Emergency Response Policies
College campuses are not immune to incidents such as violent crimes, weather related emergencies, hazardous materials incidents, and the like. In the event of such a situation, the College’s Emergency Notification System (ENS) will alert the campus community of the incident. The Campus Safety and Security Department, as part of the Emergency Response Team, has prepared this series of guidelines for students, faculty, and staff to follow in various emergency situations. It is recommended that you become familiar with this information and keep this guide conveniently located for quick reference.
Please report all on-campus emergencies, suspicious activities, or criminal offenses to the Campus Safety and Security Department by dialing “2560” from any Iona College campus phone or dialing (914) 633-2560. Any of the exterior blue light emergency telephones or interior emergency telephones may also be used for direct contact with the Campus Safety and Security Department.
What “Shelter-in-Place” Means
One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency situation is to “Shelter-in-Place.” That is, to remain indoors due to a developing dangerous/hazardous situation outdoors. These guidelines are aimed at keeping you safe while remaining indoors. “Shelter-in-Place” means selecting a small, interior room if possible, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire building or barricading the room you are using for shelter. If you are told to “Shelter-in- Place,” follow the guidelines provided.
Why You Might Need to “Shelter-in-Place”
For any type of emergency where guidelines for “Shelter-in-Place” would be appropriate, information will be provided by College authorities through the Emergency Text Messaging System. The important thing is for you is to follow these guidelines and know what to do if you are advised to “Shelter- in-Place.”
How to Shelter-in-Place
Stop classes or work, or close business operations.
- If there are students, faculty, staff, or visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay. When College authorities suggest to “Shelter-in-Place,” they want everyone to take those steps now, where they are, and not drive or walk outdoors.
- Close and lock all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside.
- If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
- Select interior room(s) above the ground floor, with the fewest windows or vents. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit in. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary. Large storage closets, utility rooms, copy and conference rooms without exterior windows will work well. Avoid selecting a room with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes.
- It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) you select. Have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
- Bring everyone into the room(s). Shut and lock the door(s).
- Be alert for ENS updates until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. These updates may call for evacuation of specific areas.
For the workplace, where you might be confined for several hours, the following supplies are suggested to have available:
- Battery-powered radio
- Food – high-energy foods like granola bars, energy bars, etc.
- Medications – If you use prescription medications, keep at least a small supply of these available.
If you would like more information regarding Emergency Preparedness, check out the
American Red Cross.
An active shooter is a person who appears to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. In most cases active shooters use firearms, and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. These situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to innocent victims. College campuses are not immune to serious or violent crime. This document provides guidance to faculty, staff, and students who may be caught in an active shooter situation, and describes what to expect from responding police officers.
Guidance to Faculty, Staff, and Students
In general, how you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter, bearing in mind there could be more than one shooter involved in the same situation. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and use these guidelines to help you plan a strategy for survival.
- If an active shooter is outside your building, you should immediately seek cover in an attempt to conceal and hide from the shooter. Proceed to a room that can be locked, close and lock all the windows and doors, and turn off all the lights; if possible, get everyone down on the floor and ensure that no one is visible from outside the room. One person in the room should call 2560 or (914) 633-2560, advise the dispatcher of what is taking place, and inform them of your location; remain in place until the police give the “all clear.” Unfamiliar voices may be the shooter attempting to lure victims from their safe space; do not respond to any voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer.
- If an active shooter is in the same building you are, you should immediately seek cover in an attempt to conceal and hide from the shooter. Determine if the room you are in can be locked and if so, follow the same procedure described in the previous paragraph. If your room can’t be locked, determine if there is a nearby location that can be reached safely and secured, or if you can safely exit the building. If you decide to move from your current location, be sure to follow the instructions outlined below.
- If an active shooter enters your office, classroom, or residence, try to remain calm. Call 2350 or (914) 633-2560 if possible, and alert police to the shooter’s location; if you can’t speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen to what’s taking place. If there is no opportunity for escape or hiding, it might be possible to negotiate with the shooter; attempting to overpower the shooter with force should be considered a very last resort, after all other options have been exhausted. If the shooter leaves the area, proceed immediately to a safer place, and do not touch anything that was in the vicinity of the shooter. No matter what the circumstances, if you decide to flee during an active shooting situation, make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind. Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing; move quickly, keep your hands visible, and follow the instructions of any police officers you may encounter. Do not attempt to remove injured people; instead, leave wounded victims where they are, and notify authorities of their location as soon as possible. Proceed to a safe location, and do not leave campus until advised it is safe to do so by police.
