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Emergency Procedures

Introduction & Emergency Telephone Numbers

Hazardous Materials & Suspicious Packages

Utility Emergencies

Mental Health & Medical Emergencies/Accidents

Earthquake & Weather Emergencies

Bomb Threat & Active Shooter

Crimes, Violence & Safety Tips

Fire, Evacuation & Shelter-In-Place

Area of Refuge & Assembly Areas

Introduction & Emergency Telephone Numbers


An emergency or crisis situation can arise at Vassar College at any time and from many causes. Emergencies on campus could range from chemical spills, fires, natural disasters, and civil disturbances that affect large numbers of people, to personal emergencies that directly impact an individual or small group of individuals, such as an assault or a medical emergency.

This guide contains instructions to assist members of the Vassar community in responding to a wide variety of emergencies. Being familiar with this information
could reduce your risk of injury.

The more you are prepared, the better you can act and minimize panic or confusion when an emergency occurs. No matter what the crisis: THINK before you ACT, and then act swiftly to minimize your exposure to danger. Your safety is most important.

Please read this guide thoroughly BEFORE an emergency occurs and become familiar with your building and your building’s contacts (Residential Life, House Advisors/House Fellows). The back cover has room for this information.

Please remember that the quick reference information and procedures outlined in this guide are general and basic. Common sense should dictate your reaction to emergency situations.

Emergency communications

In the event of an emergency, automated telephone calls, emails, and text messages will be sent to the entire student body and workforce.  All students and employees are encouraged to provide contact information through Workday, which can be used in the event of an emergency.  When the siren is activated, check your phone/email for a Vassar alert.


Emergency Numbers

On Campus

Fire/Police/Ambulance 911

Vassar Safety & Security, Campus Response Center (CRC) (845) 437-7333

Blue Light Phones Press Button

Vassar Title IX Officer (845) 437-7924

Vassar Support, Advocacy, & Violence Prevention Director (845) 437-7863

Vassar Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) 24/7 through the CRC (845) 437-7333

Administrator/House Advisor-on-Call through the CRC (845) 437-7333


Vassar Counseling Service (9:00 am-5:00 pm, M-F) (845) 437-5700

Counselor-on-Call after hours through the CRC (845) 437-7333

Vassar Health Service (9:00 am-5:00 pm, M-F) (845) 437-5800

Vassar Student EMS through the CRC (845) 437-7333

Off Campus

Emergency 911

Fire/Police/Ambulance 911

Town of Poughkeepsie Police (845) 485-3666

New York State Police Sexual Assault 24/7 Hotline (844) 845-7269

Dutchess County Sheriff (845) 486-3800


Poughkeepsie Domestic Violence 24/7 Hotline (845) 485-5550

Poughkeepsie Rape Crisis and Crime Victims 24/7 Hotline (845) 452-7272

Poughkeepsie Grace Smith House for Domestic Violence Victims (845) 452-7155

SAFE Unit at Hospital through Crime Victims (845) 452-7272

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 784-2433 / (800) 273-8255


Hazardous Materials & Suspicious Packages

Responding to Large Spills

  • Activate the fire alarm and evacuate the building.
  • Protect yourself and notify people in your area about the spill.
  • Turn off all ignition sources around flammable materials.
  • Close doors to prevent people from entering the area.
  • Dial 911 and call Safety & Security at (845) 437-7333 to report spills and medical emergencies.

When reporting a spill, identify:

  • If anyone is physically incapacitated and unable to evacuate.
  • Any injuries that occurred.
  • Whether you or anyone you know was exposed to the spilled material.
  • The location of the spill: building, room number, or area.
  • The name of material spilled: spell it clearly and slowly.
  • The amount of material spilled.
  • How the spill occurred if known or suspected.
  • Who saw the spill and when it occurred.
  • Provide a call-back telephone number.

