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Potsdam Prepared: Spring 2022 Updates

The SUNY Potsdam Emergency Evacuation Plan has been designed to inform building occupants, tenants and users of the emergency procedures that may save lives in a crisis situation. College buildings are equipped with modern life-safety systems, however, that does not necessary eliminate the possibility of a fire occurring.

The Emergency Evacuation Plan provides a system for protection of life and property in the event of fire, explosion or other emergency requiring building evacuation. Occupants, tenants and users should become familiar with the contents of this plan and become aware of the procedures for an orderly evacuation in the event of a life-threatening emergency.

An Emergency Evacuation Plan combined with the occupant familiarity with a building minimizes threats to life and property. This plan applies to all emergencies where occupants may need to evacuate a building for personal safety.

The Emergency Evacuation Plan is intended to communicate the policies and procedures for occupants to follow in an emergency situation.

The SUNY Potsdam Physical Plant, Environmental Health and Safety and the University Police Department serve as emergency coordinators for the Emergency Evacuation Plan and are responsible for its preparation and implementation. Copies of the Emergency Evacuation Plan are maintained by the Physical Plant and Environmental Health and Safety departments.


The campus fire alarm systems are a very important and effective means of alerting people to safely evacuate buildings during an emergency.

It is the policy of SUNY Potsdam that after fire alarms are activated, that all building occupants evacuate and remain at a safe assembly point at least 50 feet from the building until a signal to re-enter has been given by an authorized campus designee.

How to Report a Fire

If you suspect a fire in the building call University Police at (315) 267-2222 or 911.

Persons Discovering a Fire, Smoky Condition or Explosion Should:

  1. Pull the nearest fire alarm/pull station. This will notify University Police that there is a fire in the building. Fire alarm pull stations are located next to interior stairwells and exits from buildings.
  2. Call 911 or (315) 267-2222 from a safe location to confirm the identity and location of the fire in the building.
  3. Walk to the nearest (nearest) primary or secondary stairway or exit and leave the building. (Primary and secondary evacuation routes are identified on the layout maps of each building).

    Small fires in their incipient stage can be extinguished with a fire extinguisher only after the fire alarm has been activated and the user is trained and feels comfortable using a fire extinguisher. Attempt to extinguish or control a fire only if you can do so without endangering your own or anyone else's safety. When attempting to extinguish a fire, the individual must keep his/her back to the exit and never allow a fire to get between the individual and the exit. Occupants should never enter a smoke filled room or open a door if it is warm to touch.

Reporting Other Emergencies

    To report other emergencies, occupants should call University Police at (315) 267-2222 or 911. Caller should state their name, location and nature of the call. Caller should speak slowly and clearly and should stay on the line to provide additional information to the dispatcher/officer and to receive any additional instructions or information.

    What to do When an Alarm Sounds

    When a fire alarm device is activated, audible fire alarm horns will sound and visual fire alarm strobe lights will flash. This signals the report of an emergency in the building. Building Evacuation Must Begin Immediately.

    New York State Office of Fire Protection and Control (OFPC) and New York State Law requires all occupants to evacuate buildings when a fire alarm is activated, whether it is a Drill or not.

    Additionally, the fire alarm automatically sends a signal to the central monitoring station at the University Police department who then, in turn, notifies the Village of Potsdam Fire Department indicating there is a fire in the building.

    Evacuation Procedure

    The following procedures are to be followed anytime a fire alarm or other means of official notice is given:

    • When a fire alarm sounds, proceed to the nearest exit marked by an exit sign. The last person vacating a room should close the door behind them. The nearest exit may not be the way you entered the building.
    • If exits/stairwells are not clear or safe, go to the secondary means of exit from the building. Stairwells are an important means of exiting multi-story buildings. Therefore, fire doors should be kept closed at all times unless held opened by an approved device.
    • The elevators should not be used. Elevators are programmed to return to a home floor and shut down during a fire alarm.
    • Doors and, if possible, windows should be closed as the last person leaves the room or area.
    • When a fire alarm sounds, evacuate the building quickly, but do not panic or run.
    • People who walk slowly or need assistance should walk to the right side of stairwells to prevent impeding other people from exiting a building.
    • Leave the nearby vicinity of the building and gather at designated assembly areas at least 50 feet away, so Emergency Personnel have clear access to the building.
    • Proceed to the designated assembly points for your building. The designated points should be communicated by the faculty instructor, staff member, building administrator or other designated person. Try to account for the people in your work area, office, class, etc., to ensure all occupants have left the building.
    • Never re-enter the building without instructions from an authorized designated College authority or the Fire Department.


