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Emergency Notifications and Response

The purpose of this policy is to establish emergency response and evacuation procedures for Hostos Community College, as required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. This policy applies to all students and employees of Hostos Community College. The emergency response team is comprised of the following individuals and their respective departments:

  • Senior Vice President of Administration & Finance, Esther Rodríguez-Chardavoyne

  • Director of Public Safety, Chief Arnaldo Bernabe

  • Assistant VP of Information Technology, Dilawar Grewal

  • Director of Communications and College Relations Office, Ivano Leon Cavallo

  • Department of Public Safety

  • Department of Information Technology

For the purposes of this policy a significant emergency or dangerous situation involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on campus. In the event of an emergency, Hostos Community College will initiate and provide, without delay, immediate notifications to the appropriate segment(s) of the University community upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students, employees and visitors.

All students, as well as faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to participate in the CUNY Alert system. The CUNY Alert system is designed to give you immediate and up-to-date information regarding weather, utility and emergency situations. The system can contact you and family or friends, as you designate, via text message, cell phone, landline and/or e-mail. The system can offer all methods of notice, a single method or any combination. It is user friendly and can prove to be invaluable before, during and after an emergency. Simply log onto and follow the instructions. Contact information for all registered students and employees is included in the CUNY Alert system, except for the contact information for those students who affirmatively choose to opt out of receiving CUNY Alert messages. If you have trouble accessing or modifying your contact information in CUNY Alert, please come to the IT help desk.

The Timely Warning Notice specifically related to compliance with the Federal Clery Act, requires colleges and universities to notify students and employees whenever there is a threat that a serious crime is ongoing or may be repeated-so that campus community members can protect themselves from harm. The Clery Act defines certain specific crimes that require a timely warning notice to be issued when crimes are reported to Campus Security Authorities (CSA’s) with significant responsibility for student and campus activities, campus safety, or the local police AND the reported crime(s) are believed to have occurred on campus, in or on non-campus buildings or property, or on public property contiguous to the campus.

Campus officials not subject to the timely warning reporting requirement include licensed or certified professional counselors and recognized pastoral counselors who are functioning in the role of providing confidential counseling to members of the Hostos Community College community on behalf of the institution.

The Department of Public Safety will issue crime alerts for crimes occurring on the {College} Clery Geography (On Campus, Public Property, and Non-campus property), that present a serious or continuing threat to the campus community as required by the timely warning notice requirements of the Jeanne Clery Act to aid in the prevention of similar occurrences. Timely warning notices will be distributed as soon as practicable, with the goal of preventing similar occurrences. The identities of victims and witnesses will not be included in the Timely Warning Notice.

Individuals on campus should notify the Department of Public Safety of crimes as soon as possible. The Department of Public Safety will gather all pertinent information about the nature of the crime from the reporting person and other available sources (these the campus surveillance system, the ID card access system, and the Department of Public Safety).

  1. Based on the information available, the Director of Public Safety or his designee shall determine whether the crime presents a serious or continuing threat to the campus community. Crime Alerts are typically issued for the following Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR)/National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) crime classifications:

  1. Murder/Non-Negligent Manslaughter

  2. Aggravated Assault (cases involving assaults among known parties, such as two roommates fighting which results in an aggravated injury, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if the individual is believed to be an ongoing threat to the college community)

  3. Robbery involving force or violence (cases including pick pocketing and purse snatching will typically not result in the issuance of a Crime Alert, but will be assessed on a case-by-case basis)

  4. Sexual Assault (considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the facts of the case, when and where the incident occurred, when it was reported, and the amount information known by the Chief of Campus Safety, or designee). In cases involving sexual assault, they are often reported long after the incident occurred, thus there is no longer the opportunity to distribute a Crime Alert as a “timely” warning notice to the community. All cases of sexual assault, including stranger and non-stranger/acquaintance cases, will be assessed for potential issuance of a Crime Alert.

