Timely Warning Procedures

Timely Warnings and Emergency Notifications to the College Community, Procedure

What constitutes an “Emergency” at SUNY Empire State College?

Below is a list of emergency situations identifying the most common types of emergency notifications. Any emergency where the health and/or human safety at SUNY Empire State College are in question may constitute an “emergency.” The list is not inclusive:

  • Bomb/Violence Threat Against the College – based on credible intelligence that indicates a threat.
  • Civil disturbance – disruption of normal college activities by a group of people.
  • Fire – fire to building(s), wildfires, local community or industry that may endanger college students, faculty, staff or property.
  • Hazardous material – dangerous material that is chemical, biological or nuclear spreading from a contained area.
  • Major road closing/incident – unanticipated event that would disrupt safe passage to and from college.
  • Medical emergency – pandemic or an event with mass casualties.
  • Personal safety – situations that include use of weapons, violence, perpetrator(s) at large, active shooter and hostage situation or missing persons. Any situation, on or off college that, in the judgment of the local authorities, the college president or designee, constitutes an on-going or continuing threat to person or property.
  • Suspicious package – reasonable belief that a package may contain chemical, biological, explosive, radiological or nuclear substance that would cause harm to persons or property.
  • Utility failure – a major disruption or damage to utilities including gas, electrical or water.
  • Weather – severe weather conditions to include flooding, snow/ice/cold, thunderstorm, wind, tornado or hurricane.
  • Natural disasters – such as earthquakes.

Ways to Communicate These Issues: For Safety Related Issues

Methods of communication will be chosen based on the nature of the incident. A decision will be made on notification methods by the executive vice president for administration and/or the Office of Safety & Security.

For General Notification

  • Email to all students and/or faculty/staff affected.
  • Postings in college facilities, and on campus as applicable to the incident. Postings can be emailed as attachments to various offices as indicated below.
  • ESC Alert (Rave Mobile Safety) (alert.esc.edu) in case of a critical collegewide emergency.
  • Posting of notification on the SUNY Empire State College website.
  • Text messaging, if applicable.
  • Social media sites.
  • Post to MyESC and Exchange.

For Non-Life Threatening Health Related Issues

  • Letters to students faculty and staff.
  • Posting of notification on the college website.

Procedure to Follow

For information that is believed to be of interest or concern to the entire college population, the executive vice president for administration/or the director of safety & security, in conjunction with the Vice President of Marketing & Communication will notify the Office of the President in advance of sending a college wide notification, when applicable.

What Warrants a “Timely Warning” or “Emergency Notification?”

SUNY Empire State College will issue Timely Warnings for a specific college location or collegewide, depending on the circumstances. Whenever a crime is reported to the Office of Public Safety, or a local police agency, that is considered to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees, a timely warning will be sent to the entire affected community.

Emergency Notifications will be issued, when the college is made aware of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students and/or employees at a specific college location. As appropriate, emergency notifications may be targeted at the segment or segments of the college community that are at risk. Emergency notifications will be issued without delay unless doing so would compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

The executive vice president for administration in conjunction with the director of public safety, and/or other college and noncollege officials as appropriate, will confirm the existence of a situation that may warrant a timely warning notification and determine the extent of the notification as appropriate. In addition to criminal incidents, emergency notifications may be issued in situations such as, but not limited to:

Safety Related Issues

An incident that occurs on or in close proximity to any of the college locations that may potentially affect the personal safety and security of our student, faculty and staff population.

Health Related Issues

  • A member of the college community is diagnosed with a serious or life threatening communicable/infectious disease.
  • Evidence of bio terrorism.

Emergency Preparedness, Response and Evacuation Procedures

In the event that a situation arises, either on or off campus, that, in the judgment of the director of public safety, in conjunction with the vice president for administration/designee, constitutes an ongoing or continuing threat to the campus population, a collegewide “timely warning” will be issued.

