Shelter-in-Place - Wanaque

Paterson Campus Park


1. Although evacuation of the campus is the College’s planned response to most serious emergency situations where advance notice is given, there are situations where evacuation might not be effective.  Sheltering-in-place is the use of any classroom, office, or building for the purpose of providing temporary shelter for any of the following reasons:

• Hazardous Materials Release
• Chemical Truck Overturn
• Chemical Train Derailment
• Chemical Facility Accident
• Pipeline Rupture
• Terrorist Attack
• Release of Biological Agents
• Radiological Release
• Weather- Related Incidents (tornados, hurricane, flood)

2. The decision to implement the shelter-in-place plan would be made by the College President or his designee.  In the absence of the College President, the Highest Administrative Officer on campus will be designated.  The College President will be notified as soon as possible. 

3. In the event of the implementation of the Shelter-In-Place, those affected would be notified by one or more of the following means.

• Panther Alert
• Emergency Public Address System
• College E-mail
• College Web Page
• News Channel 12
• WCBS Radio 880
• 1010 Wins News Radio

4. Certain emergency conditions might necessitate shutting down the HVAC and exhaust systems.  The Executive Director of Facilities Management and Planning or his/her designee would be contacted and his personnel will shut down the needed HVAC exhaust systems.

5. Should the decision be made to implement the shelter-in-place plan, the campus population should immediately go indoors.  Once inside members should consider the following options depending on the nature of the emergency and what directions are given:

• Shut all windows and doors.

• Seal any gaps around windows and doors with wet towels, clothing, etc.

• If possible, go to a room with no windows.

• Monitor by Panther Alert, radio, College e-mail, and College portal the circumstances of the emergency and what actions to take.

• Avoid using the building phone system except for emergency use.  Emergency responders may be trying to get in touch with you.  If you are in touch with family/friends, advise them they will not be permitted on campus until further notice.  

• Avoid the use of water until notified it is safe.

• In the event of hazardous materials contamination (chemical, biological, radiological), it is very important to separate those individuals who have been exposed.  If possible, select a room in which those contaminated individuals might stay in until emergency assistance and decontamination can take place. 

• Remain in the shelter until the College officials notify you that it is safe to leave.

• It is important to remain calm and follow the recommendations of police and fire personnel, administrators and other designated leaders.

6. Different emergencies call for different responses.  The following are basic courses of action to remember in specific shelter-in-place emergencies:

During a Chemical Release, you should seek shelter in a room above ground level (most chemicals settle to the lowest level), preferably one without windows.  You should also avoid the use of public water.

During a Biological Release, you should seek shelter in an internal room, preferably one without windows.  You should also avoid the use of public water. In the event of nuclear or radiological release, stay indoors and go to a basement or other underground area if available. 

During a Tornado, you should go to an underground room if possible, or take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway.  In multiple story building, go to the lowest floor and stay in interior rooms away from windows and doors.  Go to the center of the room and avoid corners (they attract debris).  You should lie on the floor under a table or other sturdy object.  Use your arms to protect your head and neck.  You should also avoid sheltering in places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums or gymnasiums.  Lastly, you should not seek shelter in vehicles. 

During a Flood, seek shelter above water level and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

During a Hurricane, you should stay indoors and away from glass doors and windows.  If possible you should take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway.  In a multiple story building, go to the first or second floors and stay in the interior rooms away from windows.  Lastly, you should lie on the floor under a table or other sturdy object, while protecting your head or neck.

Although electrical storms are common occurrences, and you would not normally be notified of shelter-in-place plans you should be aware of the following:

  • Seek shelter indoors (or in a vehicle) immediately.
  • Avoid showering or bathing as plumbing/bathroom factures conduct electricity. 
  • Avoid using a corded phone except for emergencies