  5. Major incidents of Arson

    1. Timely Warnings may be issued for other Clery crimes as determined necessary by the Director of Public Safety, or his designee in his absence. Notices for other crime classifications and locations, even though not required by the law, may be issued as Public Safety Advisories.

    1. Based on the information available, the Director of Public Safety or his designee shall determine the content of the Crime Advisory, the method by which to disseminate the warning to the campus community, and will issue/initiate the distribution of the Crime Advisory.

    2. Crime Alerts will typically be issued to all current students and employees via email using the College email accounts. Crime Alerts may also be issued using some or all of the following methods of communication: posters, campus newspaper or the college website. The content of the Crime Alert may include but is not limited to the nature of the crime, the area where the crime occurred, a description of the suspect(s), and safety tips. It is the responsibility of the Director of Public Safety or his designee to determine whether a crime presents a serious or continuing threat to the campus community and issue a Crime Alert if necessary.

    3. The Director of Public Safety’s designee may include: The Deputy/Assistant Director of Public Safety, Lieutenant, and Sergeants after consulting with a higher authority.

Unless such notice and warning compromise the containment of an emergency, or would likely result in an expansion or exacerbation of an emergency, immediate notification of an emergency will take place through one – or a combination of – the following methodologies: (1) CUNY- Alert, (2) Verbal announcement through the School’s emergency communication response system, (3) Campus-wide e-mail blast and/or (4) School web-site notice.

The following personnel are authorized to make such announcements; President or his/her designee, Public Safety Director or his/her designee, V.P. of Information Technology or his/her designee, and Senior College Administrators, etc. Again, please note that a circumstance may arise in which it would not be prudent or appropriate to issue an immediate notification if such release would compromise efforts to contain the emergency.

The College conducts three (3) fire drills per year, one of which must be conducted during the first week of the summer session to ensure compliance with NY Education Law 807. During these drills, building occupants are familiarized with campus evacuation procedures. Each building has assigned fire/evacuation floor wardens who provide training and direction to the college community during drills and actual emergency events.

Emergency response and evacuation procedures are published annually via the Annual Security Report. The Public Safety Department encourages members of the college community to use this report as a guide for safe practices both on and off campus. Paper copies are available by calling 718-518-6888 or in the Public Safety Department, located in the basement of the C-Building, Room C030. These procedures may also be accessed on the Hostos webpage at:

Crime Prevention & Security Awareness Programs

The Public Safety Department issues safety alert bulletins (paper/email) when deemed necessary to the campus community when serious crimes occur in areas on or near the campus. The Department maintains a relationship with the New York City police precincts that are responsible for the surrounding areas of the campus perimeter and providing additional response assistance. All persons reporting crimes to the Public Safety Department are encouraged to promptly report the incident to the local police precinct concerned. A record of each report made to the local precincts is maintained as part of the Public Safety Department’s annual statistical report.

Crime prevention is a high priority for the Public Safety Department and the college community. The department encourages community members to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings, both on and off campus, and to take responsibility for their own safety and security and that of others. Crime prevention seminars are scheduled each semester and members of the college community are encouraged to actively participate.

All incoming students receive information about campus crime prevention programs, CUNY’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and awareness and prevention of sexual misconduct (as defined in CUNY’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct)-during initial orientation. Along with the office of the Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance, Campus Facilities, and Campus Planning, the Director of Public Safety conducts on-going reviews of campus grounds and facilities. Special emphasis is placed on the need to ensure safe accessibility to buildings with special attention to landscape hazards as well as inadequate lighting. All public safety personnel, while on patrol, report potential safety and security hazards as well as entry door problems and elevator malfunctions. Building engineers and cleaners report health and safety issues during the course of normal work assignments.

The Public Safety Department also provides students, faculty, and staff with crime prevention information, along with other safety related material, during scheduled events on campus as well as via email safety bulletins. Some of the education programs offered include:

1. Crime Prevention Brochures: Brochures are available from the PSD to the college community in the Public Safety office as well as tabling events on the pedestrian Bridge throughout the semester. Topics include: personal safety, crime prevention tips, and ID theft prevention.

