Emergency Planning and Preparedness

Emergency Action Plan (EAP)



The classification of hazardous weather conditions is dependent upon a host of factors (exact weather incident, time of day, time of year, etc.). In general, hazardous weather conditions can be broken down in terms of severity and probable emergency actions as follows:

  • Level 1:
    • Those that impact transportation across campus (along roads for personnel coming to or leaving campus by car, or along pathways for personnel walking to their class/working location).
    • Incident types in this category include moderate snowfall or light freezing rain.
    • Typical emergency actions may include activation of the Building and Grounds emergency snow removal plan, as well as communication to the HWS community regarding the hazardous conditions.
  • Level 2:
    • Those that involve significant impacts to vehicular/foot transportation or conditions that threatens building safety.
    • Incident types in this category include heavy snow, accumulations of freezing rain, electrical storms, heavy wind and tornado watches (indications of favorable weather conditions that could produce a tornado).
    • Typical emergency actions may include college closure and event cancellation (in addition to the other Level 1 actions).
  • Level 3:
    • Those that involve imminently threatening impacts to transportation and building safety.
    • Incident types in this category include tornado warnings (indications that a tornado has been seen or picked up by radar) and sustained ice storms with related power outages.
    • Typical emergency actions include orders to shelter-in-place (in addition to the other Level 1 or 2 actions).


Aside from the general classification of hazardous weather conditions from above, there are some other general issues to keep in mind:

  • All employees and students should monitor local TV/radio stations, phone/cell messages and the HWS website for specific details related to the Colleges during weather-related events. Use common sense when evaluating hazardous weather conditions and your own well-being, and report any other relevant information to Campus Safety (on campus dial ext. 3333, cell phone on campus dial (315) 781-3333, off campus dial 911), which monitors this information as well.
  • Personnel traveling to or leaving campus by car during hazardous weather conditions should exercise extreme caution and exhibit safe driving habits. Drive defensively and give pedestrians the right of way. If you are immobilized in a roadway due to the weather conditions or from an accident, be mindful that it’s often more safe to stay inside the vehicle than to try to exit it.
  • Personnel traveling around campus by foot or other non-vehicular means should consider alternative practices (where practical and not otherwise precluded), to avoid exposing themselves to the hazardous weather conditions.
  • Strictly adhere to directions from emergency communications channels. If an order to shelter-in-place is given, consider the following:
    • If indoors, stay away from glass windows, shelving and other heavy equipment, and seek refuge within doorways or under desks/tables.
    • If outdoors, move quickly away from high ground and also utility poles that may be energized, and take refuge within the nearest building (as possible).

While it is unlikely that building evacuations (as traditionally defined) would occur following or during hazardous weather conditions that are less than Level 2 in severity, it is critical for all students, faculty, staff and guests to stay informed as such an event unfolds. College officials will disseminate the critical information as it becomes necessary and available to safeguard the greater College community. Monitor Everbridge Mass Notification System (EMNS) emergency notifications for information and updates.


  • Know the risk for severe thunderstorms and/or lightning within the HWS campus area. The National Weather Service (NWS) will issue warnings to identify locations in the path of approaching hazardous and severe weather. NWS watches and warnings are available on the Internet. Select and bookmark your local NWS office from www.weather.gov.
  • Monitor official campus communication. HWS Safety and Communication Departments will make every attempt to warn you about impending hazardous weather but you must be prepared to make decisions and take actions on your own based upon the guidance provided.
  • Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms can and do occur at any location, any time of day or night and any time of year given the right atmospheric conditions.
  • Identifying a safe space in your residence hall and other campus buildings will significantly reduce your chances of becoming injured by the severe weather.
  • Hazardous weather may produce the following:
    • Lightning
    • Tornadoes
    • Straight-line which can exceed 125 miles per hour
    • Flash floods and floods
    • Hail

a. Severe Thunderstorms

  • Actions to take:
    • At the first clap of thunder, go to a large building or fully enclosed vehicle and wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before you go back outside. If a sturdy building is not nearby, get into a hard-topped metal vehicle and close all the windows. Stay inside until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
    • If you hear thunder, don't use a corded phone. Cordless phones, cell phones and other wireless handheld devices are safe to use.
    • Keep away from electrical equipment, wiring and water pipes. Sensitive electronics should be unplugged well in advance of thunderstorms. Don't take a bath, shower or use other plumbing during a thunderstorm.
    • Stay away from metal conductors such as wires or fences. Metal does not attract lightning, but lightning can travel long distances through it.

b. Lightning

  • Actions to take:
    • If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. Seek safe shelter immediately! There are several ways to reduce risks from a lightning strike.
      • Avoid open areas and stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles. Do not be the tallest object in the area. Lightning tends to strike the tallest objects in the area.
      • Immediately decide where you'll go for safety and how much time it will take you to get there. Make sure you can safely reach your intended destination.
      • If you cannot make it to shelter, crouch close to the ground and separate. (Do NOT lie down.)
      • Postpone activities. Before going outdoors, check the forecast for thunderstorms. Consider postponing activities to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation.

Do not hesitate to contact Campus Safety if you need assistance.

  • Emergency assistance (on campus dial ext. 3333, cell phone on campus dial (315) 781-3333, off campus dial 911).
  • For non-emergency assistance dial (315) 781-3000.

Emergency Resources

Do not hesitate to contact Campus Safety if you need assistance.

  • Emergency assistance (on campus dial ext. 3333, cell phone on campus dial (315) 781-3333, off campus dial 911).
  • For non-emergency assistance dial (315) 781-3000.

Bleeding Control Kits Locations

Assembly Points for Building Evacuations

Emergency Management Team

The HWS Emergency Management Team is directed by leadership from the Office of Campus Safety and the Office of Campus Life in coordination with core groups from across campus, including information technology, operations, facilities and communications. The team also includes an incident response group and a policy group. The team regularly participates in trainings and drills.

Emergency Action Button


In the event it becomes necessary to notify the HWS community of an imminent emergency on campus, notification will be sent using the Everbridge Mass Notification System. Brief and immediate instructions will be given through the Everbridge system when we use it. All other non-imminent communication will be disseminated through the HWS e-mail system and via the Colleges' Twitter account.

To ensure that Everbridge has the correct contact information for emergency notification, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to update their PeopleSoft accounts.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.