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Safety Captains Manage Evacuations
Photo: Safety Captain Jared MitchellThe Office of Emergency & Safety Services established the Safety Captain program with volunteers in campus buildings to help support the safety of building occupants during emergency situations.
The program is a result of the Emergency Management for Higher Education grant from the U.S. Department of Education to integrate all-hazards emergency management planning efforts. Karen Burns, co-director of Emergency & Safety Services, said safety captains are a vital addition to the emergency management program that has been enhanced and broadened at the University of St. Thomas.
“Safety captains are critical to the safe and efficient evacuation of individual buildings and potentially the campus as a whole, in the event of an emergency,” Burns said.
One or two staff members per building are appointed as safety captains and attend orientation training. Safety captains look for safety hazards, such as blocked evacuation routes in buildings and fire doors propped open. The volunteers help facilitate evacuations during an emergency, such as preparing a departmental emergency plan, assisting with drills, activating building alarms and leading fellow employees to gathering areas. They also identify and report security issues.
Safety Captain Jared Mitchell The safety captains help respond if someone is trapped in an elevator, if a fire alarm sounds or if there is the potential for inclement weather such as a hurricane.
Burns said all employees should listen to safety captains in their building in regards to departmental evacuation plans and follow the safety captain’s directions in the event of a drill or an emergency.
“The employees who have volunteered to be safety captains should be commended for stepping up and contributing to the safety of their fellow employees,” she said.
All members of the campus community are encouraged to prepare for emergency situations by reviewing information on the Emergency Preparedness website: For more information about the Safety Captains program, contact Karen Burns at

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