2. New Student/Employee Orientation: Public Safety officers meet with new students/employees during their orientation to provide them with an overview of the programs and services offered by the Department.

3. Emergency Preparedness Training: The Public Safety Department has NYS Division of Criminal Justice certified general topics instructors with special training and provides training to the college community for active shooter incidents, emergency evacuations, basic fire safety, medical emergencies, etc.

4. Domestic Violence Workshops: The Public Safety Department in collaboration with the Wellness Center hosts various domestic violence workshops with the Office of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, the Bronx District Attorney’s office, the NYPD Domestic Violence Unit and the Family Justice Center.

5. Fire Safety Prevention Training: Fire safety training is provided to designated fire wardens on campus. In addition, the PSD will provide fire safety training to faculty/staff upon request.

6. Child Safety Workshops: The PSD provides training to the children in the Children’s Center on stranger danger, when to call 911 and emergency planning. The children are provided with safety coloring books and material to review with their parents.

7. Security surveys and vulnerability assessments: The PSD conducts security surveys and vulnerability assessments to identify areas of the campus that present vulnerabilities to the safety of the college community. Public Safety personnel report potential safety and security hazards, and non-operational conditions (elevator, doors, lighting, etc.) for appropriate remediation.

8. Operation Identification: The PSD, along with the 40th Precinct NYPD Crime Prevention Officer, will obtain identifying information to register portable valuables so that they can be returned to their rightful owner in the event they are recovered after being lost or stolen.

9. Escort Service: The PSD provides escorts to all students, faculty, and staff on campus. If you are working late on campus and would like an escort to the parking lot or bus stop, please call Public Safety at extension x6888 15 minutes prior to your departure time.

10. Other Educational Programs: The PSD can provide staffing for your educational programs free of charge on other topics not listed above. We offer a variety of programming on active shooter, emergency preparedness sexual assault prevention and awareness, domestic violence, what is consent, Rape Aggression Defense (RAD), Workplace Violence and bystander intervention to name a few.

Please visit our website at: for more information. To request an officer to speak at your event, contact us in advance at 718-518-6888.

Floor wardens and searchers are designated to serve specific areas of the building. When appropriate, they will be activated. They are trained to assist with the evacuation process throughout the campus. Their job is to facilitate evacuations and common space assembly of all kinds and to pass information to the fire safety command station. Please comply with their directions.

When fire alarms ring, please make note of the announcement that immediately follows. It will provide you with instructions on where to assemble. If a false alarm occurs, an “all clear” announcement will follow via the fire command response system. Treat all fire alarms as real unless otherwise directed by the floor wardens or members of the public safety staff. Below are general guidelines for dealing with a fire. But remember, WHEN IN DOUBT CALL 911 OR ACTIVATE A FIRE PULLSTATION.

  1. Be familiar with the location of stairways, fire extinguishers, fire exits, and pull boxes in the buildings.

  2. If a minor fire appears controllable, immediately contact (personally or preferably have someone else call) the Department of Public Safety at x6911. Locate a portable fire extinguisher. Then promptly direct the discharge of the fire extinguisher toward the base of the flame by squeezing the trigger and moving the hose in a side- to-side motion. Do not use water extinguishers on electrical fires.

  3. In the case of large fires that do not appear controllable, immediately activate a fire pull station and, if time permits, call x6911 to report the exact location of the fire. If time permits, close the door of the room where the fire exists.

  4. When the building evacuation alarm is sounded, always assume that an emergency exists. Touch closed doors; do not open them if they are hot. If the door is cool, brace yourself behind the door and open it slowly. Bracing yourself behind the door prevents the door from being blown open due to the pressure created by the fire. Walk quickly to the nearest exit and alert others to do the same. Do not use the elevators during a fire.

  5. Smoke is the greatest danger in a fire, so stay near the floor where the air will be less toxic.

  6. Once outside, move to a clear area at least 100 feet away from the affected building. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrants and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews. These essential personnel must be allowed to do their jobs.

  7. Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by a College official.

