Advisories and Emergency Situations

When an emergency occurs, it is vital to know the best response and plan for the situation. Effective emergency preparedness includes being familiar with the guidelines to be followed during the emergency.   Bellevue College Emergency Management provides these guidelines to ensure the safety of those impacted by various emergency situations.    

Emergency Situations

“An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms and display no pattern or method to their selection of victims”. United States Department of Homeland Security. 

The current recommendation from the Department of Homeland Security is to Run, Hide, or Fight in an active shooter situation: 

Blue First Option Run

(First Option) If it is safe to do so, move away from the sound of gunfire as quickly as possible, and exit the building. Keep moving until you are well outside the area of danger. 

  • If safe, evacuate to a safe area 
  • Call 911 when you are safe 
  • Leave your belongings 
  • Keep your hands visible 
Blue Second Option Hide

(Second Option) If you are unable to run, because the shooter is between your location and the exit, find a secure place to hide where the shooter is unlikely to find you. 

  • Lock & barricade doors 
  • Shut off lights & remain quiet 
  • Silence your phone 
  • Take protective cover out of view 
Blue Last Resort Fight

(Last Resort) As a last resort, when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to distract or physically attack the shooter.

  • Fight only when your life is in danger 
  • Attempt to disarm the attacker 
  • Use common objects as weapons, such as a heavy bag or fire extinguisher 


When the Bellevue Police Department arrives: 

Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard.  The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured people. Their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. Rescue teams and emergency medical personnel will follow behind to help.  

You must remain calm and do as the officers tell you. Put down any bags or packages you may be carrying and keep your hands visible at all times. Avoid making quick movements toward the officers, such as attempting to hold on to them for safety. If you know the location of the shooter, tell the officers. 

Expectations from responding officers: 

  • They may arrive in any size team or as an individual.  
  • They may be wearing patrol uniforms, civilian clothing, or bulletproof vests with other tactical equipment.  
  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns or handguns, and they may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation. 

Once you have reached a safe location, officers may detain you until the situation is under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned.   Please keep in mind that entire area is a crime scene. Until you are released, remain at the assembly point authorities have designated.  

Air Quality Guide for Particle Pollution

Harmful particle pollution is one of our nation’s most common air pollutants. Use the chart below to help reduce your
exposure and protect your health. Visit for your local air quality forecast.
Air Quality IndexWho Needs to be Concerned?What Should I do?


It’s a great day to be active outside.


Some people who may be unusually sensitive to particle pollution.

Unusually sensitive people: Consider making outdoor activities shorter and less intense. Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath. These are signs to take it easier.

Everyone else: It’s a good day to be outside.

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

Sensitive groups include people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teenagers, minority populations, and outdoor workers.

Sensitive groups: Make outdoor activities shorter and less intense. It’s OK to be active outdoors, but take more breaks. Watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath.

People with asthma: Follow your asthma action plan and keep quick relief medicine handy.

People with heart disease: Symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, or unusual fatigue may indicate a serious problem. If you have any of these, contact your health care provider.



Sensitive Groups:Avoid long or intense outdoor activities. Consider rescheduling or moving activities indoors.*

Everyone Else:Avoid long or intense activities. Consider rescheduling or moving activities indoors.*

Very Unhealthy


Sensitive groups: Avoid all physical activity outdoors. Reschedule to a time when air quality is better or move activities indoors.*

Everyone else: Reduce long or intense activities. Consider rescheduling or moving activities indoors.*



Remain indoors and keep activity levels low. Follow tips for keeping particle levels low indoors.*

Everyone else:Avoid all physical activity outdoors.

Key Facts to Know About Particle Pollution:

  • Particle pollution can cause serious health problems, including asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and early death.
  • Particle pollution can be a problem at any time of the year, depending on where you live.
  • You can reduce your exposure to ozone pollution and still get exercise! Use AirNow’s current Air Quality Index (AQI) information and forecasts to plan your outdoor activities.

What is particle pollution?

