Emergency Preparedness


The health and safety of all our students, faculty, administration, staff and visitors is of paramount concern at St. John’s University. While the likelihood of a major emergency situation is remote, St. John’s recognizes the critical importance of being prepared and has designed a comprehensive program that ensures the security of the University community in the event of a crisis.

View the Active Shooter Video - Options for Consideration



Have an escape route and plan in mindHide in an area out of the active shooter’s view
As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger
Leave your belongings behindBlock entry to your hiding place, lock the doors, and turn off the lightsAttempt to incapacitate the active shooter by any means available
Do not use elevatorsDo not stand by a windowAct with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter
Keep hands visible, raised, and spread fingersSilence electronic devicesCommit to your actions
Follow directions of responding officersIF OUTDOORS- Use a tree, vehicle, mailbox, etc. for cover and concealment from the shooter 
IF OUTDOORS- Try to get inside a building. If unable, take cover or lie flat on ground  


Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructionAvoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling
Immediately raise hands and spread fingersDo not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises
Keep hands visible at all timesBe aware that the goal of the first responders will be to stop the active shooter, not tend to the victims
Avoid making quick movements towards officers such as attempting to hold on to them for safety 


Location of the victims and active shooterNumber and types of weapons held by shooter(s)
Number of shooters, if more than oneNumber of potential victims at the location
Physical description of the shooter(s) 


Indicators of potentially violent behavior may include one or more of the following:
Increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons and violent crimesIncreased severe mood swings, and noticeably unstable or emotional responses
Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugsUnexplained increase in absenteeism, and/or vague physical complaints
Depression/WithdrawalIncreasingly talks of problems at home


QueensStaten Island  Manhattan LIGC
718 990-5252   718 390-4487  212 277-5155718 374-1435


New York City is vulnerable to many different weather related hazards, and SJU Department of Public Safety continuously monitors weather conditions that may affect our community. We maintain direct contact with the NYC  Emergency Management as well as the New York City Police and Fire Departments.

Staying safe means staying informed. Remember to use these easy ways to learn instantly about closings and other emergencies on and around campus. Sign up for Emergency Alerts via up-to-the-minute text and voice messages. Also use the St. John’s Web site, campus “e-boards,” public address system, and emergency phone numbers — all parts of our Emergency Response Plan to help keep you informed and safe in emergencies. The following is a preparedness guide to some of the severe weather hazards that may occur;


Preparing for the storm:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • All furniture, including beds, should be pulled away from the windows whenever possible. Electronic devices should be kept off the floor, preferably in a closet. All electrical items should be unplugged, except refrigerators.
  • Since the floors can get wet, all articles such as shoes, rugs, clothes, bags, suitcases, etc., should be placed off the floor on closet shelves or in dresser drawers.
  • All loose objects should be placed in drawers or closets. Papers, books, etc., should not be left on the tops of desks or dressers.
  • Valuables should be placed in closets or dresser drawers. All doors should be locked when the occupants are not in the room or apartment.
  • Make sure all windows are closed tightly. Do not open or “crack” windows in attempt to “equalize” or “balance” pressure within the room or building. Opening windows does not help with pressure. This only creates additional forces inside the building which can lead to structural damage. Open all blinds (regardless of style) and curtains. This is to permit as much light as possible to enter the room in the event of a power loss and to minimize damage should window breakage occur. Do not tape windows or modify or cover windows in any manner without permission from Residence Life Staff.
  • Any student who owns a car should see that the emergency brake is set. If you have an automatic, make sure the car is in park. If you have a manual (stick-shift), you should put the car in reverse gear. All windows should be closed and the car locked. All cars must remain in assigned parking areas. Make sure you have a full tank of gas.
  • Each student should provide their own flashlight in case of power failure. Do not use candles under any circumstances; fire is uncontrollable during a hurricane.
  • Students should provide themselves with necessary food items for a three-day period. Items that do not require cooking or refrigeration are usually best.

During the storm:

  • Stay indoors during the entire storm.
  • Contact SJU Public Safety 718 990-5252 if any health or safety condition exists.
  • Students should remain away from danger areas, such as the glass windows and doors in the lobby areas of the halls, or the living rooms of suites.
  • Students should not attempt to open windows or doors to see what is happening outside...
  • Cell phone calls should be made only in case of emergency.

