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Seton Hall University

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Procedures

Below you will find important information for dealing with most emergency situations. Please make it a regular practice to check this site for updated information. Each member of our community is expected to be knowledgeable about safety procedures. Preparedness is an important way for us to take care of ourselves and other members of our community.

Below you will find important information for dealing with most emergency situations. In the event of a large scale emergency we will need people to do one of two things - either Shelter in Place or Evacuate. These procedures are explained below. Please familiarize yourself with this information so that in the event of an emergency you can respond quickly and properly.

Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Release (Nuclear, Biological or Chemical Hazard)

An incident involving the release of hazardous radiological, biological or chemical agents can occur as the result of industrial or transportation accidents or terrorist attacks. A HAZMAT release may occur within a single building or an outdoor release could affect large areas both on and off campus.

Outdoor HAZMAT Release

  • The release of a hazardous material may be indicated by: unusual vapor clouds or mists, unusual odors or tastes, numerous sick or dead animals, large numbers of persons with similar symptoms seeking medical attention not characteristic of the season, multiple victims exhibiting similar symptoms (such as breathing difficulty, convulsions, or seizures). You may also see the source of the release such as an overturned tanker truck, spilled material, or an explosion.
  • Report any suspected HAZMAT release to 9-1-1 or Public Safety (x-9300 main campus, x-8725 law school).
  • If caught outside, attempt to move upwind and uphill from the source of the HAZMAT release.
  • Distance yourself from the location of the incident and seek shelter indoors as soon as possible. An interior aboveground room with few doors and no windows located as deep as possible within the building is best. Avoid basements since many HAZMATs are heavier than air. However, in the case of a radiological (radioactive) hazard, avoid the upper floors and utilize the basement, if one is available.
  • Close all doors, windows, vents, and fireplaces. Seal these openings preferably with plastic and duct tape or with towels, clothing, etc.
  • Shut off air conditioners, ventilation systems, and heating systems.
  • Stay inside and monitor information sources (PirateAlert, Seton Hall University website, etc.). Be prepared to evacuate. Do not leave until advised that it is safe to do so or you are instructed to evacuate.
  • If exposed to a HAZMAT or if you have trouble breathing, use a simple filter by covering your face and breathing through your clothing, a towel, etc.
  • Do not eat or drink anything uncovered.
  • If exposed to a chemical, biological, or radioactive agent, decontaminate as soon as possible: change out of any contaminated clothing (avoid pulling contaminated clothing over your head - cut those items off instead), shower, and put on clean clothing. Seal contaminated clothing in a plastic bag for disposal.
  • When showering for decontamination, remove glasses and contact lenses, flush your entire body including eyes with copious amounts of cool water. If available, mix soap with the water. Avoid scrubbing. Wash hair with soap or shampoo, but do not use conditioner (it can bind radioactive materials to your hair). Blot dry; do not rub the skin.
  • Report to a medical facility or a field emergency decon facility for professional decontamination when that becomes available.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible for any injuries, if you have trouble breathing, or believe you were exposed to a contaminating HAZMAT.
  • In a biological attack, people may not know if they have been exposed to the agent. The first evidence of exposure may be when you notice symptoms of the disease caused by the agent. Followed announced emergency instructions.

Indoor HAZMAT Release

  • If you become aware of the release of a hazardous or possibly hazardous substance within a building, report the release to 9-1-1 or Public Safety (X9300 main campus, X8725 law school) immediately.
  • Exit the building. Avoid passing through the contaminated portion of the building while exiting. Inform others along your escape route of the hazard and the need to evacuate.
  • If possible, after exiting go to a location that is upwind and uphill from the site of the HAZMAT release. Encourage other persons who may have been exposed to assemble at the same location and to avoid direct contact with persons not exposed to prevent cross contamination.
  • Meet responding emergency personnel outside and provide details such as location of the release, effects of the substance, etc.
  • If you have been exposed to the hazardous material, report your exposure to the emergency responders so that you can receive medical attention and/or be decontaminated.

If a release occurs within a university laboratory, report the release to 9-1-1 or SHU Public Safety at X9300 and follow the safety procedures for that laboratory.

Bomb Threat or Suspicious Device

The threat of an explosive device may come to your attention in various ways. You should:

  • Immediately dial 911 and report the threat.
  • If a bomb threat is received by telephone, include details such as the wording of the threat, background noises, and voice characteristics of the caller. Use a bomb threat call checklist.
  • If you observe a suspicious object or device (such as an unattended package, suitcase, backpack, etc., whose appearance, location, or circumstances under which it was placed or found are unusual), contact SHU Public Safety and Security at 9300 (Main Campus) or 8725 (Law School) or 9-1-1. Also report the description and actions of anyone that may have placed the device.
  • Do not inspect, move, or touch any suspicious items.
  • Leave the threatened facility or area of the suspicious device. Go to a place that is out of the line of sight to the threat location and that provides shielding (for example, place another building between you and the threat location). Warn others and encourage them to leave as you depart.
  • Cooperate with emergency response personnel. Go to an assembly area/safe area as directed by responders.
  • Report your observations of the suspicious device and anyone that may be involved to the emergency responders.

Suspicious packages and letters:

Be wary of suspicious packages and letters. They can contain explosives, chemicals, or biological agents. Some typical characteristics of suspicious packages and letters postal inspectors have detected that should trigger suspicion are:

  • Are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you.
  • Have no return address or one that cannot be verified as legitimate
  • Are marked with restricted endorsements, such as "Personal", "Confidential", or "Do Not X-Ray"
  • Have protruding wires or aluminum foil, strange odors or stains
  • Show a city or state in the postmark that doesn't match the return address
  • Are of unusual weight, given their size, or are lopsided or oddly shaped
  • Are marked with threatening language
  • Have inappropriate or unusual labeling
  • Have excessive postage or excessive packaging material such as masking tape and string
  • Have misspellings of common words
  • Are addressed to someone no longer with your organization or are otherwise outdated
  • Have incorrect titles or a title without a name
  • Are not addressed to a specific person
  • Have handwritten or poorly typed addresses

Civil Disturbance or Demonstration

Most demonstrations such as marches, meetings, picketing and rallies will be peaceful and non-obstructive. However, in the event of violent civil disorder it is important to take protective action.

  • Do not get involved in a physical confrontation with protestors or rioters except to defend yourself against an attack.
  • Seek shelter indoors in a secure location that can be locked or barricaded. Monitor information sources for official information.
  • Stay away from doors and windows. Report any attempts by rioters to break into your location to 9-1-1.
  • Do not interfere with authorities on the scene.
  • Follow the instructions of public safety and law enforcement personnel.

Evacuation and Relocation

An imminent or occurring hazard may require the evacuation of your building, a portion of the campus, or the entire campus.

  • Evacuate when directed through PirateAlert or by emergency personnel.
  • Based on circumstances you may be instructed to evacuate on foot or by motor vehicle. The evacuation may be ordered in stages to avoid traffic jams.
  • Only take items needed for health and safety. Maintaining an accessible "Go Bag" containing water, food, clothing appropriate for the weather conditions, sturdy shoes, a flashlight, your medications, etc. will help you be prepared for a fast evacuation.
  • For evacuations on foot, proceed as directed to a reception site or assembly area.
  • For evacuations by motor vehicle, go to your vehicle when instructed to do so. If you do not have access to a motor vehicle, go to an announced transportation staging area.
  • Assist mobility impaired evacuees. If circumstances require evacuation of mobility impaired persons down stairwells, report their location to emergency personnel so that they can assist them.
  • Proceed to designated assembly points or relocation sites on or off campus as announced in the emergency instructions.

Evacuation Plan for Persons with Disabilities

All individuals with disabilities (students and University employees) should contact Disability Support Services (DSS) at (973) 313-6003 to register with that office. DSS personnel will develop an individualized plan to deal with your needs in the event of an emergency evacuation. Additional information for persons with disabilities »


Signs of an explosion include a very loud noise or series of noises and vibrations, fire, heat or smoke, flying glass or debris, and building damage.

