New York (NY) Alert and Mass Notification System

Like many colleges across the country, Mohawk Valley Community College is reviewing and enhancing its campus safety operations. This review is particularly important in light of tragic events at colleges such as the shootings at Virginia Tech and other institutions. MVCC’s campus safety enhancement initiative includes the installation of a mass notification system for campus emergencies.

This mass notification system includes two components important to students, the first being a siren on the Utica Campus that will sound only in the event of a serious emergency. The College will test the siren on occasion, and students will always be notified in advance of the test. If the siren sounds at any other time than during a test, seek immediate shelter and wait for instructions.

The second component is a voluntary system of enrollment for all students for notification of emergencies through the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) alert system. This voluntary system is known as New York (NY) Alert.

How does NY Alert work?

NY Alert provides subscribers with an email, fax, or cell phone text message to let the subscriber know that an emergency condition exists on campus. MVCC gives students and staff the opportunity to voluntarily submit their preferred method of contact to SEMO, which will in turn set up a transmission database for those who have subscribed.

When will NY Alert be used?

Only in an emergency. Some examples might include an impending natural disaster, such as an approaching tornado, or an imminent crisis on campus, such as a fire, bomb threat, or armed suspect.

What will happen?

If an emergency exists, NY Alert will send a message to the subscriber letting them know of the emergency condition, and in most cases, specific instructions on what to do. A subscriber will receive the message as either an email, fax or cell phone text message, depending on what that subscriber has specified when they signed up for NY Alert.

How will I sign up for NY Alert?

MVCC provides a link through SIRS, our Internet- based student system, for all students and staff to enter their information into NY Alert. The information you enter is held as confidential and will only be used by SEMO to give you information during an emergency situation.

What does NY Alert cost?

Absolutely nothing. The service is free, and completely voluntary. You do not have to sign up for NY Alert unless you are interested in receiving information during an emergency situation. While we recommend subscribing to NY Alert, participation is not mandatory.

How do I get started?

Go to the SIRS link on the MVCC Web site (www.mvcc.edu) and login to your secure area. Once you are logged in, there will be instructions for submitting information for NY Alert.

Medical Emergencies, Including Self-Destructive or Threatening Behavior

Public Safety should be called for any condition requiring medical attention or immediate intervention. Dial 315-731-5777. For Rome Campus dial 315-334-3559.

College’s Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) locations:

Utica Campus

  • Alumni College Center – MVCC Commons
  • Science and Technology Building - Physical Science Crossover
  • Payne Hall - main lobby, near Admissions entrance
  • Jorgensen Athletic/Events Center – Front lobby
  • Jorgensen Athletic/Events Center – Atrium of Fieldhouse and Fitness Center
  • Wilcox Hall – first floor theater lobby next to elevator
  • At the entrance of each Residence Hall complex – North Halls, South Halls & Bellamy Hall.

 NOTE: Utica Campus Public Safety and Athletic Trainer have mobile AED units

Rome Campus

  • Plumley Complex - Second level next to Registrar’s Office
  • MVCC Aviation Center in Griffiss Park – inside the Airframe and Powerplant Lab

College Emergency Closing

  • Hazardous weather or other unforeseen conditions may cause emergency closings.
  • Except in extreme emergencies, this information for day classes should be available by 6 a.m.; for evening classes, information will be available by 3:30 p.m.
  • Check the MVCC Web site first for the most complete information. If there is no access to www.mvcc.edu, please call the College’s main switchboard, at 315-792-5400 and listen to the main greeting for closing information. Local media outlets will also broadcast this information. NY Alert may be useful to alert subscribers on the closings.

Emergency Evacuation

Campus Buildings (Non-Residence Hall Buildings)

At MVCC emergency evacuation drills are kept to a minimum so as not to disrupt activities or have complacency set in. When the fire alarm sounds and an evacuation is in progress, elevators are not to be used except by emergency personnel.

The faculty will review evacuation procedures during the first week of classes, with each of their classes. Faculty and staff will insure the complete evacuation of their areas of responsibility.


  1. Upon the activation of the fire alarm horns and strobe lights, all occupants should evacuate as quickly as possible. The evacuation shall be orderly with a minimum of confusion through the closest exit. All students shall take their valuables and personal items with them because the building may be closed for one hour or more. MVCC is not responsible for items  left in buildings.
  2. All people will move in an orderly manner to a safe distance (50 feet) from the building well away from entrances, and not stand in the roadways. Public Safety Officers, Facilities and Operations personnel, and administrative staff will monitor this.
  3. Any College students or employees with special needs for the evacuation will be attended to as quickly and safely as possible (see evacuation of mobility impaired).
  4. Under no conditions will occupants be allowed back into a building until the building has been inspected by officials and found safe for reoccupation. Only personnel from the Utica Fire Department, MVCC Public Safety, and MVCC Environmental Health and Safety Offices can give the all clear signal to re-occupy the building.

Evacuation of People with Mobility Impairment

  1. Areas of "Rescue Assistance" apply to other than ground level floors of all buildings on the Utica Campus with more than one story above and/or below grade with an elevator.
  2. When a fire alarm sounds employees (faculty and staff) are to help insure the safe evacuation of mobility impaired individuals (evacuee(s)) in their area of authority (classroom, office, etc.). The evacuee(s) are to be accompanied by the employee to a designated area of refuge/area of rescue assistance evacuation area and asked to stay until MVCC Public Safety, and/or fire department personnel arrive at the scene.
  3. A Public Safety Officer will be immediately dispatched to evacuation areas during all emergencies. They will monitor the situation (smoke, flames, etc.) which, could necessitate the immediate evacuation of people with mobility impairments. In the event of an evacuation, Public Safety, Facilities and Operations and/or Fire Department personnel will conduct the actual evacuation.