All hazards (damaged floors, broken elevators, spills, etc.) must be reported to Facilities Operations by calling (845) 437-5999 (weekdays 7:30am-4:00pm)
and Safety & Security (845) 437-7333 (evenings/weekends).


Hazardous Materials & Suspicious Packages

  • Do not shake or empty contents.
  • Do not carry the package. Place it on a stable surface.
  • Do not sniff, touch, or look closely at it or any spilled contents.
  • Leave the area, close doors, and prevent other people from entering the area.
  • Call Safety & Security at (845) 437-7333 to report suspicious packages.
  • Notify police, fire, or EMS if you come into contact with material.
  • Wash hands with soap and water to remove any contamination.
  • If possible, identify people who may have been in contact with the
  • suspicious package.

Identifying suspicious packages and envelopes:

  • Strange labeling: too much postage, no return address, strange wording.
  • Soiled packaging: powdery substances, stains, odors.
  • Other signs: heavy weight, ticking sound, protruding wires or foil.

Utility Emergencies

Flooding or Water Break


  • Stop using all electrical devices if flooding occurs.
  • Move electrical devices off floors, including power strips, etc.
  • Avoid direct contact with wet surfaces, since flood waters may have become contaminated (e.g., raw sewage, oil, gasoline, etc.) when leaking into buildings or may be electrically charged.
  • Evacuate the flooded area if you feel you are in danger or if you are notified.


  • Wear gloves when you are handling or cleaning wet surfaces to avoid direct skin contact.
  • Use cleaning agents and disinfectants on surfaces that may have come in contact with flood waters.
  • Dispose of wet paper and porous materials that cannot be dried since they may promote mold growth if they are not properly dried.

People Trapped in Elevator

  • Use the emergency telephone in the elevator or push the alarm button.
  • Do not attempt to rescue trapped people or to escape from an elevator.
  • Wait for help and remain calm until help arrives. 

Gas Leak

  • Immediately stop all operations and evacuate the area, notifying other occupants/visitors as you leave.
  • Do not take time to close doors or switch lights on or off.
  • Do not reenter the building until notified by Safety & Security or other authorized personnel.

Report ALL utility emergencies to Facilities Operations by calling (845) 437-5999 (weekdays 7:30am-4:00pm) and Safety & Security (845) 437-7333 (evenings/weekends).


Power Outage

  • Turn off all appliances and devices (e.g., stoves, gas burners, heaters, computers, etc.).
  • Secure all work and experiments.
  • Immediately notify your supervisor.
  • Do not use flammable materials until power is restored.
  • Evacuate the building if you are notified.

Safety Near Downed Power Lines

Downed power lines can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or even death. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage zone –  it could do that through your body.

  • If you see a downed power line, move away from it and anything touching it. The ground around power lines may be energized. Call 911 immediately. Central Hudson will be dispatched to take care of the problem and emergency responders will also be notified. 
  • Stay at least 30 feet away from downed lines. The proper way to move away from the power line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together as close as possible and on the ground at all times. 
  • Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything else in contact with it by using an object such as a broom or stick. 
  • You should assume that all downed power lines are live.
  • If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. Call 911 for help.
  • Be careful not to touch or step in water near where a downed power line is located.
  • Do not drive over downed power lines.
  • If your car comes in contact with a downed power line while you are inside, stay in the car. Honk your horn to summon help, but direct others to stay away from your car. Stay inside and wait for rescue crews. Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground. If you do, you will become a path for electricity. In the event of a fire, jump clear from the car without touching the car and the ground at the same time; then shuffle away, keeping both feet on the ground at the same time, and taking care not to contact any wires or touch any object near the site of the accident.

Mental Health & Medical Emergencies/Accidents

Mental Health

      If you are concerned about the mental health of a student, please contact the Counseling Service (845) 437-5700, Dean of Students Office (845) 437-5315, or complete a Student Support Network Report.

If you are concerned about the mental health of a faculty, administrator, or staff member, please contact Human Resources at (845) 437-5820.