What to Expect from Responding Police Officers
Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard; their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers will normally be in teams; they may be dressed in regular patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment. The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, or handguns, and might also be using pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation. Regardless of how they appear, remain calm, do as the officers tell you, and do not be afraid of them. Put down any bags or packages you may be carrying, and keep your hands visible at all times; if you know where the shooter is, tell the officers. The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured people; rescue teams composed of other officers and emergency medical personnel will follow the first officers into secured areas to treat and remove injured persons.
Keep in mind that even once you have escaped to a safer location, the entire area is still a crime scene; police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is fully under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Until you are released, remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate.
General Quick Response Guide
- Secure immediate area.
- Lock and barricade doors.
- Turn off lights.
- Close blinds.
- Silence cell phones.
- Block windows.
- Turn off radios and computer monitors.
- Keep occupants calm, quiet, and out of sight.
- Keep yourself out of sight and take adequate cover/protection, i.e. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets (cover may protect you from bullets).
- Place signs in exterior windows to identify the location of injured persons.
- Use (914) 633-2560 to contact the Iona College Campus Safety and Security Department
- Dialing 2560 from a campus phone will connect with Campus Safety and Security.
- Dialing 911 from a cell phone will connect you with New York State Police Emergency Enhanced 911. Be sure to give the call taker your exact location. It is advisable to program (914) 654-2300 into your cell phone to call the New Rochelle Police Department directly.
What to Report
- Your specific location — building name and office/room number
- Number of people at your specific location
- Injuries — number injured, types of injuries
- Assailant(s) — location, number of suspects, race/gender, clothing description, physical features, type of weapons (long gun or hand gun), backpack, shooter’s identity if known, separate explosions from gunfire, etc.
Un-Securing an Area
- Consider risks before un-securing rooms.
- Remember, the shooter will not stop until they have been engaged by an outside force.
- Attempts to rescue people should only be considered if it can be accomplished without further endangering the persons inside the secured area.
- Always consider the safety of masses vs. the safety of a few.
- If doubt exists for the safety of the individuals inside the room, the area should remain secured.
If You Hear or See a Hostage Situation
- Immediately remove yourself from any danger.
- Immediately notify the Campus Safety and Security Department at (914) 633-2560 (or 2560 from any campus phone).
Be prepared to give the Campus Safety and Security Department personnel the following information:
- Location and room number of incident
- Number of possible hostage takers
- Physical description and names of hostage takers, if possible
- Number of possible hostages
- Any weapons the hostage takers may have
- Your name
- Your location and phone number
If You are Taken Hostage/If a Rescue is Taking Place
- Remain calm, polite, and cooperate with your captors.
- Do not attempt escape unless there is an extremely good chance for your survival. It is safer to be submissive, and obey your captors.
- Speak normally. Do not complain, avoid being belligerent, and comply with all orders.
- Do not draw attention to yourself with sudden body movements, statements, comments or hostile looks.
- Be observant and attempt to memorize the physical traits, voice patterns, clothing or other details that can help provide later identification of your captors.
- Avoid getting into political or ideological discussions with the captors.
- Try to establish a relationship with your captors and get to know them. Captors are less likely to harm you if they respect you and have established a relationship.
- If forced to present terrorist demands to authorities, either in writing or on tape, state clearly that the demands are from your captors. Avoid making a plea on your own behalf.
- Try to stay low to the ground or behind cover from windows or doors, if possible.
- Do not run. Drop to the floor, and remain still with your hands clearly visible. Do not make any sudden movements as the police may not be able to clearly identify hostages from hostage takers.
- Wait for instructions from the police, and obey all instructions.
- Do not be upset, resist, or argue if a rescuer isn’t sure whether you are a terrorist or a hostage.
- Even if you are handcuffed and searched, do not resist. Just wait for the confusion to clear.
- You will be taken to a safe area, where proper identification will take place as well as an interview.