If an explosion has directly affected your building:

  • Do not go towards the source of the explosion. There may be debris hazards, secondary explosions, or explosive devices designed to injure evacuees or responders. Warn others not to approach the explosion site.
  • If things are falling around you, get under a sturdy table or desk until they stop falling.
  • If you are in a room, feel the door with the back of your hand. If the door is cool, open it slightly and check for smoke. If the hallway is not smoke filled, go to the nearest, safe fire exit. Watch for falling debris or weakened floors and stairs.
  • If fire, smoke, or debris blocks normal fire exits, use a ground floor window or fire escape, if available.
  • Immediately evacuate the building and proceed to a location that is out of the line of sight to the explosion site and provides a protective physical barrier between you and the explosion site (such as behind another building). If the fire alarm has not activated, activate the nearest alarm pull station as you exit. After exiting, report your observations to 9-1-1.
  • If you cannot evacuate from your room due to fire or smoke conditions you should shelter in place and notify 9-1-1 of your location and situation. Signal responders outside the building by hanging a white cloth out of a window.
  • If you are trapped under debris, minimize your movements and cover your mouth with a cloth. Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can hear you. Do not use a match or lighter in case of a gas leak.

If an explosion has occurred nearby:

  • Do not go towards the source of the explosion. There may be debris hazards, secondary explosions, or explosive devices designed to injure responders. Warn others not to approach the explosion site.
  • If you are indoors, stay away from windows. Go to an interior location away from windows within the building and monitor PirateAlert and other sources of information for emergency instructions.
  • If you are outdoors, move to a location that is out of the line of sight to the explosion site and provides a protective physical barrier between you and the explosion site such as behind a wall or in interior sections (away from windows) of an undamaged building. Locations that are upwind and uphill from the explosion site are best in case hazardous materials have been released. Watch for falling debris.
  • If you encounter victims fleeing from the explosion site, help guide them to a safe location.
  • Report your observations to 9-1-1.

Fire Evacuation

  • If the building fire alarm activates or if you detect signs of a fire (burning odor, smoke, etc.) or the smell of gas, evacuate the building immediately. DO NOT attempt to find and fight the fire.
  • If you are in a room, feel the door with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, try to find an alternate way out of your room. If the door is cool, open it slightly and check for smoke. If the hallway is not smoke filled, go to the nearest, safe fire exit.
  • If you have to exit through an area which is filling with smoke, crawl low under the smoke where the air will be cleanest.
  • If fire, smoke, or debris blocks the nearest exit, go to an alternate fire exit. If regular fire exits are not accessible, use a ground floor window or window fire escape, if available.
  • Use the stairs for evacuation. Never use an elevator during a fire.
  • If conditions permit, close doors as you leave in order to help contain the fire and smoke.
  • Hazardous equipment or processes, including laboratory experiments, should be shut down before leaving the building unless doing so presents a greater hazard.
  • DO NOT alter your escape route to search for or notify other occupants. Notify persons along your route of the need to evacuate, but do not delay your evacuation if they do not follow you.
  • If the fire alarm has not activated, activate an alarm pull station as you exit. After exiting, report your observations to 9-1-1.
  • If you encounter a mobility impaired person while you are exiting, assist that person to a fire stairwell and then continue your own evacuation. Exit the building and report the location of the person in the stairwell to 9-1-1 or to arriving emergency responders.
  • Once you have exited the building, stay out. Under no circumstance should you re-enter a building that is in alarm. Re-entry can only be made after an "all-clear" signal is given by the Fire Department.
  • After exiting the building go to the designated assembly area. At the assembly area you should attempt to account for other building occupants. Immediately report any unaccounted persons to the emergency responders.
  • If you cannot evacuate from your room due to fire or smoke conditions you should shelter in place and notify 9-1-1 of your location and situation. Seal your door with wet towels or clothes, or with duct tape.
  • When sheltering in place, signal responders outside the building by hanging a white cloth out of a window. Open windows slightly at the top and bottom, but close them if smoke comes in.
  • If clothes catch fire, stop, drop to the floor or ground, and roll. Cover your face with your hands

Flood and Water Damage

Inland and Coastal Flooding
Though the Seton Hall campus in South Orange is not located in a flood zone, SHU personnel may encounter flooded areas in their travels or in their own neighborhoods. Serious inland flooding can occur along rivers and streams. Dangerous coastal flooding can result from the rise in ocean levels due to storm surge.

  • During major storms and periods of prolonged heavy rain, monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to take emergency action. If living in an area in which flooding is possible, have an evacuation "go" kit ready, keep your motor vehicle fully fueled in case you must evacuate, and know your community's evacuation routes.
  • Leave immediately if ordered to evacuate. Only bring items necessary for health and safety. Having a prepared "go" kit will help you evacuate in a timely fashion.
  • Flood waters can cause landslides, weaken roads and bridges, and cause electrical power lines to fall. It is safer to evacuate prior to significant flooding.
  • During periods in which flooding is possible, avoid low lying areas and drainage channels.
  • Do not walk through flooded areas. You may not see open man holes or downed electrical wires. As little as six inches of moving water can sweep you off your feet!
  • Do not drive through flooded areas. Cars can be swept away by as little as two feet of moving water. TURN AROUND…DON'T DROWN!
  • If your vehicle stalls on a flooded roadway, exit it and move to higher ground.
  • If your vehicle is swept into a body of water: climb out as quickly as possible before it sinks. If you are trapped inside your vehicle under water: allow the water to fill the passenger compartment to equalize pressure. Then open the door, climb out, and swim to the surface.
  • Floodwaters can be contaminated. Wash thoroughly after coming into contact with flood water. Discard any food that has been in contact with flood water.

Water Damage in Buildings
Serious water damage can also occur inside campus buildings from broken pipes, damaged sprinklers, clogged drains, broken skylights or windows, construction oversights, or heavy rain. If a water leak occurs call Public Safety at (973) 761-9300

  • Advise the Public Safety dispatcher of the location and severity of the leak. Indicate whether any valuables, art collections, or books are involved, or are in imminent danger.
  • SHU Public Safety will notify the appropriate authorities and dispatch officers to assist.
  • If there are electrical appliances or electrical outlets near the leak, use extreme caution. If there is any possible danger from electricity, evacuate the area.
  • When moving through wet or flooded areas of buildings use caution to avoid falling.

Hostile Intruder / Active Shooter

An armed hostile intruder or active shooter could be encountered outdoors on the campus grounds or inside a University facility. Your protective actions will depend upon your location and your proximity to the suspect.

If the campus emergency siren sounds or you receive instructions to seek shelter:

  • Go indoors immediately and into a room that can be locked or barricaded.
  • Lock or barricade the door. Close the blinds, turn off the lights, remain quiet and move behind available cover. Stay on the floor, away from doors or windows, and do not peek out to see what may be happening.
  • Quietly monitor PirateAlert and the SHU Web Site for further instructions and information on the threat.
  • If the threat is an armed hostile intruder or confirmed active shooter, plan what action your group would take if the intruder attempts to break into your room. Check for alternate exits from your room and search your room for objects you can use to resist the intruder.
  • Report information regarding the location and description of the intruder to 9-1-1 if you can safely do so.
  • If you can confirm that the intruder is in your building and you have a safe escape route, go to another building.
  • If an active shooter breaks into your room, your best chance for survival is to act as a group to physically resist and incapacitate the attacker.
  • When responding police enter your location, do not move until instructed to do so. Follow police instructions.

If you are indoors and you detect an armed intruder in your facility:

  • If you can safely escape from the building, get out and report your observations to 9-1-1.
  • If you cannot safely escape, go into a room that can be locked or barricaded.
  • Lock or barricade the door. Close the blinds, turn off the lights, remain quiet and move behind available cover. Stay on the floor, away from doors or windows, and do not peek out to see what may be happening.
  • Quietly report your observations to 9-1-1 and monitor PirateAlert and the SHU Web Site for instructions and information.
  • Plan what action your group would take if the intruder attempts to break into your room. Check for alternate exits from your room and search your room for objects you can use to resist the intruder.
  • If an active shooter breaks into your room, the best chance for survival is for the occupants of the room to physically resist as a group and incapacitate the attacker.
  • When responding police enter your location, do not move until instructed to do so. Follow police instructions.

If you are outside when an outdoor shooting occurs nearby:

  • If within 15-20 feet of a safe place or cover, duck and run to it. If not, drop to the ground immediately, face down as flat as possible.
  • Move or crawl away from the gunfire, trying to utilize any obstructions between you and the gunfire.
  • When you reach a place of relative safety, stay down. Evaluate your situation. Move to a safer indoor location, if circumstances allow.
  • Plan what you would do if directly confronted by the shooter. Your actions will depend on your capabilities and the presence of others that can act with you.
  • Be alert for instructions from emergency responders.

