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I. Emergency Resources and Information


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A. Emergency Response Preparedness Statement

Emergency response preparedness is a continuous concern for the campus and constitutes part of the normal campus life and business planning.  An emergency is deemed to exist whenever there is a campus-wide or serious incident or condition that urgently requires prompt action, that inhibits the continuity of normal operations, or that endangers lives or otherwise poses a serious threat to the campus proper.  The Vassar College Emergency Response Group (ERG) consists of administrators and faculty from all major areas of the college, along with members of the campus Emergency Medical Services, Security, and the Campus Patrol. The ERG convenes regularly to assess and plan for the college’s ability to respond to emergencies or disaster situations that compromise the safety of the campus or that have a negative impact on business continuity.  It also convenes instantly in the event of an actual emergency.  An updated Emergency Response Manual is distributed each fall to all offices and residential facilities, with instructions and protocols for campus response to emergencies.


B. Instructions in the Event of an Emergency

At the first indication of an emergency, the ERG convenes and issues alerts and/or instructions to the campus via a network of messaging methods and processes, based on the type of emergency.  If the emergency condition is localized to a building, community members may be instructed to evacuate to the muster location identified on the fire evacuation maps found on every floor.  If the emergency condition is widespread, community members may be instructed to evacuate to specific buildings based on specific geographic areas of the campus:

Residents/Office Users located in these areas would evacuate to the areas below

North end of campus

Students’ Building, Gordon Commons (formerly known as the All Campus Dining Center)

South end of campus

Olmsted Hall

Central area of campus


Eastern area of campus

Athletic Center/Walker

In the event of an emergency, unless otherwise instructed, all community members should get inside a building as quickly as possible. Get into a room, secure the door and close all blinds and windows.  Facilities Operations staff and Security will ensure safety of egress and convey instructions from the ERG.  If a single-building evacuation is ordered, community members will hear the local building fire alarm and should respond appropriately.  If a large-scale evacuation is ordered, community members will hear an air horn signal in addition to electronic means (cell phone, email, web, pager, etc.) and should follow the instructions of the building captain.  If shelter-in-place is ordered, community members will hear another air horn signal in addition to electronic means (cell phone, email, web, pager, etc.) and should follow the instructions of the building captain. 

Fire Safety and Evacuation Instructions

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

  1. Shut the windows and doors, if you are in your room. Do not, however, attempt to return to your room from another part of the building.

  2. 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.

  3. Walk rapidly to the nearest exit, DO NOT RUN. Avoid panic; get out in a calm, orderly fashion.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. During a fire, automobiles may not be driven on campus roads, except by fire personnel.

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 Office of Disability and Support Services, ext. 7584.  A list of persons needing evacuation assistance will be distributed to Campus Security as well as the Arlington Fire Department, in the event of an emergency.