Health Center CPR page for details on registration, fees and scheduled skill testing sessions.

Extreme heat

Heat is one the leading causes of weather-related deaths and injuries in the United States. Excessive heat causes hundreds of deaths every year. Heat can affect people in a variety of settings and while dangerous heat is associated with the summer season, it can occur in the spring and fall as well.

The risk

When exposed to high temperatures your body sweats, which evaporates to cool your body. Hot and humid weather challenges your body’s ability to cool itself because your body sweats a great deal to try to maintain your body temperature. Over time this increased sweating leads to dehydration and your body temperature becomes elevated. Increased levels of humidity make this worse as the high water content of the air hampers the evaporation of sweat on your skin. This can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Those most at risk for heat illness include infants, children, the elderly, overweight people and those who are ill or have certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a mild form of heat illness that may develop after days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate fluid intake. If not treated, heat exhaustion may become heat stroke. A person suffering from heat exhaustion may have cool moist skin. Their pulse rate will be fast and weak and their breathing will be fast and shallow. Additional warning signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

Heat exhaustion first aid

  • Drink cool beverages without alcohol or caffeine.
  • Move to an air-conditioned environment.
  • Take a cool shower, bath or apply cold compresses.
  • Rest

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious of heat-related illnesses. It occurs when the body is unable to cool itself because the ability to sweat fails. A victim’s body temperature will rapidly rise within a few minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent injury if it is not treated quickly. Warning signs of heat stroke vary but can include:

  • An extremely high body temperature — above 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Red, hot and dry skin without sweating.
  • Rapid, strong pulse.
  • Throbbing headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Confusion.
  • Unconsciousness.

Heat stroke first aid

  • Call 911 immediately. Untreated heat stroke may result in death or disability.
  • Move the victim to a shady and/or air-conditioned area.
  • Cool the victim rapidly using whatever means available such as a cool shower or bath, garden hose, or sponging with cool water.

Prevention

Like many hazards there are steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of heat illnesses.

  • Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Limit strenuous outdoor activities.
  • Wear light colored, light weight clothing.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Take breaks in the shade as often as possible.
  • If working in the heat, increase workloads gradually. Allow new employees and workers who have been off for more than a week more frequent breaks.
  • Change your schedule so outdoor work is performed early or very late in the day.
  • NEVER leave kids or pets in vehicles.
  • Check on the elderly, sick and those without air conditioning.
  • Be aware of the symptoms of heat illness and take action if you see someone at risk.

Sources

Tornado warnings and K-State Alerts

Many K-Staters have asked why a K-State Alerts message was not sent when the tornado warning was issued on May 21.

Currently, K-State Alerts are only issued for tornadoes if the campus falls within the warning area designated by the National Weather Service. The May 21 tornado warning was for areas to the west and north of Manhattan so the campus was not directly at risk. The outdoor warning sirens for the cities of Ogden and Manhattan are tied together. So when the sirens were sounded to warn the people in Ogden of the tornado, the sirens in Manhattan activated as well. This is why a K-State Alert wasn’t issued even though the Manhattan sirens were activated.

If you’re ever in doubt, it’s best to err on the side of safety and take shelter.

K-State Alerts: What we can learn from the May 9 incident

Following the shots fired incident on May 9 at the KSU Foundation, K-Staters have asked for information about what they should do if a similar incident happens in the future. As is true in many situations, we can learn from our experiences and apply the lessons to be better in the future.

Preparation is a tremendous asset in a crisis.
K-State Police and the university’s crisis communications team practice and meet regularly to prepare for potential crises but all K-Staters need to make safety a top priority. As a member of the university community there are steps you can take to be informed and prepared.

Sign up for text alerts through K-State Connect. While K-State Alerts are delivered to all university emails, you must intentionally sign up to receive text alerts. Many who asked why they did not receive an alert on May 9, had not signed up for the text message option.  Receiving alerts through text messages is a personal safety feature that is strongly encouraged. Texts are the fastest method the university has to deliver emergency messages, as email delivery can sometimes be delayed. Please opt in for text alerts!

