Baylor University Response Plan For Terrorism Attack

Jan. 1, 2003

Baylor University, recognizing the potential consequences of an unspecified terrorist attack either upon the university or within the Central Texas region that may affect the university, has prepared the following action guidelines for those who comprise the Baylor community.

The variations of possible attack are many but the most likely are categorized as follows:
Biological or Chemical --

The introduction of a gas/chemical agent into the atmosphere or the heating/air conditioning systems of the university.

Radiological --

A 'Dirty bomb' that has a relatively small but powerful radius of 'blast' effectiveness, but is laden with radioactive material.

Nuclear --

A nuclear detonation at a site near Waco or elsewhere in the Central Texas area.

In the event that one of these methods is used to attack our land and specifically the Central Texas area, some general assumptions should be made by everyone.

• The probability that phone lines will be unusable should be recognized.

• Cellular telephones will probably be unusable as well due to significant overloads.

• Confusion and rumors will be prevalent.

• Seeking and receiving medical help may be extremely difficult.

• Streets and roads may be clogged with motorists seeking to escape the area.

Communications and Disaster Response

• Depending upon conditions that cannot be fully anticipated in conjunction with any of the three listed attack methods, Baylor will attempt to provide information to all members of the Baylor community through all available avenues of campus communication, including e-mail.

• The Baylor University Department of Public Safety is designated as the Crisis Command Post. Police as well as designated university administrators will staff the command post.

• Baylor police are linked via radio directly with the McLennan County Emergency Management Center as well as the Waco police department. Contact with the National Crime Information Center is also available at the command post.

Chemical or Biological

• Should a chemical/or biological agent be introduced into the atmosphere, members of the Baylor community are advised to remain in whatever building they happen to be in or to seek shelter immediately in a nearby building. Ideally, an interior portion of the building with no windows is preferable.

• Baylor police officers, if conditions allow, will drive throughout the campus making announcements on the public address systems with regards to the situation and advising people to stay sheltered. Dependent upon prevailing winds, the cloud or agent may be diminished by the wind.

• Should a gas or 'cloud' be released some distance from the campus, Baylor police will drive throughout the campus making announcements on the public address system to advise people of the situation.

• Realistically, it is not feasible or possible to provide protection from this type of attack. Individuals are encouraged to evaluate their own situation and take steps to maximize their own chances of survival.


• A radiological device, commonly known as a 'dirty bomb' is a device that generally has a relatively small 'blast impact area'. It may use something as small and simple as a stick or two of dynamite to create the blast. Upon detonation, the radiological materials are dispersed into the air and are moved by the wind. The greatest value of the device to the terrorist is the panic it will create. The actual blast area will not be very large but the distribution of radioactive material will be the greatest concern.

• Should a blast occur in the Baylor vicinity, faculty, staff and students will be encouraged to depart the area and go in a direction OPPOSITE the prevailing wind. No barriers or interior areas of a building are considered to be safe haven from the effect of a 'dirty bomb'.


• In the event of a nuclear explosion, it is expected that the most likely location will be Ft. Hood. Should that be the case, the Baylor community would have a very short window of opportunity to depart the area in an effort to escape the effect of the radiation.

What to Do and Developing a Plan

First and foremost, we encourage all members of the Baylor community to make it a point to stay informed of current world events. It is your responsibility to understand the gravity of events being played out around the globe and to understand the potential impact upon not only the Waco area, but you personally. Ensure you have access to a portable radio and relatively fresh batteries.

In the event of a chemical/biological or 'dirty bomb' attack, the Ferrell Center will be designated as a 'gathering point' for members of the Baylor community. The purpose will be solely for Baylor personnel to gather information and to seek comfort and advice with regards to decisions that each individual will have to make. A ham radio will be utilized for the purpose of maintaining contact with other parts of the country and to keep people as informed as possible. The Ferrell Center should not be considered a 'safe place'. It is strictly a place to gather information and to be with others who seek support. Students, faculty and staff who have no way to leave the area should make their way to the Ferrell Center for further information and assistance.

Members of the Baylor community are encouraged to develop a plan with their families as to how and where they will meet should an incident occur. We recommend that a pre-determined site away from Waco and away from a major city be established as a 'meeting place' for families to gather should all communications be disrupted. By setting a time to meet within 24 hours of an 'event' family members would know that loved ones will be congregating within a predetermined time and location.

Providing information about all disaster scenarios is impossible given the variety of potential threats that might occur. The University community is encouraged to learn more about preparing for specific emergencies by visiting the websites listed below:

Federal Emergency Management Admininstration (PDF file)

Homeland Security

Red Cross

Our collective prayer is that this plan will never be removed from the shelf. In the event that it is, the individual decisions you make will impact your chances of survival more than any plan we could design. Think ahead and anticipate how you would respond to a catastrophic event as previously discussed.

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