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Skidmore College
Emergency Preparedness

CEMP Overview


The purpose of the Skidmore Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) is to establish guidelines, assign responsibilities and promote awareness in responding to emergencies that may affect the Skidmore community and the local community. Additionally, the plan is designed to provide guidelines to assist those affected in dealing with crisis, coordinate with external entities and provide resources to expedite the return to normal operations with minimal negative impact. This plan was created to complement plans that have been developed on the state, county and city level.


The following guidelines apply to all students, staff, faculty and guests, and to the buildings and grounds that are owned and operated by Skidmore College. They are intended to enable the college to protect life and property and minimize the damage caused by emergency situations.


The Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan is predicated on a realistic approach to the problems likely to be encountered on the campus during a major emergency or disaster. Hence, the following are general guidelines:

  • An emergency or a disaster may occur at any time of the day or night, weekend, or holiday, with little or no warning.
  • The succession of events in an emergency is not predictable; therefore, published support and operational plans will serve only as a guide and checklist and may require field modification in order to meet the requirements of the emergency.
  • Disasters may occur broadly in the geographical location of the college; therefore federal, local and other off-campus emergency services may be delayed up to 24–48 hours.

An emergency may be declared according to the guidelines in this plan if information indicates that such a condition has developed or is possible.

Phases of Emergency Management

There are three general phases of emergency management:


Includes developing readiness for emergencies based on education, organization and communications. A major responsibility is to maintain an ongoing threat assessment model to ensure effective preparation. Preparation is the process of risk reduction that involves the following two elements:

  • Mitigation—activities taken to reduce the seriousness of an incident
  • Prevention—activities that eliminate the risk of a hazard


Involves procedures for responding to emergency situations, assisting affected populations, treating the injured and limiting damage to property. General and specific guidelines for responding to various incidents have been developed and are presented within this document.


Requires incident review, documentation, risk management and plans for limiting liability that will expedite the return to normal.

Phases of Emergency Management

Incident Command System (ICS) 

The ICS is a universal emergency management system designed to address all levels of emergency response. The Skidmore CEMP is modeled after this system and provides the following components:

  • Common terminology—to enhance operations and communication (especially with fire/police/EMS)
  • Unified command structure—to ensure that responsibilities are delegated and decisions are made at the appropriate level and that one voice represents the college
  • Span of control—so that supervision and responsibility will be limited within a manageable range
  • Comprehensive Resource Management—requiring the coordination and inventorying of necessary resources both within the college and from outside resources

Types of Emergencies

The CEMP will provide specific plans and procedures for responding to various types of incidents. These plans are contained in detail in the Response Section. Response incidents include but are not limited to the following:

  • Evacuation procedures
  • Deaths and serious injuries on/off campus
  • Serious fire
  • Serious crime on campus (e.g., homicide, hostage, missing person)
  • Hazardous material spill
  • Pandemics and medical emergencies
  • Explosion/bomb threat/terrorist act
  • Natural disaster (e.g., tornado, flood, earthquake)
  • Extreme weather conditions (e.g., ice storm, snowstorm)
  • Civil disturbance/employee labor action
  • Infrastructure failure
  • Any incident that could adversely affect the reputation, stability, or status of the college

Levels of Emergencies

The CEMP is designed to provide guidelines for responding to a variety of incidents and emergencies that affect the college. Not all emergencies require the same degree of response, and each incident will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Level 1 (minor emergency)—A campus emergency with limited impact that does not affect the overall operation and function of the college. Examples would include a minor hazardous material incident, small fire or temporary limited power outage. A minor emergency will not normally entail notification of the Response Group except through routine communications.

Level 2 (major emergency)—A local emergency that has disrupted or potentially may disrupt significant operation of the college or adversely impact a major population of the community. Examples include serious crimes on campus, major fires, death(s), or significant infrastructure failure. Level 2 will require notification of the Response Group.

Level 3 (Disaster)—A community-wide emergency that potentially disrupts the operations of the college and involves major damage or systems failure. Disasters impact not only the college, but possibly the surrounding community and beyond. Examples include tornadoes, widespread extended power outage, severe natural disasters or serious acts of terrorism. Level 3 will require notification of the Response Group.

Note: Any level of emergency may result in declaration of a state of emergency (see below).

Activating the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP)

Initial notification:

  • Any community member who witnesses or receives information regarding an emergency is instructed to contact the Campus Safety Department at ext. 5566, in person, or from off-campus at 518-580-5566.
  • If the incident involves a Level 1 (minor emergency), Campus Safety or the appropriate department will take steps to remedy the situation utilizing the appropriate college departments and outside resources.
  • If the incident involves a Level 2 or 3 (major emergency or disaster), Campus Safety will contact appropriate members of the Response Group to activate the CEMP.

Skidmore Declared State of Emergency

Declaring an emergency will establish a set of guiding principles to expedite the response and recovery from an emergency. Current policies, agreements and contracts may be suspended or curtailed.

  • Members of the Response Group will discuss the incident and determine the level of emergency and whether to activate the Emergency Operations Center. The decision to declare an emergency will rest with the college president or his/her designee.
  • Any other appropriate members of the community deemed necessary will be contacted to respond.
  • After the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan is activated, process moves to the response phase.


The co-chairs of the Emergency Management Team will coordinate emergency preparedness training programs with both on-campus and off-campus resources to ensure that the campus community is able to effectively implement the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.
Participants—All members of the college community should receive and participate in training, appropriate to their positions, including faculty, staff, students and members of responding agencies (fire, police, EMS) who will be invited periodically to train on campus and to participate in joint training programs.

Training should be scheduled annually and include various types of programs including:

  • Classroom
  • Drills
  • Tabletop exercises
  • Mock emergency exercises

Communication Channels

The College Emergency Notification System was developed by Information Technology (IT) and Campus Safety and will be used to transmit critical information to large segments of our campus as quickly as possible. This will be accomplished by utilizing several communication options including:

  • The telephone alert system will allow emergency messages to be placed in telephone voice mailboxes so equipped.
  • Skidmore Urgent Notification System (SUN)—combines instant text messages, voicemails, and emails that can be disseminated during an emergency.
  • Outside siren/PA system—(located atop the library) will be activated to alert the community during an immediate or imminent emergency.
  • Campus email will be used to transmit information to all college constituents.
  • The college’s main website page will report Emergency Alerts and ongoing updates.