Welcome to an overview of Hofstra University’s Emergency Response Plan.
Hofstra University’s Emergency Response Plan has several elements. The plan outlines sample procedures for responding to the types of crises that a college campus might experience, as well as outlines on how the Hofstra community can get information during a crisis.
The most important element of any crisis plan is communication. Whether or not you understand the various procedures for any given crisis, you need to be able to access correct and timely information to keep yourself safe. And since the Hofstra campus operates 24 hours a day, with more than 15,000 faculty, staff, and residential and commuter students coming and going, our Crisis Management Team has designed the Campus Alert Notification Network (CANN), an integrated, multichannel communications system. Please learn more about CANN and how to access information in the Getting Information section of this web page.
As members of this community, it is important for each of us to understand our roles and responsibilities, and to be prepared to respond if a crisis occurs. Please take a few minutes to look through this web page.
The plan, which is provided in its entirety to division leaders across the campus, was drafted by the Hofstra University Department of Public Safety in consultation with members of the Nassau County Police Department and the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management as well as members of the Hofstra administration.
For more information about Hofstra University’s Department of Public Safety, a highly trained professional unit of 64 full and part-time staff, as well as safety tips and statistics, please visit Public Safety’s web page.
The Hofstra University Emergency Response Plan is a procedural document for organizing, coordinating, and directing available resources toward the control of an emergency. The plan includes a chain of command establishing the authority and responsibility of various individuals. As with any document of this nature, the plan should be seen as a living text, subject to changes, updates, and revisions as the environment of the University changes.
Your Role and Responsibilities
The Hofstra community is made up of almost 11,000 students (from 52 states and territories and 88 countries), 2,600 faculty and staff, and thousands of visitors each month. Our community is a large, diverse grouping of people from all over the world, with different capabilities and abilities.
As such, your most important role in a crisis is to share information and resources with your colleagues, friends, and others during a crisis. Make sure you work together, listen for, and follow official instructions, get the information you need to be safe, and stay safe.
In addition, you should understand the following:
- All members of the Hofstra University community should know how to access emergency information through the Campus Alert Notification Network (CANN). Please learn more about CANN and how to access information in the Getting Information section of this page.
- Hofstra community members should familiarize themselves with the emergency procedures and evacuation routes posted in the buildings they live in or use frequently.
- Community members must be prepared to assess situations quickly but thoroughly, and use common sense in determining a course of action.
- Community members should evacuate buildings (except when otherwise instructed) in an orderly manner when an alarm sounds or when directed to do so by emergency personnel.
- Community members should immediately report fires and other emergencies to Public Safety x36789 and the proper authorities.
- The Department of Public Safety and the Office of Residence Life provide training and information to help students know what to do in emergencies and how they can be prepared ahead of time.
- Residential students should pay special attention to their Resident Assistant (RA).
- All members of the Hofstra community should carry their Hofstra University identification card with them at all times.
Reporting an Emergency
When 911 or 516-463-6789 is called, Public Safety personnel are dispatched to the scene, and appropriate emergency services are notified. On campus there are 64 emergency telephones (or “blue lights”) that connect to the emergency line in the Department of Public Safety. When one of these call phones is activated, the Public Safety dispatcher is automatically given the location of the box and Public Safety personnel are dispatched.
The emergency response plan designates the Department of Public Safety as the initial contact for reporting all emergency situations and for response to and resolution of all emergencies. If the Hofstra Information Center is deemed not secure because of its proximity to the emergency, the Student Center will be designated as the command center. If that also is affected by the emergency, another area will be designated by the director of Public Safety.
Upon receiving the report of an emergency, the director of Public Safety or designee will make an initial judgment about the level of response required and will communicate with appropriate personnel as outlined in the plan.
Getting Information During a Crisis or Emergency
CANN is a comprehensive emergency structure in place to alert the campus community in the event of an emergency. Currently, Hofstra uses several communication channels in case of an emergency, including a phone call and text message, an alert on the home page of hofstra.edu, an email, a message on the telephone hotline, and the campus closed circuit network, Hofcast.
