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Shelter in Place FAQ

What does “shelter in place” mean?

It means that in certain emergency situations you should take immediate shelter by staying where you are and locking doors and windows or otherwise sealing off the room. In other words, if you are in a classroom, residence hall room, or public space such as the dining hall, remain there unless otherwise directed.

In what kinds of situations may a shelter-in-place order be given?

A shelter-in-place order may be given for a number of reasons, typically in emergency situations that have the potential to escalate so rapidly there would be no time to evacuate personnel. These scenarios can include severe weather conditions, an active shooter on campus, or chemical or radiological contamination, for instance.

How will I be notified when a shelter-in-place order is given?

The public address (PA) system will be used to notify building occupants; FIT Alert may supplement the PA notifications with email and text messages and phone calls to the community.

What should I do in case of a shelter-in-place order?

  • Shut and lock all doors and windows, and then stay away from them. 
  • Turn off the lights, if it is safe to do so. 
  • Take shelter in a closet, under a desk, or in any other appropriate enclosure. 
  • Do NOT call Campus Security as this will tie up phone lines; leave the phone line open in case Campus Security needs to call your room with information. 
  • Wait for instructions from emergency responders. 
  • Do not exit the room until you are given notice by Campus Security or the New York Police Department.

How will I know when the order has been lifted?

Wait for any instructions from emergency responders. Do not exit a room until given notice by Campus Security or the New York Police Department.

What if I’m not indoors when a shelter-in-place order is given through FIT Alert?

Stay away from the college if there has been a shelter-in-place order issued.

Can I call anyone during a shelter-in-place situation?

Unless there is an imminent threat, use your personal cell phone to call your emergency contacts to let them know where you are and that you are safe. However, be certain to be aware of any announcements that may be made while you are on the phone.

What should I do if I have a disability and I’m unable to comply with emergency responders’ instructions?

If you are alone or someone is not able to help you, call Campus Security for assistance. If Campus Security does not respond, call 911.

How can I best help disabled coworkers in a shelter-in-place scenario?

Ask someone with a disability how you can help before giving assistance; the person may have special considerations or items that need to come with them. Get the attention of a person with a hearing disability by touch and eye contact, and clearly state the problem, writing a brief statement if the person does not seem to understand. Offer visual instructions to a person with a hearing disability to advise them of the safest route or direction.  

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