Emergency Action Plans

Utility Failures

Utility Failures

These may include electrical outages, plumbing failure/flooding, gas leaks, steam line breaks, ventilation problems, elevator failures, etc. Facilities Operations and Management has procedures and personnel to deal with utility failures and resumption of service. For your personal safety, in the event of a utility failure:

  • Remain calm.
  • Immediately notify Safety and Security at (585) 385-8025 or (x8111 from campus phones).
  • If the building must be evacuated, follow the exits.
  • Unplug all electrical equipment (including computers) and turn off light switches.
  • Use a flashlight: Do not light candles or use other kinds of flames for lighting.
  • Laboratory personnel:
    • Secure all experiments, unplug electrical equipment, and shut off research gases prior to evacuating.
    • Close all fume hoods and chemical containers.
Elevator Failure

Elevator Failure

  • If passengers are trapped in an elevator, advise them to stay calm and tell them you are getting help contact Safety and Security or to push the elevator HELP Button.
  • If it is safe for you to stay in the building, stay near the passengers until assistance arrives.
  • If you are trapped in an elevator, help will be there soon:
    • Remain calm.
    • Use the Call Button of phone to call for help.
    • Do not try to climb out or exit the elevator without assistance.


Minor or area flooding on campus could occur as a result of a water main break, loss of power to sump pumps, or major multiple rainstorms. Safety and Security monitors the National Weather Service and other emergency advisory systems to stay abreast of weather and alert related conditions and will provide instructions should they be necessary. For imminent or actual flooding, and only if you can safely do so:

  • Secure vital equipment, records, and other important papers.
  • If present in your area, report all hazardous materials (chemical, biological, and/or radioactive) to Safety and Security at (585) 385-8025 or (x8111 from campus phones).
  • Move to higher, safer ground.
  • Shut off all electrical equipment.
  • If in a lab, secure all laboratory experiments.
  • Do not attempt to drive or walk through flooded areas.
  • Wait for further instructions on immediate action from Safety and Security.
  • If the building must be evacuated, follow the instructions on Building Evacuation.
  • Do not return to your building if you have been evacuated by flooding until you have been instructed to do so by University personnel.
  • If you are assisting with flood cleanup, report immediately to Safety and Security any oil, chemical, or radioactive materials suspected of mixing with flood waters.
Tornadoes or High Wind Advisory

Tornadoes or High Wind Advisory

A "Tornado Watch" or high wind advisory means that tornadoes or damaging winds could potentially develop. A "Tornado Warning" or High Wind Warning means a tornado has actually been sighted or high winds are in the area. If you see a tornado, report it immediately by calling 911, and seek shelter or safety:

  • Go to a basement, underground excavation, or lower floor of interior hallway or corridor (preferably a steel-framed or reinforced concrete building).
  • Seek shelter under a sturdy workbench or heavy furniture if no basement is available.
  • Listen for reports.


  • Top floors of buildings;
  • Areas with glass windows or doors; and
  • Auditoriums, gymnasiums, cafeterias, or other areas with large, free-span roofs.

If Out in the Open

  • Cars - do not wait out the storm in a car; cars are not safe in tornadoes.
  • Move away from the path of the tornado at a right angle direction.
  • Lie flat in the nearest depression, ditch, or ravine if there is no time to escape.


Earthquakes are more common in the western United States, but they could occur in the Upstate New York area as well. In the event of an earthquake:

  • Stay away from large windows, shelving systems, or tall room partitions.
  • Get under a desk, table, door arch, or stairwell.
  • If none of these is available: move against an interior wall and cover your head with your arms.
  • Remain under cover until the movement subsides.
  • After the shaking stops, survey your immediate area for trapped or injured persons and ruptured utilities (water, gas, etc.).
  • If damage has occurred in your area, inform Safety and Security immediately at (585) 385-8025 (or x8111 from a campus phone). If it is safe to do so, remain at your location and await further instructions from University personnel.
  • Do not evacuate until instructed by emergency personnel.
  • Laboratory personnel:
    • Exit the lab to the corridor.
    • Duck and cover near an interior wall
  • If out in the open:
    • Stay in an open area away from buildings, power lines, trees or roadways.
  • If in a car, pull over and stop, do not park under an overpass or near a building.
  • Be cautious about driving again, in the event roads are damaged.

