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SUNY Plattsburgh
Shelter-in-Place/Evacuation Policy

Approved by Executive Council on 10/4/2011

1.0              Purpose
SUNY Plattsburgh recognizes that there is the potential for emergency situations to occur on campus that could affect the health and safety of students, staff and visitors. Most of these emergency situations require occupants to evacuate their building, unless it is not safe. In such cases, it may be preferable to shelter-in-place.
2.0              Revision History
Draft #1 – June 27, 2011
Draft #2 – July 5, 2011
Draft #3 – August 11, 2011
3.0              Persons Affected
All campus personnel, students and visitors.
4.0              Policy
The campus emergency notifications systems are very important and an effective means of alerting people to evacuate their building or to shelter-in-place. If a fire is detected, the buildings fire alarm system will activate automatically. When a fire alarm is activated, it is essential for all building occupants to evacuate and remain at a safe assembly area at least 150 feet from the building until a signal to re-enter has been given by a building contact (administrative buildings), R.A./ R.D (residential buildings), Emergency Management or University Police.
During a campus violent emergency, it may be necessary to shelter in place or remain in a location where there is less risk of becoming a victim of violence. Whenever possible, identify a sheltering in place location nearby your work area/classroom where you and your fellow occupants should remain during an emergency.
5.0              Definitions
5.1              Shelter-in-place means to seek immediate shelter and remain there during an emergency rather than evacuate the area. Shelter-in-place will only be used when an evacuation is not safe, however, it should not be used during a fire situation. Certain events may necessitate the initiation of SUNY Plattsburgh’s shelter-in-place protocol, such as large hazardous material incidents, severe weather, or violent person(s).
5.2              SUNY Plattsburgh recognizes three different actions for a shelter-in-place situation; (1) sheltering oneself from severe weather conditions, (2) sealing oneself in a room to protect against a hazardous materials spill/release and (3) securing oneself in a room during a violent situation.
5.3              Securing oneself within a room during a violent situation should take place when there is a perceived risk of threat to the school, its staff, students, visitors or property.
5.3.1        Securing oneself in a room requires the locking of doors, windows, and/or barricading oneself to block entry to a campus facility, a classroom, an office, or any room within a building. It shall be noted that due to the size and number of occupants within a building there is no quick or effective method of locking all doors and/or moving the entire campus community to a secure location.
5.4              Evacuation means to exit the building and remain at a safe assembly area at least 150 feet from the building until a signal to re-enter has been given by a building contact (administrative buildings), R.A./R.D (residential buildings), Emergency Management or University Police.
5.5              Assembly area: A pre-designated location, at least 150 feet from the building being evacuated, that occupants in a building should report to during an evacuation.
5.6              Area of refuge: is a location in a building designed to hold occupants during a fire or other emergency, when evacuation may not be safe or possible. Occupants can wait there until rescued by firefighters.
5.7              ALL CLEAR – All occupants should remain inside their building until an ALL CLEAR has been given by authorized personnel. An ALL CLEAR will be announced to the campus as soon as the threat causing the action to shelter-in-place no longer exists.  
5.8              Authorized personnel: Building contact (administrative buildings), R.A./R.D (residential buildings), Emergency Management or University Police.
6.0              Responsibilities
6.1              Alerts and Notifications are issued at the discretion of the:
a.       College President or administrator-in-charge
b.      Executive Assistant to the President
c.       Chief of University Police
d.      Assistant Chief of University Police
e.       Emergency Management Director
f.       Vice President of Student Affairs
g.      Vice President of Administration
h.      Vice President of Academics/Provost
i.        Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs
j.        Executive Director of Marketing & Communications
k.      Associate Director of Public Relations and Publications
l.        Dean of Students
6.2              Consultation is expected among the authorizing authorities available at the time of the incident.
6.2.1        Exception Emergency notificationswithout authorization from the individuals listed above may be initiated by police or other emergency officialsin life-threatening situations.
6.3              Emergency notification to the campus will be through one or more of the following means:
a.       Campus-wide email
b.      Alert poster or flyers
c.       SUNY NY Alert
d.      Homepage (
e.       Emergency Web page (
f.       Campus CLAS and SNOW telephone lines
g.      On/off campus media releases
h.      Angell College Center digital display/marquee
i.        Patrol car PA announcement
7.0              Procedures
7.1              Shelter in Place:
7.1.1        Whenever possible, identify a sheltering in place location nearby your work area/classroom where you and your fellow occupants should remain during an emergency.
7.1.2        The Sheltering in Place location should have the following criteria: An enclosed area which cannot be viewed from outside areas,  Solid doors which can be locked from the inside,  Access to a campus phone, and  The room should be large enough to accommodate the people in your work area/class room.
7.1.3        Depending on the type of emergency, building occupants may need to shelter or lock themselves within a room or move to an area of a building that provides the best protection.
7.1.4        During a violent situation, if you are nearby the emergency, call University Police at x2022 on a campus phone or call 911 from any phone. 
7.1.5        The following guidelines should be used by building occupants when the action to shelter-in-place has been initiated. Weather
a.       Move to the basement of the building, this usually provides the best protection.
b.      Move to an interior room with no windows, or a hallway on the lowest floor POSSIBLE.
c.       Move to an interior stairwell if all rooms have windows.
d.      Stay in the center of the room away from doors and windows.
e.       Stay in place until the danger has passed and an ALL CLEAR message is communicated. Hazardous materials incident
a.        Move to a room with no windows that can open or are open.
b.       Rooms that have little or no outside ventilation are preferred.
c.        Close any open windows and doors.
f.        Stay in place until the danger has passed and an ALL CLEAR message is communicated. Violent person
a.        Stay in your room/office/classroom.
b.       Notify those around you, and encourage others to remain in the building rather than to try to leave.
c.        Lock or barricade doors, cover windows, pull down blinds, turn off lights and stay calm.
d.       Stay away from windows.
e.       If possible, find cover within the room
f.       Stay in place until the danger has passed and an ALL CLEAR message is communicated.
7.1.6        Remain in your shelter-in-place location until an ALL CLEAR has been announced by authorized personnel.
7.2              Evacuation:
7.2.1        When a fire alarm sounds, proceed to the nearest exit marked by an exit sign.  The nearest exit may not be the way you entered the building.
7.2.2        If exits/stairwells are not clear or safe, go to the next closest exit/stairway.   Stairwells are an important means of exiting multi-story buildings.  Therefore, fire doors should be kept closed.
7.2.3        The elevators should not to be used.  Many elevators are programmed to shut down during a fire alarm.
7.2.4        Doors and, if possible, windows should be closed and lights turned off as the last person leaves a room or area.
7.2.5        When a fire alarms sounds, evacuate the building quickly, but do not run or panic.
7.2.6        People who walk slowly or need assistance should walk to the right side of stairwells to prevent impeding other people from exiting a building.
7.2.7        Leave the nearby vicinity of the building and gather at designated assembly areas at least 150 feet away, so Emergency Personnel have clear access to the building.
7.2.8        Proceed to designated assembly areas for your building. The designated areas should be communicated by the faculty instructor, staff member, building contacts. Try to account for the people in your work/class areas to ensure all occupants have left the building.
7.2.9        Never re-enter a building without instructions from authorized personnel. Faculty: All faculty members must immediately instruct students to evacuate a classroom/laboratory/studio when a fire alarm is activated. Ensure students evacuate the building and go to designated assembly areas. Students: All students must immediately evacuate the building and gather at least 150 feet from the building in the designated assembly areas. Employees: All employees must evacuate the building and go to designated assembly areas.
7.2.10    New York State Office of Fire Protection and Control (OFPC) and New York State Law requires all occupants to evacuate buildings when a fire alarm is activated, whether it is a drill or not.
7.2.11    Designated Assembly Area: Once outside, please stay at least 150 feet away from buildings. Whenever possible, congregate with people from your class/work groups.  Try to account for all people after gathering at the assembly area to ensure they have evacuated safely.   If you suspect there are still people in the building, immediately notify University Police or Emergency Personnel.