Medical Emergency

A person near you may suddenly become ill or suffer an injury. The following steps will help you assist that person:

  • DO NOT move a badly injured person (especially those who may be suffering from a head, neck, or spinal injury) unless they must be moved from an immediately hazardous location.
  • Report the situation to Call 9-1-1 (Note: SHU Public Safety monitors campus landline 9-1-1 calls and will also respond to these calls). If you are calling from a cell phone give your name, location, and phone number.
  • Check on the condition of the victim. Is the victim breathing? Is there severe bleeding? Are there signs of shock?
  • Provide as much information as you can about the nature of the illness or injury, whether or not the victim is conscious, etc. Provide updates if the victim's condition changes (for example, if a conscious patient goes unconscious or stops breathing). Do not hang up until instructed to do so by the emergency operator.
  • Administer first aid in accordance with your training and capabilities, and remain there until emergency personnel arrive. Open the victim's airway (if the victim is unconscious or semi-conscious), control serious bleeding, and treat for shock. Remember to ask the permission of a conscious victim before attempting to provide first aid.
  • Ask others to help you, if needed. Have someone meet the responding emergency medical services personnel and escort them to the victim's location.
  • Whenever possible, use personal protective equipment while examining and assisting an injured person (examination gloves, mask, eye protection, CPR shield, etc.).

Reporting a Threat

Every member of the University community has a responsibility to be vigilant of possible hazards or threats. If you are concerned about an individual or a dangerous situation, you should notify the appropriate authorities.
  • If you believe that a condition, situation, or person poses an imminent threat to the community, please contact 9-1-1 immediately.
  • If you DO NOT believe that harm is imminent, but a condition, situation, or a person's behavior could possibly pose a threat to the community, you should report the concern to SHU Public Safety at (973) 761-9300.
  • Concerns about the behavior of individual students that may be disruptive or pose a potential threat to the community may also be reported to the SHU Behavioral Intervention Team (see BIT section below).
  • When reporting a hazard or threat you should include as much of the following information as possible:
    • Location of the incident or your observation
    • Date and time of occurrence
    • Description of the condition or behavior observed (such as fire, smoke, or unusual chemical odor, criminal act, actions of a suspicious person, medical emergency, explosion, storm damage, motor vehicle accident, hazardous material released, etc.)
    • Description of persons and vehicle involved
    • Location or direction of travel of suspects, victims, and other involved
    • Presence of weapons or suspicious devices
    • Condition of injured or ill person(s)
Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT)
The Behavioral Intervention Team (B.I.T.) is an interdepartmental working group that receives and responds to concerns about individual students. The team responds to any alerts that a student may be a disruption or threat to the campus community.

This team works to intervene with assistance and support. Additionally, team members provide awareness and educational information to the campus community about personal safety, mental health awareness, and responding to troubled students.

To share a concern or to make a request for awareness and educational information, please contact any member of the team listed below:

Karen Van Norman
Dean of Students (chair)
(973) 761-9076

Nicole Giglia
Dean of Students Office
(973) 761-9076

Dianne Aguero-Trotter
Counseling & Psychological Services
(973) 761-9500

Michael Bradley
Public Safety and Security
(973) 275-2819

Anthony Turon
Dean of Students Office
(973) 761-9076

Vaughn Calhoun
Center for Academic Success
(973) 275-2159

Nicole Paternoster
Academic Resource Center
(973) 761-9108

Snow, Ice, Severe Weather

Severe winter weather such as heavy snow, blizzards, and ice storms can pose multiple hazards including, high winds, decreased visibility, dangerously low temperatures, road and sidewalk icing, and blocked roads. Driving, walking, and other outdoor activities can be dangerous under such conditions.

  • Monitor severe winter weather conditions and adjust your activities accordingly. Avoid unnecessary travel or outdoor activities.
  • Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Layering allows you to adjust the amount of insulation based on your outdoor activity to prevent sweating. Sweat soaked clothing in cold weather can lead to hypothermia. Have an outer layer available that is tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Protect your extremities. Wear a warm hat that covers your ears, a scarf or face mask to cover your mouth, gloves or mittens, and insulated boots. This will help prevent frostbite.
  • Avoid overexertion in cold weather. For example, overexertion while shoveling snow can cause a heart attack, a major cause of death in the winter.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If signs of frostbite are detected, warm the body part slowly and get medical help.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia, a dangerous lowering of the body's core temperature. These include uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the body core (place victim in blanket or sleeping bag with another person), and give warm, non-alcoholic drinks if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
  • Fuel you vehicle before the storm. Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel during the day, don't travel alone, stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts, and keep others informed of your schedule.
  • Maintain a home Disaster Supply Kit in case severe winter weather prevents you from going out for supplies or causes a power failure. The kit should contain battery powered radio, blankets/sleeping bags, first aid supplies, flashlights and extra batteries, medications, minimum 3 day supply of nonperishable food and water, and pet items and baby items, if applicable.
  • Have a "GO Kit" in your car containing essential emergency items in case you get stranded on the road (food, water, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries, cellphone, etc.).
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and eat high-caloric foods to help maintain body heat.

If severe winter weather keeps you in your home:

  • When using supplemental heating sources such as fireplaces or kerosene space heaters in your home, make sure you have proper ventilation and a carbon monoxide detector in place. DO NOT use charcoal burning devices indoors.
  • Keep space heaters away from flammable materials. Never leave them unattended. Always take your space heater outside to refill it. Remember: such supplemental heating sources are not permitted in SHU facilities.
  • Open spigots to allow a small, continuous drip to prevent freezing pipes. Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
  • Move your vehicles inside a garage, if possible. Never leave a vehicle running with the garage door closed.

If a blizzard traps you on the road:

  • Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the vehicle antenna. Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Remember that a building may seem close, but be too far to walk in deep snow.
  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to help stay warm. When the engine is running, open an upwind window slightly for ventilation. Periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe.
  • Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion and sweating. In extreme cold you can use seat covers, road maps, floor mats, etc. for insulation. Huddle with other passengers to share body warmth.
  • Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to signal rescue crews.
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration (even if you don't feel thirsty).
  • Do not waste battery power. Turn on the inside light at night so that rescuers can see you.
  • If stranded in a remote area, stomp large letters in an open area to spell out HELP and line with brush or tree limbs to attract the attention of airborne observers.

SHU Weather Closings:

The University Administration will announce decisions regarding postponement or suspension of campus activities or closure of the University through PirateAlert and the SHU web site.

  • Stay informed. Information will be broadcast to the SHU community via PirateAlert, the South Orange SHU Web Site and the Law Web Site. In addition, a message is left on the University phone system, South Orange Campus x9000, Law School x 8725. Announcements will also be made via WSOU and News 12 NJ.
  • Help keep campus parking lots clear during snowstorms or in anticipation of a predicted snowstorm. Drivers should try to park in the parking deck or in available parking spaces under buildings to minimize the number of cars in areas that will need to be plowed.


Hurricanes are large and very dangerous storms that can cause widespread injuries and damage due to high winds, inland flooding, coastal storm surge and storm tide flooding, and tornadoes.

  • If hurricane conditions are expected in the SHU campus area, information is disseminated to the University community via PirateAlert, the South Orange SHU Web Site and the Law School Web Site. You should monitor PirateAlert, the appropriate SHU Web Site, and media sources during the approach of a hurricane.
  • Suspensions of SHU activities or closure of the University is provided to the University community via PirateAlert, the SHU South Orange and Law School Web Sites, WSOU, and News 12 NJ. An informational message is also placed on the University phone system, South Orange Campus at X9000 and Law School at X8725.

During the approach of a hurricane:

  • Modern weather forecasting can provide significant warning time as hurricanes approach, but these storms can deviate from their predicted track. Persons in areas threatened by a hurricane should monitor information sources for the latest forecasts, watches, and warnings.
  • Shutter or board the windows of your home. Secure the area. Property and equipment not properly anchored should be moved inside a building or tied down.
  • Check your home Disaster Supply Kit and evacuation "Go" Bag. If you do not have a ready supply kit, stock up on food and water in case you must shelter in your home or evacuate.
  • Fuel up your vehicles in case an evacuation is ordered. Turn off the utilities of your home at the main valve or switches if instructed to do so by authorities.
  • Check your local Emergency Management web site or office to learn the hurricane emergency evacuation routes and alternate routes from your neighborhood.

If you are instructed to evacuate due to a hurricane:

  • Be prepared to evacuate even before the order to evacuate is announced. If you feel that you are in a dangerous location (such as on the coast or in an area prone to flooding) or live in a structure that cannot sustain the expected high winds (such as a mobile home), make arrangements and evacuate before the evacuation order. Let an out of area contact know of your plans.
  • When instructed to evacuate, do so at once! Remember that the goal is to be out of the danger area and in a safe location before the arrival of the storm force winds and flooding. Bring your Disaster Supply Kit or "Go" bag with you.
  • Follow the announced evacuation routes. If you do not have access to a motor vehicle, go to an announced transportation staging site.
  • Keep away from coastal areas or inland areas prone to flooding.
  • Make arrangements for your pets. Remember that many emergency shelters will not allow pets.
  • See SHU specific evacuation information in the "Campus Evacuation and Relocation " document.