Particle pollution comes from many different sources. Fine
particles (2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller) come
from power plants, industrial processes, vehicle tailpipes,
woodstoves, and wildfires. Coarse particles (between 2.5
and 10 micrometers) come from crushing and grinding
operations, road dust, and some agricultural operations.

Why is particle pollution a problem?

Particle pollution causes a number of serious health
problems, including coughing, wheezing, reduced lung
function, asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. It also
is linked to early death in people with heart or lung disease.

Do I need to be concerned?

It’s always smart to pay attention to your air quality, but it’s especially true for people who may be at greater risk. They

  • People with heart disease.
  • People with lung disease, including asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
  • Older adults.
  • Children and teenagers because their lungs are still developing, and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.
  • Pregnant people.
  • Minority populations.
  • Outdoor workers

How can I protect myself?

Use AQI forecasts, available on to plan outdoor activities. On days when the AQI is forecast to be unhealthy, check AirNow for your current air quality and take simple steps to reduce your exposure, including:

  • Choose a less intense activity.
  • Shorten your outdoor activities.
  • Reschedule activities.
  • Exercise away from busy roads

When particle levels are high outdoors, they can be high indoors too. Keep particles lower indoors:

  • Reduce your use of fireplaces and wood stoves. And don’t use candles or smoke indoors.
  • Use HEPA air filters ( in your HVAC system.
  • Buy or make your own portable air cleaner designed to reduce particles indoors.

Can I help reduce particle pollution?

Yes! Here are a few tips:

  • Drive less: bike or walk, carpool, use public transportation.
  • Use energy efficiently; choose ENERGY STAR certified products.
  • For cleaner heat, upgrade to a heat pump, electric heat, or ductless heat pumps.
  • Keep car, boat and other engines tuned.
  • If you use wood for heat, burn it efficiently. Check EPA’s Burn Wise Program for tips (
  • Don’t burn leaves, garbage, plastic or rubber.

Bomb Threat Procedures

Key Elements: Most bomb threats are received by phone. Bomb threats are serious until proven otherwise. Act quickly, but remain calm and obtain information with the checklist on this page. 

Receiving a bomb threat can be scary. Here are some tips on what you can do to handle a bomb threat depending on the method it was received. 

Bomb Threat Received via Phone 

  1. Remain calm. Keep the caller on the line for as long as possible. DO NOT HANG UP, even if the caller does. 
  1. Listen carefully. Be polite and show interest. 
  1. Try to keep the caller talking to learn more information. 
  1. If possible, write a note to a colleague to call the authorities or, as soon as the caller hangs up, immediately notify them yourself. 
  1. If your phone has a display, copy the number and/or letters on the window display. 
  1. Complete the Bomb Threat Checklist immediately. Write down as much detail as you can remember. Try to get exact words. 
  1. Bomb Threat Checklist: 
  • Write down exactly what the caller says—if possible, ask him or her to repeat the information. 
  • Try to keep the caller speaking with you by asking questions. 
  • For instance, try asking where the device or the person is. Calmly let the caller know that many people could be harmed; it’s possible that the person is calling because he or she doesn’t actually want to follow through with this threat. 
  • As you listen, do you notice any background noises like other voices, cars, freeways, or music? Is there anything distinct about the caller’s voice or the way the person speaks? Is his or her tone calm or angry? 
  • Even if the caller hangs up, keep your end of the call active or press “hold.” Cell phones might automatically disconnect, and that’s okay, just take note of when the call ended and how long it lasted. 
  1. Call Bellevue College Public Safety immediately at (425) 466-9365 to share your notes and observations with us; this will help us to coordinate with the City of Bellevue Police and Fire Departments. We also understand that you will want to tell others on campus about what happened or post information on social media, but it’s safest for everyone if you allow Public Safety to notify others. Our goal is to keep everyone safe and to do this we need to avoid causing panic. 

Bomb Threat Received via Handwritten Note 

  1. Call Bellevue College Public Safety: (425) 466-9365 
  1. Handle note as minimally as possible. 

Bomb Threat Received via Email 

  1. Treat it as a genuine threat, even if it seems like it might be a joke or you are not sure what the person’s intent is.
  2. If you find an emailed, social media, or otherwise digital threat, just keep it accessible on your screen.  
  3. Do not delete the message. 
  4. Call Bellevue College Public Safety at (425) 466-9365 

Bomb Threat Received via Suspicious Package 

  1. Some indications of a suspicious package are when there is/are: 
  • No return address 
  • Excessive postage 
  • Poor handwriting or misspelled words 
  • Incorrect titles 
  • Foreign postage 
  • Restrictive notes 
  • Stains 
  • Strange odor 
  • Strange sounds 
  • Unexpected delivery 
  1. If you discover a suspicious package, be careful to avoid touching it and encourage others in the area to do the same. Although you might want to sniff, smell, or shake the package to see what’s in it, please do not do so as it is safer to wait for us to investigate. If you can, calmly encourage others to leave the area as soon as possible and notify Bellevue College Public Safety at (425) 466-9365. 
  1. DO NOT use two-way radios or cell phones. Radio signals have the potential to detonate a bomb. DO NOT activate the fire alarm. DO NOT touch or move a suspicious package. 

CONTACT : Call Public Safety (425) 466-9365 (24/7)

Bomb Threat Procedures and Checklist

MM slash DD slash YYYY
Time Caller Hung Up

Ask Caller:

When will it go off?
Did you place the bomb?

Information About Caller:

Is the voice familiar?
Callers Voice:
Background Sounds
Threat Language
Name of person filling out the form

DROP—Get under a desk, table, or against an interior wall

COVER—Protect the back of your neck with your hands

HOLD ON—Hang onto the object until the shaking stops

After the shaking stops:

  • Check yourself for injuries & assist those in need
  • Evacuate away from buildings
  • Avoid elevators

Elevator Entrapment 

An elevator entrapment may occur due to a mechanical issue or during a power outage. In all likelihood, the elevator car will not fall, you will not run out of oxygen, and if emergency lights are available, they will activate for your safety. Elevators have mechanical safety brakes which operate in all situations, even power failures. 

The information below provides guidance on what to do before, during, and after an elevator entrapment occurs. 


  • Avoid rushing into an elevator with closing doors. Instead, wait for the next elevator. 
  • Avoid entering a full elevator. Instead, wait for a car with fewer people in it. 
  • DO NOT use elevators during a fire unless instructed to do so by the Fire Department. 


  • If you are trapped in an elevator, notify Public Safety using the call button located within the elevator. If the call button is not working properly, or if you are outside the elevator and know someone is trapped inside, call BC Public Safety at (425) 466-9365 (24/7).  Notify them of the situation, and provide the following: 
    • Your name 
    • The building location 
    • The location of the elevator in the building or the car number 
    • The issue, if known (power outage, doors not working, stalled between floors) 
    • Where (what floor) the car is stopped, if known 
    • Known hazards (such as smoke from a fire or strong chemical smells) 
    • The number of people in the elevator car and any known medical, access or functional needs. 
  • Wait until the dispatcher advises you to disconnect. 
  • In the event that the emergency call button is not working and you are unable to call or message BC Public Safety: Shout or pound on the door to notify others in the building of your situation. 
  • Assist other passengers in the elevator to remain calm. 
  • Avoid using your phone to conserve battery. Only use it to make emergency calls.  
  • Wait for trained personnel to assist in evacuating an elevator. Follow emergency responder instructions. 
  • DO NOT use an open flame or candle when trapped in an elevator. 
  • DO NOT pry open elevator doors nor climb the roof escape hatch, unless you are in a life-threatening situation. 


  • Be prepared to answer any questions from emergency response personnel and notify them of any injuries or issues you or others are experiencing. 

If Public Safety or other emergency personnel direct you to evacuate any college building: 

  • Remain calm. Walk to your nearest exit – do not run. Assist others in need if you are able. 
  • If you are on an upper floor, take the stairs. Do not use the elevators. If you are unable to take the stairs, many buildings have emergency evacuation chairs available for use near the stairwells. Those who cannot use stairs should proceed to a stairwell or designated area of refuge for evacuation assistance.
  • If you are a student with access or functional needs, the Disability Resource Center is available to assist in emergency planning. You may contact them at any time at (425)564-2498 or ext. 2498. 
  • If you are an employee with access or functional needs, Public Safety and Human Resources can assist in emergency planning. You may contact Public Safety at (425) 466-9365 or Human Resources at (425)564-2274 or ext. 2274. 
  • Evacuate to the outside of the building, toward the parking areas. If you are on the main campus, do not evacuate into the central courtyards. Designated evacuation zones are available for use. It is important to note that your nearest evacuation zone may not be the safest depending on the circumstances. Use your best judgment to decide which zone to evacuate to. 
  • Do not re-enter the buildings until you are directed by Public Safety, Law Enforcement, or the Fire Department. 
  • Remain on campus until directed to leave. 
  • If main campus is evacuated, please use a “right-turn only” method. Turning left at stop signs can prevent traffic flow. Continue right-turns until you reach an exit to prevent traffic congestion and allow for responders to enter campus easily. 

Bellevue College Extreme Weather 

Campus Suspended Operations Determination Process 

Since suspending campus operations disrupts programs and services for our 20,000+ students, BC makes every effort to remain operational despite extreme weather. Puget Sound weather is among the least predictable in the country. Campus suspended operations decisions are based partly on predictions but mostly on current conditions on and around campus. Suspended operations only occur when: 

  • Current local weather conditions severely restrict travel to and from campus; or 
  • Campus roadways, parking lots, paths, and buildings cannot be maintained for public safety. 

The Public Safety Department initiates the suspended operations decision process when weather conditions begin to worsen. The Vice President of Administrative Services and the President are involved in making a decision to suspend campus operations. 

Four decisions are possible: 

  • No suspended operations—Classes will meet and offices will remain open as usual; 
  • Delayed opening/early suspended operations—Classes before or after a stated time will not be held and college office hours will have a delayed start or early ending time; 
  • Partial closure—Classes will not meet but college offices will be open for business; or 
  • Total closure—Classes will not meet and offices will be closed. Essential personnel may be asked to report to work if possible.

Notification Methods and Procedures

BC provides a number of distribution methods for getting this information to you. It is highly encouraged that departments also use telephone trees to inform staff members of any suspended operations or emergency. The following procedures and notification methods are used for campus suspended operations: 

  • On-campus notifications (if a decision to suspend operations is made during the day): The President’s Office or the Vice President of Administrative Services sends an e-mail to BC network users. Public Safety will immediately notify instructors and students in classrooms. 
  • Off-campus notifications (at all times of the day): The college will make suspended operations information available to people off-campus in the following ways: 
  • Rave Alerts (BC’s emergency notification system) – BC will send an e-mail and/or text message as soon as possible when the college suspends operations due to weather or any other emergency. Sign up for this service here. This system receives the highest priority among several channels the college uses to communicate emergency messages to students, faculty, and staff. 
  • FlashAlert – BC (and many other Puget Sound area schools) posts emergency communications on the FlashAlert website. This is the source the media uses to get their closure/suspended operations/delayed start information and will be BC’s second priority in disseminating emergency messages. You may subscribe to FlashAlert’s email and text message service here. Most TV and radio stations broadcast these messages periodically. Please remember, TV and radio stations do not name schools that will be staying open/operational. If BC is not mentioned, assume that classes will meet and offices are open. 
  • BC’s emergency hotline message – Call (425)401-6680 for emergency information, including campus suspended operations information. 
  • BC’s home page – If campus operations are suspended, the College’s website will provide information on the suspended operations. 

