Campus Safety

Emergency Management Procedures

Departments involved in fulfilling the obligations of these Emergency Management Procedures include: President’s Office (Executive Assistant to the President), Campus Safety (Director of Campus Safety), Dean of Students Office (Vice President of Student Affairs), and Office of Communications (Director of Media and Public Relations).

There is a separate procedure governing timely warning notices that are sent to the Union College community to notify members of the community about serious crimes against people that occur on campus when it is determined by Union administrators that the incident may pose an on-going threat to members of the Union College community.

In the event of any crisis that affects the Union College campus the following steps will be taken immediately to assess and develop a response plan. Union College’s primary consideration is the safety, health, and security of the campus community.

Level of emergencies:

The Emergency Management Procedure (EMP) is designed to provide guidelines for responding to a variety of incidents and emergencies that affect the College. Not all emergencies require the same degree of response, and each incident will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Level 1 (Limited Emergency)

A campus emergency with limited impact that does not affect the overall operation and function of the College. Examples would include a minor hazardous material incident, small fire, or temporary limited power outage. A Limited Emergency will not normally entail notification of the Emergency Management Team except through routine communications.

Level 2 (General Emergency)

A local emergency that has disrupted or potentially may disrupt significant operation of the College or adversely impact a major population of the community. Examples include serious crimes on campus, major fires, death(s), or partial infrastructure failure. A General Emergency may entail Union College Emergency Response Alerts

Level 3 (Major Emergency)

A community-wide emergency that potentially disrupts the operations of the College and involves major damage or systems failure. Major Emergencies impact not only the College, but possibly the surrounding community and beyond. Examples include tornadoes, widespread extended power outage, severe natural disasters, or serious acts of terrorism. A Major Emergency will entail Union College Emergency Response Alerts.

Activating the EMP:

Initial Notification:

  • Any community member who witnesses or receives information regarding an emergency is instructed to contact the Campus Safety Department at the extension 6911, in person, or from off-campus at (518) 388-6911.
  • If the incident involves a Level 1 (Limited Emergency), Campus Safety or the appropriate department will take steps to remedy the situation utilizing the appropriate College Departments and outside resources.
  • If the incident involves a Level 2 (General Emergency), Campus Safety will contact The Director of Campus Safety, appropriate local emergency response organization and the on-call dean.
  • If the incident involves a Level 3 (Major Emergency), Campus Safety will contact The Director of Campus Safety and appropriate members of the Emergency Management Team (EMT) to activate the EMP.

Declaring an emergency:

When it appears that the incident is very serious:

  • Members of the Emergency Management Team will discuss the incident and determine the level of emergency and whether to activate the Emergency Operations Center. The decision to declare an emergency will rest with the president or his/her designee.
  • Any other appropriate members of the community deemed necessary will be contacted to respond.
  • After the Emergency Management Procedure is activated, the process moves to a plan Response phase.

Response to any level of emergency:

  1. Immediate emergency decisions will be managed by field supervisors until the Director, Assistant Director of Campus Safety or VP of Student Affairs is able to take over responsibility.
  2. The president or designee will be notified of any College Level 3 emergency situation. Notification shall be passed to the president by vice presidents, director of security or others as identified by the crisis situation. The president or designee, along with the proper authority, (e.g. local fire and police officials) has final authority for emergency decisions and directives.
  3. The Union College Campus Community Emergency Response Alert System will be activated. This alert system may include campus siren sounds, text messages, cellphone messages, voice mail, campus radio, TV station, email, tweeter or the college website. Some or all of these methods of communication may be activated in the event of an immediate threat to the Union College campus community.
  4. In a prolonged emergency situation, the president will convene the senior staff at either an on-campus or off-campus for an emergency operations meeting.
  5. In a prolonged emergency situation, the president and the senior staff will review the situation and decide appropriate actions such as evacuating the campus or specific buildings, canceling classes, closing the college, communicating with the campus and the media, and securing emergency procedures.
  6. An Emergency Response Team (ERT), with training and responsibility for managing emergency operations, will be called to the emergency operations center or, if that isn’t possible, will contact the center by telephone. The Emergency Response Team (ERT) is comprised of managers with responsibility for major services.
  7. Local police, fire, rescue, medical officials will be called to campus to assist. The emergency personnel and the campus community will rely on the expertise of these professionals during a crisis.
  8. Emergency Assistance Staff (EAS), with training and responsibility to carry out specific assignments, will receive instructions from either the senior staff or from the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and will assist in implementing emergency procedures. Their duties may include communication, evacuation, directing pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and securing College property.


