Emergency Notifications and Response


Hostos’ Emergency Response Plan (ERP) attempts to place Hostos in a proactive position to protect students, staff, faculty and visitors in case of an emergency or disaster, and provides important information about specific emergency situations that could arise on or near campus. A portion of the information contained in the ERP is included below. However, students are urged to review the entire ERP at http://www.hostos.cuny.edu/Administrative- Offices/Public-Safety-Department/Emergency- Response-Plan .

CUNY ALERT SYSTEM

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 www.cuny.edu/alert and follow the instructions. If you have trouble signing up for CUNY Alert, please come to the IT help desk located in the B- 500 Grand Concourse Building, room B-425. The system is activated via a web-based system controlled by the New York State Office of Emergency Management.

Timely Warnings to Members of the Community

The Department of Public Safety in consultation with the Office of the President, Senior Vice President and other senior college officials will be responsible for issuing timely warning notices on campus which are triggered by Clery Crimes that have already occurred but represent an ongoing threat. The Department of Public Safety will issue a timely warning notice for any Clery Crime committed on the campus Clery geography that is reported to the public safety department or the local law enforcement agency and is considered by the college to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees. The Department of Public Safety maintains a working and professional relationship with the New York City Police Department and communicates both in person and via written communication during the normal course of business in cases of serious emergencies all public safety supervisors can contact the NYPD/911 system via two-way radios.

Operated under the auspices of the New York State Emergency Management Office, CUNY Alert allows subscribers to receive messages of import regarding safety via email, cell and landline, text message or in any combination thereof. Signing-up is as easy. These notifications are issued when the campus operations are adversely affected by man-made or natural incidents. Access the University website at www.cuny.edu/alert Members of the college and/or community at large requesting confirmation on the status of an emergency situation should call the Department of Public Safety at 718-518-6888 and/or the college Office of Communications and Public Relations at 718-518-6872.

Titles of person(s) and/or areas of the college responsible for emergency notifications are as follows:

Senior Vice President of Administration & Finance, Esther Rodriguez- Chardavoyne

Director of Public Safety, Chief Arnaldo Bernabe Assistant VP of Information Technology, Varun Seghal Department of Public Safety

Department of Information Technology

Department of Communications and College Relations Office

Immediate Notifications

Unless such notice and warning constitutes a compromise to contain an emergency, or 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 Public Address System if a fire or smoke issue is detected, (3) Campus-wide e-mail blast and / or (4) School web-site notice. The following personnel are authorized to make such announcements; Peace Officers, Members of the Emergency Response Policy Group. 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.

Emergency Response Evacuation Fire Drill Tests

The college conducts evacuation and fire drills three (3) times per year in both academic and administrative buildings. During these drills, building occupants are familiarized with campus evacuation procedures. Each building has assigned fire/evacuation floor wardens who provide direction to the college community during drills and actual emergencies which also involve instructions by law enforcement campus personnel. In case of a campus wide evacuation and/or closure, the campus will be evacuated systematically by following standard mass evacuation procedures. Everyone must evacuate when ordered to do so.

Publication of Procedures

Emergency response and evacuation procedures are posted on the college website at the following link:

http://www.hostos.cuny.edu/Administrative- Offices/Public-Safety-Department/Emergency- Response-Plan The Emergency Response & Evacuation Procedures are reviewed once a year and updated as needed throughout the year. The Public Safety Office, Room C-030, have hard copies of the Emergency Response Procedures.

Public Safety Awareness & Crime Prevention Programs

The Department of Public Safety issues safety alert bulletins when deemed necessary and provides Timely Warning Notices (paper/electronic form) 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 public safety of the campus perimeter and its surrounding areas. All persons reporting crimes to the Department of Public Safety are also encouraged to promptly report the incident to the local police precinct or precinct of concern. A record of each report made to the local precinct is maintained as part of the Public Safety Department’s annual statistical report. All Members of the college community are encouraged to attend crime prevention seminars that are conducted by the Department of Public Safety and / or invited members of local law enforcement. All incoming students receive information about campus crime prevention programs during initial orientation campus wide events scheduled at the beginning of each semester. To obtain more information on crime prevention, please contact the Department of Public Safety at (718) 518-6888. A number of officers in the Department of Public Safety have attended the Basic Methods of Security Crime Prevention Course taught at the New York City Police  Academy. These officers are assigned to conduct crime prevention seminars and at times are assigned to conduct follow-up investigations for crimes committed on campus. They also advise and make recommendations to complainants and victims regarding the prevention of future criminal acts.

