Know What to Do, Who to Call in Emergency

Primary tabs

If a shooter was loose on campus, would you know what to do?        

“First and foremost, if people ever hear gunshots, they should take immediate action by evacuating the area around the shooter or locking themselves in a secure room,” said Andy Altizer, director of Emergency Preparedness at Georgia Tech. “Of course, also call the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) and follow any directions that you receive from the Georgia Tech Emergency Notification System (GTENS).”    

In addition, faculty, staff and students could rest assured that while they were taking these actions, campus leaders would be assembling to address the crisis, Altizer added.

The Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP), which Altizer oversees, was created following 9/11 to plan for and react to similar situations.

“The initial focus of OEP was homeland security, but in 2007, the focus began to encompass all hazards,” he said. “Although there are still some important homeland security functions, now our primary focus is on overall emergency preparedness.”

The OEP team includes Altizer; William Smith, emergency preparedness project manager; Jennifer Mattingly, emergency preparedness coordinator; Frank Stanley, emergency preparedness program coordinator and Jason Kraft, graduate student assistant. They are available to help the campus community with emergency planning and exercises, disaster drills, training classes, notifications and Redbooks (building emergency plans).

Over the years, the group has heard a few myths when it comes to what they do and how people should react in an emergency. Here are a few that they’d like to set the record straight on:

  • MYTH: Sirens are the only indicator there is  a threat on campus.
    TRUTH: The sirens are only meant to warn people who are outdoors. You aren’t likely to hear them inside. To be sure you are aware of any threat on campus, opt in for GTENS. (See the article below for additional details.)
  • MYTH: Only exit during a fire alarm when you see fire and/or smell smoke.
    TRUTH: There are times when an electrical fire can be inside a wall or ceiling, and you may not see the fire or smell smoke. Plus, there are times when a fire alarm is activated during a chemical spill. Exit the building any time you hear the fire alarm.
  • MYTH: OEP staff are police officers.
    TRUTH: We are part of the police department, but we’re not police officers. And, no — we do not carry guns.           

That final myth is why Altizer reminds people that OEP’s staff members aren’t first responders. For immediate assistance in an emergency, Altizer instructs people to call GTPD at 404-894-2500.

If you do require OEP’s services, contact Altizer with the request, which he will pass along to the appropriate person.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 09/17/2012
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

Target Audience

No target audience selected.