In the case of an immediate threat, the campus public address system will be activated. All members of campus should hear an audible alarm. This sound will alert you to immediately check one of the following information sources:
- Your text message or cell phone – please make sure you have entered your personal contact information in the MyHofstra portal so we can notify you through our high-speed notification network in case of an emergency.
- The Hofstra Safe app
- Your Hofstra email.
- The hofstra.edu website and the campus alert page of the website.
- The campus alert hotline at 516-463-1234 and 516-463-CANN.
- The Hofcast network – available on LCD screens in all academic buildings, in addition to highly trafficked sites around campus.
The alarm will only sound in the event of a real and immediate emergency. For other emergencies, such as weather emergencies or class cancellations due to snow or other severe weather conditions, the alarm will not sound but all other communications channels will provide information.
The public address system is controlled by the Department of Public Safety's 24-hour central command. Loudspeakers have been installed at 10 locations across campus, and are equipped to broadcast an emergency tone, other sounds, or verbal instructions. The broadcast of the emergency tone alerts the campus community to look at any number of emergency communication information channels.
The Hofcast network broadcasts campus events and information on large LCD screens in more than 120 well-trafficked locations across the campus, including every academic building and each of our residence halls, giving all students immediate access to emergency information on screens throughout the campus.
How to Respond in an Emergency Situation
Hofstra's Department of Public Safety works with the Nassau County and/or Hempstead Village Police departments to resolve any emergency situation as quickly and as safely as possible. Public Safety will issue alerts to the Hofstra community in the event of an emergency impacting the campus.
If you need to check or update your CANN contact information, click on the “my account” icon on the top right of the portal (my.hofstra.edu) screen, and choose “CANN settings.” We also recommend that you add Public Safety’s numbers to your phone (emergency: 516-463-6789; other inquiries: 516-463-6606).
Guidance for all emergencies will be provided by Public Safety through the Campus Alert Notification Network. Listed below are some basic steps you can take when encountering emergency situations.
Active Shooter/Workplace Violence | Bomb Threat/Suspicious Packages
Bystander Awareness | Chemical Spill
Fire/CO/CO2/O2 Alarm | Medical Emergency
Pandemic Flu | Personal Safety
Weapon on Campus | Weather Emergencies/Power Outages
Active Shooter/Workplace Violence
Workplace violence includes, but is not limited to intimidation, threats, physical attack, and property damage.
Always keep in mind that if you hear or see anything that would lead you to believe that a violent situation is about to occur, immediately call 911 – do not attempt to investigate. Time is of the essence and your safety is paramount. Notify the Department of Public Safety if you can do so safely. Although the likelihood of an incident of violence such as an active shooter on campus is small, studies show that it is important to prepare in advance. Federal guidelines emphasize that you are the key to your own personal safety. It is important to think about how you might react in each situation and how you will respond, including whether you run, hide, or fight, depending upon the circumstances and where you are located.
Here are some tips to help you “Run, Hide, or Fight”:
Find a way out!
- Have an escape route and plan in mind.
- Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Help others escape if it doesn’t endanger your safety.
- Warn others not to enter an area where the active shooter may be located.
- Do not attempt to move wounded people.
- If you are in a hallway and can get safely to an exit, evacuate.
- If you are in a hallway and the shooter is near, get into a nearby room and secure it.
- If your door does not lock, move items such as desks, copiers, or other furniture in front of the door to block access.
- Turn out the lights.
- Get out of sight of the doors and windows.
- Find cover, stay low, and spread out from others.
- Remain silent and silence your phone and all electronic devices.
As a LAST resort, and only when you are in imminent danger, be prepared to attack the shooter. Attacking the shooter is very dangerous but may be less dangerous than doing nothing in some cases.
- Act as aggressively as possible.
- Assess your environment for any items that you may use to protect yourself or to use against the shooter. Consider items such as fire extinguishers, backpacks, chairs, etc., that can be thrown at the shooter.