If you receive a bomb threat by telephone, here are some helpful things to remember:
- Remain calm. When the bomb threat is received, the person taking the call must remain calm and obtain as much information as possible.
- Do not put the caller on hold.
- Do not attempt to transfer the call.
- The person taking the call should immediately notify another staff person in the office, preferably while the caller is still on the line.
- Pay attention to the caller and their words and speech:
- Does the caller have any distinguishing voice characteristics such as an accent, stuttering or mispronunciation?
- Is the caller angry, excited, irrational or agitated?
- Is the caller a man or woman, young, middle-aged, or old?
- If you have caller ID, note the phone number of the caller.
- Listen for background noises (traffic, train whistle, music, radio, TV, children, airplanes, etc.).
- It is important to document all that you know and hear. This should include filling out the Bomb Threat Checklist.
- Call the Campus Safety and Security Department at 2560 from a campus phone or (914) 633-2560 from a cell phone.
- Do not evacuate the building until told to do so by the Campus Safety and Security Department.
Bomb Threat Checklists
Stay calm and collect all the information you can:
- Name of call taker
- Date and time received
- How was threat reported (telephone, email, in-person, by mail)?
- Location threatened
- Exact words used to make threat
Questions to ask the person making the threat:
- When is the bomb going to explode?
- Where is the bomb located?
- What kind of bomb is it?
- What does it look like?
- Who placed the bomb?
- Why was the bomb placed?
- Where are you calling from?
Description of caller’s voice:
- Young, old, middle-aged
- Male, female
- Background noises
- Remarks, etc.
- Completed by: (your name)
- Phone: (your phone)
Hurricanes and Severe Storms with Potential Loss of Power
These natural events usually provide the College sufficient warning to enable the campus emergency plan to be put in place prior to experiencing impact of the event. It is the position of the college that when a significant storm is predicted to impact the greater New York Metropolitan Area and southern Westchester, a decision to close the college will be made with sufficient time to permit residents and off-campus students to return home safely prior to the initial impact of the storm. These storms have the potential to cause extended power outages. In the event the campus has the potential to experience a loss of electrical power the following plan will be put in place:
- Ensure that main gas tank on campus is full, as well as all cars, vans and trucks. Also ensure there is sufficient fuel on campus for generators with the ability to get additional fuel deliveries if the power outage extends for a protracted period of time.
- Meet with Food Services to ensure there is sufficient food and water on hand to sustain the campus community for a period of one week
- Residential Life will develop and communicate an emergency plan which will include providing all resident students an evacuation plan and a list of emergency items to include in a “go-bag” sufficient for at least two days in the case of a mandatory evacuation of a building or the campus. The college will communicate with all resident and off-campus students before a significant impending storm providing a link to our emergency plan, safety tips and all other necessary information and available resources related to natural disasters and the potential loss of power.
- Students should be advised to have at least a two-day supply of non- perishable food and drink for use during the storm in case they are unable to leave the residence halls or their off campus apartment to obtain food.
- Facilities Management will implement its emergency plan and secure the campus for the impact of the storm by removing flags, portable signs, garbage containers, etc. and prepare for possible area flooding, including blocking off the lower level of parking garage. Facilities Management will also ensure that all necessary emergency supplies are available and functioning.
- The College will send text and email messages related to the impending storm providing information and links to sign up for text messaging. All messages will be clear, consistent and as early as possible. During the storm redundancy messaging will be sent using multiple communication sources including text messaging, email, phone messages and updated posts on the Iona website to ensure a clear and consistent message.
- President’s cabinet to have a meeting prior to the storm to review the plan and current conditions in an attempt to evaluate the situation and clearly communicate with the community. President’s Cabinet plan daily follow-up meetings/conference calls which should include Facilities Management and Campus Safety and Security.
- Senior Vice Presidents will enact their area emergency plans notifying previously designated “essential employees” about their roles during the storm and in the aftermath. These employees will review their expectations related to being on campus during and after an emergency.
- Mulcahy Gym will be prepared with necessary equipment by Facilities Management to serve as a relocation center for students, if necessary during a loss of power.
- Previously planned campus events will be evaluated as will travel that may be impacted by the storm. A strategy to determine if campus events will occur must be developed.