A Mental Health Emergency is a life threatening situation in which an individual is in imminent danger of harming oneself or others, is severely disoriented, out of touch with reality, unable to function, severely distraught, or out of control. Examples include situations when someone is:

  • Threatening suicide or acting on a suicide threat.
  • Homicidal or threatening harm to others.
  • Already injured and needs medical attention. 
  • Severely impaired by drugs or alcohol or has overdosed. 
  • Highly erratic or behaving in a way that suggests an inability to care for oneself.

If a Vassar student, faculty, staff, or administrator is having a Mental Health Emergency, please contact:

  • Vassar College Campus Response Center – (845) 437-7333
  • Police, Fire, Ambulance – 911

If the situation does not call for an emergency response, you may contact Vassar College Counseling Service at (845) 437-5700 (located in Metcalf House) or contact the ProtoCall Counselor-on-Call through the Campus Response Center, (845) 437-7333 after hours and weekends.


Medical Emergencies/Accidents

Responding to injuries:

  • In a medical emergency dial 911 and call Safety & Security (845) 437-7333
  • to dispatch Vassar College EMS.
  • Stay on the telephone until instructed to hang up.
  • Give as much information as possible (name, location, nature of injury,
  • cause of injury).
  • Serious medical emergencies include but are not limited to: severe chest pain, severe troubled breathing, severe bleeding, severe trauma, severe abdominal pain, overdose/poisoning, suicide attempt, and unconscious person. 
  • In the event of an animal bite call Safety & Security (845) 437-7333 and the Town of Poughkeepsie Police  (845) 485-3666 with as much contact information as possible for the animal and owner. Go to the ER for evaluation and rabies vaccination as needed. All animal bites must be reported to the Dutchess County Health Department (845) 486-3535

Reporting incidents/accidents and injuries:

Employees: All incidents/accidents and injuries must be reported to your supervisor and/or Health Services. 

Students: All incidents/accidents and injuries must be reported to Safety & Security and/or Health Service. Health Services are available M-F 9:00 am – 5:00 pm,
weekends 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, when classes are in session.


Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) Locations

ACDC - On wall next to dish room and across from salad bar. 

Athletics and Fitness Center - On the wall to the left of the Fitness Center

CRC - Vassar College Safety & Security Campus Response Center. Plus one mobile unit with shift supervisor.

EMS - EMS office in Baldwin (5:00 pm – 8:00 am with EMS On-Call crew).

Facilities Operations - On wall down from custodial office. 

Health Services - Mobile unit located in front reception area. 

Kenyon - Hallway by squash courts. 

Prentiss Fields - 2 units in blue poles. 

Sports Medicine - 5 Mobile units located in the Sports Medicine office and transported to Kenyon and Prentiss Fields by athletic trainers. 

Also: AED carried by athletic trainer at sporting events. 

Walker Field House in the dry hallway leading to Kresge Pool. 

Wimpfheimer Nursery - Wall opposite elevators.


Earthquake & Weather Emergencies

During an Earthquake

If indoors:

  • Stay indoors. Most injuries occur from falling debris while trying to evacuate.
  • Take cover under a table, bench, or desk, and hold on or go to an
  • interior wall or hallway.
  • Keep clear of windows that may break and furniture or large objects
  • that could fall over.
  • If an evacuation is necessary, the fire alarm system will be activated.
  • Do not attempt to evacuate until the shaking has stopped.
  • Use the stairwell, do not use the elevators.
  • Be careful and alert to falling objects or debris.

If outdoors:

  • Stay outdoors.
  • Move to an open area away from trees, buildings, utility poles, and signs.
  • If in your vehicle, carefully pull over, keeping away from overhead objects
  • such as trees, buildings, utility poles, signs, and overpasses.
  • Stay in the vehicle until the shaking stops.

If in an elevator:

  • Remain calm. Use the emergency telephone in the elevator or push the alarm button to report your situation to Safety & Security, who will respond to your
  • call as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t attempt to rescue trapped people or to escape from an elevator.

