Emergency Response Guide

What follows is information concerning the health and safety of everybody in the college community, including what to do in critical situations. College Campuses are not immune to incidents such as violent crimes, weather related emergencies, hazardous materials incidents, and the like. The Campus Police, in conjunction with our colleagues 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.


An emergency is any situation that requires an immediate police, fire, or medical response to preserve life or property. These include:

  • serious illness or injury
  • fires
  • assault or immediate danger of assault
  • violent or criminal behavior
  • situation involving weapons
  • fight
  • chemical spill
  • explosions
  • bomb threat
  • someone choking or drowning
  • loss of consciousness
  • any other serious threat to the health and safety of you or another person

Any student, employee, or visitor on campus can, and should, report suspected crime or unusual incidents to the Campus Police. From any campus phone, simply call 6511. From other telephones, including cell phones, please dial 844-6511.

Remember, if there is an emergency, you can always call 911 and the Tompkins County Emergency 911 Center will contact TC3’s Campus Police and initiate the proper emergency response. When calling 911, make sure to let the 911 dispatcher know your exact location and try to stay on the line. In an emergency, seconds count. Use 911 only for emergencies - misuse of 911 is against the law because it may delay response to a legitimate emergency. Don't call 911 to report

  • Minor auto accidents
  • Crimes no longer in progress and not requiring an immediate response to preserve life or property
  • Disabled vehicles
  • Loud parties
  • Missing property
  • Telephone, cable, or power outages not requiring an immediate response to preserve life or property

In cases like these, please dial 607.844.6511 or 607.844.8222, Ext. 6511 instead.


What “Shelter-in-Place” Means

Sheltering-in-place is the use of any classroom, office or building for the purpose of providing temporary shelter. 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 Notification System (ENS). 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 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:

  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Food — high-energy foods like granola bars, energy bars, etc.
  • Water
  • 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 information.

Safety Guidelines for Active Shooter Situations on Campus

If you witness any armed individual on campus at any time or if an individual is acting in a hostile or belligerent manner, immediately contact Campus Police at 6511 from a campus phone, 844-6511 from other phones, or dial 911. This document provides guidance to students, faculty, and staff who may be caught in an active shooter situation, and describes what to expect from responding law enforcement officers. Be aware that the telephone system, as well as cell phone systems, may become overwhelmed.

What is an "Active Shooter?"

An active shooter is a person or persons who appear to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in populated areas on campus. In most cases active shooters use firearm(s) and display no pattern or method for selection of their victims. In some cases active shooters use other weapons and/or improvised explosive devices to cause additional victimization and act as an impediment to law enforcement and emergency services responders. These improvised explosive devices may detonate immediately, have delayed detonation fuses, or may detonate on contact.

What makes an Active Shooter situation different from a hostage or barricaded subject situation?

Active shooter situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate response by the community and immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and prevent further harm to the community.

Hostage or barricaded subject situations often take place over a longer period of time, and usually there is no ongoing injury or loss of life. These situations are often managed through the deployment of specialized units, as time allows. Both hostage and barricaded subject situations can rapidly shift to Active Shooter situations, and vice versa.

Guidelines: In general, how you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and CALL 911 as soon as possible.

What should I do if I find myself involved in an Active Shooter situation?

If an active shooter is outside your building or inside the building you are in, you should:

  • Try to remain calm
  • Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter
  • Proceed to a room that can be locked or barricaded
  • Lock and barricade doors or windows
  • Turn off lights
  • Close blinds
  • Block windows
  • Turn off radios or other devices that emit sound
  • Keep yourself out of sight and take adequate cover/protection, i.e. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets
  • Silence cell phones
  • Have one person CALL 911 and provide: "This is TC3 (give your exact location) we have an active shooter on campus, gunshots fired."

What additional information will law enforcement be looking for?

If you were able to see the offender(s), give a description of the person(s’) sex, race, clothing, type of weapon(s), location last seen, direction of travel, and identity, if known.

  • If you observed any victims, give a description of the location and number of victims.
  • If you observed any suspicious devices (improvised explosive devices), provide the location seen and a description.
  • If you heard any explosions, provide a description and location.

What else should I look for?

  • Wait patiently until a uniformed law enforcement officer, or a university official known to you, provides an "all clear".
  • Do not respond to voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a law enforcement officer or university official; unfamiliar voices may be an active shooter trying to lure you from safety.
  • Attempts to rescue people should only be attempted if it can be accomplished without further endangering the persons inside a secured area.
  • Depending on circumstances, consideration may also be given to exiting ground floor windows as safely and quietly as possible.

What if the Active Shooter comes into the area where I am?

