Frequently Asked Questions

Public Safety
Our Office

The Department of Public Safety is located in the 1313 Columbia Building (CLMB), room 002. Community members have afterhours card swipe access to the main entry doors of the CLMB to connect with Public Safety or call 206.296.5990 24-hours a day 

Where can I find the SU Emergency Crisis Management Plan?

The plan is online at

What should I do if there is an emergency or I see something suspicious?

Any threat or risk that puts lives in immediate danger should be reported to Campus Public Safety at 206-296-5911. If you are off-campus, call 911.

Why should I contact Campus Public Safety before Seattle's Emergency Services directly at 911?

Campus Public Safety will be able to dispatch a security officer to your location immediately. Since every building on the campus has its own address, the Campus Public Safety dispatcher will contact Seattle Fire or Police departments and direct them to the exact location.

What types of activities should I be looking for?

In addition to obvious criminal activity or emergencies such as an explosion, examples of suspicious activity can include:

  • A package or bag left unattended.
  • Overhearing someone use or threaten to use a gun or other weapon, place a bomb, or release a poisonous substance into the air.
  • Someone you do not recognize is in a non-public area of a building. In general, trust your intuition. If you are aware of a possible terrorist threat, you will be alert to unusual activity. If you have a gut reaction, nagging suspicion or general concern, do not discount your feelings. Contact Campus Public Safety who can then investigate the situation.

There is a lot of discussion about a chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) attack. If there is a CBR attack, what should I do?

Remain indoors, close windows and doors (blocking space under the door with towels, blankets, or spare clothes), and turn off ventilation systems (heat, bathroom fans).

What will the University do in response to a CBR attack?

We will follow a shelter in place process, indicating that persons should remain inside and keep doors and windows closed. Ventilation systems will be shut down as needed.

I’ve been hearing on the news recommendations for shelter in place. What is it?

Shelter in place is not a new concept. It means using existing buildings as shelter during an emergency. In case of a chemical, biological, or radiological attack, there may not be time to evacuate an area before the wind carries particles away from the point of origin. To prevent exposure to these agents, buildings can provide a barrier against airborne chemical or biological agents and clean air can be trapped inside of buildings providing hours of breathable air. With time, prevailing winds can carry the hazard away, making it safe to leave again. Shelter in place instructions can be found online at Seattle Emergency Management: Facilities Operations has installed equipment to assist in the campus sheltering in place plan by shutting down air handling systems.

How long will a shelter in place order last?

Although it's hard to determine, in most CBR attacks, clouds of particles will usually pass over an area within a few hours.

What about food and water during an extended shelter in place order?

Campus dining services is prepared to respond by providing food, water, etc. Some supplies will be stored in campus housing locations.

What about using restrooms during a shelter in place order?

Unless specifically advised by city authorities, it is generally believed that use of restroom facilities and plumbing will be safe.

How will we be informed when the CBR attack is over or when it is safe to leave?

A Building Marshal will communicate with the University Emergency Crisis Response Team and notify you of status updates. A list of Building Marshals can be found in the SU Emergency Plan:

If I am a parent of an SU student, how can I find out if my child is safe?

The University has precautionary plans in place to protect students as much as possible. Campus Emergency Contact numbers are:

  • Campus Public Safety: (206) 295-5990 or (206) 296-5911
  • University Operator: (206) 296-6000

What steps should household take for personal preparedness?

Several excellent publications are available on the Seattle Emergency Management website:

What is the current federal threat level?

The current threat level may be found at or

What protective measures are suggested for a high threat level?

The advisory system lists a variety of precautions specific to different segments of the population. The Department of Homeland Security had detailed information available at

Where can I get more emergency response information?

The following websites have excellent information on preparing for emergencies: