What you need to know in an emergency situation

In an effort to ensure timely and accurate communication in the event of a campus emergency or closure, Virginia Union University (VUU) has an app and mass notification system, Panther Safe and E-Text Alerts, that will allow urgent information to be sent via text or email directly to registered users. The service is available to all current VUU students, faculty and staff. Registration information will not be shared with outside sources and will only be used to send emergency messages.

Weather Emergency

In case of snow/ice conditions, the following snow/ice policy shall be in effect:

The cancellation of classes for an entire day will occur ONLY UNDER THE MOST SEVERE snow/ice conditions. Information regarding class cancellation or delays can be found on our website, local Richmond media outlets, social media outlets, through the Panther Safe App and through E-Text Alerts.

If weather conditions warrant, VUU may adopt a delayed class schedule for the day. If this occurs, an opening time will be included in the weather advisory. Commuting students and employees should exercise good judgment in deciding whether to attempt to travel to their class sites in periods of inclement weather and are encouraged not to do so when conditions might threaten their safety.

Adult and graduate classes: In the event of heavy snowfall/ice during later afternoon/evening, evening and graduate classes may be canceled. Students should find information on our website, social media outlets, the Panther Safe App and E-Text Alerts, and listen to radio/TV stations (as indicated below) for information.

In the event that late afternoon or evening and graduate classes are canceled due to severe weather conditions, the instructor will reschedule the missed session at a time that is mutually convenient for the instructor and the students.

During snow/ice days when VUU operates either on a delayed schedule or on a regular class schedule, commuter students who are unable to attend classes due to road conditions will not be penalized. Commuter students facing this situation should contact their instructors directly to indicate the reason for their absence and to request assistance concerning course materials, notes, assignments and other items pertinent to keeping current with the class.

The following procedures will be used to inform the VUU community about the status of the daily schedule on snow/ice days:

Information will be provided to students through our website, local Richmond media outlets, social media outlets, through the Panther Safe App and through E-Text Alerts.

In addition to sharing the information through social media channels, the Office of Brand Marketing and Strategic Communications will also notify local TV stations if classes will be canceled or if VUU will operate on a delayed class schedule. Those stations are:

  • WTVR -TV - CBS 6
  • WWBT NBC 12
  • FOX Richmond - WRLH

General Emergency

  • To call from an on- or any non-campus phone, dial 911.
  • Specify whether you need police, ambulance or fire.
  • Have the following information available:
    • Building name
    • Room number (If a suite, suite number and room letter)
  • If the emergency involves an injured person:
    • Check the scene for safety; do not move the victim unless their life is endangered.
    • Check the victim for consciousness, breathing, pulse and bleeding.
    • Remain on the phone with the 911 operator.
    • Remain with the victim until help arrives.

Inform Campus Safety: For questions or feedback, contact Campus Safety at 804-257-5777.


If you detect a fire in its early stages:

  • Activate fire alarm.
  • Do not place yourself at risk by trying to put out the fire.
  • Call 911.
  • Call University Police at 804-257-5777.

If a fire alarm sounds:

  • Leave IMMEDIATELY and close the door behind you. Evacuate the building by the nearest exit. DO NOT use elevators.
  • Follow the posted evacuation procedures for each building.
  • Monitor cell phones, landline phones, email, etc. for update information via our website, social media outlets,Panther Safe App and through E-Text Alerts for updates.

To evacuate during a fire:

  • Check the door for heat and the hall for smoke before exiting.
  • If it is hot, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
  • If the door and door knob are not hot:
    • Brace yourself behind the door and open it slowly.
    • If the environment outside the door is favorable exit the room. Close the door, leaving the door unlocked.
    • Leave lights on.
    • Close the windows, leave shades up.
    • Exit the room.
    • Always remember that smoke and heat rise; stay low to the floor.
    • Exit the building via stairwells. If your stairwell is blocked by smoke and heat, go to an alternate exit. Do not use elevators.
    • Once you have exited the building move to a safe location.
    • Wait for the “all clear” signal or for additional information requiring you to assemble at a remote location.

If all of the fire exits are blocked, go back to a room containing exterior windows and seek refuge.

If the door and door knob are hot and you are trapped in your room:

  • Close the door and seal the cracks around the door with any type material available.
  • Open the window.
  • Build a fire barrier against the door using your mattress and any other available furniture.
  • Cover nose and mouth with handkerchief or similar article.
  • Stay close to the window, open the window to allow smoke to escape and for you to breathe fresh air.
  • Let everyone within hearing distance be aware that you are trapped. Yell and wave a towel outside the window. 

Do not try to locate or extinguish the fire when the fire alarm sounds. Leave through the nearest safe exit, and go at least 100 feet away from the building; DO NOT RE-ENTER THE BUILDING UNTIL GIVEN PERMISSION BY A UNIVERSITY OFFICIAL.


Virginia Union University will send out a notification directly to your cell phone in the event of severe weather via our website, social media outlets,Panther Safe App and through E-Text Alerts. A warning indicates a tornado has been sighted by ground observers or has appeared on radar within the City of Richmond. The possibility of tornadoes during the spring and early summer months is real. If the warning sounds:

  • Discourage students/employees from leaving campus during severe weather
  • Notify those in your area to take shelter.
  • Avoid using elevators in case loss of power occurs.
  • Report the severe weather to University Police
  • Protect yourself from flying debris by taking cover immediately following notification of a tornado warning.
  • If you are outside, move to an area away from the buildings, trees and power lines. Lie flat in a ditch or culvert. Avoid locations where falling objects are likely.
  • If you are inside, take cover in the basement, stairwell, hallway, bathroom or interior offices. Move to the lowest level of the building whenever possible, and utilize interior rooms and hallways for shelter.
  • Stay away from glass, windows or anything large that could fall and injure you.
  • As a last resort, get under a piece of sturdy furniture and hold onto it.
  • Use your arms to protect head and neck.
  • Monitor cell phones, pagers, landline phones, email, etc. for update information via the University's mass notification system.

The safest place to be during severe weather is in a basement. If the building has no basement or cellar, go to a small room (a bathroom or closet) on the lowest level of the structure, away from windows and as close to the center of the structure as possible.