Emergency Info

In any emergency, call ext. 7333 from any campus telephone.

Emergency blue phones are also located throughout the campus.

The college prepares for a variety of emergency situations under the leadership of the Crisis Response Planning Group. The group meets regularly throughout the year, organizes teams to study resources and procedures, conducts table top exercises with public safety agencies, and develops the College’s Crisis Management Plan.

Emergency Notification and Campus Communication Systems

The college has developed multiple means of communicating emergency information, including the Vassar College web site, automated telephone and text messaging, an emergency siren, and other means.

Automated Telecommunications/Email/Text Message Systems

Computing and Information Services, in collaboration with Communications and Safety and Security, has installed, maintains and tests emergency communications systems capable of sending automated telephone calls, emails and text messages to the entire student body and workforce.

Twice a year the college tests the automated telephone and text systems by sending a text message to cell phones (students and employees) and recorded voice messages to cell phones (students and employees) and home phones (employees only) who have registered their contact information. These tests are always announced in advance. All students and employees are encouraged to provide contact information which can be used in the event of an emergency.

Emergency Siren

The emergency siren is an all-campus notification device mounted on the top of Thompson Library and the Athletics and Fitness Center that (except for testing) will be used when there is an imminent, campus-wide, life-threatening situation (for example, a shooter on campus). It has the capability to be heard within a half-mile radius outdoors.

When the siren is activated, unless you know it's a test, it means "Shelter in place and await further instructions." Stay or move indoors, preferably in a locked room away from windows until you have been able to assess your circumstances. As further information becomes known, text, email, and phone messages as appropriate will be sent to the campus community.

In a situation where the siren is activated, the College Response Center (CRC) will contact appropriate public safety authorities for assistance, and also initiate the college’s response protocol involving senior officers and other members of the college’s crisis response teams.

Fire Safety and Evacuation Instructions

Vassar students must become familiar with the policies and procedures outlined by the Office of Residential Life to prepare and respond properly whenever a fire alarm sounds.

Evacuation Procedures: When the fire alarm rings in a building, the following procedures should be followed:

  • Shut the windows and doors, if you are in your room. Do not, however, attempt to return to your room or your office from another part of the building.
  • Get out of the building at once, using stairs. Elevators are NOT to be used during a fire or fire drill. Do not use fire escapes unless stairways are blocked or otherwise cut off.
  • Walk rapidly to the nearest exit, DO NOT RUN. Avoid panic; get out in a calm, orderly fashion.
  • Once out of the building, stay outside until the fire chief gives permission to return to the building or until instructions are given by a fire officer.
  • During a fire, the telephones in a building may not be used for incoming or outgoing calls except by authorized fire personnel. If you need to make a call, use a cell phone.
  • During a fire, avoid the scene of the fire and keep campus roads clear for emergency responders.

Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities

The safe evacuation of all members of the Vassar College community in the event of a fire or emergency is of the utmost importance. We strongly recommend that all students and employees who have disabilities or impairments that might interfere with their safe emergency evacuation from campus buildings contact the Office of Accessibility and Educational Opportunity, ext. 7584. A list of persons needing evacuation assistance, as well as their room/office location, is made available to Safety and Security and the Arlington Fire Department at the site of an evacuation, in the event of an emergency.

Any individual who cannot evacuate a building in an emergency independently or safely with little assistance from others should shelter in place within a room or office, or move to an area of refuge. If forced to stay in place during an emergency or if you need evacuation assistance:

  • Notify others evacuating that you are remaining in your room and ask them to contact Safety and Security with that information immediately upon exiting the building.
  • Call Safety and Security at (845) 437-7333 or 911 to inform emergency responders of your exact location and need for assistance. You are strongly encouraged to have a cell phone with you at all times and program the Safety and Security emergency phone number (845) 437-7333 into your phone.

Any individual requiring evacuation assistance is encouraged to update his/her self-identification information semi-annually, no later than August 30 and January 30 of each calendar year, or whenever circumstances warrant an update (e.g., changes in his/her condition that would require a change in assistance). A list of persons needing evacuation assistance will be distributed to Safety and Security as well as the Arlington Fire Department.