Along with the Office of the Senior Vice President of Administration & Finance and the Dean of Facilities Management, the Director of Public Safety conducts ongoing reviews of campus grounds and facilities. Special emphasis is placed on the need to ensure safe accessibility to buildings with particular attention to landscaping hazards as well as inadequate lighting.

All public safety personnel, while on patrol, report potential safety and security hazards as well as door problems and elevator malfunctions. Hazards and potential unsafe conditions can be reported by a member of the college community by contacting the Department of Public Safety at (718) 518-6888.

The Department of Public Safety takes the following preventative measures in an attempt to limit criminal activity: screening visitors, issuing ID cards, controlling access, monitoring closed circuit television cameras and other electronic security systems, patrolling the building and its perimeter, inspecting infrastructure such as doors, locks, lighting and alarm systems, responding to incidents and conducting investigations.

Campus security awareness programs include the distribution of crime prevention notices which provide tips on personal safety and protecting personal property while on and off campus. These notices are routinely sent out to the college community via the College email distribution list, posted on the Public Safety Social Media Web Sites and posted on large laminated posters which are visibly located around the campus. Notices containing specific crime prevention information are sent to students, staff and faculty whenever an incident takes place that poses an ongoing threat to the college community. The Department of Public Safety has a number of crime prevention brochures covering several different topics on how to avoid becoming a victim of a crime that is likely to occur on and off campus. These brochures are available at the Department of Public Safety, 450 Grand Concourse; room C-030. Presentations on personal security, the prevention of sexual assault, sexual harassment, workplace violence and other crimes, and drug and alcohol abuse are offered to the college community in conjunction with new staff orientations. In addition, targeted crime prevention presentations are also given to individual departments when there is specific crime or safety related issues effecting that department. Arrangements can be made for specialized group presentations and individual consultation or counseling via the Department of Public Safety (Room C-030, phone # 718- 518-6888).

Crime Prevention Tips - Actual and attempted violent crime, including sex crime is virtually unknown on the Hostos campus. However, the possibility cannot be excluded. Accordingly, use general prudence, avoid isolated areas, and report suspicious observations to Public Safety ext. 6888 and / or 718-518-6888.

On Campus - While on-campus purse snatchings are unknown and pick pocketing is rare, the theft of unattended laptop computers, purses, pocketbooks,  and wallets and their contents is not unheard of. Under

no circumstances should cash, credit cards, garments, or other valuables be left unattended in offices and / or furniture - nor should office or furniture locks be relied upon.

Off Campus - Local area crime is not within the Hostos Campus jurisdiction but we maintain liaison with the local police precinct to monitor trends and exercise influence. General rules of urban area prudence must be followed day and night, including:

  • Avoid under populated or dark areas.

  • Keep distant from building facades particularly

  • avoiding empty storefronts.

  • Cross the street rather than walk under

  • construction scaffolding or through confined routes

  • particularly during hours of darkness.

  • Use corner rather than mid-block subway entrances.

  • Be alert to street "scams" (e.g. clustered bystanders,

  • unsolicited help with "accidental" spills, feigned distress,

  • groups asking for directions, dropped money, or other opportunities for profit through "good faith" deposits,

  • gambling, winning ticket cashing or other unusual or

  • illicit enterprises).

  • Be aware that jewelry, luggage, furs, cameras, cellphones,

  • camcorders, cash and other conspicuous valuables

  • including expensive portfolios and briefcases may

  • increase robbery risks.

  • Wear or hold pocketbooks and equipment straps so that they quickly release in the event of an attempted snatch by running or mobile persons: Wearing them across the body, around the neck or wound around the hand can expose the wearer to the risk of serious injury.

Bicycles - Bicycle racks have been provided by New York City’s Department of Transportation and are located outside the 475 Grand Concourse building on the Grand Concourse. In addition, Hostos Community College provides bicycle racks at the entrance of the East Academic Complex Parking Lot; located on East 144th Street between the Grand Concourse and Park Avenue.

Hostos Community College is not responsible for bicycles left at these racks. Bicycles not having motorcycle-grade locks and chains or “U” type heavy- duty bicycle locks are at greater risk of theft. Always lock your bicycle securely, whether you are gone for a few minutes or a few hours. Use a U-lock, securing both wheels and the frame to a stationary object such as a post, fence, tree, or bike rack. For extra security, add a chain or cable with a good padlock. Always park your bike where it can be easily seen.

Elevators – When standing inside of an elevator be sure to protect your property by not having pocket books, book bags open and available to being reached in by an unsuspecting person(s).