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom, you should:

  • Try to remain calm
  • Try not to do anything that will provoke the active shooter
  • If there is no possibility of escape or hiding, only as a last resort when it is imminent that your life is in danger should you make a personal choice to attempt to negotiate with or overpower the assailant(s)
  • Call 911, if possible, and provide the information listed in the previous guideline
  • If the active shooter(s) leaves the area, barricade the room, or proceed to a safer location

If you are in an outside area and encounter an active shooter, you should:

  • Try to remain calm
  • Move away from the active shooter or the sound of gunshot(s) and/or 
  • Look for appropriate locations for cover/protection, i.e. brick walls, retaining walls, large trees, parked vehicles, or any other object that may stop bullet penetration
  • Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter
  • CALL 911 and provide the information listed in the first guideline




Contacting Authorities

  • Use 607-844-6511 to contact the TC3 Campus Police
  • Dialing 6511 from a campus phone will connect with TC3 OPS.

Dialing 911 from any phone, including cell phones, will connect you with Tompkins County Emergency Response Center. Be sure to give the call taker your exact location. Be aware that the Campus phone system will likely be overwhelmed. Program 911 for Tompkins County into your cell phone for emergency use.

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 he or she is engaged by an outside force.
  • Attempts to rescue people should only happen if it can be accomplished without further endangering the persons inside a secured area.
  • 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.

Hostage Situation

  • If You Hear or See a Hostage Situation
  • Immediately remove yourself from any danger.
  • Immediately call 911 or notify Campus Police at 607-844-6511 (or dial 6511 from any campus phone).
  • Be prepared to give the 911 Dispatch Center 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

  • Remain calm, be polite, and cooperate with your captors.
  • Do not attempt escape unless there is an extremely good chance of survival. It is safer
    to be submissive, and obey your captors.
  • Speak normally. Do not complain, avoid being belligerent, and comply with all orders
    and instructions.
  • Do not draw attention to yourself with sudden body movements, statements, comments
    or hostile looks.
  • Observe the captors, and try to memorize their physical traits, voice patterns, clothing
    or other details that can help provide a description later.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In a Rescue Situation
    Do not run. Drop to the floor, and remain still. If that is not possible, cross your arms, bow your head, and stand still. Make no sudden moves that a tense rescuer may interpret as hostile or threatening.
  • Wait for instructions, and obey all instructions you are given.
  • 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 and status will be determined.

Bomb Threats

If you receive a bomb threat by telephone, here are some helpful things to keep in mind:

  • 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 his/her 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 Campus Police.
  • Do not evacuate until told to do so by the Campus Police.

Bomb Threat Checklist

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
  • Accent
  • Male, female
  • Background noises
  • Remarks, etc.
  • Completed by: (your name)
  • Phone: (your phone)

If the threat is written,
Do not disturb the message in any way. The message may be needed as evidence. Notify OPS immediately.

Suspicious Behavior

It is important to remember that people aren't suspicious, behavior is. Signs of behavior that might be suspicious are:

  • A person running and looking about furtively, as if he or she were being watched or chased.
  • A stranger carrying property at an unusual hour or location, especially if the items are stereo equipment, office machinery, or a locked bicycle.
  • A person going door-to-door in an office building or residential area.
  • Any person forcibly entering a locked vehicle or building.
  • Transactions being conducted from vehicles, especially near schools or parks.
  • One or more persons sitting in a parked car closely scanning the area.
  • A person (especially a juvenile or female) being forced into a vehicle.
  • A person exhibiting unusual mental or physical symptoms.
  • Unusual noises, including gunshots, screaming, sounds of fighting, barking dogs, or anything suggesting foul play, danger or illegal activity.

If you witness any of these suspicious activities, call OPS immediately.

Safety Protocol: Disruptive Individual

Who is a disruptive individual?

  • An individual who makes threats of physical harm to you, others, or themselves.
  • An individual who has a weapon. Refer to Armed Subjects Protocol.
  • An individual who behaves in a bizarre manner or exhibits unstable behavior patterns.
  • The individual who appears to be intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance.

What action should I take?

  • Contact OPS at ext 6511 or 844-6511.
  • Give your name and campus location with a brief explanation of the situation.
  • Take note of the individual’s age, personal appearance, clothing, vehicle or any other information that would help identify the individual.

Express your authority with non-verbal cues:

  • Sit or Stand erect.
  • Square your shoulders.
  • Smile and make eye contact.
  • Speak clearly and distinctly.
  • Maintain a constant voice volume that is not too loud.

Cues to avoid:

  • Observe the individuals personal space (don’t stand to close).
  • Do NOT touch the person.
  • Do not slouch, glare, or sigh at the individual.

Anger management Tactics:

  • Get their attention: use their name, ask them to sit down.
  • Acknowledge their feelings: paraphrase what they say so they will know you are listening.
  • Get them moving: offer a chair, move them to a private area if possible.
  • Offer assistance: use the word “We” to include them in the solution process.
  • Tell them exactly what you can do for them and when
    Offer an alternative if appropriate.
  • Advise co-workers of the potential problem if possible.
  • Call for aid immediately if you sense the situation is getting out of hand.