After an Earthquake

  • Put on enclosed shoes to protect against broken glass.
  • If the power is out use a flashlight. Do not light a match or candle.
  • Be alert for safety hazards such as fire, electrical wires, gas leaks, etc.
  • Check on others. If there are injuries or other urgent problems, report them to Safety and Security at (585) 385-8025 (or x8111 from campus phones).
  • Give or seek first aid. Assist any disabled persons in finding a safe place.
  • Evacuate if the building seems unsafe or if instructed to do so: use stairs, not elevators.
  • Unplug small electrical appliance.
  • Bring keys, purses, wallets, warm clothing.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Cooperate with emergency personnel, keep informed, and remain calm.
Medical Emergencies / Injuries

Medical Emergencies/Injuries

  • Stay calm and take Action
  • Check the scene to ensure the environment poses no additional risk to you or the injured or ill person.
  • Call Safety and Security at (585) 385-8025, direct dial ext. 8111 on campus phone, or dial direct to 911 (for a medical emergency) to report the medical condition. Stay on the line to convey information relative to the nature and extent of the individual's condition; are they unconscious or otherwise exhibiting signs/symptoms of an injury or illness that requires immediate medical attention.
  • Direct others nearby to lead emergency personnel to your area.
  • If needed direct others to find an AED or other emergency equipment as available.
  • Unless the environment poses an immediate and additional threat to the injured person (like a building fire), do not move them from the scene.
  • Once you have assessed the scene and notified Safety and Security, proceed with first aid or CPR only if you are capable of administering such care. Stay with the individual until assistance arrives, try to comfort and calm the victim if possible.

Campus Safety Response

  • Safety and Security officers will respond, trained officers will initiate medical attention and administer first aid/CPR/triage as appropriate.
  • Safety and Security personnel will request the assistance of local emergency services as needed.

Important—Do not move the victim unless there is danger of further injury if they are not moved.



In the Event of a Fire

  • Try to remain calm.
  • If safe to do so, evacuate the building closing the doors behind you.
  • Do not use elevators during an evacuation.
  • As you evacuate the building, activate the nearest pull station to engage the building's fire alarm system.
  • Once safely outside the building, report the fire to Safety and Security at (585) 385-8025, campus line dial 8111.

When Leaving the Building

  • Use the back of your hand to feel closed doors. Do not open a hot door.
  • If your door is cool to the touch, open it slowly.
  • If there is smoke or heat, crawl on your hands and knees to get below the smoke.
  • If you are unable to leave, use a wet (water bottle/drink) cloth, sweater, etc. to seal cracks under the door and to cover air vents. Call Safety and Security at ext. 8111 or (585) 385-8111, or 911 to notify of your location and situation.

If You are Trapped in a Room

  • Place wet cloth material around or under the door to prevent smoke from entering the room.
  • Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire.
  • Be prepared to signal someone outside, but DO NOT break glass unless absolutely necessary.
  • Hang a towel or sheet from your window to signal your location to emergency responders.
  • STOP, DROP AND ROLL if your clothing catches fire.
  • Do not exit windows above the ground floor.

Use a Fire Extinguisher Only If

  • You have been trained;
  • You have your back to an unobstructed exit;
  • You have a fully charged and proper type unit for the fire you are fighting;
  • The fire is contained, and you have reported the fire by Fire Alarm or 911 activation;
  • Everyone else has left the area;
  • There is little smoke or flames 

Never Fight a Fire If

  • You lack a safe way to escape should your efforts fail;
  • It has left its source of origin;
  • You are unsure of the type of extinguisher you need or have;
  • If you can't control the fire within 30 seconds, abandon your efforts, close the door(s) and evacuate immediately.

Important — Do not return to normal activities until advised by police or campus authorities.

Building Evacuation

Building Evacuation

You should familiarize yourself with the evacuation routes posted in all campus buildings. If an evacuation order is issued for your building, or if it were necessary to evacuate due to an emergency, fully cooperate with the Office of Safety and Security/emergency personnel and:

  • Take only keys, wallets and essential belongings with you.
  • If possible, wear weather-appropriate clothing.
  • If you are the last one to exit your room close, and lock doors.
  • Leave the building immediately.
  • Do not investigate the source of the emergency.
  • Walk, don't run, to the nearest exit
  • Use stairs, not elevators.
  • Assist people with special needs.
  • If there is no immediate danger, persons with disability/mobility limitations should shelter in place and call the Office of Safety and Security at (585) 385-8025 (x8111 from campus phones) to report location and number of people needing assistance.
  • If there is imminent danger and evacuation cannot be delayed, the person with a disability should be carried or helped from the building in the best and fastest manner (the person with the disability is the best authority as to how to be moved out of the building).
  • If you are unable to evacuate, call the Office of Safety and Security at (585) 385-8025 or x8111 from campus phones) and report your location.
  • As you make your way out, encourage those you encounter to exit as well.
  • Follow instructions of the Office of Safety and Security or other identified emergency personnel.
  • Wait for instructions before returning to your building after an evacuation.

Important — Do not return to normal activities until advised by police or campus authorities.

Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place is useful when evacuation is not an option. Refuge is sought in an interior room with few or no windows. It may be necessary to shelter in place following the intentional or accidental release of chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants into the environment. Shelter in place may also be necessary in the event of a hostile intruder on campus. Shelter in place procedures will be initiated through the various notification systems used by St. John Fisher University.

  • Stop classes and/or other operations in the building.
  • If there are visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay—not leave. When public safety officials provide directions to shelter in place, they want everyone to take those steps immediately, where they are.
  • Close and lock all doors, windows, and other openings to the outside.
  • If necessary/possible, turn off heating or cooling system.
  • Select interior room(s) above the ground floor with the fewest windows and vents. The room(s) should be large enough for everyone to sit comfortably and quietly. Use multiple rooms if necessary.
  • Lock the door to any rooms being used and draw the curtains/shades or cover the windows. You should not be visible from the outside or from the corridor.
  • Ideally, choose room(s) with hardwired telephones as cellular networks may be unavailable. Use these phones to report any emergencies.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • In the event of a hostile intruder, remain absolutely quiet and follow steps outlined in the "Hostile Intruder/Active Shooter" section.
  • Remain calm and await further instructions.

Important — Do not return to normal activities until advised by police or campus authorities.

Active Shooter/Hostile Intruder on Campus

Active Shooter/Hostile Intruder on Campus

If you witness (or are otherwise directly involved in) an active shooter/hostile intruder incident on campus and your life is in imminent danger, take the following actions:

Avoid, Deny, Defend


Evacuate the premises only if there is an accessible escape route.

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Attempt to run away from the threat if you can, as fast as you can.
  • Evacuate whether or not others agree to follow.
  • Do not stop to gather your personal belongings.
  • Warn others and help them if it is safe to do so.
  • Warn others to prevent them from entering an area where the shooter(s) may be.
  • When possible and safe dial 911 and convey any known information about shooter/intruder:
    • Name
    • Description
    • Location
    • Type of weapon (pistol or rifle)


If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the shooter is much less likely to find you. Optimal hiding locations include areas where you can deny the shooter access to you and others. Block walls, solid wood or metal doors with locks; areas where there is furniture that can be used to barricade the door and areas with minimal glass and interior windows.

  • Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view, along the wall or behind objects.
  • Lock door(s) or block entries to your hiding area. If the door cannot be locked, blockade the door with whatever is available (heavy furniture, door wedges, file cabinets, etc.).
  • Hide behind large items (e.g., cabinets, desks, etc.).
  • If possible, cover any windows or openings which have a direct line of sight into the hallway.
  • Remain quiet and silence all cell phones, turn off any source of noise.
  • Turn off all lights.
  • Do not activate the fire alarm. An alarm would signal building occupants to evacuate and thus place them in potential harm as they attempt to escape.
  • When possible and safe dial 911 and convey any known information about shooter/intruder.


When you have no other choice you may have to physically defend yourself to save your life. Band with others if possible and use any available means within reach that can be used as a weapon and position yourself for attack if your door is breached.

  • Commit to the fight, you are fighting for your life.
  • Act as aggressively as possible against the shooter.
  • Attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the shooter.

Improvise weapons and throw items at the shooter.

Lockdown/Shelter in Place

If you are notified that an active shooter/hostile intruder is on campus you may receive a RAVE Alert or other messaging urging you to "shelter in place" to stay where you are and secure your location as best you can.

  • If a shooter is not near your location, stay inside the building you are in, even if you do not normally work or reside in that building. If you are not in a building, leave the campus if you can. If not look to find the nearest accessible safe building.
  • If you are in your residence hall or office, lock yourself in your room, close any blinds or curtains and eliminate sources of sound (including cell phones).

If you are in a more public location (classroom, athletic center, dining hall, social/study area), persons in positions of authority should take the lead and initiate the following actions:

  • Terminate any ongoing activities (teaching, event, etc…).
  • Close, lock, block or obstruct any and all windows or doors to the building to minimize accessibility, and close any blinds or curtains to obscure direct lines of sight.
  • Move personnel to smaller interior rooms within the building (if available), and secure those spaces to the maximum extent possible.
  • If there are campus visitors or other members of the public around you, invite them to follow your lead.
  • Do not arbitrarily activate a building alarm to evacuate the building unless directed to do so by Safety & Security or another authority as this may alert the intruder(s) of pending response activities.

In all cases you should continue to watch for campus RAVE alert/InformaCast or other university generated messaging. Do not look to social media for direction…to the best you can, be sure of your source of information/guidance.

Law Enforcement Arrival

Police Officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard. Their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured people; rescue teams composed of other officers and emergency medical personnel will follow the first officers after areas have been secured to treat and remove injured persons.

Please understand that the police will be treating all those they encounter (including you) as possible suspects, obey all of their commands.

