Emergency Response Plan

Approved Date

The Emergency Response Plan available here is a Quick Reference Guide to the comprehensive emergency management program for emergencies and or major disasters, whether natural or technical that effect the ability of the SUNY Old Westbury to perform its educational function. This document DOES NOT represent the complete plan but is offered here to provide actionable elements available in the comprehensive plan.

In case of Emergency the College is committed to (1) protecting the lives and health of the members of the College community, (2) preserving the College property, (3) communicating promptly and clearly, and (4) restoring College operations. The emergency response procedures in this guide are designed to help you with possible emergency situations. Please become familiar with its contents. In the event of an emergency, this guide will serve as a quick reference for effective action. It should be kept in an easily accessible location at all times, preferably beside the telephone. Students, faculty, and staff should familiarize themselves with these procedures on an annual basis. If there are questions or comments on these procedures, please contact University Police, the Environmental Health & Safety Officer, or any campus administrator.

Policy Elaboration

Emergency Response System

The College has developed an Emergency Response System that provides:

  1. Common organizational structure, terminology, and operating procedures.
  2. Establishes a clear chain of command for effective management of an incident
  3. Provides for an effective interfacing of College personnel with emergency agencies.

The Emergency Response System focuses on:

  • The rapid identification of a potential emergency.
  • Evacuation and denial of entry, as needed.
  • Quick notification of the proper authorities.
  • Initiation of mitigation and recovery efforts in conjunction with proper authorities.

In case of Emergency, the Incident Commander (University Police) together with the Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, and Emergency Response Teams will work together to communicate the nature of the emergency to the College.

Contact University Police First for all Campus Related Emergencies at (516) 876-3333 or via ext. 3333 from campus telephones.

Note: Blue Light Emergency Phones are located throughout campus and can be used to directly contact University Police in an emergency. Just pick up the phone and follow the directions.

Emergency Situation Guidelines

Incident types are based on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) four levels of emergencies. The Old Westbury Emergency Situation Guidelines increase in level of complexity in descending order with level one being the most complex emergency response.

Type 5

An emergency situation that is contained immediately or resolved within a few hours.

  • University Police traffic stops

  • An injured person requiring first aid or minor assistance.
  • A short term loss of electricity
Type 4

Incidents resolved by College employees with assistance or advice from University Police, Environmental Health & Safety, and/or Facilities.

  • Automatic Fire Alarm Activation
  • Small Chemical Spill
  • Localized water pipe break affecting a portion of the building
  • Labor Dispute
  • Student Demonstration
Type 3

A situation which has escalated and may adversely impact or threaten life, health, or property within a single area and control of the incident requires additional assistance.

  • Residence hall room fire
  • Chemical spill (Hazmat response required)
  • City water main break
  • Trench cave-in
  • Loss of heat or power to a building for a prolonged period
Type 2

A situation that adversely impacts or threatens life, health, or property which may impact on the College on a large scale requiring additional outside agency personnel

Loss of heat & power (multiple buildings)

Fire affecting the entire residence hall

Hostage situation

Largescale civil unrest

Type 1

:A situation that adversely impacts or threatens life, health, or property at the College on a large scale and control requiring the assistance from multiple agencies and College departments working together. Possibility for long term implications.  Large-scale chemical release  Earthquake  Major power outage  Ice storm  Nor’easter or Hurricane




Communication Alerts

The Emergency Response System will provide communication alerts to inform the College Community as to the status of an incident.

methods of communication used
  • Two-way radio communication
  • Telephone notification
  • Satellite telephones
  • Email notification
  • Campus telephones
  • Blue light emergency telephones
  • Messengers/runners
  • Voice mail
rave alert

RAVE Alert 

RAVE Alert is used by the College to send text messages, email announcements, and automated voice mail messages to the campus in the event an emergency occurs at Old Westbury. This system will also be used during inclement weather to announce class cancellations.

How Do You Sign Up:

Students and Staff

  1. Logon to the ConnectOW portal.
  2. Under "Quick Links," click on "Opt-in to EMERGENCY Notifications, Important Updates"
  3. Click "Emergency Alert Contact Information"
  4. Complete the form.


  1. Logon to the ConnectOW portal.
  2. Under "Faculty Tools," click on "Opt-in to EMERGENCY Notifications, Important Updates"
  3. Click "Emergency Alert Contact Information "
  4. Complete the form.
Campus Outdoors Mass Notification Siren & Voice System

In the event of an emergency, an emergency alert message will be transmitted via the SUNY Old Westbury Outdoors Mass Notification System. This system will issue a tone warning and a clear voice message to outdoor areas that require a means to warn the campus community. This two-step approach, Alert and Inform, will mitigate confusion, restore order, and save lives.