After an Earthquake

  • If an evacuation is necessary, the fire alarm system will be activated.
  • Do not call Safety & Security or 911 for general information.
  • Only use your phone for emergencies, to report injured or trapped people or to report signs of structural damage. Using your telephone during the first 15-30 minutes after a significant emergency will contribute to overloading the telephone system with calls and may delay emergency assistance to those who need it most.

Monitor a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio or their website at


Weather Emergencies

For up-to-date information on the status of classes and operations on campus, go to the Vassar website, or call the Weather Hotline (845) 437-7755 or (845) 437-7756.

Decisions to cancel/delay classes will be made as early as possible in the day, preferably prior to 6:00 am or as soon as possible, if affecting afternoon/evening classes. The campus community is then notified through various means, including:



Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms.

Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.

  • If you are under a tornado warning seek shelter immediately.
  • Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, radio, television, or the internet for information.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. 
  • Look for approaching storms. 
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky and large hail.
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating).
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.

If you are indoors:

Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.

If you are outdoors:

  • Try to get inside and seek shelter.
  • If you are unable to get inside:
    • Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
    • Be aware of the potential for flooding.
    • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
    • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris causes most fatalities and injuries.

If you are in a vehicle:

Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.


Bomb Threat & Active Shooter

Responding to a Bomb Threat


  • Ask someone to call Safety & Security at (845) 437-7333 or call 911.
  • Talk with the caller, try to take notes, record the exact wording of the threat.
  • Record the date and time of call, the phone line the call came in on,
  • and keep a record of the telephone number if you have caller ID.
  • For calls on a Vassar phone, depress the hook switch and dial (*2).
  • This will help to trace the call. 
  • Be aware of whether the individual is male or female, young or old, calm or angry.
  • Note any background noises.
  • Email: keep email in your inbox. Do not delete, alter, or forward the message.
  • Take screen shots of any threatening information before the message expires.

Ask these questions:

  • Where is the bomb?
  • When is the bomb going to explode?
  • What does the bomb look like? What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause the bomb to explode?
  • Who placed the bomb? Why was the bomb placed?
  • Where are you calling from? What is your name?

Immediately after the call, contact Safety & Security at (845) 437-7333.

Remain calm; do not panic.

If you are told to evacuate, walk to the nearest exit, and tell other people to exit.

Move to a safe area at least 50 feet from the building.


How to Respond to an Active Shooter

While the likelihood of a shooter on campus is remote, it is best to be prepared for any situation. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with the active shooter situation until law enforcement arrives on the scene.

Run / evacuate

If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • If possible, you should identify a second escape route.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Evacuate regardless of whether or not others agree to follow.
  • Help others escape, if possible.
  • Generally, do not attempt to move wounded people.
  • Prevent individuals from entering the area where the active shooter may be.
  • Go to a safe place.
  • Call 911 and be prepared to give:
    • Number, location, and description  of assailants 
    • Quantity of weapons
    • Number of victims visible

Hide out

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view (move away from windows and close blinds).
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction.
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement (if possible).

If safe to do so, watch for updates from the college’s emergency notification system.

If injured take measures to stop or slow blood loss until appropriate medical care  is available. 

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door (if possible) and blockade the door with heavy furniture.
  • Turn off lights, close blinds, and stay away from windows.
  • Remain quiet and silence your cell phone.

Prepare an action plan in the event the shooter enters your hiding place:

  • Develop an action plan with others in your hiding place.
  • If possible, spread out within the hiding place.

Fight / take action against the active shooter

As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by: 

  • Acting as aggressively as possible.
  • Throw items.
  • Utilize improvised weapons (fire extinguishers, chairs, large objects, sharp objects).
  • Be decisive and believe you will survive.