If you are not required to evacuate and you are sheltering in place during a hurricane:

  • Take refuge on the ground floor in a windowless central room, closet, or hallway.
  • Get under a table or other strong object. Stay away from windows or glass doors.
  • Close all inside doors. Brace all outside doors.
  • Remember that there is a calm period during the passage of the hurricane "eye", but that storm conditions will return after the eye passes.

After the hurricane passes:

  • Monitor the media for instructions and official information.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Turn off the utilities in your home (natural gas, electricity, and water) if you did not do so prior to the storm and there is evidence of utility damage caused by the storm.
  • Report downed power lines, gas leaks, and other utility problems in your neighborhood to the authorities.
  • Do not drink tap water until the authorities say it is safe.
  • Do not drive unless it is necessary (roadways must be kept clear for emergency responders).
  • Stay away from waterways and low lying areas until occurring or potential flooding has passed.

Transportation Accidents

Members of the SHU community may be involved in, or a witness to, transportation accidents while on campus, traveling to and from the University, or at any time during their daily lives. The following information can help ensure your safety and your ability to help others affected by an accident.

  • Report transportation accidents to the local authorities as soon as possible. When reporting you should include:
    • Location of the accident
    • Type and number of vehicle(s) involved
    • Need for emergency medical assistance
    • Number of injured and type of injuries
    • Presence of spilled fuel or hazardous materials
    • Downed power lines and other hazards at the site
    • Description and direction of travel of any involved persons that may have left the scene
    Stay at the site to speak with emergency responders unless it is unsafe to do so. If you have to move to a safer location, inform the response agency of your location.
  • Always use seatbelts when traveling in a motor vehicle or aircraft!
  • Always listen to safety briefings provided by flight attendants, ships' personnel, or other authorities when traveling. Read any provided safety materials and check the location of available emergency exits. Think through the emergency procedures and mentally rehearse the actions you would take in an emergency.
  • Participate in any safety drills required for your mode of transportation.
  • When an emergency evacuation of your aircraft, ship, or train is ordered, evacuate immediately and follow the instructions of the crew. Help the crew assist mobility impaired personnel, if necessary.
  • Move a safe distance away from the accident site and await emergency responders. If there is a fuel or hazardous material release, move to a location that is upwind, uphill, and upstream from the site to reduce your exposure to these hazards.
  • If you attempt to render aid to injured persons, do not move those injured who may have suffered neck or back injuries unless their location poses an imminent hazard (such as fire or explosion) and they must be moved immediately for their safety.
  • If you are a witness to a transportation accident, be observant for possible fuel or hazardous materials (HAZMAT) spills/releases. Look for placards on trucks, railroad cars, etc. indicating the presence of HAZMAT in the vehicle. Do not approach accidents involving these materials. Move upwind, uphill, and upstream to a safe location. Notify emergency responders of the presence of a HAZMAT.
  • Look out for any downed power lines at accident scenes. Do not approach downed wires or vehicles in contact with the power lines. Stay in a safe location and notify the emergency responders of the hazard.
  • When at the scene of a motor vehicle accident pay attention to passing traffic. Stay out of the roadway, if at all possible. Passing motorists may be distracted by the accident scene and not notice other persons on or near the roadway.
  • If you must cross railroad tracks while evacuating in the aftermath of an accident or other emergency pay attention to any traffic on the tracks. You may not be able to hear oncoming trains.

Traffic Accidents on Campus:

Public Safety takes a report for motor vehicle accidents that occur on the South Orange campus. Public Safety reports do not assign fault. Our reports contain the facts as reported to us by the involved person(s).

The South Orange Police Department takes reports of motor vehicle accidents involving injuries or damage exceeding $500 .

  • If you observe, or are involved in, a traffic accident on campus, call Public Safety at (973) 761-9300. Include information on injured or trapped victims, location of the accident, and any other information that could impact of the safety of the victims, responders, or passersby.
  • If there are injured persons, call 911. Do NOT attempt to move a seriously injured person unless there is a life threatening situation.
  • Stay clear of any hazardous materials (gasoline, chemicals, etc.) that may spill as the result of a traffic accident.
  • If a driver who is involved in a traffic accident attempts to leave the scene, do NOT attempt to stop them. Make a note of the license plate number, vehicle description and direction of travel and give this information to authorities when they arrive.

Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening, or intimidating behavior, or verbal abuse, perpetrated by anyone and occurring in the work setting.

  • Any employee who perceives an imminent threat of bodily harm to himself/herself or others should contact 9-1-1 immediately. Provide information on the behavior or threat, presence of weapons, description of the person(s) involved, location of the incident and current location or direction of travel of those involved, and the location and condition of any injured victims.
  • Stay on the line with the emergency dispatcher until released, if possible.
  • Disengage from the person exhibiting violent or threatening behavior and evacuate the area. Warn other nearby persons as you leave.
  • Isolate the threatening individual if it is safe to do so.
  • Notify the supervisor in your office or work area of the incident.
  • Do whatever is reasonable and necessary based on the circumstances and your capabilities to protect yourself and others from imminent physical harm.

Crime Prevention and Personal Safety

Crime exists on and off campus:
  • The University campus and neighboring areas are not immune to crime.
  • Property crime is the most common, but serious crimes against persons do occur.
  • Individuals can take steps to reduce their vulnerability (see the following sections)
Maintain situational awareness:
  • Pay attention to the behavior and actions of people and the circumstances around you.
  • Distractions such as the use of headphones reduces your awareness.
  • Be alert for danger signals! Examples:
    • someone luring you from a public area to a location out of public view
    • someone encouraging you to drink to excess
    • someone following you or attempting to get physically close to you despite repeated attempts to avoid them or create distance
    • Stranger in or attempting to gain access to your residence or workspace
  • If something seems bad, it probably is! Take action to avoid the threat and immediately report suspicious or criminal behavior you observe to 9-1-1.
Avoid isolation:
  • Isolated persons are more likely to be victimized.
  • Walk in groups, especially after dark. There is safety in numbers.
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you are expected to return.
  • Utilize SHU transportation services (SHUFLY, CASE van, on-campus escorts) or taxi services to avoid walking alone at night.
  • Avoid isolated areas (locations in which there are no other persons nearby to see or hear if you are victimized and come to your assistance by intervening or alerting the police).
  • Avoid isolation indoors (being alone in a laundry room, study area, workspace, etc.).
  • Do not go into an isolated location with someone that has not yet earned your trust (for example, going into an isolated room at a party).
Control access to residence and workspace:
  • Keep exterior doors and accessible windows closed and locked.
  • Do not leave apartment or residence hall doors unlocked or propped/ bolted open.
  • Don't allow strangers into your residence (or allow them to "piggyback" behind you).
  • Question strangers in your residence or other private area.
  • Don't open campus gates for strangers (let them use their SHU ID to enter).
  • Verify the ID of any maintenance workers that want to enter your residence.
  • Notify your landlord if locks and other security devices are missing or broken.
  • Follow safe party practices: allow attendance by invitation (only people you know) and prevent access to isolated rooms beyond the occupied party area.
Don't leave property unattended or unprotected:
  • Don't leave your valuables (handbags, wallets, laptops, etc.) unattended in a public place, at a party, or in an unlocked room in your residence.
  • Keep your car doors locked and don't leave valuables exposed to view. Lock them in the trunk or glove compartment.
  • Lock your bicycle to a bike rack with a high quality locking device or store in a locked indoor location.
Avoid use of alcohol and drugs:
  • Intoxication is a factor in many serious crimes involving college students:
    • Alcohol and drugs degrade your situational awareness, impairs your judgment, and increases your reaction time!
    • Persons under the influence are less likely to see danger coming or to effectively deal with it.
    • Persons under the influence are much more likely to be aggressive and become involved in criminal activity.
    • Persons under the influence are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors and have accidents.
  • Refrain from drinking, but if you do drink:
    • Drink in moderation.
    • Never accept alcohol from a stranger and drink only from sealed bottles or cans.
    • Never or leave your drink unattended.
    • DO NOT drive!
    • Have a sober, trusted friend get you home.
  • Follow safe party practices when hosting a party:
    • Have parties without alcohol.
    • If alcohol is served, strictly limit consumption and do not serve to underage persons.
    • Have non-alcoholic drinks and food available. Do not allow intoxicated persons to drive.
Take precautions on the Internet:
  • Avoid divulging personal information and your daily movements online.
  • Utilize the privacy features of the social networking sites you use.
  • Be alert for phishing scams (attempts to direct you to phony sites and have you reveal personal account formation)
  • Don't download information from illegitimate file sharing sites.
  • Understand the importance of reporting: a crime cannot be prevented or solved if it isn't reported!
  • Report suspicious and criminal activities immediately!
  • Report behaviors that could indicate danger such as:
    • Stalking or threatening behavior
    • Suicidal behavior
    • Any sign or indicator that a person is planning an attack
    • Seeking or using a weapon for illegitimate purposes
  • Carry a cell phone with emergency numbers pre-programmed.
  • When reporting include: location of the incident, time of occurrence, description of the actions/behaviors observed, description of persons and motor vehicles involved, location and direction of travel of suspects, presence of weapons, etc.
  • Call 9-1-1 for emergencies on or off campus or use the campus emergency telephone (red button).
  • Non-emergencies on campus, call Public Safety & Security at 761-9300 or use the campus emergency phone (black button).
  • Non-emergencies off campus, call SOPD at 763-3000.
What to do if you are directly confronted by criminal activity:
  • If the assailant wants your valuables: give them up (nothing you own is worth your life)!
  • If you are being assaulted: there are options based on your capabilities and the circumstances.
    • Submission - submitting to a crime may be necessary if there are no other viable options
    • Passive resistance - talking your way out of the situation and creating distance
    • Seeking assistance - calling loudly for help and fleeing towards other persons or occupied locations
    • Active physical resistance - If you do physically resist, the goal is to break away and get to help.