- Establish clear expectations for when classes may be cancelled based on most current weather forecasts in a timely fashion to facilitate resident and off campus students returning home, if desired.
During Storms Impact:
- Establish a command post in the Annex for Campus Safety and Security if backup generator is available otherwise relocate to McSpedon Hall and ensure that all members of the President’s Cabinet and administration are aware of exact location.
- Campus Safety and Security, Facilities Management and Residential Life will make notifications to ensure sufficient personnel are available to respond to the existing conditions.
- Campus Safety and Security and Facilities to continuously evaluate the impacted areas of the campus related to loss of electrical service and flooding. Information provided to the members of the community.
- Establish a charging station for all members of the community in McSpedon Hall, i.e. Admissions Reception Center.
- If any residence hall experiences a loss of power and does not have a back-up generator, students will be re-located to the Mulcahy Gym in accordance with the Residential Life emergency plan. This plan will be operational and provide a safe relocation of students in coordination with Campus Safety and Security. All necessary supplies including mats or cots will be available to students being relocated in Mulcahy Gym.
- Text and email messages will be sent to the community throughout the event to keep them updated as frequently as possible with MarCom managing the communications through the website and social media. Maintain one consistent message.
- President’s Cabinet will have daily meetings/conference calls to evaluate school closing, and other safety related issues on campus.
- Work closely with Food Services to ensure their electrical needs are being met and food is available to members of the community on campus.
- Any buildings without power and back-up generator should be locked and posted with signs indicating no admittance by Campus Safety and Security.
- Facilities Management to check Cornelia Hall to ensure all marked refrigerators and equipment are set up on temporary power.
Post Storm Impact:
- Work closely with Con Edison and local governments to restore power to campus as quickly as possible.
- Evaluate the impact to campus and respond immediately to all areas of concern including flooding and tree damage and access the ability to re- open the campus.
- Keep members of the community updated as to existing conditions on campus.
- Establish a location for essential offices to re-locate if their area is without power. Immediately communicate their new location to all members of the community.
- Evaluate the ability to resume classes on campus once power has been restored and develop a strategy as to how missed classes will be made up and communicate this plan to all members of the community.
- Staff the front desk of the LaPenta Student Union with professional and/or student staff to answer student questions and provide necessary information.
- Facilities to inspect building that were evacuated due to loss of power once power has been restored to ensure that all systems are functioning properly before access is allowed back into the building.
Severe Thunder Storms or Tornadoes
The College is prepared to notify the campus community via the Emergency Notification System (ENS) of severe weather emergencies.
The following terms are utilized by the National Weather Service:
- Watch: Conditions are right for a severe thunder storm or tornado to develop. Continue with normal activities, but continue to monitor the weather.
- Warning: Radar or weather spotters have identified a severe thunder storm or tornado.
The College’s Outdoor Warning System may be activated if there is danger for the College Community.
If you are indoors:
- Know the location of the appropriate area(s) for your facility. This can be a basement or a ground floor hallway with no windows or a door frame.
- If you are unable to go to a room with no windows get under a desk or a table.
- Remain in a protected area until the threat has ceased or the danger has passed.
- Call the Campus Safety and Security Department at 2560 from any campus phone or (914) 633-2560 from a cell phone to report injuries.
If you are outside:
- Try to seek shelter indoors.
- If you cannot, try to get to a protected or safe area away from buildings, windows and glass, telephone or light poles or any place where there could be falling debris.
- A low area such as a ditch or ravine or a depression works well.
- Lie face down and cover your head and face.
- Avoid any downed power lines.
- Call the Campus Safety and Security Department at 2560 from any campus phone or (914) 633-2560 from any cell phone to report injuries and damage.
In the event of a fire or hazardous materials emergency within a campus building, it is necessary and safest for occupants to evacuate. College policy is total evacuation.
A fire or hazardous materials emergency exists whenever:
- A building fire evacuation alarm is sounding
- An uncontrolled fire or imminent fire hazard occurs in any building or area of campus
- There is the presence of smoke, or the odor of burning
- There is an uncontrolled release of combustible or toxic gas or other hazardous material, or a flammable liquid spill
To Survive a Building Fire
Activate the building fire alarm if it is not already sounding.
- Pull a fire alarm station on the way out.
- If the building is not equipped with a fire alarm, knock on doors and shout on your way out.