When law enforcement arrives

  • Keep your hands visible (put objects down and raise hands).
  • Don’t run toward or grab officers or make sudden movements.
  • Don’t scream.
  • Follow officer’s directions.
  • If known, advise officers of the number of shooters and their location.
  • Don’t expect help, officers are going to the source.
  • Stay in a safe area until situation is under control and you’ve given your information to officers.
  • Do not leave the safe area unless approved by officers.

Post-event activities

  • Ensure police have your contact information.
  • Assist in accounting for missing people.
  • Volunteer your services through your supervisor.
  • Give your supervisor a contact number.
  • Inform them of any special skills you have.

For more information, watch the Run, Hide, Fight video.


Crimes, Violence & Safety Tips

Reporting Crimes

  • Immediately call Safety & Security at (845) 437-7333 or 911 if you think a crime is being committed.
  • Report any suspicious activity/behavior to Safety & Security. 
  • Describe the behavior and location of the incident; include the direction of travel, vehicle description, if weapons were involved, etc.
  • All employees must report workplace violence to their supervisors.

Threatening Person

Call 911 and Safety & Security at (845) 437-7333.


  • Evacuate whether or not others agree to follow.


  • Lock the door (if possible) and blockade the door with heavy furniture.
  • Turn off lights, close blinds, and stay away from windows.
  • Remain quiet and completely silence or turn off your cell phone.
  • If safe to do so, watch for text message updates from the college’s emergency notification system.


  • If your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt the active shooter. Act in concert with others.

Emotionally Disturbed Person (Non-Threatening)

  • Call Safety & Security first at (845) 437-7333, and then the Counseling Center at (845) 437-7333.
  • Maintain space between you and the affected person.
  • Do not touch the individual and be calm.
  • Be helpful (e.g., Ask, “What would make you feel safer/calmer?”; “Who could we call for you?”)

Sexual Assault and Rape

If you or anyone you know are a victim/survivor, consider immediately seeking medical attention and calling Safety & Security at (845) 437-7333.  Safety & Security can assist in coordinating medical care response, counseling support, and contacting local law enforcement, if desired. In addition they will notify the Administrator-on-Call. 

To access advocacy and support services, you can contact the Support, Advocacy, & Violence Prevention director at (845) 437-7863, during normal business hours. After hours, call Safety & Security and ask for a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) member to contact you. Safety & Security will ask questions to make sure you are safe and then will contact the on-call SART member. 

To contact local law enforcement or request off campus emergency medical care directly, call 911. Confidential off campus resources are listed in the Emergency Telephone Numbers section of this guide.  

To report a sexual assault on a New York college campus to the New York State Police, you can reach the dedicated 24-hour hotline at (844) 845-7269.

To report directly to the Title IX Office, call (845) 437-7924, during normal business hours, or online at This office investigates all formal complaints filed with the college. 

For more information or to anonymously report an incident, please go to the Support, Advocacy, & Violence Prevention website at: (Note: An anonymous report form is located at:

For additional medical resources, contact Student Health Services (845) 437-5800 during normal business hours M-F 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, weekends 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm, when classes are in session. 

Additional confidential STD screening and treatment is available though the Dutchess County Health Department at (845) 486-3535.

The Following Actions Are Recommended:

Do not wash hands, bathe, douche, change clothing, comb your hair, or brush your teeth. Do not disturb the area in which the crime occurred. If you think you were “drugged,” do not urinate before providing samples.  Avoiding these actions will protect evidence. 

*Per Title IX, all employees, except those designated as private or confidential resources, are required to report known incidents to the campus Title IX Office. 


Bias Incident or Hate Crime

If you are dealing with an emergency situation or to report a crime in progress, call Safety & Security at (845) 437-7333 or, to access local law enforcement, dial 911.

To formally report an incident to Vassar College, you may also file a written report with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, the Dean of Student Living & Wellness or to a House Advisor through the 24–hour Administrator-on-Call system. 

To anonymously report an incident to Vassar College, you may do so through the Dean of the College website, under “Bias Incident Response Team” – Report an Incident.