Long periods of excessive heat can be dangerous. Excessive heat kills more people in the U.S. than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and lightning combined. The elderly, the very young, obese persons, and those who work outdoors or have substance abuse problems are most at risk. In addition, people in urban areas are more susceptible as the buildings and roadways tend to hold in heat throughout the night.

  • Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must participate in strenuous activities, do it in the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7a.m.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you don't feel thirsty. Water is the best liquid to drink during a heat wave. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they can intensify the effects of the heat on your body. This is especially true about beer because it accelerates dehydration.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the heat energy from the sun.
  • Never leave children or pets in the car even with the windows down. When the outside temperature is only 83 degrees F, and your car windows are down 2 inches, the temperature in your car can reach 109 degrees F in 15 minutes.
  • Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.

Persons conducting outside activities in hot weather:

  • Ensure your personnel working or participating in outdoor activities during hot weather have access to water and drink frequently!
  • Monitor them on a regular basis for signs of heart related illnesses:

    Heat Exhaustion:

    • Cool, moist, pale or flushed skin
    • Heavy sweating
    • Headache
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Dizziness
    • Exhaustion
    Heat Stroke
    • Hot, red skin
    • Lack of perspiration
    • Changes in consciousness
    • Rapid, weak pulse and rapid, shallow breathing
    • Take the victim out of the heat and place in a cool environment
    • Cool the body slowly with cool, wet towels or sheets. If possible, put the victim in a cool bath.
    • Have the victim drink water, SLOWLY, at the rate of approximately half a glass of water every 15 minutes. Consuming too much water too quickly will cause nausea and vomiting in a victim of heat illness.
    • If the victim is experiencing vomiting, cramping, or is losing consciousness, DO NOT administer food or drink. Call 9-1-1 and alert a medical professional as soon as possible, and keep a close watch on the individual until professional help is available.

Hostage Situation and Abductions

Abduction is the taking of person(s) against their will. Depending on the motive of the persons involved, abduction may be a criminal act or an act of terrorism.

A hostage situation occurs when criminals or terrorists abduct persons and try to hold off the authorities by force and by threatening to kill the hostages if provoked or attacked. A hostage situation may be a planned action. It may also be an improvised action as the result of fast response by emergency responders that traps perpetrators at the scene of a crime or terrorist attack. Typically, the hostage-taker(s) will issue demands to the forces keeping them surrounded as a condition for not harming the hostages.

A hostage situation differs from an active shooter situation. An active shooter situation involves assailant(s) using firearms on a continuing basis to injure or kill persons. There is no attempt to hold persons hostage. Responses to an active shooter situation are covered in the Hostile Intruder/Active Shooter section.

Response actions:

  • Attempt to thwart the abduction - Resistance may make the situation more dangerous, but the potential for immediate escape may outweigh the risk. Active resistance may also bring assistance from nearby persons or may alert authorities. The decision to resist must be based on your capabilities, your location in relation to possible assistance, the number of your assailant(s) and their weapons, and having an escape route. Remember that, after the assailants have you in their vehicle or where they want you, the chance of escape, assistance, or survival may be greatly reduced.
  • Regain your composure - Calm down so you can size up your situation.
  • Be observant - Try to observe and remember as much as possible in order to help you plan an escape, predict your abductor's next move, or give information to the police to aid in a rescue or to help apprehend and convict the abductor. You may be blindfolded, but you can gather information from your senses of hearing, touch, and smell.
    • Observe your captors: How many are there? Are they armed and with what? Are they in good physical condition? What do they sound or look like? How old are they? Do they seem well-prepared? What are their emotional states?
    • Observe your surroundings: Where are you being taken? Visualize the route and note the number of turns, stops, and variation in speed. Try to gauge the amount of time between points. Where are you being held? Where are the exits? Are there locks on the doors, cameras, or other security precautions in place? What are the obstacles to an escape?
    • Observe yourself: Are you injured or wounded? How are you bound or incapacitated? How much freedom of movement do you have?
  • Try to ascertain why you have been abducted? If they are holding you for ransom or to negotiate the release of prisoners, you are worth more alive. If you have been captured by a serial killer or sexual predator or in retaliation for a military or political action, the abductor is more likely to kill you. Your decision to risk an escape should be made based on this information.
  • Keep a survival attitude - Be positive. Remember, most kidnapping victims survive, but you should be prepared for a long captivity. Take it one day at a time.
  • Put your captor at ease - Be calm. Cooperate within reason with your captor. Don't make threats or become violent, and don't attempt to escape until the time is right (see below).
  • Keep your dignity - It is generally psychologically harder for a person to kill, rape, otherwise harm a captive if the captive remains "human" in the captor's eyes. Do not grovel, beg, or become hysterical. Try even not to cry. Do not challenge your abductor, but show him/her that you are worthy of respect.
  • Attempt to establish a rapport with your abductor - If you can build some sort of bond with your captor, he/she will generally be more hesitant to harm you.
  • Avoid insulting your abductor or talking about potentially sensitive subjects - Keep such thoughts to yourself. Politics is a good subject to stay away from, especially if you are being held by terrorists or hostage-takers that are politically motivated.
  • Be a good listener - Don't patronize, but be empathetic within reason. Your captor might be more comfortable around you and benevolent toward you. Being a good listener can also help you gather information useful to an escape or later apprehension of your captor. Remember: in long periods of captivity, captives may develop "Stockholm Syndrome", in which they begin to identify with their captors, sometimes to the point of helping them commit crimes or escape justice.
  • Try to communicate with other captives - Talk to them as much as is safely possible. This will make captivity easier and you may be able to plan an escape together. Your communication may have to be covert and involve the use of signals or codes.
  • Keep track of time and try to discern patterns - Keeping track of time can help you establish routines and maintain your dignity and sanity. Detecting patterns in the movements of your captor(s) may help execute an escape. If no clock is available use sunlight, patterns of activity outside, food odors, and differences in your captor's awareness level to keep track of time.
  • Stay mentally active - Captivity can be boring and mind-numbing. Challenge your mind with puzzles, math problems, and carry on conversations in your head with friends and loved ones. Do whatever you can to keep yourself occupied and mentally sharp.
  • Stay physically active - Exercise, even if it's just doing jumping jacks, pushups, pushing your hands together, or stretching. Being in good physical condition can help keep you in good spirits and aid you in an escape attempt.
  • Gradually ask for small favors - Keep requests small, at least initially, and space them far apart. You can make your captivity more comfortable and make yourself more human to your captors.
  • Blend in - If you are held with other captives, you don't want to stand out, especially not as a troublemaker.
  • Watch out for warning signs - If your captors suddenly stop feeding you, treat you more harshly (dehumanize you), suddenly seem desperate or frightened, or if other hostages are being released, but your captors don't appear to intend to release you, they may have decided to kill you. Be ready to make your best move to escape.
  • Try to escape when the time is right - Sometimes it is safest to just wait to be freed or rescued. However, if you have a solid plan and are almost certain you can successfully escape, take advantage of an opportunity. You should also attempt to escape, even if your chances are not good, if you are reasonably certain that your captors are going to kill you.
  • Stay out of the way if a rescue attempt is made - Aside from the first few minutes of an abduction, a rescue attempt is the most dangerous time during a hostage situation. Your captors may become desperate and attempt to use you as a shield, or they might simply decide to kill any hostages. You could also be killed by the actions of the rescuers. When a rescue attempt occurs try to hide from your captors. Stay low and protect you head with your hands or try to get behind some type of protective barrier. Don't make sudden movements when rescuers burst in.
  • Follow the rescuers' instructions carefully - Your rescuers will be on edge. Obey all commands they give. If they everyone to get down on the floor and out their hands on their heads, for example, do it. Remain calm and put rescuers at ease.