    All faculty members must immediately instruct students to evacuate the classroom/laboratory/studio when a fire alarm is activated. Ensure students evacuate and go to the designated assembly points.


    All students must immediately evacuate the building and gather at least 50 feet from the building in a designated assembly points.


    All employees must evacuate the building and go to designated assembly points.

    Designated Assembly Points

    See list of designated assembly points

    Once outside, please stay at least 50 feet away from buildings. Whenever possible, congregate with people from your class/work groups. Try to account for all people after gathering at the assembly point to ensure that they have evacuated safely. If you suspect there are still people in the building, immediately notify University Police or Emergency personnel.

    We are responsible for providing a safe learning environment, so please review your evacuation plans by identifying your primary and secondary Exits and Assembly Areas for you class/ work group. Reviewing this information before an incident is critical to ensure the safety of the campus community.

    In the event of an incident requiring a building evacuation for an extended period of time between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., Campus Life Student Managers should be notified and can open either the Knowles Multi-Purpose Room or Barrington Student Union Multi-Purpose Room, if required.

    Evacuation of Individuals with Disabilities

    Residential students with disabilities should follow the emergency evacuation procedure as described in the Residence Life emergency procedures while in the residence Halls.

    • Whenever possible, identify a partner to assist disabled people during an emergency incident. Do not attempt to lift or carry disabled people since this may cause serious injuries. Only professional Rescue personnel should lift or carry a disabled person.
    • If a person with a physical disability is not able to exit the building, he/she should be assisted by a partner to an Area of Refuge. The partner should immediately notify University Police and Rescue personnel where disabled people are located in the building.
    • An Area of Refuge should have the following criteria; 1. An enclosed area, preferably with fire rated doors and walls, 2. A campus phone, if possible, and 3. Located in close proximity to exits, stairwells or other access points for rescue personnel.
    • Call 2222 or 911 from a campus phone or 911 from a non-campus phone and identify the name and location of disabled people in an Area of Refuge.
    • University Police and Rescue personnel should be notified immediately by a partner or any member of the SUNY Potsdam community as to the.location of a disabled person in the building.
    • Whenever possible, a list will be complied for the location of disabled persons who reside or work at SUNY Potsdam. This list will be provided to University Police. If any member of the SUNY Potsdam faculty or staff wish to be identified on this list, please send your information to the Human Resources Department.
    • If you are a disabled student, please send your information to the Accommodative Services staff. The Accommodative Services staff will meet with students needing assistance to discuss their action plans during an emergency on campus.
    • The Accommodative Services Director will meet with faculty and staff needing assistance to discuss action plans as needed.
    • If disabled persons are visiting campus, the host should identify their Partners during an emergency to assist in their evacuation or relocation to an Area of Refuge, along with the need to alert University Police and Rescue personnel.

    Evacuation from Inside Campus Events (Concerts, Plays, Athletic Events, Etc.)

    • When attending an event on campus, become aware of the exits as you enter the venue.
    • In any case, when an alarm sounds, leave the building immediately and stay 50 feet away from the building.
    • Never reenter the building without instructions from an authorized designated College authority or the Fire Department.
    • Whenever possible, congregate with people from your group. Try to account for all people after gathering at the assembly point to ensure that they have evacuated safely. If you suspect there are still people in the building, immediately notify University Police or Emergency personnel.

    Contact Information

    Patrick O’Brien
    Environmental Health & Safety Officer
    Phone: (315) 267-2596