We are all responsible for providing a safe learning environment, so please review your evacuation plans by identifying your primary and secondary Exits and Assembly Areas for your class/work groups.  Reviewing this information before an incident is critical to ensure the safety of our campus community.                   Refer to for an updated list of assembly areas.
7.2.12    Evacuation of Individuals with Disabilities                   Whenever possible, identify a Partner to assist disabled people during an emergency incident.  Do not attempt to lift/carry disabled people since this may cause serious injuries.   Only professional Rescue Personnel should lift or carry disabled people.                   If disabled people are not able to exit a building, they should be assisted by a Partner to an Area of Refuge.   The Partner should immediately notify University Police and Rescue Personnel where disabled people are located inside buildings.                   An Area of Refuge should have the following criteria: 1) an enclosed area, preferably with fire rated doors and walls, 2) a campus phone, if possible, and 3) located in close proximity to exits, stairwells or other access points for Rescue Personnel.                   Call 2022 from a campus phone or 911 from a non-campus phone and identify the name and location of disabled people in an Area of Refuge.                   University Police and Rescue Personnel should be notified immediately by a Partner or any member of the SUNY Plattsburgh community as to the location of disabled people inside a building.                   Whenever possible, a list will be compiled for the location of disabled people who reside or work at SUNY Plattsburgh.  This list will be provided to University Police.  If any member of the SUNY Plattsburgh faculty and staff wish to be identified on this list, please send your information to Human Resource Services.                   If you are a disabled student, please send your information to the Student Support Services staff.  The Student Support Services staff will meet with students needing assistance to discuss their action plans during an emergency on campus.  The campus Disability Coordinator will meet with faculty and staff needing assistance to discuss action plans, as needed.                   If disabled people are visiting the campus, the host should identify their Partners during an emergency to assist their evacuation or relocation to an Area of Refuge, along with the need to alert University Police and Rescue Personnel.

Contact Information

For more information about Administrative Policies approved by Executive Council, please contact:

Sean Brian Dermody
Assistant to the Vice President for Administration
Management Services Office
Office: Kehoe 710-11
Phone: (518) 564-2539
Fax: (518) 564-2540