Working with the police:
When officers arrive, understand that their priority is to stop the shooter. They may not respond to injured people immediately. Additional teams will respond to render aid to the injured when it is safe to do so. The police may not be in uniform. Always keep your hands visible to the police, remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions.
The above safety tips and guidelines are not all inclusive, but if understood, these tips can increase your chances of surviving an active shooter.
"Surviving an Active Shooter in a Healthcare Setting" should be viewed by individuals visiting and working in hospitals.
Bomb Threat/Suspicious Packages
If you receive a bomb threat keep the person talking as long as possible and secure as much information as possible including:
- Where is the bomb?
- When is it set to go off?
- What type of bomb is it?
- What does it look like?
- Why has it been planted?
- Who planted it?
- What will make it explode?
- Do not hang up the phone! Hold the line open and use another line to report the threat to Public Safety at x36789 or begin emailing PublicSafety@hofstra.edu while you remain on the phone with the caller.
If you are notified of a bomb threat in your building, follow the evacuation procedures described in the evacuation procedures web page.
If you receive a suspicious package:
Do not touch any suspicious packages. If you have any doubts, call the Department of Public Safety at x36789. Be suspicious of packages with the following:
- Marked 'Personal' or 'Private'
- If it appears lopsided or misshapen
- Postmarked different than the return address
- Missing a return address
- Oil stains or odors
- Marked 'Fragile' or 'Rush'
- Excessive tape or string
- Excessive postage
- Protruding wires or foil
If you discover a crime in progress:
- Immediately call the Department of Public Safety at x36789 or 911
- Do not attempt to act on your own or follow the individual
- Do your best to note the following characteristics of the individual: Their height, weight, gender, race, age, clothing, weapon (if any) and their direction and method of travel.
If a vehicle is involved, please note the license plate number, make, model, color, and any visual characteristics of the vehicle. Do not attempt to follow the vehicle.
If you discover a chemical spill:
- Call the Department of Public Safety at x36789.
- Inform them of the type and amount of spill (if known).
- Immediately inform everyone in the area to leave the area.
- Do not clean up any chemical spill on your own.
If the chemical comes in contact with any person:
- Remove all contaminated clothing but do not discard them.
If contact is made with eyes:
- Begin rinsing the eyes and continue to rinse for at least 15 minutes.
If contact is made with skin:
- Thoroughly rinse the affected area and then wash with soap and water.
If you discover a chemical spill within a classroom/laboratory setting:
- Follow the procedures outlined above as well as those posted inside the laboratory.
If you hear a fire, CO, O2, CO2 alarm or if you see smoke or fire inside of a building:
- Activate the nearest fire alarm box if it has not already sounded and if it is safe to do so. Call Public Safety at x36789 or 911 to report the situation.
- Do not endanger yourself or others by trying to combat the fire.
- Close all doors as you evacuate the area.
- Walk to the nearest marked exit. If the hallway has smoke, crawl below the smoke, taking short breaths.
- Do not use the elevator, stay low and use the stairs.
- Do not open closed doors without checking for heat first. Never enter a room where there is smoke or fire.
- Evacuate to the assigned meeting area for the building you are in so an accurate count of building occupants can be made.
- Do not return to the building unless directed to do so by Public Safety personnel.
If you are outside of a building and see smoke or fire:
- Call Public Safety x36789 or 911 to report the situation.
- Evacuate the area and remain a safe distance away.
If you are trapped inside of a building that has been evacuated:
- Call Public Safety x36789 or 911 to report your location.
- Put an article of clothing or a towel underneath the door to block smoke from coming into the room.
- If a window is present, open the window to signal bystanders, unless fire can get into the room from a nearby location.
- Stay low to the floor where the air is less toxic.
If you discover a medical emergency:
- Immediately call the Department of Public Safety at x36789 or 911.
- Do not move the person unless they are in danger.
- Avoid leaving the person alone except to summon help.
- Render first aid or CPR if you are trained and qualified to do so.