  • If you are forced into a vehicle, open the door and get out if you can. If you can't get out, try to jam something into the ignition cylinder (or pull out the keys and jam something in) to prevent the abductor from starting the vehicle.
  • If you're placed in a car trunk, try to escape. If you can't release the trunk hatch and get out, rip or kick through the panel leading to the rear lights and stick your arm out to alert motorists that you are inside. If you can't push the lights out, at least disconnect the wires to disable the lights and make it more likely that the police will pull over the vehicle. In addition, yell for help and pound the trunk hatch whenever the vehicle stops or slows. Try to get a good look at your surroundings. Call for help with your cell phone, if you still have one.
  • Avoid struggling, if you are restrained. Discreetly test your bonds, but don't struggle too much or you could injure yourself and make it less likely that you can escape.
  • If you are a foreign national in a hostile country, consider the implications of an escape. If the population won't help you or if they are likely to help your abductors, you may be better off not trying to escape. Weigh your decision carefully, because getting away from your captors may be only the beginning of your ordeal.


  • Keep in mind that if you are recaptured after an initial escape attempt, you will very likely not get another chance to escape - make your escape count.
  • Only become violent if you think you have a good chance to escape and then do not hold back - be as vicious and forceful as possible. It is imperative that you escape once you stun or incapacitate the abductor, because your attacker will likely be very mad at you when you fight back, especially if you injure him/her.
  • Don't attempt to remove a blindfold. Don't try to take off a mask (either off yourself or off the abductor). If the captor doesn't want you to see him/her, it could be a good sign. The captor may intend to release you and doesn't want you to be able to identify him/her. If you see the abductor, he/she may decide to kill you because you can identify him/her.
  • Be careful talking to other captives, especially about escaping or about information you might have. A fellow captive might rat you out to court the favor of the kidnappers, or one of the "captives" might be a spy for your captors.
  • Don't get your hopes up. A positive attitude is important, but if you get excited and then let down, it will be hard to stay positive. If you captors begin to talk about your release, don't set yourself up to be let down.
  • Be careful about what you tell your abductors. If they're holding you for ransom or for political collateral, it is usually best that they think you are wealthy or important, even if you are not. If they abducted you to kill you in retaliation for some political action, however, you want to seem very unimportant and uninvolved, even if you are not. It is very important to determine your captors' motivations so that you can determine what to tell them, and what not to.


Tornadoes can occur with little or no warning and can result from thunderstorms and hurricanes. The high winds of a tornado can cause death or serious injury due to flying objects and debris, collapsed buildings, and downed power lines.

  • If tornado conditions are expected in the SHU campus area, information will be broadcast to the University community via PirateAlert. You should monitor PirateAlert and media sources during tornado watches.
  • When a Tornado Warning is received for the campus area, the SHU community will be advised to seek shelter indoors through the use of the Emergency Siren System and PirateAlert. Go to an interior windowless room or hallway in the basement or on the lower floors of your building.
  • Since there can be little or no warning of a tornado, you should think about possible shelter locations in the buildings in which you live, work, or visit before a storm occurs. Practice going to these locations.
  • When there is advance warning of possible tornado activity or other severe wind conditions, property and equipment not properly anchored should be moved inside a building or tied down. Close the windows.

If you outside during a tornado watch:

  • Monitor information sources. Be prepared to take shelter at any time.
  • Avoid large, flat buildings with wide open interior areas such as supermarkets, shopping malls, and recreation field houses.
  • Watch the sky for the signs of tornado activity: funnel shaped clouds, dark, greenish sky, large hail, and a loud roar similar to the sound of a freight train.

If you are outside during a tornado warning or see signs of tornado activity:

  • Leave your vehicle or mobile home. Seek shelter in the interior of a sturdy building or a designated tornado shelter.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado. Do not take shelter under a bridge or overpass.
  • If you are caught outside and no suitable shelter is available, lie flat in a ditch or other depression and cover your head with your hands.

After the tornado passes:

  • Watch out for unstable debris, broken glass, damaged structures, and downed power lines.
  • Be careful when entering damaged buildings. Do not enter those that have sustained heavy structural damage.

Thunderstorms and Lightning

Thunderstorms can produce flash flooding, destructive winds, and lightning. In the U.S. lightning typically kills more people than tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Monitor weather forecasts and prepare to take protective actions when thunderstorms are expected.

When outdoors during a thunderstorm:

  • Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from the area where it is raining. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. Seek safe shelter immediately inside an enclosed building that has electrical service or plumbing (which provide electrical grounding) or an enclosed motor vehicle. WHEN THUNDER ROARS…GET INDOORS!
  • When conducting outdoor activities have a plan on how you will respond to a thunderstorm. Know where you will shelter if a thunderstorm occurs. Stop your activities at the first sound of thunder and move to your shelter.
  • During a thunderstorm avoid low lying areas that are prone to flash flooding such as drainage areas, rivers, and streams.
  • If you outdoors in a forested area and a structure or motor vehicle is not available, take shelter under a thick growth of small trees. Never stand under a tall, isolated tree.
  • When outdoors during a thunderstorm, avoid the tops of hills and ridgelines. Seek shelter somewhere downslope or in a valley, but avoid areas prone to flash floods.
  • Avoid open areas such as fields and beaches during a thunderstorm.
  • If on the water and a thunderstorm threatens: get out of the water. If aboard a boat and you cannot reach shore quickly, go into an enclosed cabin or lie low as possible inside the boat.
  • Feeling your hair stand on end during a thunderstorm means that lightning is about to strike nearby. Do not lie down on the ground (this places much of your body in contact with the ground and increase your chance of being badly shocked if lightning hits the ground nearby). Instead, squat on the balls of your feet, place your hands over your ears, and tuck your head between your knees. This limits the surface area of your body touching the ground.

When indoors during a thunderstorm:

  • Do not shower or bathe. Stay away from pools (indoor or outdoor), tubs, showers, and other plumbing. Use ground fault protectors on circuits near water.
  • Stay off corded telephones, computers, and other electrical equipment that puts you in direct contact with electricity. Use surge protectors for important electronics.
  • Unplug electronics and turn off air conditioners.
  • Stay away from windows and do not stay out on unenclosed porches or patios.
  • Wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before going back outside.

Helping a lightning strike victim:

  • Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge, are safe to touch, and need urgent medical attention. Cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death for those who die. Some deaths can be prevented if the victim receives the proper first aid immediately.
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately and perform CPR if the person is unresponsive or not breathing. Use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) if one is available.

Nuclear Attack

Nuclear explosions cause deadly effects over large areas - blinding light, intense heat, initial nuclear radiation, blast, and electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Secondary fires and collapsed structures caused by the explosion add to the destruction. They also produce radioactive particles called fallout that can be carried for great distances by the wind.

Another weapon that produces radiation is the Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) often called a "dirty bomb". This device consists of a conventional explosive and radioactive material and is designed to spread radioactive material over an area. A RDD is considered far more likely to be used by terrorists than a true nuclear device. Information regarding response to the dispersal of a radiological agent is covered in the Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) Release section.

Preparing for nuclear attacks:

  • If there were advanced warning of a nuclear attack from a hostile nation or terrorist group, people living near potential targets could be advised to evacuate to areas not considered a likely target. Become familiar with the evacuation routes in your area, designated relocation sites, available transportation for people without a vehicle, and instructions for people with special needs. Have an out of area contact where you can shelter if an evacuation is ordered.
  • Be familiar with the emergency warning systems in your area. At SHU these include the Emergency Siren System and the PirateAlert Emergency Notification System. Register with PirateAlert!
  • Know the sources of emergency information and instructions in your area. Monitor these sources when conditions indicate a high risk of an attack. At SHU these sources include the PirateAlert Emergency Notification System and the SHU Web Site.
  • With little or no warning of a nuclear attack sheltering (in your home, a nearby strong underground structure, or a designated emergency fallout shelter) may be the only option. Learn the locations of suitable shelters in your area.
  • Maintain a Disaster Supply Kit of water, non-perishable food, medications, clothing, blankets/sleeping bag, battery powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, personal items, and important documents for use when evacuating or sheltering. A minimum two week supply is recommended.