Reasonable Effort 

If the college is not suspending operations, faculty, and staff are expected to make a reasonable effort to come to campus and maintain services for students. However, the College does not expect people to put themselves in danger. If there is a weather emergency, use your best judgment to determine if you are able to make it to campus. Check traffic advisories and other information resources to make an informed decision based on your local conditions and circumstances. Ensure that proper department protocols are followed for calling in absent when you are unable to make it to campus. 


  • If you hear a fire alarm, leave the area immediately and follow the evacuation procedures to your nearest or safest evacuation zone. Remain in your evacuation zone until otherwise directed by Public Safety or Fire Department personnel. 
  • Attempt to prevent others from entering the area. 
  • Do not use elevators to evacuate. Assist others in need if possible. 
  • Avoid locations close to the fire, especially if it is near a gas line. 
  • Do not re-enter the building until you are authorized to do so by Public Safety or emergency personnel 

Fire Pull Stations 

  • If you suspect or witness a fire near or inside of a building with no alarm sounding: 
  • Pull an evacuation alarm pull station for the building. Each building has multiple pull stations, which will activate the evacuation alarm. If the fire is outside and not near a building (bark or bush fire), avoid the area and try to prevent others from entering the area as well. 
  • Call 911 and provide them with your location, the location of the fire (building and room), the telephone number you are calling from, and the size/type of the fire (example: large trash can fire or small electrical fire). 
  • Call Public Safety at (425) 466-9365 from a campus phone and provide them with the same information. 

Fire Extinguishers 

  •  Fire Extinguishers area located in areas within each building to allow for quick accessibility during a small and manageable fire.  
  • When operating the fire extinguisher follow the P.A.S.S. procedure: 
    • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism. 
    • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire. 
    • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly. 
    • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side. 

  • If immediate hazard exists, evacuate area & call 911
  • If contaminated, remove clothing, rinse with water
  • Call Public Safety at 2400 (on-campus extension) or 425-466-9365 (24/7 mobile duty)

Lockdown for Instructors 

  • Make sure you have your keys at all times. 
  • A campus alert (text, email, or other) will notify you that we are going into lock-down. 
  • When you receive the lock-down announcement, do not call for information. Do not allow students to use telephones or cell phones. 
  • Instructors who have students on the athletic fields should gather all the students in the safest location possible and await further instructions from law enforcement officials. 
  • Instructors should quickly check halls/common areas and usher students into classrooms – even if they aren’t in your class.
  • Emergency Lockdown Key System (ELKS)
  • In the case of a campus emergency requiring a lockdown or need to shelter in place, the college has implemented a system referred to as ELKS or Emergency Lockdown Key System for doors requiring physical keys. Please note that doors that have electronic access control can be locked down remotely via the Public Safety Department.
  • You may have noticed small red lock boxes in offices or classrooms similar to the images below. These boxes contain keys that may be used to lock an adjacent door during an emergency. Additionally, the door locks are labeled with an arrow and text that shows the direction the key must be turned to lock the door.
  • Please refer to the additional information below regarding utilizing the ELKS system in the case of an emergency.
  • Secure your room: Lock all doors (interior and exterior) as possible, close blinds, turn off lights, and keep students down and away from the windows and door. Stay out of sight.  
  • Instructors may contact Public Safety the key that will allow them to lock the door to a classroom from the inside (occupants can still leave the room if needed). 
  • The keys will work on all doors that have a red emergency key box mounted next to the door. Although not every door on campus is capable of having this installed, this does cover the majority of classrooms. If no instructor is present or the instructor does not have a key, occupants should locate the red emergency box near the door to obtain a key to lock the room. 
  • To access the key, use the hammer to break the glass (pictured below). You will find the key to lock the classroom door.
  • Lock door. 
  • Cover all exposed windows (if possible). 
  • During lock-down, common areas should remain clear except for Campus Security and Police. 
  • Staff without students should remain in or find a secured room, or seek shelter in the nearest classroom. 
  • Remain in lock-down until a uniformed officer provides instructions or an “all clear” code is sent via the campus alert system. 
  • An email explanation will be sent to teachers as soon as possible after the lock-down. 
Lockdown procedure visual with three pictures. First picture is of a Red box with the lockdown key inside. Second picture shows the red box with the key to open the red box. The third picture shows the door to the red box open and the lockdown key accessible.

