Emergency Procedures

University Communications

The University Emergency Management Operations Team (EMOT) includes senior leadership from across the University. EMOT is responsible for sharing information, and determining and implementing a course of action during an emergency.

Columbia Housing advises students to sign up for the University Emergency Text Message system before arriving on campus. The Emergency Text Message system is used to disseminate crucial information and alerts in the event of a crisis.

In case of an emergency:

  • Check the University home page for news and updates.
  • Stay in contact with your RA or a member of Residential Life staff who will be on-call or on-site to distribute additional information and instructions.
  • Visit the University Preparedness website for emergency-related issues and information.
  • If a city emergency, check information from the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

The following guidelines are intended to reduce your personal risk in the unlikely event that an active shooter incident was to happen on campus.

If you are in a building when an event occurs, you should:

Secure the Immediate Area:
  • Lock and barricade doors
  • Do not stand by doors or windows
  • Turn off lights
  • Close blinds
  • Block windows
  • Turn off radios and computer monitors
  • Keep yourself out of sight and take adequate cover/protection (for example, concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets—cover may protect you from bullets)
  • Silence cell phones and any device that makes noise, such as radios and computer monitors
Un-Securing an Area:
  • Consider the risks before un-securing rooms
  • Remember, the shooter will not stop until they are engaged by an outside force
  • Attempts to rescue people should only be attempted if it can be accomplished without further endangering the people 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
  • Know all alternate exits in your building

If you are outdoors when an event occurs:

  • Seek cover indoors.
  • Call Public Safety at 212-854-5555 (Morningside), 212-853-3333 (Manhattanville) or 212-305-7979 (Medical Center). Give your name, exact location and the nature of the condition.
Contacting Authorities:
  • Dial 4-5555 from any Morningside phone
  • Dial 3-3333 from any Manhattanville phone
  • Dial 5-7979 from any CUMC phone
  • Use Emergency 911
  • Email: [email protected]

Be aware that the Public Safety numbers will likely be overwhelmed. Program the alternate Public Safety numbers (212-854-2797, 212-853-3301, 212-305-8100) into your mobile phone for backup, or consider 911 or email. Remember, most cell phones provide the ability to make an emergency call, even if they have a lockout feature.

Email may also be an option if, under the circumstances, you are unable to speak. The email address above is monitored by Public Safety personnel.

What to Report:

Provide as much of this information as you can to Public Safety or other emergency responders, but do not wait if you do not have all the information:

  • Your specific location: building name and office or 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.
Police Response:

The guidelines from NYPD on their own police response are:

  • Objective is to engage assailant(s) immediately
  • Evacuate victims
  • Facilitate follow up medical care, interviews, counseling
  • Investigation

Fire detection, suppression, and notification equipment is located in the residence halls for residents’ protection. Activation of an alarm will automatically cause a response by the New York City Fire Department.

If a resident discovers a fire, they should pull the nearest fire alarm and, once they have left the area, call the campus Emergency Number at (212) 854-5555.

More information can be found in the Fire Safety section.

  • Learn the signs of a possible gas leak
  • If you detect a strong odor, leave immediately and take others with you. In addition, do not light a match or smoke, turn appliances or lights on or off (including flashlights), use a telephone or start a car. Doing so can produce sparks that might cause the gas to explode.
  • If the situation allows for time, call Public Safety 212-854-5555 or the Hartley Hospitality Desk at 212-854-2779.
  • In an emergency, call 911 or 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).
  • In case of a power outage or blackout in the residence halls, be in contact with your RA for information and instructions.
  • Keep a flashlight in your room in case of an emergency.
  • Check the University Preparedness website for further instructions about safety precautions and University operations.
  • Stay indoors in cases of extreme weather.