AEDs can be found in the following locations:
- Fitness Center
- Wellness & Campus Living Center
- Swim Center
- Public Safety
- Margiotta Hall
- Mack Sports & Exhibition Center
- Donald & Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
- Hofstra Dome
- Mack Student Center
Like weather emergencies, there will be information available preparing the University community for a pandemic flu. When a pandemic flu is identified, please monitor the updates provided on the Campus Alert website at hofstra.edu/alert and follow the directions provided within the updates.
Maintaining general hygiene procedures, such as washing hands, keeping rooms and bathrooms clean, not sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes and towels, will increase your chances of remaining healthy.
- Hofstra community members should familiarize themselves with the emergency procedures and evacuation routes posted in their academic buildings and residence halls and be prepared to evacuate in an orderly and timely manner when an alarm sounds on campus.
- If time permits, grab essential items, such as keys, phone, shoes, and wallet. Turn off stoves and ovens and disable any device that could make a dangerous situation worse.
- Evacuate using the stairs, not elevators.
- In the event you must leave your building or the campus quickly, consider having alternate exit routes in advance.
- Hofstra community members should always carry their Hofstra University identification card with them and be prepared to show their ID if asked to do so by Hofstra personnel or local law enforcement.
Weapon on Campus
If you observe a weapon on campus, remain calm and contact Public Safety x36789 when it is safe to do so. Advise Public Safety of your exact location and description of the weapon. Provide all available information to Public Safety including your name, phone number, and a description of yourself and the person with the weapon, the type of weapon (if you know), and the number of weapons you have observed, as well as any other information that would be relevant. Follow all directions provided to you by authorized personnel.
Weather Emergencies/Power Outages
During a weather emergency, please check the Hofstra Alert website for important information. You can also call the emergency weather line x31234 for additional information. For your safety and for those around you, respond quickly to all instructions from emergency officials.
In the event of a power outage:
- Call the Department of Public Safety at x36789 or 911
- Remain calm
- Turn light switches to the off position
- Unplug all electrical equipment including computers and appliances
- Await instructions from University personnel
If you are in an elevator when there is a power outage:
- Do not attempt to exit the elevator by forcing open a door or hatch.
- Call for help and University personnel will respond to your location.
There are three general levels or types of emergencies:
Level 1 Minor Incident
A minor incident is defined as a local event with limited impact, which does not affect the overall functional capability of the University. Planning and response is carried out at a limited localized level. The Emergency Response Plan would not be activated.
Level 2 Emergency
An emergency is defined as a serious event that significantly disrupts one or more operations of the University and/or may affect mission-critical functions and/or life safety. Multiple University resources are involved. The Emergency Response Plan would be activated to the extent it is necessary.
Level 3 Disaster
A disaster is defined as a very serious event(s) that significantly affects or halts the operations of the University. The Emergency Response Plan is fully activated.
Managing Emergency Response on Campus –
Meet the Crisis Management, Emergency Response, and Threat Assessment Teams
Hofstra University has seasoned personnel who meet regularly to develop, review, and update plans for various emergency scenarios. If necessary, Hofstra University's compact campus can be secured under the direction of Public Safety and local law enforcement by the closing the gates and posting emergency personnel at other exits and entrances.
The Crisis Management Team (CMT) is comprised of the Vice President for Student Enrollment, Engagement, and Success; the Vice President for Marketing and Communications, and the Associate Vice President of Public Safety. The primary responsibilities of this team are to:
- Gather information
- Inform appropriate members of the Emergency Response Team (see below)
- Mobilize existing support systems
- Establish lines of communication, identify point person(s)
- Identify and communicate with concerned parties
The Emergency Response Team (ERT) is comprised of University personnel representing various offices or areas of expertise. In many cases not all members of the team will be notified of an emergency, as their areas of expertise may not be involved. The offices and areas represented on the Emergency Response Team include:
- The Department of Public Safety: In most cases, the representative will be the director of Public Safety, who is responsible for assessing the severity of the emergency and for assisting in coordinating the efforts of the team and any outside agencies.