Response to a nuclear attack:

  • If you are instructed to evacuate prior to the actual attack, evacuate immediately with your Disaster Supply Kit or "GO" Bag and follow the announced evacuation route.
  • If you are instructed to seek shelter prior to an actual attack, seek shelter in your home basement, in a nearby strong underground shelter, or in a nearby designated fallout shelter. Bring your Disaster Supply Kit or "GO" Bag with you.
  • If you hear an attack warning or observe the flash of a nuclear explosion, do not look at the fireball - it can blind you. Take cover as quickly as you can. If the explosion is some distance away, it could take 30 seconds or more for the blast wave to reach you. Go below ground if possible and stay there unless instructed otherwise.
  • If you are caught outside unable to get inside immediately, take cover behind anything that might offer protection. Lie flat on the ground and cover your head.
  • Protect yourself from radioactive fallout. If you are close enough to see the flash of the explosion, fallout could arrive within 20 minutes. Remember the three protective factors: TIME, DISTANCE, and SHIELDING.
  • Keep your battery powered radio with you and monitor for official instructions. Local instructions should take precedence.

After the attack:

  • Do not leave your shelter until officials say it is safe. The length of stay in your shelter can range from two days to four weeks depending on conditions. You may receive instructions to exit your shelter and evacuate to a safe area.
  • Water and food may be scarce. Use your available supplies prudently, but do not impose severe rationing, especially for children, the ill, or the elderly.
  • Cooperate with shelter managers. Living with many people in a confined space can be difficult and unpleasant. If you are physically able, help with work projects such as maintaining sanitary facilities and assisting the sick or injured.
  • Monitor your radio for emergency instructions and information on conditions and the availability of supplies and assistance.
  • Stay away from heavily damaged areas and those areas declared or marked as a radiation hazard.

Power Failure

Widespread and prolonged power failures have a massive impact on our communities. They affect building and street lighting, heating and cooling of buildings, mass transit systems, traffic control systems, health care, refrigerated food and medicine storage, cooking, the water supply, communications and computing, fire alarms and other safety systems…most of the technology we depend upon day to day.

The following steps can be taken by individuals to prepare and respond to a power failure:

  • Keep extra cash on hand since the power failure may prevent you from withdrawing cash from ATMs and banks.
  • Keep a supply of non-perishable food, medicine, baby supplies, and pet food on hand at home, as appropriate. Store one gallon of water per person per day.
  • Avoid opening your refrigerator or freezer during the power failure. Food should be safe as long as the outage lasts no longer than 4-6 hours.
  • Have one or more coolers for cold food storage, in case the power failure is prolonged. Perishable foods should not be stored for more than two hours above 40 degrees F.
  • Have an emergency power supply for anyone dependent on medical equipment requiring electricity.
  • Keep a supply of flashlights, batteries, and a battery powered radio on hand.
  • Do not use candles indoors as they pose a fire hazard.
  • Connect only individual appliances to portable generators and never plug a generator into wall outlets or your home's electrical system.
  • Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated outdoor areas, not inside your building.
  • When driving, be careful at intersections. Traffic lights may be out.
  • Turn off any electrical equipment that was in use prior to the power outage.
  • Turn off all lights (except one to alert you when the power has been restored).
  • Check on elderly neighbors, friends, or relatives who may need assistance if weather is severe during the outage.
  • Resist the urge to call 9-1-1 for information. Use a battery powered radio instead.
  • Always keep your motor vehicle's tank full (gas stations rely on electricity to pump fuel and most do not have emergency generators.
  • When power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help prevent electrical problems caused by a sharp increase in demand for power.

Building fire alarm systems will not operate on battery power for longer than 24 hours. If a power failure at SHU is prolonged, a fire watch is set up in occupied buildings to alert occupants of a fire.


Terrorism can be defined as the unlawful use of force or violence against persons and property to intimidate or coerce a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Acts of terrorism can include assassinations, active shooter attacks, hostage taking, hijackings, bombings, release of chemical, biological, or radiological agents, or a nuclear attack. Terrorist attacks can, and are often intended to result in, mass casualties, loss of critical resources, disruption of vital services, disruption of the economy, and heightened fear.

Potential terrorist targets might include:

  • Seats of government and public officials
  • Key industries (especially industrial site at which an attack might cause the release of hazardous materials)
  • Bridges, subways, tunnels, and other key transportation facilities
  • Water supplies and utilities
  • Places of historical significance
  • Major public events (parades, athletic events, entertainment, dignitary visits, etc.)
  • "Soft" targets such as shopping malls, schools, theaters, and college campuses

Signs of terrorist activity (pre-attack):

The following are potential warning signs that an act of terrorism is being planned, prepared, or is about to be launched:

  • Surveillance - A targeted area is watched and studied carefully. This may include recording or monitoring activities.
  • Elicitation - Information is gathered that is specific to an intended target. This may be by phone, mail, or in person.
  • Tests of security - Local security measures are tested and analyzed, including measuring reaction times to security breaches or attempts to penetrate security.
  • Funding - Raising, transferring, or spending money, which may include selling drugs or stolen merchandise or funneling money through businesses or charities.
  • Acquiring supplies - Necessary supplies are gathered to prepare the attack, including weapons/weapon components, transportation, and communications. Supplies may be purchased with cash only.
  • Impersonation or suspicious people who don't belong - People impersonating roles to gain access or information and people who don't fit in or don't seem to belong in the location.
  • Rehearsal and dry runs - Groups or individuals will often conduct test runs before the actual attack.
  • Deployment - The final and most urgent phase when terrorists are deploying assets and getting into position. Attack is imminent.

Indicators that a terrorist attack is imminent or has occurred:

  • Explosion - An explosion may be the result of an industrial accident, but it could also be the result of a terrorist act. The explosion may or may not be massive. A smaller explosion could be used to disperse a chemical or radiological agent. Be alert for the presence of "Secondary Devices" (additional explosives designed to attack personnel responding to the scene). An explosive device may also be a diversion or precursor to an assault by attackers armed with firearms.
  • Vapor cloud or mist - A vapor cloud or mist that is unusual for the area or time of day. It may indicate the dispersal of a chemical or biological agent.
  • Unusual tastes or odors - Tastes or odors unusual for the area could indicate the dispersal of a chemical or biological agent especially when combined with other indicators.
  • Unscheduled spraying - Unannounced spraying by aircraft or by devices on the ground could be an indicator of a chemical or biological attack.
  • Materials or equipment unusual for the area - The presence of lab equipment, dispersal devices, or quantities of hazardous materials in unusual locations or places inappropriate to their lawful use might indicate that an attack is impending or occurring.
  • Out of place and unattended packages or vehicles - Vehicles or packagers left unattended in public areas or at events especially in the vicinity of large numbers of people might contain explosives or other dangerous materials.
  • Packages that are leaking - Leaking packages may be harmless, but they could also contain hazardous materials or explosives (see Bomb Threat and Suspicious Device section).
  • Numerous sick or dead animals, fish, or birds - The presence of large numbers of obviously sick, dying, or dead animals may indicate the presence of harmful chemical or biological agents released as an act of terrorism.
  • Large numbers of persons seeking medical attention - Numerous persons with similar symptoms not characteristic of the season (such as flu symptoms in July) that are seeking medical attention could indicate a biological attack.
  • Multiple victims exhibiting similar symptoms - Multiple victims at a location showing symptoms such as difficulty breathing, convulsions, seizure activity, skin necrosis, uncontrolled salivating, etc. may indicate that a chemical attack has occurred.
  • Multiple casualties without obvious signs of trauma - Multiple persons that appear ill or injured without obvious signs of traumatic injury may indicate a biological or chemical attack. NOTE: Trauma refers to a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident. It can also be described as a physical wound or injury, such as a fracture.