  8. If you become trapped in a building during a fire and a window is available, place an article of clothing (shirt, coat, etc.) outside the window as a marker for rescue crews. If possible, place a wet cloth at the base of doors to keep smoke from entering. Shout at regular intervals to alert emergency crews of your location. Dampen a cloth with water, place it over your nose, and breathe lightly through it. It is understood that these items may not be available to you—hence the importance of moving quickly and knowing your escape routes.

  9. Should your clothing catch fire, stop, drop and roll. Rolling on the ground will help smother the fire; this is in fact very effective.

When an intruder in a campus building is actively causing deadly harm or presents the threat of imminent deadly harm to people, immediately seek cover and contact 911 and the Public Safety Department, if at all possible. Remember only call 911 when it is safe to do so, give as many details as possible regarding location, number of assailants, means of aggression and other pertinent information. When a hostile intruder is actively causing deadly harm or the threat of imminent deadly harm to people on the campus grounds, US Department of Homeland Security recommends the following course of action:

  1. EVACUATE – if you can safely do so, run as fast as you can. Have an escape route and plan in mind. If outside, use buildings, trees, shrubs, and cars as cover. Leave your belongings behind. If you can get away from the immediate area of danger, summon help and warn others.

  2. HIDE OUT - If you decide to hide, take into consideration the area in which you are hiding. Hide where you are out of the aggressor’s view. Stay as quiet and calm as possible. Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors (if possible). Silence all electronic devices.

  3. TAKE ACTION – Only do this as a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger. If you choose to confront the aggressor, use all manner of materials at hand as weapons, including books, chairs, or any object near at hand. Act with physical aggression and throw items at the aggressor. You can choose to play dead if other victims are around you. Do not give your position away or stand-up until Public Safety or civil authorities give an “all-clear” signal.

While it is important to note that the overwhelming majority of bomb threats are unfounded, it is the policy of the College that they must be taken seriously. Each threat will be thoroughly investigated and will be considered suspect until all avenues of investigation have been explored.

1. A suspicious looking box, package, object, or container in or near your work area may be a bomb or explosive material. Do not handle or touch the object. Move to a safe area (far from the object) and call the Department of Public Safety immediately at ext. x6911. Do not operate any electronic devices, radios, or light (power) switches.

2. If you receive a bomb threat, remain calm and try to obtain as much information as possible from the caller. Specifically try to ascertain the following:
a) The location of the device.
b) The time, if any, the device is scheduled to go off.
c) The appearance or type of container used for the device.
d) The reason for placing the device.
e) The size of the bomb.
f) The type of explosive used in the device.
g) The name of the caller or organization taking responsibility.
h) Any additional information that might be available.

3. The person receiving the call should note the following:
a) Male or female voice.
b) Time of call.
c) Mood of caller (excited, nervous, calm, and despondent).
d) Background noises that may be present at the location of the caller.
e) Approximate age of the caller.
f) Any other peculiarities that may be helpful in identifying the source of the call or its purpose.

4. The police will be called and the building may be subject to full or partial evacuated. When evacuating the building, only use stairs. Do not use elevators. Move well away from the building and follow the instructions of floor coordinators and emergency personnel at the scene.

5. If there is an explosion:
a) Immediately take cover under sturdy furniture.
b) Stay away from the windows.
c) Do not light matches.
d) Move well away from the site of the explosion to a safe location.
e) Use stairs only, do not use elevators.

All medical emergencies should be reported immediately to Public Safety at ext. 6911. Public Safety personnel are trained first responders and will render aid until emergency personnel arrives.

1. If the medical emergency is life threatening, Public Safety will respond with emergency equipment. Public Safety will notify 911. When available, a Public Safety EMT will be dispatched to the scene to provide patient assessment and care under NYC Basic Life Support treatment protocols. A Public Safety Officer will then escort arriving emergency personnel to the scene.

2. If a medical problem is non-life threatening, responding Public Safety officer will assess the victim and will escort/transport the victim to Health Services if they can safely be moved.