- The Office of Marketing and Communications: The Vice President for Marketing and Communications will be notified when vital information must be disseminated to the University community or whenever the emergency is likely to attract outside news media coverage. Working closely with the Department of Public Safety, the Office of Marketing and Communications will be the only agency to provide official information to the news media and other outside agencies.
- The Office of the Provost: The Provost will be notified whenever the emergency is likely to affect the continuity or scheduling of classes or other aspects of academic life on campus.
- The Office of Student Enrollment, Engagement, and Success: The Vice President for Student Enrollment, Engagement, and Success will be notified in all emergencies involving student life and activities in general.
- The Office of Operations: The Vice President for Facilities and Operations will be notified in all emergencies involving or affecting the routine operation of campus facilities and/or the services provided to those facilities.
- The Office of Residential Programs: The Office of Residential Programs will be notified of any emergencies requiring response to both resident and commuting students. If an emergency occurs outside of normal business hours, the office has staff on duty to manage the emergency.
- The Health and Counseling Centers: Student Health Services and/or Student Counseling Services will be notified whenever a student is ill or injured, or there is a report of a communicable disease requiring professional medical care either at the scene or at a hospital. In some emergencies, it may be necessary to establish a triage unit on campus. In such cases, the Student Health Service representative will work with outside agencies to handle the logistics involved. Student Counseling Services will also arrange for the service of professional counselors when needed.
- Additional areas to be notified as necessary include Finance, the Computer Center, Information Technology, and Telecommunications.
In the event of an emergency, the CMT and ERT work collaboratively to ensure:
- Provision of immediate support to the campus community, victim, or the victim's family.
- Provision of ongoing personal and academic support to the victims during the academic year.
- Contacting of and working with appropriate governmental and local power and utility authorities.
- Investigation of the incident, including an internal audit check for signs of negligence.
- Preparation of information releases for the media.
- Learning from an event and initiating appropriate campus educational and prevention programs.
The Threat Assessment Team is comprised of the vice president for the Division of Student Enrollment, Engagement, and Success, the vice president for Marketing and Communications, the vice president for Legal Affairs and General Counsel, the Provost, the director of Public Safety, the dean of Students, and the director of Student Counseling Services. Various members of the team meet as needed to respond to a possible threat and/or to discuss issues relating to violence, security, and potential threats directed at either students, faculty, or staff. Key objectives include identifying, assessing, and managing potential risks to members of the campus community.
Evacuation is necessary when any building becomes uninhabitable because of an event such as a fire, flood, gas leak, contamination, pandemic flu, extreme weather conditions or the loss of critical services. The response depends on the extent of the emergency. Hofstra community members should familiarize themselves with the evacuation routes posted in the buildings where they live or use frequently. If an evacuation order is issued for a building, fully cooperate with Public Safety/emergency personnel and:
- Take keys, wallets, and essential belongings
- If possible, wear weather-appropriate clothing
- Do not use elevators
- Close, but do not lock doors
- Provide assistance to those with physical disabilities
- Evacuate in a safe and orderly fashion to the evacuation assembly point for that building and await additional instructions.
General Evacuation Procedures
Public Safety officers will decide whether immediate evacuation is necessary. Evacuees will be moved to a staging area where University personnel will conduct a census to establish that the evacuation is complete. To determine the location of your staging area, please see the attached Emergency Evacuation Assembly Points map.
Evacuation of Individuals with Physical Disabilities
Public Safety officers will assist individuals with physical disabilities in an evacuation, making every attempt to lead them to safety.
If you have a disability that could impair your ability to evacuate from a building:
* Please inform Public Safety x36606 or the Student Access Services Office x37075 of your circumstances upon arrival to campus and request a meeting to discuss any special emergency response accommodations needed.
* Notify your professor that assistance will be needed if an evacuation is deemed necessary. Public Safety can help you and your professors develop an evacuation plan, if you desire. Call x36606 or email Public Safety firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
If you are a resident student:
* Please note, a master list of all resident students requiring assistance during a building evacuation is maintained by the Department of Residential Programs and Public Safety. Please contact your Resident Assistant to ensure inclusion on that list.