  • Immediately document what happened including incident date, time, and location.
  • Do not remove or tamper with physical evidence. Contact Vassar Safety & Security to document and collect evidence.
  • If the incident involves a verbal act, write down exactly what was said to the best of your recollection.
  • Identify the perpetrator(s) if known or provide a detailed description of the individual(s) involved.
  • List all witnesses, including their names and contact information.
  • Email: keep emails in your inbox. Do not delete, alter, or forward the message.
  • Telephone calls: Do not engage in conversation. Record the date and time of the call, and keep a record of the telephone number if you have caller ID.

Safety Tips

Victim/survivors are never at fault for crimes committed against them. Recognizing that those who commit crimes are fully responsible for their actions, the following tips may nonetheless help to lessen the risks to your safety:

  • Look out for your friends and ask that they look out for you.
  • Utilize campus resources, including the campus safety shuttle, and the Blue Light Phones.
  • Do not open doors or allow people into a building unless they are authorized. Report suspicious behavior or activities to Safety & Security immediately.
  • Describe the behavior and other pertinent information.
  • Avoid accepting a drink unless you have seen it poured and know it is safe.
  • Trust your instincts and do not be embarrassed to take precautions.

The following are tips to being an active bystander to safely intervene in potentially risky situations on campus when you can safely do so:

  • Tell another friend or people around you and ask for their help intervening.
  • Check in with the person you are concerned about and help them get safely home.
  • Distract the individuals involved in the situation.
  • Call campus Safety & Security or someone in authority for help.

Fire, Evacuation & Shelter-In-Place

Responding to a Fire

  • Dial 911
  • If the building alarm has not sounded, activate the fire alarm at the nearest pull station. Do not fight the fire.
  • Keep low, where air is less toxic.
  • Exit the building using emergency exits and stairwells. Close the door to the room after exiting.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Once outside, go to your building’s assembly area. Stay at least 50 feet from the building.
  • If there are any issues during the evacuation, seek out House Advisors (residential buildings) or Safety & Security and report those issues to them. 
  • If you are unable to evacuate the building, move to an Area of Refuge (see Area of Refuge section below).
  • When it is safe to return to the building, wait for an all-clear direction by Safety & Security, Fire Department and/or Facilities Operations.

Evacuating Buildings

When the fire alarm rings in a building, the following procedures which apply only to the able-bodied and to those assisting individuals with accessibility concerns , 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 individuals with accessibility concerns:

Any individual who cannot evacuate a building in an emergency independently or safely with little assistance from others should stay in place within their 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 notify emergency personnel of your exact location and need for assistance. Security will then dispatch an emergency responder to the location to assist with evacuation. 
  • 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 and 911 into your phone. 


Shelter-In-Place means to seek immediate shelter and remain there during an emergency rather than evacuate the area.

Shelter-In-Place will only be used when an evacuation is not safe.

Certain events may necessitate the initiation of Vassar College Shelter-in-Place Protocol, which can be found below. 

Notification to shelter will be made using all means of communication available by authorized personnel (e.g., Safety & Security Alert, Residential Life staff, etc.).
All occupants should seek shelter or remain inside their building until an all clear has been given by authorized personnel or by updates from the college’s emergency notification system.

Hazardous incident:

  • Move to a room with no windows that can open or are open.
  • Rooms that have little or no outside ventilation are preferred.
  • Close any open windows and doors.
  • Only come out when you are told by emergency responders that it is safe.

Violent person:

  • Stay in your room/office/classroom.
  • Notify those around you, and encourage others to remain in the building if evacuation is not safe.
  • Lock and/or barricade doors, cover the window, pull down the blinds, turn off the lights, completely silence or turn off cell phones.
  • Stay away from windows.


  • Move to the basement of a building, an interior room or stairwell with no windows, or a hallway on the lowest floor possible. This usually provides the best protection.
  • Stay in the center of the room away from doors and windows.
  • Stay in place until the danger has passed.