Take an ALICE training. The next scheduled training is May 22 and you can sign up through HRIS. Also, trainings can be scheduled for entire departments by contacting Sergeant Chad Jager at cwj7667@k-state.edu or 785-532-6412.

Familiarize yourself with your departmental or building’s emergency plan. If there isn’t one, help to make one — emergency plan templates are available under the Planning Resources bullet on the emergency management website. If multiple departments are in the same building, they must plan and train together. For emergency planning guidance, contact Michael Bear, emergency management coordinator, at kstateem@k-state.edu or 785-532-6412.

The K-State Alerts system, ALICE training and emergency plans work.
On May 9, most people followed instructions in the K-State Alerts message and stayed clear of the area. This allowed police to conduct the investigation and if there had been injuries, it would have given emergency medical personnel room to do their jobs.

Although the police did not issue a lockdown, some buildings relied on their departmental or building safety procedures and locked the doors. The Rec Center and the College of Veterinary Medicine evaluated their proximity to the incident and followed their protocols. This doesn’t mean they overreacted or that other parts of campus underreacted. Each person and department will encounter different circumstances and must adjust accordingly — as the ALICE training teaches.

Brief facts are the most effective in emergencies.
K-State Alerts provides short and direct messaging through text messages (if you are opted in), email, alert beacons, the website, social media and possibly a loud speaker. The messages are designed to give basic information in as few characters as possible so K-Staters can quickly read and implement safety plans.

K-State Police took several factors into account about what language to use for the first May 9 alert. For example, the term “shots fired” was used because there were no reports of a person being hurt. In the short, quick messages — limited to 160 characters —facts are prioritized over explicit instructions, grammar, spelling and punctuation. During an incident, we’d like to provide complete, detailed and politely-worded information and instructions to everyone, but it is not possible in the middle of an emergency.

Wall-mounted beacons are for initial alerts but other media should be used for updates.
The alert beacons in various campus buildings will sound for several minutes. An incident might still be ongoing even if the beacon stops sounding. Changes in incident status will be sent as separate messages in K-State Alerts, official university social media posts and website homepage notices and may re-trigger the beacons, but in some cases it may not. The beacons are installed and maintained by Network and Telecommunications Services.

Loved ones and visitors may want to receive K-State Alerts, too.
Several parents and students were confused because they did not receive a text message about the situation. K-Staters can add up to three phone numbers and e-mails to three different addresses to their account. This is a good way to include family members in notifications if desired. Non-affiliated K-State visitors and community members can receive alerts for all three campuses by texting KSTATEVISITOR to 67283.

Please remember, you’ll only receive K-State Alerts by text message if you opt-in via K-State Connect. Also, alerts settings default to coverage for all three campuses. You can change this setting in K-State Connect. Read how.

The K-State Alerts policy was revised to only announce emergencies and campus closures.
Through surveys and feedback forms, we’ve also learned that many people who were initially enrolled in K-State Alerts text messages unsubscribed because alerts regarding thunderstorm watches and other weather events not requiring action became intrusive. The K-State Alerts policy was revised several years ago and weather alerts are now only issued for severe weather events affecting university property, campus closures and serious safety issues. Please re-enroll for the most direct means of all types of emergency notices.

The K-State Police work to make campus as safe as possible, but every member of the K-State community can contribute to this effort. Whether it is by enrolling for K-State Alert texts, taking ALICE or Stop the Bleed training, reporting suspicious activity via the LiveSafe app, or participating in emergency planning and training, your actions help make K-State a more prepared and resilient place for us all to live, learn and work.

K-State Alerts tips

With many notifications coming to cellphones, it can be difficult to know which are worth looking at and which need immediate action. To ensure you’re aware of K-State Alerts, consider the following:

Set custom notification sounds

Smart phones allow you to set custom ring tones for calls and texts from specific numbers. By setting specific sounds for K-State Alerts, you’ll know when it’s a critical communication versus spam.