* Hearing-impaired students have TTY phone capability in their residence hall rooms and the fire alarm system is connected to strobe lights.
When students must occupy temporary quarters for a relatively short predictable period:
- Students will be moved to lounges in the nearest safe residence hall.
- If residence hall lounges are not available, students will be moved to lounges in the nearest building, such as the Student Center or Hofstra USA.
- Emergency workers and/or University personnel will provide services as needed (medical care, food, showers, etc.)
The University will use the Physical Education Center and/or the Arena as a housing area when lounge space is insufficient to handle the number of evacuees. Proper bedding will be provided with the help of Conference Services.
- Students will be housed in lounges and other public spaces on campus that can accommodate them satisfactorily.
- Students will be assigned to vacant spaces in the housing system.
- Students will be assigned to already-occupied spaces in the housing system.
When it is impossible to predict how long students will have to occupy alternative quarters:
- The University will take the same steps as for a medium-term evacuation, unless a substantial part of the campus is under an evacuation order.
- If evacuees must be moved off-campus, the director of Public Safety will coordinate transportation with the use of University buses.
Preparing and Testing Emergency Procedures
Annual fire safety training sessions are conducted for all students; attendance is mandatory.
Fire alarms in all residential facilities are tested four times a year. This testing includes unannounced drills in which the alarm is sounded, and the evacuation is timed for efficiency.
Fire alarms in all nonresidential facilities are also tested three times a year. This testing also includes unannounced drills in which the alarm is sounded, and the evacuation is timed for efficiency.
Fire-safety inspections are conducted in all residential buildings throughout the year by the Office of Residential Programs.
Emergency equipment on the Hofstra campus is checked and tested regularly as follows:
- Emergency lights in all the residential buildings are checked. Annual inspections of the lighting system are conducted by the Nassau County Fire Marshall's Office and administrators from the Physical Plant department and the Office of Residential Programs.
- The 64 emergency telephones/call boxes are tested weekly.
- The Public Address and text messaging systems are tested each year.
There is strict and aggressive parking enforcement on all areas designated as Fire Lanes or Fire Hydrants including roadways contiguous to our residence halls.
Safety checks on other items, such as exit lights, are performed as part of the daily patrol conducted throughout the campus. Any malfunction or damage to the equipment is logged and the proper University department is notified.
Comprehensive Emergency Communications Structure
Campus Alert Notification Network "CANN"
The Campus Alert Notification Network, or CANN, is a comprehensive notification structure in place to alert the campus community in the event of an emergency.
How does CANN work?
In case of an immediate emergency, the Department of Public Safety will use one of the following methods to alert you of an emergency on campus:
- Your phone's text message (participation required)
- Your Hofstra email
- The Hofstra Safe app
- The hofstra.edu and campus alert page of the website
- An instant message sent to all computers connected to the Hofstra network
- The campus alert hotline: 516-463-1234
- The Hofcast network, available on LCD screens in all academic buildings, in addition to highly trafficked sites around campus
- The Hofstra radio station - WRHU Radio Hofstra University 88.7 FM
- The public address system's audible alarm will only sound in the event of a real and immediate threat. For other emergencies, such as class cancellations due to snow or other severe weather conditions, the siren will not sound but all other communications channels will provide information.
The public address system is controlled at the Department of Public Safety's 24-hour central command. Loudspeakers have been installed at 10 locations across campus, and are equipped to broadcast an emergency tone, other sounds, or verbal instructions. The speakers on the yellow "blue light" emergency poles can broadcast information to the campus community as well.
As you can see above, Hofstra uses several communication channels in case of an emergency. The Hofcast network broadcasts campus events and information on large LCD screens in more than 120 well-trafficked locations across the campus, including every academic building and each of our residence halls giving all students immediate access to emergency information on screens throughout the campus.
Please visit the Hofstra portal to update your CANN information.