Laptops - Treat your laptop as though it was cash. If you would not place a hundred dollar bill on your desk while out to lunch, do not do it with a laptop either. Always secure your laptop in a locked desk or cabinet when not in use. When traveling in a car, do not leave your laptop on the seat next to you. Keep it out of sight in the trunk or place it under the passenger seat. If you park your  vehicle and cannot take the laptop with you, make sure that it is locked in the trunk prior to reaching your destination. Be alert to unfamiliar persons in your work area and immediately report suspicious persons to the Department of Public Safety at extension 6888.

Data - Back up data files frequently and keep copies separate and secure. Carefully follow Office of Information Technology guidelines for passwords, anti- virus protection, and data backup. Data transmitted over the Internet or other networks filed on networked computers may be subject to interception/intrusion, inspection, manipulation, or destruction by sophisticated remote attack or equipment malfunction. The preparation, filing or transmission of credit card, banking, proprietary, personal, or other sensitive information should be limited to home computers and those commercial on-line services that provide satisfactory security assurances: Hostos Community College does not offer such assurances and will not accept liability for any data losses or damages.

Promptly report any data or computer irregularities, including virus detections, to the Office of Information Technology at 718-518-6646 or, after hours, to the Department of Public Safety at 718-518-6888.

Pickpocket Theft Prevention - Do not be distracted by strangers seeking directions. Be wary when someone tells you that there is something on your clothing such as a condiment when you have not come from an eating establishment. Do not carry valuables in a shoulder bag and do not let the bag hang behind you. Keep the flap to the purse close to your body. Try to carry a purse that has a zipper or locking device of some sort. Carry your wallet in your front or breast pocket. Be wary of people who drop things in front of you, such as change or keys. Keep handbags on your lap and keep your hand on it at all times while on public transportation. Be careful of the person who shoves or pushes you while trying to get to the rear or front of a bus or subway car.

Personal Safety in Your Car - Always lock your car after entering and exiting it and try to park in a well-lighted space. Before getting in your car, check the front and back seats to make sure no one is hiding inside. Do this even if your car is locked. Have your keys in hand so you don't have to linger before entering the car and be aware of your surroundings. Do not offer rides to strangers. If you suspect that someone is following you drive to the nearest open public place and sound your horn.

Fire Emergency Plan

Floor wardens and searchers are designated to serve specific areas of the building. When appropriate, they will be activated. They are trained on assisting Public Safety Officers on evacuating buildings. Their job is to facilitate evacuations and common space assembly of all kinds and to pass information to the Public Safety Department. Please heed 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 Public Address 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 PULL STATION.

  1. Become familiarized with the location of stairways, fire extinguishers, fire exits, and pull boxes in building.

  2. If a minor fire appears controllable, immediately contact (personally or preferably have someone else call) the Department of Public Safety at 6911. Locate a portable fire extinguisher.  Then promptly direct the discharge of the fire extinguisher toward the base of the flame buy squeezing the trigger and moving the hose in a side-to-side motion. Do not use water extinguishers on electrical fires.

  3. If an emergency exists, activate the building’s fire alarm system by releasing a fire pull station.

  4. In the case of large fires that do not appear controllable, immediately activate a fire pull station and, if time permits, call 6911 to report the exact location of the fire. If time permits, close the door of the room where the fire exists.

  5. 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.

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

  7. Once outside, move to a clear area at least 500 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. Our public assembly location is on East 144th Street and the Grand Concourse.

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

  9. 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. 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.

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

Hostile Intruder

Don’t panic. Keep breathing and keep focused. When an intruder in a campus building is actively causing deadly harm or the threat of imminent deadly harm to people; you must immediately seek cover and contact 911 and the Public safety Department, if at all possible. If you are able to make a call, give as many details as possible  relative to location, number of assailants, means of aggression and other pertinent information.

  1. Do not sound the fire alarm to evacuate the building. People may be placed in harm’s way when they are attempting to evacuate the building.

  2. Be aware of alternate exits if it becomes necessary to flee.

  3. Persons should lock themselves in classrooms and offices as a means of protection.

  4. Persons should stay low, away from windows and barricade their door(s) if possible and use furniture or desks as cover.

  5. If possible, cover any windows or openings that have a direct line of sight into the hallway.

  6. Students and staff should not attempt to leave the building until told to do so by Public Safety or NYPD. The only exception to this is, given the specific circumstances,  a person is certain beyond any doubt, that they are in more danger in staying in the building, than in attempting to escape.