Custom vibrations

In a meeting or class with your ringer muted, you won’t know which buzz is critical. Some smart phones allow you to set custom vibration patterns as well as ring tones. Give K-State Alerts a custom pattern so you’ll recognize the urgency.

Do not disturb/silent mode

Many people set their phones to silent or do not disturb mode to have a good night’s rest. To ensure you get K-State Alerts at all times of the day or night set K-State Alerts up to bypass your Do Not Disturb setting.

Adjusting these options will vary from phone to phone but the majority of the time they can be found in your settings or contact menus. Whatever kind of smartphone you have you should add the K-State Alerts numbers to your phone. These numbers are:

Phone Text Text Text Text Text
785-532-0111 67283 226787 78015 81437 77295

Remember, you’ll only receive K-State Alerts via text if you have opted-in. You can double check in K-State Connect.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding K-State Alerts, contact Michael Bear, emergency management coordinator, at kstateem@k-state.edu or 785-532-6412.

Severe thunderstorms and tornados

People typically associate severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes, dangerous lightning and heavy rains with the spring and summer, but in fact, these storms can happen during any season at any time of day.

One of the best ways to prepare for a severe thunderstorm is to have a properly programmed NOAA weather radio. These radios broadcast continuous weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office and broadcast official warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NOAA weather radios are readily available at local stores or online retailers. In addition to weather radios, there are numerous smartphone apps that can let you know a severe storm is approaching.

During severe storms or tornados, Riley County and K-State use outdoor warning sirens to alert those outside of the need to take cover. The K-State Alerts system will be utilized to inform those in on-campus buildings of a tornado threat. Warnings also will be transmitted via local broadcast media.

When you hear a severe thunderstorm warning seek shelter immediately. Some buildings have designated shelter areas whose locations are posted in public areas or detailed in the building emergency plan. If you are inside a building without a designated shelter area, go to the lowest floor close to the core of the building. Stay away from windows and avoid larger open areas such as cafeterias, gyms, or auditoriums.

If you are outside you should seek shelter inside a sturdy building. DO NOT shelter in sheds, storage buildings or under trees. Sheltering in a vehicle is safer than being outside, but if there is time you should drive to the closest shelter.

For more information go to the K-State Emergency Guide

Flooding safety, resources

In light of the flooding that occurred in Manhattan last Labor Day and in Nebraska earlier this year, many K-Staters have expressed concerns about flooding both on and off campus.

All three campuses are fortunate to be outside of floodplains. However, during heavy rain, water drainage for the Manhattan campus via Campus Creek is sometimes unable to keep up, resulting in roadway flooding near campus and minor water intrusion into some campus buildings. The roads typically affected are North Manhattan where it intersects Petticoat Lane, Campus Creek Road, Lovers Lane, Vattier Street and Anderson Avenue. K-State police monitor the water level in Campus Creek and the nearby roads. If flooding is in progress they block off these areas as quickly as possible.

If you encounter flooded roadways or sidewalks, NEVER walk or drive into flood waters. Six inches of fast moving water can knock over and carry away an adult. Twelve inches of fast moving water can carry off a small car. Eighteen to 24 inches of water can carry away most large SUVs, trucks and vans. Water is usually deeper than it appears. Even if your car is not carried away, driving into flood waters can damage the engine. It’s best to remember the National Weather Service’s advice when you encounter a flooded area: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

For K-Staters living off campus it’s best to do some research before buying or renting. Certain areas of Manhattan, Salina, and Olathe are more prone to flooding than others. All three of these cities provide floodplain maps and other resources that identify areas at risk from flooding. The majority of renter and home insurance policies do not cover flood damages. If you choose to live in a flood prone area, seek out additional flood insurance to offset your potential losses.

Visit the K-State Emergency Guide for links to flooding resources.

Welcome to the K-State Safety Blog

The Kansas State University Police Department and emergency management team are collaborating to bring the university community safety information through monthly blog posts. While different topics will be shared each month, additional information will be posted as needed.

View safety resources on the Emergency Guide.

Contact the K-State Police Department at 785-532-6412 with questions.