The outdoors emergency alert system provides the following emergency alert messages:

  • Winter and Severe Weather Warnings
  • Evacuation Warnings
  • Hazardous Material Release Warnings
  • Terrorist Alert Warnings
  • General Emergency Conditions, and
  • Chemical Release Warnings

A test of the outdoors emergency alert system will be conducted at least once every semester.

    Evacuation Assembly Areas

    If evacuation of a building is necessary, walk quickly to the nearest available emergency exit or stairwell that can be reached safely

    • Do Not Use the Elevator.
    • Go to the nearest evacuation assembly area (you will see people gathering and the Assembly Area Coordinator holding a colored sign).
    • Check in with the Assembly Area Coordinator.
    • Notify Assembly Area Coordinator or University Police of any persons left in the building.
    • Remain in the Evacuation Assembly Area until an “All Clear” is given. Please become familiar with the emergency evacuation procedures and assembly area locations for each building.
    Emergency Evacuation of Disabled Persons
    • Elevators will not be used for emergency evacuations or practice drills.
    • When classes and activities for the disabled are conducted above the first floor, designated faculty, staff members, and other persons responding to the emergency or practice drill will use the following evacuation procedure:
      • Escort walking disabled from the multi-level evacuation points to designated first level assembly areas outside the building where the alarm is sounded.
      • Escort wheelchair-bound/immobile disabled to pre-determined stairwell landings when the alarm is sounded. The evacuation team will provide assistance to evacuate the disabled individuals from the designated stairwells using proper lifting and carrying team techniques.
    • The Building Level Coordinator, Assembly Area Coordinator, or college personnel must be contacted immediately and advised of any person not accounted for

    Lockdown/Lockout Procedures

    These procedures are used when there is an immediate and imminent threat to building occupants.

    Building Lockdown Emergency Response

    Building staff and students are to remain secured in the rooms they are currently in and no one is allowed to leave until the situation has been curtailed. This will allow University Police to secure the students and staff in a place and remove any innocent bystanders from immediate danger.

    • Lockdown signal is given – Initiated by College Personnel.
    • Call University Police X-3333.
    • Instructors/Staff will follow preset instructions to secure doors, turn off lights, cover windows, pull shades, and move students out of the line of sight of the doors or windows.
    • Instructors/Staff shall take attendance and record students that are in the room, missing and extra students from the hall and await further instructions.
    • Instructors are not allowed to open doors for ANYONE under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
    • All activities cease.
    • Students/Staff outside the building must evacuate to a predetermined location.
    Building Lockout Emergency Response

    This procedure is used to allow for the continuation of classes, but curtails outside activities, and allows no unauthorized personnel into the building. Most commonly used when an incident has occurred outside of the building, or off college property.

    • Call University Police X-3333.
    • Activate building emergency response plan and implement Incident Command System in accordance with the safety plan.
    • Activate the Emergency Response Team.
    • Staff and students proceed to their designated locations in an orderly fashion.
    • Allow students/staff who are outside of the building to immediately return inside.
    • Monitor main entrance and allow only AUTHORIZED personnel into the building.  Administrators/Custodians/Assigned staff –lock and secure all exterior doors and entrances.
    • Depending on the emergency, college campus entrances may be closed

    Appropriate Responses to Specific Emergencies

    Medical and First Aid
    •  In case of a life-threatening emergency call 911 and then notify University Police
    • Non life-threatening emergency; contact University Police, x 3333 and/or Student Health Services x 3250

    Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) & CPR

    SUNY Old Westbury is committed to saving lives by implementing and maintaining a public access defibrillator (PAD) program. AEDs are strategically placed in various locations throughout the College campus. University Police and Student Health Services are the primary first responders for AED/CPR services campus-wide. However, there are trained personnel located in other departments and programs.

    1. Dial 3333 or 911
    2. Every minute counts!
    3. Each minutes saved increases the victim’s survival rate by 10 percent
    Violent Person Procedures

    Upon recommendation of the University Police, college officials, or college personnel or when there is a significant security concern everyone should remain calm and follow the following procedures:

    • Move to the nearest location that can be secured and locked.
    • If a locked door is not available, move as far away from the threat as safely possible.
    • Notify University Police at X-3333 or 516 521-0712
    • Inform University Police of the whereabouts of the intruder, if known.
    • Remain quiet and do nothing that will draw attention to you.
    • Assist others
    • Allow only trusted individuals into your secure location

    When the security threat is over, University Police will move through the entire building and notify everyone that the threat is gone.