When a hostile intruder is actively causing deadly harm or the threat of imminent deadly harm to people on the campus grounds, we recommend the following course of action:

  1. Run away from the threat if you can, as fast as you can.

  2. Do not run in a straight line. Run in a zig-zag fashion especially if you are being shot at. If inside, use desks, chairs bookcases to cover and conceal.

  3. If outside of the building(s) use buildings, trees, shrubs, and cars as cover.

  4. If you can get away from the immediate area of danger, summon help and warn others.

  5. If you decide to hide, take into consideration the area in which you are hiding. Will I be found? Is this really a good spot to remain hidden? If you do hide, stay as quiet as possible and calm as possible.

  6. If the person(s) is causing death or serious physical injury to others and you are unable to run or hide you may 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. If you choose to confront the aggressor, use all manner of materials at hand as weapons-books, chairs, any object near hand.

Bomb Incident Plan

While it is important to note that the overwhelming majority of bomb threats are unfounded, it is the policy of the college that they are to 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. 6911. 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.

    c) The reason for placing the device.

    d) The size of the bomb.

    e) The type of explosive used in the device.

    f) The name of the caller or organization taking responsibility.

    g) 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.

Medical Emergencies

  1. All medical emergencies should be reported immediately to Public Safety ext. 6911.

  2. If the medical emergency is life threatening, call 911 before dialing Public Safety.

  3. If you call 911, be prepared to give your name; describe the nature and severity of the medical problem and the location of the victim. Try to answer all of the questions the dispatcher asks you and let him/her hang-up the phone first. Do not move the victim. If you are certified in CPR and First Aid and able to help, then try to assist the victim until help arrives.

  4. Look for emergency medical ID’s such as bracelets on injured persons and try to keep the victim as comfortable as possible until emergency personnel arrive.

  5. If a medical problem is non-life threatening, call the Public Safety Department at ext. 6911. If the victim can be safely moved then he/she will be escorted to the office of the College Nurse, room A-334-C. If, Public Safety personnel believe that a victim should not be moved or that emergency medical care is required immediately,  then  they  will  call  911. Please remember that the decision to call or not call 911 is not based on financial situation or insurance status. The focus is on assisting the ill or injured party.

  6. The school employs a nurse practitioner. The nurse’s office is room A-334C and the extension is 6542.

  7. While it is common to want to assist the ill person, all persons should FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS OF PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS AND ALL FIRST RESPONDERS.

Medical Emergencies-Mental Health

The Office of the Dean of Students can be most helpful in assisting anyone who feels in need of counseling or mental health service. College can be stressful for many students. You are not alone and don’t have to be alone College counselors are available at 718-518-4319. Whenever an individual demonstrates or reports a risk for self-destructive or suicidal behavior, immediate assistance is needed. If the situation poses an imminent physical danger, call 6911 to reach the Public Safety office or summon the NYPD at 911. If imminent physical danger is not posed then call the Dean of Students office at ext. or our counselor at ext. 4319. If a response from either of these two areas is unavailable contact Public Safety at 6888.

Utility Failures Power Failure

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 ext. 6911.

  2. Having a flashing attached to a key chain, belt clip or in a bag may be helpful even when power goes out. Never use candles.

  3. During daylight, add as much natural lighting as possible by raising blinds.

  4. Faculty with classes should remain where they are until notified otherwise.

  5. 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 the main security desk. Wait for assistance. Don’t panic. Help is on the way. Once power is restored, Public Safety will make an announcement using the school’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 Public Safety at 6888.

Gas Leaks

Gas leaks are very rare but can be very serious. If you smell gas, contact security by coming down to the main Public Safety desk or utilize a phone away from the smell of gas. Do not use a mobile phone near a gas leak whether here or at home. Gas vapors can be ignited by static electricity.

Biological Chemical or Nuclear Attacks

  1. Upon receiving confirmed information of an imminent or ongoing biological, chemical or Nuclear Disaster/Attack that poses great risk to life at the School, the President or her designee shall declare a campus wide emergency.

  2. This state of emergency may initiate a lockdown of the building and/or its total evacuation.

  3. Notification will be made via college website, voicemail, emergency communication response system and CUNY-ALERT if at all possible.

  4. Building occupants will be kept abreast of changes as they develop by college officials. During an event at the building the following actions will be taken if possible: (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 most insulation and (d) updates on emergency will be given, if practicable, by the same methodologies as indicated above.

Note on all emergency notifications: When in the considered

opinion of the college, university or civil authorities, dissemination of information on a given emergency may hinder or cause additional harm, such notification may be delayed until such time that it is safe to do so.

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 http://www.hostos.cuny.edu/publicsafety.

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.