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Prepare for the Sept. 28 Shelter in Place Drill: Get to Know Your Surroundings

College community,

We are less than one week away from our planned “Shelter in Place” drill on Sept. 28. Between now and the drill next Wednesday, take a few moments to assess your surroundings and think about the actions you might take when instructed to “Shelter in Place” or “Seek Shelter.”

If you are in a classroom or interior building location, how would you secure yourself? How would you evacuate, if necessary? At that time, where would you go to seek shelter if you were outside?

Take a few moments to discuss “shelter in place” strategies within your classrooms and offices. Chat about the specifics of your particular location and its potential for serving as a secure shelter. If you work in an office where the door is generally kept open, it is a good practice to keep the handle in the “lock” position so that your quickest and safest action in an emergency would be to simply close the door (and have it be automatically locked).

If you are in a hallway, you should seek shelter in an interior room. If you are outside on the College grounds, you should quickly get inside a nearby building, or evacuate to your car if possible.

If there is one thing we have learned from survivors of emergencies at many different locations, we now know that it is important to be familiar with your surroundings. I hope you will consider the questions above as you prepare for next week’s drill. This is also an important exercise that you can also apply to your work, home and social surroundings.

We all need to take ownership in terms of safeguarding ourselves and others in the event of an emergency, whether that crisis occurs at SUNY Orange or elsewhere. Awareness of our surroundings is a critical asset in any emergency.

Additionally, I recommend alerting your family and friends about the drill, particularly if they may see or receive one of the messages we’ll be distributing to you via New York Alert. We don’t want them to think the College is experiencing a real emergency and contact 911 or local authorities.

It may also be a good idea to limit the visitor traffic that morning by scheduling only afternoon meetings, tours and other activities that may draw visitors to the campuses.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 341-4934 or via email at


Ed Kiely
Safety and Security