Areas of Rescue Assistance: * Check with Public Safety for changes in locations.

Utica Campus

  • Academic Building: 1) 2nd floor landing of stairwell adjacent to elevator; 2) Stairwell next to Room 272.
  • Alumni College Center: In area of Student Activities Office, ACC 208.
  • Jorgensen Center: 1) 2nd floor area adjacent to the elevator; 2) 2nd floor crossover facing main quad.
  • Wilcox Hall: 1) 1st floor stairwell closest to the gym and baseball field; 2) 2nd floor in the stairwell closest to the Alumni College Center and Penfield Dorm; 2nd floor in the stairwell behind the elevator on the baseball field side.
  • Payne Hall: 2nd and 3rd floor landing areas of stairwells on the Sherman Drive and quad/gym side. Basement area adjacent to the elevator on the Sherman Drive side.
  • Bellamy Hall: 2nd and 3rd floor landings of North and South stairwells.

Rome Campus

Plumley Complex: Areas of Rescue Assistance, those areas adjacent to the elevators on the basement, Mezzanine, and second floor. 

Areas of Refuge, marked AREA OF REFUGE: 

  • Stairwell 1 – second floor (marked and has phone)
  • Stairwell 2 – mezzanine and basement (marked and have phones)
  • Stairwell 3 – second floor and basement (both marked and have phones)
  • Stairwell 4 – mezzanine and basement (both marked and have phones)
  • Outside doors to stairwell 2 and 4 on the second floor (both marked no phones)+

NOTE: Local fire officials are informed of the location of evacuation areas and this procedure.

Residence Hall Fire Safety and Fire Fighting Equipment

In South Halls and North Halls, fire extinguishers are located in the stairwells on each floor. In Bellamy Hall, they are located in the corridors. The fire alarm systems and firefighting equipment are placed in the halls solely for your protection.

Fire alarm pull boxes will be found at various points in each hall. Each room/ stairwell/public area contains a sensitive heat and/or smoke detector and fire alarm. Bellamy Hall sprinkler heads are heat sensors. All of these devices will activate an alarm. In case an alarm is set off accidentally, immediately contact Public Safety at extension 5777 from a Residence Hall “Assistance” phone. The alarm systems are tested on a rotational basis, with no advance notice in the Residence Halls.

In the interest of safety, it is necessary to have periodic fire drills conducted by authorized College personnel. To facilitate this procedure, it is to your own benefit to familiarize yourself with the proper evacuation route. It is also to your own benefit to familiarize yourself with the location of fire extinguishers. All residence halls have fire sprinkler systems.

Knowingly activating a fire alarm when no such emergency exists is is illegal under the penal code. Tampering with any part of the fire safety equipment is a violation of NYS Fire Code including heat sensors, sprinkler heads, smoke detectors, fire alarms or fire extinguishers, etc. will result in disciplinary action, including dismissal from the residence halls, and/or college, and possible criminal court action.

Residence Hall Fire Alarm Evacuation Procedure:

If you locate a fire in the Residence Halls, PULL A FIRE ALARM box, exit the building and notify Public Safety.

If you are not in a suite/quad room (bedroom, student bathroom, Bellamy Hall Suite Gathering Room) when the alarm goes off, proceed to the nearest fire/smoke free exit.

If you are in a suite/quad room (bedroom, student bathroom, Bellamy Hall Suite Gathering Room) when the alarm goes off, please adhere to the following rules:

  1. Wake any sleeping occupants in that room: Put on shoes, take towel and room key.
  2. Feel room door. If cool, open slowly and exit.
  3. Feel suite/quad door. If cool, open slowly and exit.
  4. Proceed quickly to the nearest fire/smoke free exit.
  5. If a bedroom, quad or suite door feels hot, or if adverse conditions exists remain in a student room, shut and stuff the door (towels, clothes, blankets, etc.).
  6. Open and stand by the window to summon for assistance.

Fire exits are located as follows:

  • South Halls and North Halls: Off of the 1st floor stairwells labeled Fire Exit. Second and third floor residents should evacuate via these fire exits unless adverse conditions exist. First floor residents should exit through the front doors, unless adverse conditions exist.
  • Bellamy Hall: At either end of the building. The center stairwell should only be used when adverse conditions exist in the fire exit stairwells. NEVER USE THE ELEVATOR.

   Students not cooperating with official personnel will be subject to disciplinary action.

Bellamy Hall Suite, Gathering Room, and Student Bedroom Smoke Detector Activation Procedure

   Each student bedroom in any hall and Bellamy Hall Suite Gathering Room are equipped with a sensitive local smoke detector that activates in that room/suite only. It does not activate the Residence Hall Fire Alarm unless the heat sensor (or sprinkler head) is activated as well. If in a Bedroom/Gathering Room when this alarm activates:

  1. Wake occupants of the room, if necessary.
  2. Evacuate areas where alarm is sounding. Close door upon exiting.
  3. Contact Public Safety at ext. 5777.
  4. If an actual fire is discovered in the room, activate the fire alarm system at a pull station while exiting.

NOTE: Any person who becomes aware of local smoke detector activation in a room that they are not in is requested to contact Public Safety.