Public Space Preparedness

Staff at art galleries, theaters or other public spaces, should have a plan for emergencies and be ready to implement it at any time.  Students, employees and patrons will look to you for leadership and advice. Take these recommended steps to ensure adequate emergency planning is in place. Reviewed and trained on annually this will help better prepare you  to respond in a real life event.


  • ALWAYS work with your public safety officials to develop your plan.
  • Understanding the space, the sights and sounds of the environment and capitalizing on a few slight advantages can help save lives by alerting patrons quickly when something is out of the ordinary.
  • Responding quickly to these slight advantages require planning and training.
    • While visitors might be wondering if a sight or sound is “normal” or not, staff who are familiar with a space would be the first to see or hear anything out of the ordinary.
    • Knowledge of building exits, shelter-in-place locations and assembly locations
    • Understanding of the typical and expected sights and sounds of the space. (e.g. theater production, setting up a new exhibit, etc.)
    • Access to the lights and sounds (speakers, god mic, fire speakers, lights) of a space.
    • Knowledge of expected audience (school children, busiest attendance day)
    • Access to the “god” mic or interior speakers by Security or other and broadcasting information
      • Develop script for the “god” mic: Key noun: “Shooter”, Key action verb: “Get Out/Evacuate” Key location: “In Building”. Repeat at least 3 times and add “This is not a drill”.

Responding to an Emergency

  • Staff, Security, and Ushers push OPEN all doors; LEAD patrons and visitors out.
  • In a theater consider if you should turn on house lights and work lights so that patrons can see their way out and understand this is not a part of the production.
  • Turn off all production audio to reduce confusion.
  • Make a plan for locking the venue and communicating with patrons if you receive a Yale Alert.
  • Save the Yale ALERT number (203-432-5830) into your phone and assign a special ringtone so it can be easily recognized.