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Phone: 805-756-2281
Emergency Phone: 911

9-1-1 Communications

9-1-1 Education & Awareness

9-1-1 Education & Awareness

Explanation of "Blue Light" Phones

Explanation of "Blue Light" Phones

Cal Poly maintains a widely distributed on-campus network of "Blue Light" emergency telephones. Each bright blue phone is also identified by a blue light to help locate the phone at night. Pressing a button on the phone connects the caller directly with a 9-1-1 Dispatcher at the University Police Department Communications Center. This on-campus center is staffed 24/7/365 by trained, experienced Police Dispatchers.

Should it become necessary to activate a "blue light" phone, calmly state your name, your location and the nature of the emergency when the Dispatcher answers. The Dispatcher may ask questions to gain additional information and will send the required emergency response. Stay on the line if it is safe to do so until the Dispatcher terminates the connection. Help will arrive as quickly as possible.

Explanation of "Blue Light" Phones

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How to Enroll in the Cal Poly Emergency Notification System

The Cal Poly Emergency Notification System is a text messaging service that will distribute brief messages in situations posing imminent physical threats to the campus community. By using Short Messaging System (SMS) technology, the system can convey messages to registered mobile phones, Blackberries, wireless PDAs, smart phones and satellite phones. Subscribers can also receive e-mail messages regarding the event.

In order to benefit from this new service you must register. Most cell phones are already SMS-enabled; those that are not may still receive the messages, but may incur a small fee from your cell phone provider.

To enroll:

  • Go to
  • Log in
  • Click on the "Personal Information" tab and locate the "Personal Information Channel" panel
  • Click on the header "Opt-in to receive notifications of campus emergencies via text messages"
  • Follow the instructions to register

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Cal Poly Emergency Plan

The University Police Department is an integral part of the overall Campus Emergency Management Plan. This plan is designed to effectively coordinate the use of University and community resources to protect life and campus facilities immediately following a major disaster. The plan clearly defines the emergency management command structure as well as the priorities and responsibilities for each position within the structure. It is activated whenever an emergency affecting the campus cannot be managed through normal channels.

Examples of the types of emergencies where the plan may be activated include:

  • Earthquakes
  • Hazardous Materials Releases
  • Floods
  • Fires and Explosions
  • Extended Power Outages

This plan has been structured so that it is consistent with the State of California’s "Standardized Emergency Management System," and therefore complies with regulations outlined in the California Code of Regulations Title 19 §8607. The plan is also consistent with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

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What Happens In Case of a Disaster Like Earthquake or a School Shooting

During emergency situations, information regarding the status of the university will be communicated across a number of media including, among others, a campus public address system, Cal Poly's web site homepage, the University Police 805-756-NEWS line, radio station AM 1610 and the Cal Poly Emergency Notification System. Depending on the nature and scope of the emergency, members of the campus community may also be alerted by activation of the San Luis Obispo County Early Warning Siren System or by alerts broadcast over radio and television stations via the nationwide Emergency Alert System.

In any emergency situation, safety, survival and recovery will depend on existing levels of preparedness and a coordinated response from students, faculty, staff and visitors, as well as from emergency responders. Cal Poly's response to an emergency on campus will be guided by:

  1. Life safety
  2. Security and preservation of infrastructure and facilities
  3. Restoration of the academic program

Most emergencies are minor and involve a small number of specialized emergency responders such as police officers, firefighters and/or emergency medical personnel. Emergencies of a broader scope may require activation of the campus Emergency Operations Center and the involvement of other specialized resources such as Facility Services or Search and Rescue personnel. Emergencies of the largest scope would likely also mandate opening of the San Luis Obispo County Emergency Operations Center and coordination of emergency resources from outside the local area.

In any emergency, each member of the campus community should take whatever personal safety action steps are required. These action steps may include activating a local fire alarm system, calling 9-1-1, sheltering in place, moving away from the danger, evacuating a small area or a single building, or perhaps evacuation of the campus.

In any case, report the emergency, take personal safety action steps and follow the instructions of emergency responders.

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Will the Campus Ever Be Locked Down?

The foremost goal in any emergency situation is preserving the personal safety of all members of the campus community. Some of the factors that may be considered are the nature of the emergency or the type of threat, the type and/or size of the building or area involved, the number of people involved, and the ability to physically control access or egress.

To that end, the decision to "lock down" or secure a building, facility or the entire campus will be based on several factors. The decision, again based on the nature and scope of the particular situation, may be made at any time during the life of a dynamic, evolving event and may be made by different authorities in different situations.

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Emergency Information

The University Police Department's Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with P.O.S.T. certified, professionally trained dispatchers. The University Police Department may be contacted at the following numbers:

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-Emergency: 805-756-2281

There are blue emergency phones distributed throughout the campus. You can use any on-campus phone or your cell phone to contact us. If you use a cell phone, your call may be directed first to another agency and then be transferred to us.

When do you use 9-1-1?

  • To report a life threatening event
  • To report an in-progress crime or incident
  • To report a medical emergency
  • To report an injury traffic accident
  • To report a fire
  • To report an emergency hazardous condition

What information do we need from you?

  • The nature of the emergency: what is happening, e.g. someone is stealing your car; a friend has passed out on the ground; or smoke is coming from your building.
  • The location of the incident: the building, room, parking lot, address, street intersection, landmark, city, county, or mile marker. What are you near?
  • The specifics of the incident: a description of the person(s) or vehicles involved; if there are weapons involved; the direction of travel of the suspect(s) or vehicle(s); if the patient is conscious and breathing; does the patient have a particular medical condition, i.e. diabetes; whether the vehicles are blocking the roadway.

What are some tips to remember?

  • Your call is being answered by a professionally trained dispatcher. Questions are asked in order to determine the proper resource(s) to send to assist you. Help is on the way.
  • Stay calm. This is often difficult in emergency situations, but remember we are here to help. We can't do that without your assistance and cooperation.
  • Don't hang up the phone. The dispatcher may have to put you on hold in order to dispatch the assistance you need.
  • If you are using a cell phone, your call may be transferred to another appropriate agency. If you get disconnected, call back. Cell phones often lose contact.
  • If your call is a non-emergency, you will be re-directed to a non-emergency number. 911 lines must be kept open for emergency calls only.
  • If you dial 911 by accident, do not hang up. If a dispatcher cannot reach you, a police officer will have to be sent to your location to determine the nature of your emergency.
  • Prank calls are against the law and you may be prosecuted for making such calls.

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