After the storm:

  • Report all accidents, injuries, broken windows or excessive water to the Resident Assistant, Residence Director, or Public Safety.
  • Whenever possible food service facilities will be open. Students are encouraged to provide for their own food requirements for the initial period of the emergency, usually three days



Hot and humid summer weather can cause heat illness and even death. More Americans die from heat waves than all other natural disasters combined. The following is a guide to prevent heat illness:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.

Heat Illness

Heat illness occurs when the body cannot cool down. The most serious forms of heat illness are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises quickly, and can rapidly lead to death. Keeping cool can be hard work for the body. This extra stress on the body can also worsen other health conditions such as heart and lung disease.

Warning signs of heat illness include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Light headedness, feeling faint
  • Headache
  • Decreased energy
  • Loss of appetite, nausea

If you or someone you know has warning signs of heat illness, get to a cool place, remove extra clothes, and drink lots of water

Symptoms of heat illness include:

  • Hot, dry skin OR cold, clammy skin
  • Confusion, hallucinations, disorientation
  • Unconscious or unresponsive
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness

Call 911 or SJU Public Safety 718 990-5252 immediately if you or someone you know has these symptoms of heat illness.



Though generally associated with the central United States, tornadoes occasionally occur in New York City. Such events can occur with little or no warning. NYC experienced tornados as recently as 2012.

What to Do if a Tornado Strikes:

  • Go to your basement or the lowest point of the building that you are in. If an underground shelter is not available, move to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Get out of automobiles.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; leave it immediately for safe shelter.
  • If you cannot find shelter, take cover in a ditch or other recessed area and cover your head with your hands. Do NOT take cover under an overpass or bridge.
  • Be aware of flying debris.
  • Avoid places with wide-span roofs, such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls.

After the Tornado:

  • Watch out for fallen power lines and stay away from damaged areas.
  • If you are injured, or need assistance, call 911 or SJU Public Safety 718 990-5252
  • Help injured or trapped persons; give first aid when appropriate.
  • Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • If you smell gas, do not turn on any appliances or switches. This includes using phones, flashlights, or a cell phone.



Regardless of their severity, all thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes.

  • The safest place to be during a thunderstorm is indoors. Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent.
  • Remember the 30/30 Rule. If you see lightning, count the seconds before you hear thunder. If it's less than 30 seconds, take cover. Once indoors, wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before venturing back out.


  • Do not use the telephone or any electrical appliance connected to the buildings building's electrical wiring.
  • Do not use showers, sinks, or any object, machine, or device connected to the building's plumbing system. If lightning strikes the building, the current will likely flow through either the electrical wiring or the water pipes, and you could receive a fatal shock.
  • Automobiles can also protect you from a lightning strike because the current will flow through the car's metal frame. If you are in a car, do not touch any exposed metal connected to the car.
  • Remember, indoors means indoors. Structures like bus shelters or any small non-metal structures do not provide sufficient lightning protection.


  • Stay away from tall, isolated objects like trees, flagpoles or posts, and avoid large open areas like fields or parking lots where you are the highest object. Stay clear of downed power lines.
  • Stay away from lakes, ponds, railroad tracks, and fences, which could carry current from a distant lightning strike.
  • If there is no shelter, crouch down, grab your ankles and bend forward, so that your head is not the highest part of your body and your head does not touch the ground. Do not lie flat on the ground.
  • If lightning is about to strike you or something extremely close, you may experience a tingling feeling on your skin and/or your hair may stand on end. If this occurs, quickly assume the position described above. Even if you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, do not panic. You will likely find sufficient shelter.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES                                                                                              

Power outages occur most often during the summer months, when residents run air conditioners and power usage is at its peak. While prolonged power disruptions occur infrequently, it's always a good idea to be prepared. To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.


  • Call SJU Public Safety at 718 990-5252. In addition, during business hours notify the Building Manager. If the Building Manager is not available, call the SJU Facilities Service Center  as follows; 
    For Queens
    Ext. 6253 or 6254  (Mon – Fri:  7am – 10pm)
    Ext. 6281 (After hours and weekend)

    For Staten Island
    Ext. 4477 or 4478 (Mon – Fri:  7am – 10pm)
    Ext. 4487 (After hours and weekend)

    For Manhattan
    Ext. 5177 (Mon – Fri:  9am – 4pm)
    Ext. 6281 (After hours and weekend)
  • Disconnect or turn off all appliances that will go on automatically when service is restored. If several appliances start up at once, they may overload electrical circuits. 
  • In order to prevent food spoilage, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Move milk, cheese, meats, and other perishables into the freezer compartment. If the freezer is only partially full, keep all items close together and stacked on top of each other.
  • Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, stay away from downed and dangling power lines.
  • Check on people with special needs.