  • Keep your hands up and visible at all times.
  • Put down any bags or packages you may be carrying.
  • Remain calm.
  • Provide any relevant information you might have.
  • Once out of harm's way remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate.
  • Keep in mind that the entire campus may be considered a crime scene; police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is fully under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned.

Important — Do not return to normal activities until advised by police or campus authorities.

Suspicious Package or Object – Bomb Threat

Suspicious Package or Object – Bomb Threat

If you have any reason to believe that a letter or parcel is suspicious, DO NOT take a chance or worry about embarrassment. Call Safety and Security immediately at (585) 385-8025.

  • DO NOT touch the package or object.
  • DO NOT tamper with the package or object.
  • DO NOT attempt to move the package or object.
  • DO NOT open the package or object.
  • DO NOT put the package or object in water or an enclosed space, such as a drawer or box.
  • Isolate the package or object and evacuate the immediate area.

Characteristics of Suspicious Packages

  • Special deliveries, foreign mail, or air mail.
  • Restrictive markings such as "Confidential" or "Personal."
  • Excessive postage.
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses.
  • Incorrect titles.
  • Misspelled words.
  • Stains or discoloration on the package.
  • Excessive weight.
  • Rigid, lopsided, or uneven envelopes.
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil.
  • Excessive tape or string.
  • Visual distractions such as illustrations.
  • No return address.

If You Observe a Suspicious Object or Potential Bomb

  • Do not handle or touch the object.
  • Clear the area.
  • Immediately call Safety and Security (x8111) or (585) 385-8025.

If You Receive a Bomb Threat by Phone

Any person receiving a phone call bomb threat should ask the caller:

  • When is the bomb going to explode?
  • Where is the bomb located?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What does it look like?
  • Why did you place the bomb?

Keep talking to the caller as long as possible and record the following:

  • Time of call.
  • Approximate age and sex of caller.
  • Speech pattern, accent, possible nationality, etc.
  • Emotional state of the caller.
  • Background noise.
  • Caller ID (if displayed on your phone).
  • If the threat is recorded on your voicemail, do not delete the message.
  • If the threat is received via any version of social media, do not delete the message.
  • Notify your immediate supervisor or the nearest St. John Fisher University authority.

If possible, have someone call 911 Safety and Security will be notified by the Monroe County Office of Emergency Communication. Otherwise, immediately notify Safety and Security (x8111) or (585) 385-8025 to report the incident.

If the bomb threat endangers you and other building occupants, or if you are instructed to do so, evacuate the space immediately moving as far away from the building as possible.

Law Enforcement Notification and Arrival

Safety and Security will contact the appropriate authorized personnel to conduct a detailed bomb search. Employees may be requested to make a cursory inspection of their area looking for suspicious objects, you know your workspace, is anything out of place, that doesn't belong, if so contact security immediately. Do not touch, move or otherwise disturb any suspicious objects! Do not open drawers or cabinets or turn lights off.

Hazardous Materials Release

Hazardous Materials Release

Spill/Release Inside of a Building

  • Evacuate the building if the hazardous material spill cannot be contained or controlled.
  • Clear the area to ensure no hazardous material exposures are occurring, and once you are in a safe place, notify Safety and Security and provide the following information:
    • Building Name
    • Your name and phone number
    • Location of the spill and/or materials released
    • Characteristics of spill (colors, smells, visible gases)
    • Name of substance, if known
    • Injuries, if any
  • Do not hang up until advised to do so by dispatcher (unless calling from the hazard area).
  • DO NOT eat or drink anything or apply cosmetics in the area impacted by the spill.

Spill or Release Outside of a Building

  • Notify Safety and Security, please provide the following information:
    • Building name, number or location
    • Your name and phone number
    • Location of the spill and/or materials released
    • Characteristics of spill (colors, smells, visible gases)
    • Name of substance, if known
    • Injuries, if any
  • Do not hang up until advised to do so by dispatcher (unless calling from the hazard area)
  • Alert others in the immediate area to leave the area
  • Restrict access to the affected area
  • Appropriate person should pull the MSDS, if available, for the spill

What You Should Know

  • Hazardous material spills may occur inside a building, such as a spill in a chemistry lab
  • More likely, incidents of disaster magnitude will occur outside, such as a truck accident involving large quantities of toxic material
  • An emergency response is not required for incidental spills which are classified as minor spills that pose no threat to human health, property, or the environment

If an indoor release meets one or more of the following conditions, it shall constitute an emergency and require emergency response efforts:

  • Over 500-milliters of a liquid or 1-pound of a solid for known chemicals or any size of acutely toxic, radioactive or unidentified chemical or combination of chemicals.
  • Human fluids, such as but not limited to blood, urine, and saliva, should ONLY be cleaned up by someone who has received blood-borne pathogens training.

Emergency Response Team Handbook Revised and Updated: January 2020