Shelter-in-Place Procedures

AU Staff Updated by AU Staff

Although remote, there is always an emergency possibility that you will be instructed not to evacuate the campus, immediately.  In these cases, it is absolutely imperative that you listen carefully to and follow the instructions given over the emergency public address system or from members of the college staff.

You could be asked to shelter in place if:

a) There is a release of airborne containments such as chemical materials, biological agents, or radioactive particles in the vicinity. b) There is an armed or threatening intruder on campus that has not been isolated. c) Infrastructure failures such as transportation, roads, extreme weather conditions, etc.

Shelter-in-Place Procedures – What it Means to “Shelter-in-Place”

If an incident occurs and the buildings or areas around you become unstable, or if the air outdoors becomes dangerous due to toxic or irritating substances, it is usually safer to stay indoors, because leaving the area may expose you to that danger. Thus, to “shelter-in-place” means to make a shelter of the building that you are in, and with a few adjustments this location can be made even safer and more comfortable until it is safe to go outside.

Basic “Shelter-in-Place” Guidance

If an incident occurs and the building you are in is not damaged, stay inside in an interior room until you are told it is safe to come out. If your building is damaged, take your personal belongings (purse, wallet, etc.) and follow the evacuation procedures for your building (close your door, proceed to the nearest exit, and use the stairs instead of the elevators). Once you have evacuated, seek shelter at a distance away from the College building quickly. If police or fire department personnel are on the scene, follow their directions.

How You Will Know to “Shelter-in-Place”

Traditionally college campus preparations for emergencies have relied principally on the fire drill or full evacuation of buildings approach.  However, it is also critically important that we know how to respond to emergencies that require a Shelter in Place or an Emergency Lockdown response.  These emergencies procedures are the opposite of an evacuation.  No fire alarms will be used to inform students, faculty and staff of the emergency.  Instead, the notification for initiating an emergency lockdown or a shelter-in-place notification may come from several sources, including the public address system, instructions given by Security, Residence Life members, other College employees, Local Police Department, or other authorities utilizing the College emergency communications tools.

Emergency Lockdown and response protocols are of two types:

  • Sheltering in place and
  • Implementing a tight perimeter control that prevents students, staff and faculty from entering the campus.


Shelter in Place means that you should remain on campus and if instructed, inside a classroom or office.  Shelter-in-Place is prescribed when it appears to be more dangerous outside than inside.  As with evacuations, instructions to Shelter-in-Place will require you to act immediately.

  1. Follow the directions given by the public address system, NyackAlert Communication System, Nyack College personnel, or Security. If you are in the Residence Hall, follow instructions from your Residence Life personnel (RD/RA), or Campus Authority personnel.
  2. If you see an armed individual, move to safety immediately and call 911, and then

Manhattan:  x 6198 from a campus phone. (845) 261-9504 or (845)646-6198 from a private or public phone.      Jersey City: (845) 222-8812 from a private or public phone.

  1. In Manhattan, if safe, use the call boxes located in the hallways. You can also inform the nearest member of the college staff.
  2. Never pull the emergency fire alarm if you see an armed individual. This will send everyone out of the classroom or living areas into a potentially dangerous situation.
  3. Close all doors and windows
  4. Depending on the type of emergency, you will be given additional instructions but it is important remain calm through the emergency.

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