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Emergency Preparedness FAQs
  1. What is Rensselaer doing to protect students, faculty, and staff?
  2. How has the college prepared for emergency situations?
  3. What measures has Rensselaer taken to secure its campus and facilities in light of heightened security concerns?
  4. Does the Institute have an emergency plan?
  5. How will I know if the Institute closes or if a major event is cancelled?
  6. Where should students or faculty go in an emergency?
  7. What can I do to be prepared?
  8. Who can I talk to if I still feel anxious?
  9. Is there any reason to feel especially concerned about threats to the Rensselaer community?
  10. How should I report suspicious situations or emergency conditions?
  11. What else should I know about keeping safe?

What is Rensselaer doing to protect students, faculty, and staff?

A) Protecting the safety of all members of the Rensselaer community is a top priority of the administration and Department of Public Safety. In recent years, Rensselaer has greatly increased it efforts to better protect our students, faculty, and staff.  These efforts will continue to expand as new technology and information becomes available. We urge you to remain up to date on all safety information.

Rensselaer has completed the following measures to protect campus safety:

  • The Public Safety Officers at Rensselaer regularly patrol campus buildings and property

  • Blue light emergency phones that connect directly to Public Safety are located at numerous locations throughout the Rensselaer campus. These phones can be operated 24 hours a day. The Department of Public Safety conducts regular testing to ensure the phones work properly

  • Emergency response protocols have been established

  • Evacuation plans for all campus buildings are in place and reviewed regularly

  • Lab safety and security plans have been analyzed, assessed, and updated

  • Emergency procedures have been reviewed and updated, and are available on the Rensselaer Web site

  • Effective relationships are established with many local, state, and federal agencies to assist Rensselaer in recognizing and responding to potential threats or actual emergencies

  • Public Safety Officers provide students and new employees with orientation materials and offer safety awareness programs and information

Q) How has the college prepared for emergency situations?

A) Rensselaer has emergency procedures in place that are reviewed and reevaluated regularly. In addition, senior administration members are in frequent contact with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to gather the most updated information and advice on how to respond to risks. For large-scale emergencies, local, state, and/or federal emergency services will have the primary responsibility for emergency management. We are prepared to work effectively with them.

Q) What measures has Rensselaer taken to secure its campus and facilities in light of heightened security concerns?

A) The Public Safety Officers at Rensselaer provide security patrols on and around the campus. Access control measures are in place to secure buildings. Orientation programs are provided to parents and students that include safety awareness education. Emergency communications can be carried on the RPI TV channel and radio station. Rensselaer has increased closed circuit TV surveillance on many buildings. We are also considering additional methods to heighten our current technology.  This is a top priority for all members of the administration and public safety.

Q) Does the Institute have an emergency plan?

A) Yes, the Institute has a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) that is constantly updated and reviewed. The CEMP helps prepare the Institute for a variety of potential man-made or natural disasters that could occur on campus.

The Department of Public Safety has also developed an Emergency Operations Plan. The plan allows Public Safety with work with other campus leaders and outside emergency response agencies to coordinate emergency response, including evacuation and handling bomb threats, hazardous material spills, fire, hostile intruders, and medical emergencies.  More information on what you can do to prepare yourself for these and other emergencies can be found on the Rensselaer Campus Preparedness Web page.

Q) How will I know if the Institute closes or if a major event is cancelled?

A) Information on an Institute closure can be found in a variety of places. Tune to RPI radio for updated information or call 276-6656 or 276-6600. Local radio and television stations also give information on university closings. 

Q) Where should students or faculty go in an emergency?

A) The answer will vary depending on the emergency. Depending on the emergency, it will be important to decide whether to stay in your room, classroom or office, seek shelter elsewhere, or leave and assemble at a designated location. More information on how to respond to different emergencies is available on the The Rensselaer Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan Web page.

In case of emergency, follow instructions from emergency personnel and building coordinators. Instructions for possible relocation during an emergency will be given by a designated staff member or Public Safety after the situation is reviewed.

Q) What can I do to be prepared?

A) There are several things each of us can do:

  • Read through information and emergency procedures on the Public Safety Web site and consider taking part in the many Public Safety seminars.

  • Contact your building coordinator to learn your building's evacuation plan and become familiar with the building exits near you.

  • Be sure to update your emergency contact information with the Office of the Registrar.

  • Report suspicious and/or unauthorized persons to the Department of Public Safety.

  • Develop a personal disaster plan.

  • Keep offices and residence hall rooms locked when unattended.

  • Immediately report the following to Department Public Safety by calling 276-6611 or 911 (campus phone system only):
    • Suspicious or unattended packages, containers, or vehicles;
    • Signs of break-ins or attempted unauthorized entries; or
    • Unusual odors or substances.

  • Use the buddy system, especially at night.

  • Be informed. View Web sites such as www.ready.gov for the Troy-Capital District area or check the Rensselaer Web site for specific instructions. We will also send information via e-mail to the campus community.

  • Know the location of the nearest Blue Light Emergency Phones.

  • Talk with your family about how you will communicate with each other in an emergency
  • Use care, caution, common sense, and control.

  • Assemble an emergency supply kit for your dorm and your car.  A list of recommended supplies can be found at www.ready.gov.

  • Stay tuned to radio or television stations for updated information.

Q) Who can I talk to if I still feel anxious?

A) There are a variety of services available to students, faculty, and staff. Contact the Counseling Center at the Campus Health Center at (518) 276-6287. Students can also approach their Residence Assistants or a trusted professor.

Q) Is there any reason to feel especially concerned about threats to the Rensselaer community?

A) There have been no specific threats to Rensselaer. Nonetheless, the safety of our students and the entire community is our foremost concern and we want to be as prepared as possible. If there is ever a threat, we will inform you of it.

Q) How should I report suspicious situations or emergency conditions?

A) Call the Public Safety Department at 276-6611 from any telephone. You can also press the red button on any Emergency Blue Light Phone to be connected directly with Public Safety.

Q) What else should I know about keeping safe?

A) Stay alert and aware.

  • If an emergency occurs, stay away from the area. By going to the incident, you'll add to the problem and could become another victim.

  • Immediately evacuate your building whenever an alarm is sounded.

  • Do not participate in hazardous material hoaxes, harassing e-mails, graffiti and rumor-spreading, as they are not helpful to our campus community and they distract our emergency responders from their work and put them at risk of injury.  There could also be criminal charges for such actions.

  • Obey all instructions from emergency personnel.

  • Know the location of at least two emergency exits in your working area.
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