Fires, and to a lesser degree, explosions present a constant threat to institutions of higher learning. Public Safety currently monitors fire safety equipment such as sprinklers, fire extinguishers and know hazardous material on our campuses. Evacuation protocols are exercised regularly with scheduled fire drills.

University Community
Fires and explosions are a significant threat to the safety of the University community. In addition to regularly scheduled fire drills, periodically the University community will receive training updates on how to respond to this threat. These training updates include the following general information:

If you observe a fire, alert those in your immediate area, evacuate the area, and activate the closest fire alarm pull station. Call Public Safety or 911. When a fire alarm is activated, immediately evacuate the building and follow instructions of Public Safety officers and Emergency Evacuation Volunteers. The routine fire drills conducted by the University help to ensure an immediate and safe evacuation of all individuals in a building. Treat every fire drill as the real thing. Initiate evacuation of the building immediately upon hearing the fire alarm. If an explosion occurs and overhead items are falling in your area take refuge under a sturdy table or desk. If there are severe smoke conditions, stay low to the floor and exit the building as quickly as possible. If you are trapped in debris, tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear you. Understand that persons should not attempt to rescue people who are inside a collapsed building. Public Safety will immediately contact professional first responders who will initiate appropriate rescue activities.

Initial Action
Fires and explosions present a serious threat to the University. An explosion is caused by a rapid expansion of gas from a chemical reaction or incendiary devices. Signs of an explosion may be a very loud sound or a series of noises and vibrations, fire, heat, or smoke, falling glass or debris. The Vice President for Public Safety, or designee, will make a determination to activate the Emergency Operation Center (EOC). Public Safety will contact specific functional areas, as appropriate to the incident. Upon being notified, Public Safety will ensure appropriate fire alarms have been activated, contact municipal first responders, and deploy officers to direct evacuation activities. The Vice President for Public Safety will enhance communication with the Facilities Services and Environmental Health and Safety, and advise senior leadership of the incident.

Response Procedures for Chemical and Oil Spills

  • If you see or suspect a release of hazardous materials, immediately get to a safe location and contact Public Safety at ext. 5252 or by using one of the “blue light” phones and follow their instructions. Report the specific location of the emergency (building and room number), the nature of the emergency, the location of individuals with disabilities or others needing assistance, and your name and location.
  • If the emergency involves a fire or otherwise requires building evacuation, immediately remove yourself to safety and activate the building fire alarm at the fire alarm pull-box.
  • Extinguish all sources of ignition and stop the source of the release if it is safe to do so.
  • Alert people to evacuate the immediate area. Avoid breathing vapors and quickly determine the chemical and the quantity of material that has spilled. Notify the laboratory supervisor and/or principal investigator.
  • Attend to any persons contaminated by chemicals by removing contaminated clothing, and when feasible, flush the affected body area with water, for at least 20 minutes, using available safety shower/eye wash equipment.
  • If feasible, don the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and prevent spilled material from reaching floor drains or stormwater conveyances. Confine the spill by using absorbent material (spill pillows, paper towels, paper, berms) or an available spill kit. Spill residue and debris will be discarded as hazardous waste through EH&S.
  • Remain calm, move away from the site, keep people away from the scene, and offer assistance to the disabled and others as needed until help arrives.
  • If feasible, open room windows and close the doors to the affected area upon leaving.
  • On receiving a call about an incident on Campus, Public Safety will dispatch a patrol officer and other emergency administrators to investigate the incident and assess the situation. The first responders should approach the incident from an upwind direction. Do not step in or touch the spilled material. Avoid inhaling fumes, smoke, or vapors. Do not assume that harmful gases or vapors are not present because you cannot smell them.
  • If possible, obtain the chemical Safety Data Sheet (SDS).  Or, identify the suspected material by looking for: (1) a 4-digit ID number on a placard or orange panel; and/or (2) name of material on shipping paper, placard, or package and/or (3) hazard warning labels. Report identity of spilled material, if known, to Public Safety.
  • The emergency administrators will immediately determine the need for and extent of evacuation.
  • If it is an incidental spill, internal responders will be summoned to the scene to conduct clean up operations.  Large-scale spills will require the services of an emergency spill response contractor.
  • If the spill is a non-incidental spill, Public Safety will contact the Fire Department and/or outside response contractors and ask them to respond to the incident.
  • When the Fire Department and/or outside emergency response contractors report to the site of the emergency, one of the outside supervisors will assume the role of the Incident Commander and coordinate the response efforts among the various response parties.
  • The Department of Environmental Health & Safety and other campus departments and areas maintain libraries with Safety Data Sheets that can be relied upon to provide useful information in the event of a hazardous materials release.
  • Any spilled material and clean up debris will be properly characterized and disposed in accordance with applicable regulations