    Violent Incidents Involving Firearms and Other Dangerous Behaviors

    It is important to follow the directions and/advice of emergency response officials. Every situation is unique and complex. Some procedures may vary from incident to incident and building to building. If someone has entered a building with a weapon or if you hear gunshots, immediately do the following:

    • Seek Secure Shelter: if possible go to the nearest room or office with a lockable door. It is critical to get out of the line of fire. Notify others to do the same.
    • Call University Police X-3333: from any campus phone or dial 911 from outside the campus. Do not call 911 from campus phone (may result in a delay in response). Violent incidents evolve rapidly and violent individuals are unpredictable in their behavior.
    • Provide Police with the following information:
      • Your location
      • Where the shots came from
      • Number of people in your immediate location
      • Physical description of person(s) involved (height, weight, clothes, physical characteristics, sex, location of travel, and weapon(s) (if known). Keep your phone line open and remain on the line with the dispatcher
    • Close and Lock the Door or Barricade Door if there is no lock.
    • Close, Pull Shades and Cover Windows
    • Turn off the Lights and Get Down on the Floor
    • Keep Absolutely Quiet  Do Not Evacuate unless you are told to do so, or you are in Imminent Danger.
    • Do not Answer the Door or Speak to Anyone. Wait for the police to identify themselves before responding and taking directions.
    • Once you have reached safety, you may contact family and friends to let them know that you are safe. Please direct them not to come to the campus due to increased traffic issues and police investigation activities.
    • Follow Police Directions
    Shelter in Place

    The term Shelter in Place, means to seek immediate shelter and remain there during an emergency rather than evacuate the area. It is always preferred to evacuation. A Shelter in Place emergency response procedure shall be used when an evacuation is not safe. This most commonly used during weather related emergencies, intruder situations, and bomb threats.

    • The preferred Shelter in Place locations would be a gymnasium, cafeteria, interior room, hallway, basement, and interior stairwell.
    • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls. Go to the center of the room.
    • Stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed or until you receive an “All Clear”

    Reporting and Handling of Crimes

    In the event that you observe a crime in progress, believe a crime may be in progress, or are the victim of a crime: call University Police at ext. 3333, immediately.

    Report suspicious persons or activities; all calls are kept confidential. When in doubt, report it, but do not attempt to apprehend or interfere with the criminal, except in case of self-protection. If it is safe to do so, take time to record a mental description of the suspect. Note the:

    • Height
    • Weight
    • Gender 
    • Color
    • Approximate age
    • Clothing
    • Method and direction of travel
    • Person’s name, if known.

    All this takes only a few seconds and is of significant help to the investigating officers.

    If the suspect is entering a vehicle, note the:

    • License plate number
    • Make and model
    • Color
    • Outstanding characteristics.

    When calling University Police, give your name, location, and department. Advise them of the situation, and remain where you are until an officer arrives. Protect the crime scene; do not clean or disturb the area.

    In case of a serious crime, do not allow anyone to enter the area until University Police or the local Police have secured and examined the area.

    • Pull fire alarm to alert all building occupants
    • Call University Police at ext. 3333
    • Immediately evacuate the building
    • Walk quickly to the nearest available exit that can be reached safely
    • Alert others to do the same
    • Help persons requiring assistance out of the building or to the nearest stair landing
    • Notify the fire warden or emergency personnel of any persons remaining in the building
    • Go to the nearest Evacuation Assembly Area  Remain in the evacuation assembly area until the “All Clear” is issued
    Maintenance/Utility Failures

    In case of:

    • Power, water, or natural gas leaks
    • Water main breaks
    • Elevator malfunctions

    Contact the Facilities Department, x 3302 or the Heat Plant (available 24 hours a day), x 3254

    Winter Weather Emergency (snow, ice)

    The University Police, the Facilities Department, and Environmental Health & Safety Officer will monitor conditions that may disrupt College activities. If conditions warrant, the College President or designee will make the decision to cancel classes. The College Public Information Officer will notify the media of any class cancellations or college closings. All campus community members receive an email announcing a cancellation or closure and those who have opted in receive a text message as well. Further, an array of local news outlets are contacted in the event of such an announcement.

    Pandemic or Widespread Health/Disease Related Event

    SUNY Old Westbury works in conjunction with the State University of New York and both statewide and county health departments in the event a widespread health epidemic is occurring somewhere around the world. The College maintains and Pandemic Health Plan as a component of its campus-wide Emergency Plan. Much of the public-facing portion of that plan does not commence until a Level 3 warning is received by the campus from either state or federal officials. At this point, information about classes, residence hall usage, etc. would be available. It should also be noted that a campus closure, if ever warranted, can only be effected by the Governor of New York State.

    Civil Disturbance or Demonstration

    All demonstrations should be immediately reported to University Police, x 3333.

    Bomb Threats

    If you should receive a bomb threat:

    • Remain as calm as possible on the phone
    • Gain as much information about the bomb location/detonation time as possible
    • Ask as many questions contained on the ATF Bomb Threat Checklist (PDF) as possible during the length of the phone call
    • If you have caller-ID, make certain to record the phone number that appears on the screen
    • After the call has ended, IMMEDIATELY contact University Police at x 3333.
    • Additionally, in order to avoid possible unnecessary panic amongst members of the College community, refrain from relating the contents of the bomb threat call (or any other information about the call) to anyone else before making this notification