Leave the building by the nearest exit.
- Crawl if there is smoke.
- If you get caught in smoke, get down close to the floor and crawl. Cleaner, cooler air will be near the floor.
Feel doors before opening.
- Before opening any doors, feel the metal knob.
- If it is hot, do not open the door.
- If it is cool, brace yourself against the door, open it slightly, and if heat or heavy smoke are present, close the door and stay in the room.
Go to the nearest exit or stairway.
- If the nearest exit is blocked by fire, heat, or smoke, go to another exit.
- Always use an exit stair, NEVER an elevator.
- Elevator shafts may fill with smoke or the power may fail, leaving you trapped. Stairway fire doors will keep out fire and smoke if they are closed and will protect you until you get outside.
- Close as many doors as possible as you leave. This helps to confine the fire.
- Total and immediate evacuation is safest. Only use a fire extinguisher if the fire is very small and you have received training. Do not delay calling emergency responders or activating the building fire alarm. If you cannot put out the fire, leave immediately. Make sure Campus Safety and Security and the fire department are called - even if you think the fire is out.
If you get trapped, keep the doors closed.
- Place cloth material (wet if possible) around and under door to prevent smoke from entering.
- Be prepared to signal your presence from a window. Do not break glass unless absolutely necessary, this may cause outside smoke to be drawn inside your location.
Signal for help
- Hang an object at the window (jacket, shirt) to attract the fire department’s attention.
- If there is a phone in the room call either 2560 or (914) 633-2560 from a cellular phone and report that you are trapped in your room and provide a room number and location.
- If all exits from a floor are blocked, go back to your room, close the door, seal cracks, open the windows if safe, and attempt to notify others of your location by waving something out the window, shouting or using a phone for help.
Stop, Drop and Roll
- If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop, and roll, wherever you are.
- Rolling smothers the fire.
- Storage of any items in the corridors ex: bicycles, chairs, desks, and other items are strictly prohibited in all hallways and stairwells.
- Blocked exits and obstacles impede evacuation, especially during dark and smoke conditions.
Notify emergency responders from a safe distance away from the building.
- Call 2560 from any campus phone.
- Call (914) 633-2560 from a cull phone.
How to Identify Suspicious Packages and Letters
Some characteristics of suspicious packages and letters include the following:
- Excessive postage
- Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
- Incorrect titles
- Title, but no name
- Misspellings of common words
- Oily stains, discolorations or odor
- No return address
- Excessive weight
- Lopsided or uneven envelope
- Protruding wires or aluminum foil
- Visual distractions
- Ticking sound
- Excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc.
- Marked with restrictive endorsements, such as “Personal” or “Confidential”
- Shows a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address
Actions to Take Once a Potential Suspicious Package Has Been Identified
- Stay calm – do not panic.
- Do not move or handle a suspicious package.
- Call the Campus Safety and Security Department at 911 from any campus phone or (914) 633-2560 from a cell phone.
- If there is reason to suspect that a package may contain an explosive device based on characteristics described above, do not handle the package. Leave the immediate area and contact the Campus Safety and Security Department.
- If the suspicious letter or package is marked with a threatening message (such as “anthrax”) or if a suspicious powder or substance spills out of the package or envelope, follow these guidelines:
- Do not clean up a suspicious powder.
- Turn off local fans or ventilation units in the area if you suspect that a device has been activated and the fan/ventilation switches if they are quickly and easily accessible.
- Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering. Call for assistance and keep others away from the area.
- Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face.
- Remove heavily contaminated clothing as soon as possible and place in a plastic bag, or some other container that can be sealed. Give clothing bag to emergency responders.
- Shower with soap and water as soon as possible if contaminated. Do not use bleach or other disinfectant on your skin.
- It is important to note all people who were present in the area when the suspicious package was discovered.
- Provide this information to Campus Safety and Security to facilitate their follow-up investigation and to obtain advice from local health authorities and outside law enforcement officials as to the best standards of care for those affected.
Emergency Preparedness and Response
Emergency responders from the Campus Safety and Security Department will assess the situation. If the suspicious letter or package is marked with a threatening message, such as “anthrax” or if a suspicious powder or substance has spilled, they will follow certain guidelines and immediately notify the New Rochelle Police Department.