3. Aid will not be given to a patient who knowingly and willingly refuses it. If the victim refuses medical aid, the Public Safety Officer will document the victim’s refusal of care and have the victim sign the written record. Any refusal to sign will be documented.

The balance of the demands of school and personal life can be challenging. Counseling Services provides individual, group, and ESL support services to students currently enrolled at Hostos Community College. Counseling sessions are confidential. Sessions generally last 45 minutes and are usually held once a week. The Counseling office is located in the Savoy Building, 120 East 149th street, and their telephone number is 718-518-4461.

1. If there is no imminent physical danger, then contact the college Single Stop Office for assistance or referral ay ext. 4319. If a Counselor is not available, please contact Public Safety for additional resources.

2. Whenever an individual demonstrates or reports a risk of self-destructive or suicidal behavior, immediate assistance is needed and Public Safety should be notified immediately at ext. x6911. Public Safety will take necessary measures to ensure their safety and refer them to appropriate resources.


The following actions are to be taken by members of the college community in the event of a power failure:

1. Report any power failure immediately to Public Safety at extension x6911. In the event of a building wide power failure, phones may not function. The office can be reached at Emergency Telephone line at extension x6911 (only works if power is shut down). If no other emergency situation exists, you can come to the front Security Desk.
2. In the event of loss of power in any building, an emergency generator will supply low-level light until power is restored.
3. Having a flashlight attached to a key chain, belt clip or in a bag may be helpful even when not in the school. Never use candles.
4. During daylight, add as much natural lighting as possible by raising blinds.
5. Faculty with classes should remain where they are until notified otherwise.
6. During a power failure or possible power failure, never use an elevator. If you become trapped in an elevator during a power outage, use the emergency “Call for Help” button in the elevator to contact Public Safety. Wait for assistance. Don’t panic.
7. Once power is restored, Public Safety will make an announcement using the College’s public address system. Evacuation may not be necessary during a power failure.

Plumbing Problem/Flooding
Cease using all electrical equipment. Notify Public Safety immediately. If necessary, vacate the area and prevent anyone else from entering. If a toilet overflows or water is accumulating in a given area, contact Buildings and Grounds at X4190.

Gas Leaks
Gas leaks are very rare but can be very serious. If you smell gas, go to a safe area and contact Public Safety at either x6911 or X6888. Do not use a mobile phone near a gas leak whether here or at home. Gas vapors can be ignited by static electricity.


1. In the event of a biological chemical spill, Hostos Community College Environmental Health and Safety Officer Diahann McFarlane will be contacted at 718-518-4349. Buildings and Grounds and Public Safety will respond along with the EHS Officer who will determine the actions to follow.

2. Upon receiving confirmation of an imminent or ongoing biological or chemical spill that poses great risk to life at the College, the President or her designee shall declare a campus-wide emergency. This state of emergency may initiate a lockdown of the building and/or its total evacuation. Note: Notification will be made via college website, voicemail, emergency communication response system and/or CUNY-ALERT if at all possible.

3. Building occupants will be kept informed of changes as they develop by college officials. The following actions will be taken if necessary: (a) building wide air-handlers will be turned off and intakes sealed if possible, (b) building occupants will be directed to enclosed areas of the building unless otherwise directed by civil authorities to provide the most insulation and (d) updates on emergency will be given, if practicable, by the same methodologies as indicated above.

A Word to the Wise
No community can be totally risk free. Crime takes place in our society and does not abate when one enters the confines of a college. The Department of Public Safety strongly recommends that you stay alert and aware of what is going on around you, and remain security conscious and involved. If you see or hear something suspicious, please report the situation immediately. Thefts and other violations do occur at times. However, all of us can reduce the risks by thinking about our personal safety and taking practical precautions.

“Student Right to Know”
Students are urged to obtain a copy of the Jeanne Cleary Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Security Act from the Department of Public Safety, Room C-030. Public Safety Web Site For more information on the Public Safety Department at Hostos, please visit For the Rules and Regulations for the Maintenance of Public Order Pursuant to Article 129A of the Education Law, please contact the Public Safety Department at Hostos.