Response Procedures for Chemical Explosions

In the event a mishap occurs such as an explosion on campus take the following action:

  • Immediately take cover under tables, desks and other objects, which will give protection against falling/flying glass or debris.
  • After the initial effects of the explosion and/or fire have subsided, notify Public Safety at ext. 5252. Give your name and describe the location and nature of the emergency. Be sure to notify Public Safety of any known special hazards, like gas leaks and power failures.
  • Alert and evacuate all personnel in the immediate area
  • Attend to any persons contaminated by chemicals by removing contaminated clothing, and when feasible, flush the affected body area with water, for at least 20 minutes, using available safety shower/eye wash equipment.
  • Close all doors leading to the affected area, and secure the area until Public Safety and other emergency administrators arrive to evaluate the situation. Try to explain the cause of the explosion and the materials/chemicals involved.  If possible, obtain the chemical Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
  • If the explosion threatens you and other building occupants, or if you are instructed to do so, activate the building fire alarm to signal that an emergency exists. Walk quickly to the nearest marked exit, and proceed to the nearest exit.
  • Once you are out of the building, immediately notify Public Safety at ext. 5252 from a safe location. Report the specific location of the emergency (building and room number), the nature of the emergency, the location of individuals with disabilities or others needing assistance, and your name and location.
  • While on the phone with Public Safety, indicate whether chemicals or fuel oil are involved, and identify the chemical (if known).
  • Individuals with disabilities should look for areas of refuge like stairwells with fire doors or safe areas in classroom buildings.
  • Public Safety will contact the fire department to respond to all fires.

Response Procedures for Biohazard Spills

Spills in the University laboratory:

Investigators are generally responsible for cleaning up biological spills they create in the lab. Laboratories are required to maintain basic materials for response to routine spills (ie, biological spill kits). EH&S is available to consult on clean-up procedures and will assume responsibility for cleaning the spill if it is beyond the scope of the lab staff’s ability, due to hazard level or resource limitation.

Spills in common areas:

Facilities Services is generally responsible for cleaning up biological spills that are, for example, in a non-laboratory hallway floor or in a restroom. EH&S is available to consult on clean up procedures and will assume responsibility for the spill if it is large-scale.

Biohazard Spill Clean-Up Procedures

  1. Personal exposure takes priority over clean up.  If exposure occurs, immediately remove contaminated clothing and other protective equipment and wash affected areas with soap and water. If medical follow-up is warranted it should be sought immediately at a local Emergency Room or through your healthcare provider.
  2. Spill response procedures involving microorganisms, including recombinant microorganisms, requiring BSL1 or BSL2 containment.
    1. Alert personnel in vicinity to leave the immediate area.
    2. Don protective equipment (gown/lab coat, gloves, eye protection).
    3. Cover an area twice the size of the spill with paper towels, or other absorbent material.
    4. Pour disinfectant solution onto the spill, starting at the perimeter and working inward from the edges of the towels. Avoid splashing.
    5. Allow 20 minute contact period.
    6. Wipe down any contaminated stationary equipment or furniture twice with disinfectant. Contaminated fabric-covered furniture or porous material should generally be treated with disinfectant and then discarded. EH&S can provide a consultation on other contingencies.
    7. Use forceps, tongs, or broom to remove broken glass and other items; place in sharps container or red bag, as appropriate.
    8. Remove towels and re-clean area with disinfectant solution.
    9. Collect and dispose in a red, Biohazardous Materials bag, or other Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) container.
    10. Decontaminate (autoclave, or use a chemical disinfectant) reusable clean-up items and other permanent equipment.
    11. Inform laboratory personnel when the clean-up is complete.
    12. Procedures for BSL-1 and BSL-2 laboratories should incorporate a degree of flexibility. One could safely abridge the procedures above if 1 ml were spilled over a small bench top area. However, dropping 50 ml of culture on the floor necessitates the more detailed procedure.              
  3. Spills outside the laboratory in common areas.
    1. Viable organisms should only leave the laboratory in a well-sealed primary (inner) and secondary (outer) container with a closable top. A test-tube rack inside a tray is not acceptable for transport.
    2. The exterior of the secondary container should be wiped down with disinfectant prior to leaving the laboratory.
    3. In the unlikely event of a spill, post someone to notify people in the immediate area, collect PPE and clean-up material and then proceed with clean-up, as described above. Public Safety can help restrict access to contaminated areas.
  4. Abandoned spills in common areas
    1. Biological spills encountered in a hallway (e.g. leaking red bag placed inappropriately on the floor). Notify personnel to avoid the immediate area. Notify EH&S. Public Safety can help restrict access to contaminated areas.
    2. Blood spills encountered in a bathroom (e.g. menstrual blood or nosebleed). Such spills should be reported to Facilities.