  1. Every effort will be made to communicate a single, clear message simultaneously to as many students, faculty, and staff as possible. Emergency personnel will be trained to communicate information quickly and consistently. The Vice President of Student Affairs, Director of Campus Safety, and/or the Director of Media and Public Relations will determine the content of the message and will use some or all of the systems described below to communicate the threat to the Union College campus community (or the appropriate segment of the community if that threat is limited to a particular building or segment of the community).
  2. In accordance with the requirements of the law, Campus Safety and Office of Communication-Public Relations will, without delay and taking into account the safety of the Union College campus community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system, unless issuing a notification will, in the judgment of the first responders (including, but not limited to: Campus Safety, Schenectady Police Department, and Schenectady Fire Department), compromise the efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.
  3. All decisions will likely include a directive for the most effective means of communication in light of the situation, e.g., Campus siren sounds, text messages, cellphone messages, voice mail, campus radio, TV station, email, tweeter, the college website, flyers, or in-person announcement (however, Union College cannot warrant the successful delivery of each message to each individual recipient).
  4. Local TV, radio, and newspapers will be contacted if necessary to provide expanded communications. Depending on the crisis, voice mail, email, the College information line (518) 388-6000, and the College’s website may be used for official updates (although some forms of communication may not be operable in a given emergency).
  5. Vital information regarding the situation will be communicated and may include the following: - a description of what has occurred - preliminary assessment of impact - immediate course of action - the urgency of action - emergency procedures being implemented - time of safe return to campus (after an evacuation) - emergency numbers and website access - other significant decisions or information.
  6. Emergency messages will be adapted for various constituencies, such as faculty, parents, students, alumni, and media.
  7. Certain campus services and support personnel will receive specific instructions relating to their specialized duties.
  8. The president’s assistant along with the director of media relations will be responsible for transmitting the president’s emergency decisions to a pre-designated communication network comprised of emergency personnel.


  1. After the order to evacuate or to shelter in place, the vice presidents will activate evacuation plans for their respective divisions. These instructions, depending on the emergency, will include the following: - forward phones - close and lock doors - ensure that all building occupants have left - report completed evacuation to appropriate College officials.
  2. Each office will develop procedures that are specific to its needs and compatible with the College emergency procedures, including securing valuables and records, continuing operations off campus, and establishing communication within the unit.
  3. In the event of the evacuation of the entire campus, the campus community will be informed of the primary evacuation site(s).
  4. Alternative evacuation sites will be designated if primary sites are not available or if the situation requires a long-term evacuation.
  5. Safe-area evacuation sites will be designated for specific building or campus area evacuations.
  6. If medical assistance is needed, contact the campus safety office at (518) 388-6911.
  7. A dining services contingency plan will go into effect to provide food for members of the campus community who are at the evacuation site(s). The lines of communication outlined in the Emergency Management Procedures are intended for use in emergency evacuation and/or shelter in place situations. They do not replace established college-wide or departmental communication protocols that are used during other types of emergencies (e.g. weather-related closing, etc.)

Evacuation Procedures

All occupants are required to evacuate the building immediately when a fire alarm sounds or other evacuation signal is given. Individual office personnel will turn off personal computers to protect college data from possible damage. The last person to leave an office, classroom, or lab will close and lock the door

Annual testing:

Campus Safety is responsible for testing the College’s Emergency Management Procedures at least once per year. These tests may be announced (as in the case of a residence hall fire safety program) or unannounced (as in the case of emergency preparedness drills). Campus Safety is responsible for maintaining documentation for each test including a description of the exercise; the date, time, and place of the exercise; and whether the drill was announced or unannounced.