Emergency Management Plan Synopsis

This collegewide Emergency Operations Plan is designed to outline a plan of action so that emergencies can be dealt with immediately in a logical and coherent manner. The intention of the Emergency Operations Plan is not to establish policy, but to create a framework that will allow an immediate response to an emergency.

This plan is the result of the recognition by college officials that there is a responsibility to manage emergency and disaster situation on campus and coordinate with the appropriate public safety and local government officials. The college recognized that a comprehensive plan was needed which was compliant with HSPD-5, including the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS). The plan also must be consistent with, and closely linked to, county and state plans and within the guidelines set forth by SUNY Systems Administration.

The Emergency Operations Plan designates college security, public safety and local police as the initial contact for reporting all emergency situations and as the central point of communication during the response and resolution of all emergencies.

The Emergency Operations Plan is designed to maximize human survival and preservation of property, minimize danger, restore normal operations to SUNY Empire State College and assure responsive communications with the college community, surrounding regions and the cities in which we function within.

This EOP is may be initiated when a natural or induced emergency reaches proportions that cannot be handled by established measures.

A crisis may be sudden and unforeseen, or there may be varying periods of warning. This plan is intended to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate contingencies of all types, magnitudes and duration.

The SUNY Empire State College Emergency Operations Plan may be put into effect whenever a crisis, man-made or natural, disrupts operations, threatens life, creates major damage or occurs within the college community and its environments.

Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures

Under the collegewide Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), the college practices biannual emergency evacuation drills and fire safety drills.

An emergency or crisis situation can arise at SUNY Empire State College any time and from many causes. Emergencies can range from chemical spills and fires to bomb threats and explosions, and natural disasters and civil disturbances such as riots or labor unrest.

The SUNY Empire State College, collegewide Emergency Operations Plan is a procedural document, which incorporates the Incident Command System for organizing, coordinating and directing available resources toward the control of an emergency. The plan includes a chain of command establishing the authority and responsibility of various individuals. In emergencies, procedures sometimes must be changed at an instant’s notice; therefore, responsible and knowledgeable persons who know the procedures have the authority to make necessary modifications.

Procedure to Follow

For information of interest or concern to the entire college community, the Director of Safety & Security and Emergency Management or in his/her absence, the Director of Operations & Special Assistant to the President, in conjunction with the executive team will  notify the Office of the President in advance of sending a college wide notification.

The Director of Safety & Security will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification (in conjunction with the Vice President of Marketing & Communication, when applicable) and initiate the notification system, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgment of the Director of Safety & Security, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

ESC Alert (Rave Mobile Safety)

The college’s mass notification system, powered by Rave Mobile Safety, provides emergency and timely notifications broadcast across multiple channels including email, text message and RSS (displayed on college websites). All active students with an enrollment within the past 18 months, newly accepted applicants within the past 12 months, and active employees are automatically added to the system. The college automatically notifies via official email address on record. If individuals wish to be notified via text message, or additional email addresses or devices, they should add their additional information to their account.

Because emergency and timely notifications are a public safety obligation, the college cannot allow anyone to opt out.

For more information, please visit the ESC Alert web page.

SUNY Empire State College Community Responsibility

All SUNY Empire State College community members, including active students with an enrollment within the past 18 months, newly accepted applicants within the past 12 months, and active employees, are encouraged to review their profile at http://alert.esc.edu; SUNY Empire State College will use ESC Alert as the primary method to communicate emergencies and timely notifications to the college community.

SUNY Empire State College Locations on Other SUNY or Community College Campuses

  • All SUNY Empire State College locations residing on a SUNY college campus are required to adhere to that respective college’s emergency notification system when incidents occur.
  • When SUNY Empire State College employees are notified of an incident on a SUNY college campus that requires that they take action, the Office of Safety & Security should be immediately notified by the locations supervisor, regional operations coordinator or executive director of regional operations/designee once safe.