Remember- People are not suspicious, behavior is. We sometimes describe someone as a “suspicious person”, yet it is actually their behavior that is suspicious. The safety of our community depends on all of us being vigilant and aware of suspicious behavior, and promptly reporting this activity to law enforcement or Public Safety.

 How do we determine what is suspicious activity or behavior? A suspicious activity is     when a person’s conduct or action does not fit the normal day-to-day activity in our community. It is an occurrence that is out of place and should not be happening in our community. It is not your responsibility to figure out exactly what is happening; law enforcement or Public Safety will make that determination. Rely on your instincts, and a common-sense observation.

.If you observe suspicious activity:

 Call 911 or SJU Department of Public Safety at 718 990-5252. Describe specifically what you observed, including:

  • Who or what you saw;
  • When you saw it;
  • Where it occurred; and
  • Why it's suspicious.
  • Do Not confront the person
  • You can report suspicious activity anonymously   


An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the ground. Although earthquakes are uncommon in New York City, tremors occasionally occur and residents should be prepared. In the event of an earthquake, consider the following:


Drop, Cover and Hold On:

  • Drop to the floor.
  • Cover your head and neck with your arms. If you can move safely, crawl for additional cover under a sturdy desk or table. If there is low furniture, or an interior wall or corner nearby, and the path is clear, these may also provide some additional cover. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures.
  • Hold on to any sturdy shelter until the shaking stops.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside.
  • Move carefully after the quake, watching for items that may have fallen or broken. Put on sturdy shoes before investigating further to prevent potential injuries from broken glass.
  • If power is out, use a flashlight and turn on a battery-operated radio for more information. Do not use candles or open flame as a source of light.
  • If you smell gas, leave immediately and call 911. If gas is leaking and you know how, turn off the source of gas at the outside main, and call the gas company from outside your home.
  • Open closet and cabinet doors carefully, as items may have shifted inside.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks, which often follow an earthquake.
  • If you are confined to a wheelchair, try to get under a doorway or into an inside corner, lock the wheels and cover your head with your arms. Remove any items that are not securely attached to the wheelchair.
  • If you are unable to move from a bed or chair, protect yourself from falling objects by covering up with blankets and pillows.
  • Do Not use the elevators.


If you can, go to an open area away from trees, telephone poles, utility lines and buildings.
Once in the open, Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Stay there until the shaking stops. This might not be possible in a city, so you may need to duck inside a building to avoid falling debris.


  • Pull to the side of the road and stop as quickly as safety permits. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • STAY in the vehicle.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
  • Anticipate traffic light outages and other power interruptions.


  • Expect aftershocks. Drop, Cover, and Hold On whenever you feel shaking.
  • When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move and there is a safe way out through any debris. Then exit the building.
  • In the event of an injury or any dangerous conditions, call 911 or SJU Public Safety (718 990-5252). If you are located at a study abroad site, contact the site director for emergency information.
  • Help people who are trapped or injured, especially those who may require special assistance such as infants, seniors, and people with access and functional needs. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate


Please review our campus safety plans for more detailed information on how we keep the University community safe and secure:

Active Shooter on Campus – Safety Tips
Annual Security & Fire Safety Report
Emergency Management Structure Plan (PDF)
Emergency Preparedness Brochure (PDF)
NYC Office of Emergency Management
University Closing Procedures