Area of Refuge & Assembly Areas

Area of Refuge

An Area of Refuge is a location in a building designed to hold occupants during a fire or other emergency, when evacuation may not be safe or possible.

If you are not able to exit the building, you should move to an Area of Refuge and then immediately notify Safety & Security (845) 437-7333 and/or rescue personnel (911) of your location inside the building. 

If possible, close any doors to the room and block the bottom of the door with a wet towel to prevent smoke from entering. Identify your location by hanging clothing outside a window. Remain in room until rescue personnel arrive.

An Area of Refuge should have the following criteria:

  • An enclosed area, preferably with fire rated doors and walls.
  • A campus telephone, if possible.
  • Located in close proximity to exits, stairwells, or other access points for rescue personnel.

Residence Hall Assembly Areas

Residential Buildings Primary Assembly Point
Cushing Cushing Lawn (south side), at least 50 feet away from  the building 
Davison Toward Lathrop, at least 50 feet away from the building  
Jewett Toward Rockefeller, at least 50 feet away from the building 
Josselyn Toward Joss Beach, at least 50 feet away from the building 
Lathrop Toward Davison, at least 50 feet away from the building  
Main Library Lawn, at least 50 feet away from the building 
Noyes Noyes Circle, at least 50 feet away from the building 
Raymond Toward Strong, at least 50 feet away from the building 
Strong Toward Raymond, at least 50 feet away from the building 
Town Houses at least 50 feet away from the building 
Terrace Apartments at least 50 feet away from the building 
South Commons at least 50 feet away from the building 

Secondary or alternative assembly points for residence halls will be announced by Residential Life and/or Safety & Security when necessary.


Administrative Assembly Areas

Administrative Buildings Assembly Point
Jeh Vincent Johnson ALANA Cultural Center Computer Center Lobby
Alumnae House Students’ Building (ACDC)
Athletics and Fitness Center (AFC) Walker Field House
Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film New England Building
Baldwin House Swift House Lobby
Bayit Students’ Building (ACDC)
Blodgett Hall Kenyon Hall Lobby
Bridge Building Chapel
Chapel Main Building Lobby
Chicago Hall Thompson Library Lobby
College Center Strong House or Ferry House
Collins Field Station Environmental Cooperative
at the Vassar Barns
Computer Center College Center North Atrium
Doubleday Studio Arts Vogelstein Center for Drama & Film
Ely Hall College Center Lobby
Environmental Cooperative
at the Vassar Barns
Safety & Security, 2500 New Hackensack
Facilities Operations Safety & Security, 2500 New Hackensack
Ferry House College Center South Atrium
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (FLLAC) Taylor Hall
Infant Toddler Center Safety & Security
Kautz Admissions House College Center
Kendrick House Chapel 
Kenyon Hall Blodgett Hall
Lockwood Library Raymond House Lobby
Taylor Hall Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center (FLLAC)
Main Building Strong House Lobby and Lounge
Maria Mitchell Observatory (OLD) Baldwin House
Metcalf House Swift House Lobby
New England Building Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film
Old Laundry Building College Center
Olmsted Hall of Biological Sciences Chapel
Powerhouse Theater Computer Center Lobby
Rockefeller Hall Main Building Lobby
Safety & Security, 2500 New Hackensack Facilities Operations
Sanders Classroom Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film
Sanders Physics Olmsted Hall Lobby
Skinner Hall of Music Olmsted Hall Lobby
Students’ Building (ACDC) Noyes House Lobby
Susan Stein Shiva Theater Computer Center Lobby
Swift Hall Baldwin House Lobby
Thompson / Van Ingen Library Raymond House
Vassar 1951 Observatory (NEW) Walker Field House
Walker Field House Athletics and Fitness Center (AFC)
Weinberg Field Sports Pavilion Town House Laundry Building
Wimpfheimer Nursery School Blodgett Hall / Kenyon Gym