Preparing for terrorism:

  • Wherever you are, be aware of your surroundings and the activities of persons around you. Be alert for the signs or indicators of terrorist activity described above.
  • Take precautions when traveling. Do not accept packages from strangers. Do not leave luggage unattended. Report unusual behavior, suspicious packages, and strange devices to police or security personnel.
  • Do not be afraid to move or leave if you feel uncomfortable or something does not seem right.
  • Learn where emergency exits are located in the buildings you frequent. Notice where exits are when you enter unfamiliar buildings. Plan how to get out of a building, subway, or congested public area or traffic. Note where staircases are located.
  • Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit at home. Separate the supplies you would take with you if you had to evacuate quickly and put them in a a "GO" Bag. Have a "GO" Bag for your for car and workplace.
  • Learn first aid. Have basic first aid supplies available to you.
  • Be prepared to do without services you normally depend on that could be disrupted by terrorist attack - electrical power, telephone service, natural gas, gasoline pumps, ATM machines, and the Internet.
  • Be familiar with the emergency warning systems in your area. At SHU these include the Emergency Siren System and the PirateAlert Emergency Notification System. Register with PirateAlert!
  • Know the sources of emergency information and instructions in your area. Monitor these sources when conditions indicate a high risk of a terrorist attack. At SHU these sources include the PirateAlert Emergency Notification System and the SHU Web Site.
  • Be prepared to respond to official instructions to evacuate or shelter in place because of the effects of a terrorist attack.
  • Be familiar with the types of fire extinguishers and how to locate and use them. You may need to use a fire extinguisher to help you to escape from a building in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.
  • Have a flashlight and batteries available to you at all times.
  • Be familiar with the appropriate response procedures for various types of terrorist attacks (see below). This will help you take effective action when needed.

Responding to a terrorist attack:

The specific actions to take in response to a terrorist attack vary depending on the type of attack and weapon being used. However, appropriate response actions always involve one or more of the following principles to reduce your exposure to the hazard:

  • Time - reducing the amount of time you are exposed to the hazard (for example, through a timely evacuation away from the hazard, taking action to incapacitate an attacker when there are no other viable options, or sheltering until a hazardous material has dispersed)
  • Distance - creating and maintaining distance between you and the source of the hazard (for example, moving away from the location of a suspicious device to a safe location out of the line of site to the device)
  • Shielding - positioning yourself in a location that provides a protective barrier between you and the hazard (for example, sheltering in place within a building or taking cover behind a wall) or using protective equipment (for example, the use of a facemask or receiving a vaccine in response to a biological threat)

Detailed responses to specific threats include:


An earthquake is a sudden shaking of the earth caused by the breaking or shifting of rock beneath the earth's surface. Though damaging earthquakes are rare our area, they are not impossible. There are several fault lines in the New York/New Jersey area. You may also move or travel to earthquake prone areas, so information regarding earthquake response procedures should be part of your emergency preparedness knowledge.

Damage from a major earthquake can extend for many miles from the epicenter. Collapsed buildings, bridges and overpasses, cracked roadways, downed power lines, broken gas lines, explosions, and landslides can result. Earthquakes at sea can trigger huge ocean waves, called tsunamis, which impact coastal areas.

What to do before an earthquake:

  • Look for items in your home that could become a hazard during an earthquake:
    • Repair defective electrical wiring, leaky gas lines, and inflexible utility connections.
    • Bolt down water heaters and gas appliances (have an automatic gas shut-off device installed that is triggered by an earthquake)
    • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves. Fasten shelves to walls. Brace high and top heavy objects.
    • Store bottled foods, glass, china, and other breakables on low shelves or in cabinets that can be fastened shut.
    • Anchor overhead lighting fixtures.
    • Check and repair deep cracks in ceilings and foundations. Get expert advice, especially if there are signs of structural defects.
    • Be sure your residence is firmly anchored to its foundations (many older homes are not anchored).
    • Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks.
  • Know where and how to turn off electricity, gas, and water at main switches and valves.
  • Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall.
  • Identify danger zones in each room - windows where glass can shatter, bookcases or furniture that can topple over, or under ceiling fixtures that can fall.
  • Develop a plan for reuniting with your household after an earthquake. Establish an out of town contact for household members to call.
  • Prepare to survive on your own for a least 3 days. Assemble a disaster supply kit. Keep a stock of non-perishable food and drinking water.

What to do during an earthquake:

  • If you are inside a building, stay inside your building until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Most injuries during earthquakes occur when people are hit by falling objects when entering or exiting buildings.
  • If you are indoors, drop, cover, and hold on! Take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or bench, or against an inside wall, and hold on. Stay away from glass windows, outside doors or walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture. If you are in bed, stay there, hold on, and protect your head with a pillow (unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall.
  • If you are outdoors, stay outside. Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. Do not take shelter under a bridge or overpass.
  • If you live in an apartment building, residence hall, or other multi-household structure with many levels:
    • Get under a desk and stay away from windows and outer doors.
    • Stay in the building (many injuries occur as people flee a building and are struck by falling debris).
    • Be aware that electricity may go out and sprinkler systems may activate.
    • Do not use the elevators.
  • If you are in a crowded indoor public location:
    • Stay where you are. Do not rush for the doorways.
    • Move away from tall shelves, cabinets, bookcases, and display cases that could topple over or that contain objects that could fall.
    • Take cover and grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and glass.
    • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may activate.
    • Do not use elevators.
  • If you are in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, or utility wires. Then proceed cautiously, watching for bridge and road damage.
  • If you become trapped in debris:
    • Do not light a match or lighter.
    • Do not move about or kick up dust.
    • Cover your mouth with a cloth or clothing.
    • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you.
    • Use a whistle if one is available.
    • Shout only as a last resort - shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
  • Stay indoors until the shaking has stopped and you are sure that exiting is safe.

What to do after an earthquake:

  • Be prepared for aftershocks. They can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures.
  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move them, first stabilize their neck and back.
  • If the victim is not breathing, carefully position the person to open the airway to assist them to breathe.
  • Maintain body temperature with blankets, clothing, or other insulating material and raise the legs to help prevent shock.
  • Attempt to stop bleeding through the use of direct pressure, elevation, and pressure points.
  • Do not try to give liquids to an unconscious person.
  • If the electricity goes out, use flashlights or battery powered lanterns. Do not use candles, matches, or open flames indoors after the earthquake because of possible gas leaks.
  • Wear sturdy shoes in areas covered with debris and broken glass.
  • Check your home for structural damage. If you have any doubt about safety in your home, have it inspected by a professional before entering.
  • Check chimneys for visual damage and have them inspected by a professional before lighting a fire.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, and other flammable liquids in your home. Evacuate the building if gasoline fumes are detected and the building is not properly ventilated.
  • Visually inspect utility lines and appliances for damage.
    • If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave. Shut off the main gas valve. Report the leak to the gas company. Stay out of the building. If you shut off the gas at the main valve, only a professional should turn it back on.
    • Switch off the electrical power at the main fuse box or circuit breaker if electrical damage is known or suspected.
    • Shut off the water supply at the main valve if water pipes are damaged.
    • Do not flush toilets until you know the sewer lines are intact.
  • Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of heavy objects that can fall from shelves.
  • Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies (to prevent overloading of the phone system).
  • Listen to news reports and monitor information sources (such as PirateAlert if you are on campus).
  • Stay off the streets. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Stay away from other damaged areas unless your assistance has been requested by response agencies or you are a trained emergency responder operating with an organized team (such as a local CERT team).
  • If you live in coastal areas, be aware of possible tsunamis. When you receive a tsunami warning, get away from the beach and go to high ground. Bring your "GO KIT"

Emergency Assistance for Persons with Disabilities

Students with mobility disabilities and those with medical related challenges should be aware of the following:

Mobility Disabilities

If you are a student that may have a challenge evacuating your room and building, please keep in mind that elevators should not be used during an evacuation and that automatic door opening devices will not operate when electrical power is lost.

If you are evacuating your building in response to a fire alarm and must use a stairwell to exit the building, seek shelter on a landing in the fire stairwell. Call 9-1-1 and report your location. Also, ask passersby to report your location to emergency responders so that the responders can assist you down the stairs and out of the building.

If an evacuation of the building or campus is announced, please contact your Hall Director or another member of the Residence Life Staff in your building immediately to request any assistance you may need prior to the evacuation. If you find that you need assistance during evacuation procedures, please inform a friend or SHU representative and ask that the Department of Public Safety be notified of your need for assistance at (973) 761-9300.

Food Allergies

During emergencies in which the dining hall may not be in regular operation, packaged emergency meals may be provided to members of the University community. If you should have dietary restrictions or severe food allergies (i.e. nut, fruit, gluten allergies, etc.), please report these needs to your Hall Director immediately. In order to prepare appropriate meals, this information will be needed by our Dining Services in advance.

Refrigeration of Medical Supplies and Electrically Powered Medical Devices

In the event of a power outage, please report any needs for the refrigeration of medications and, or the reliance on electrically powered medical equipment to the Department of Public Safety (973) 761-9300.