Lockdown for Students and Staff

General guidance: 

  • Follow instructions issued through BC Alerts. 
  • Cooperate with law enforcement officials, and take precautions so that you are not mistaken for a threat. For example, if police approach you in a secured room, stand still, keep your hands open and visible, and follow their instructions. 

If you are inside a building during a lockdown: 

  • Move to a safe and securable area (e.g., an office, classroom, or dorm room) and lock the doors. 
  • Close the window coverings, move away from the windows, and get low on the floor. 
  • Change cellphones to silent mode 
  • Remain in your secure area, calm, silent, still and await further instruction via BC Alerts. 

If you are outside during a lockdown: 

  • Leave the area and seek safe shelter off campus. 
  • Await further instruction via BC Alerts. 

What NOT to do: 

  • Do not leave a secured area during an emergency to see what is happening. 
  • Do not allow another person into a secured area during an emergency unless told to do so by law enforcement authorities or Bellevue College Public Safety. 

  • Avoid leaving injured person except to summon help
  • Do not move the injured person
  • Render first aid or CPR if you are trained
  • Call 911 & provide your exact location & severity of medical problem

  • Shut off computers and other sensitive equipment. 
  • Contact Public Safety at (425) 466-9365
  • If there is no or little natural light in the area, evacuate to an area with natural light or your nearest and/or safest evacuation zone
  • If there is a fire or other emergency associated with the power failure, follow the appropriate procedures. 
  • Public Safety, the Vice President of Administrative Services, and other members of the President’s Cabinet will make a determination on closures or other arrangements for long-term power outages. 

Students, faculty, staff, and visitors can help protect our community by learning to recognize and report suspicious activity. Prompt and detailed reporting can help prevent crimes. 

Suspicious behavior or activity can be any action that is out of place and does not fit into the usual day-to-day activity of our campus community. For example, you see someone looking into multiple vehicles or homes or testing to see if they are unlocked.  

Suspicious activities or behaviors may include: 

  • Wandering around campus areas attempting to open multiple doors 
  • Entering restricted areas when not authorized or following immediately behind others into card-access areas while the door is open 
  • Carrying property at an unusual hour or location, especially if they are attempting to hide the item 
  • Using binoculars or other devices to peer into dorm windows 
  • Driving a vehicle slowly and aimlessly around campus 
  • Sitting in a vehicle for extended periods of time or conducting transactions from a vehicle 
  • Abruptly changing behavior when seen 
  • Leaving packages, bags or other items behind 
  • Exhibiting unusual mental or physical symptoms 
  • Unusual noises like screaming, yelling, gunshots or glass breaking 
  • Individuals in a heated argument, yelling or cursing at each other 

Escalating behavior may include: 

  • Failing to recognize appropriate boundaries in the classroom or at work 
  • Intimidating, belligerent or defiant behavior 
  • Confrontational, angry, unpredictable or agitated behavior 
  • Reckless, antisocial or violent behavior, including towards people or animals 
  • Making direct or indirect threats about harming or killing one’s self or others 

  Steps to take when observing or encountering suspicious behavior: 

  • Do not confront the person  
  • Move to a safe location  
  • Call Public Safety at 2400 (on-campus extension 425-466-9365 (24/7 mobile duty)  
  • Provide info about the person(s), location, and if any weapons were involved

If you see a suspicious object, do not touch or disturb the object. Then: 

  • Move at least 100 yards from the object. 
  • Be prepared to evacuate. 
  • Call Public Safety at (425) 466-9365. Provide any information you have about the object (location, type, physical description). 
  • Do not operate any electrical equipment or use open flame around the package. 
  • Prevent others from touching or disturbing the package. 
  • Follow any instruction provided by Public Safety. If you are told to evacuate, move to your nearest and/or safest evacuation zone and await further instruction. 

Last Updated January 25, 2024