Aerial photo of campus

What If?

View procedures and best practices in case of the following emergencies and situations that can happen on campus.

What If…

There Is a Fire?

In the event of a fire alarm activation:

  • Leave the building immediately–use the stairwells–not the elevator.
  • If you are a mobility-impaired person on an upper floor, proceed to the stairwell landing on your floor and instruct someone to notify emergency response personnel of your location.
  • NO personnel will be allowed to re-enter the building without permission of University Police or the local fire department.

In the event of an actual fire:

  • Assist any person in immediate danger to safety, if it can be accomplished without risk to yourself.
  • Immediately activate the building fire alarm system.  This will sound the fire alarm bells or electronic horns to evacuate the building and will automatically notify University Police.  It is best to have these agencies respond and not be needed than it is to have them arrive too late for potential rescue.
  • Notify University Police of the location and size of the fire by calling 5222 or using an emergency telephone (which connects directly to University Police).  Always call from a safe location.
  • When a fire alarm sounds, all personnel in the affected areas should evacuate the building immediately. However, if the fire is small enough and it is safe to do so, use a nearby fire extinguisher to control and extinguish the fire.  Don’t fight the fire if the fire is too large or out-of-control, if the atmosphere is toxic, or if you do not feel comfortable doing so.
  • To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
    • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
    • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
    • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

If the first attempts to put out the fire do not succeed, evacuate the building immediately.

  • If possible, doors and windows should be closed as the last person leaves a room.
  • Do not use elevators–use building stairwells.
  • Upon evacuating the building, personnel shall proceed to the designated meeting area (at least 500 feet from the affected building) where the SOC coordinators can take a head count and account for all personnel.

NO personnel will be allowed to re-enter the building without permission of University Police or the local fire department.

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I See Criminal Activity?

If you witness a crime, immediately contact University Police by calling 973-655-5222 or using an emergency telephone (which connects directly to University Police).  Try to call from a safe location.

  • Provide as much information as possible.  Do not approach the intruder or intervene in any ongoing crime.  At a minimum, the individual should provide the following information:
    • Location of crime
    • Nature of crime and specifics (number of people involved, weapons, etc.)
    • Any injuries
    • Description of suspect(s) (height, weight, sex, race, clothing, hair color etc.)
    • Direction of travel of suspects
    • Description of any vehicles involved in the crime
    • DO NOT pursue or attempt to detain suspects.
  • If gunshots are heard within a building, individuals should close and lock or barricade their room doors and turn off the lights to that area.  Faculty in classrooms should try and calm student fears and keep them as quiet as possible.  Individuals should stay in the locked/barricaded room until informed by police that it is safe to come out of the area.   If there are no telephones in the area, individuals should use their cell phones to notify police of the situation.
  • Under no circumstances should the fire alarm be activated or an attempt made to evacuate the building unless you are in the room or immediate area where the shots are being fired.  Persons may be placed in harm’s way when they are attempting to evacuate the building.  Should the fire alarm sound, do not evacuate the building unless:
    • You have first hand knowledge that there is a fire in the building, or
    • You have been advised by police to evacuate the building.

University Police will determine when it is safe to reenter the building.  There is no specified time limit for when individuals will be permitted back into or exit the isolated area.  This will depend solely upon the information received and the results of the findings of University Police.

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There Is an Active Shooter?

CALL University Police 973-655-5222 or from a cell phone dial 911, you will be routed to University Police. WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!

Who Will Give Information:

  • If you should hear the sound of gunfire, begin immediate action steps as below. Do not wait for an alert, do not wait for confirmation from someone – if it seems like the sound of gun fire, take action.
  • The University will send emergency alerts via the RAVE text system when a confirmed or suspected active shooter situation is imminent. The alert will include the location and sometimes where to avoid if it is known. This is your alert to act – the message will be clear. Do not wait for Police, faculty or social media to advise you further; begin acting. If you receive from a source other than this alert or from a police officer on site, you should report the matter immediately to the University Police to confirm the matter. Social media and off campus sources can be helpful in situations but can also provide dangerous false or misleading information. Subsequent to a general alert, the University will use all available means of communication in an actual situation. Again, do not wait to take immediate action for your safety.

How To Respond When an Active Shooter Is Either Reported or Heard In Your Area:

Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. For faculty and staff, remember that students may often follow your example and lead. Law enforcement will be responding but time is essential – the active shooter intends to cause death.

1. Run / Evacuate: Especially If the Sound of Shooting Sounds Distant or Instructed To Run/Evacuate

If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind – know your surroundings.
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow – you are surviving this.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others escape, if possible – if they are unwilling, you have done your duty.
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
  • Keep your hands visible.
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers.
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people.
  • Call police or a loved one when you are safe.

2. Hide

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Do not immediately go into Hide mode if there is the possibility of evacuation.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view.
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door). Many locations on campus will be locked down remotely by University Police.
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement.

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door.
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture, use anything at your disposal – desks, media sources, anything – this is about survival now.

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door.
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager.
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions).
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks, lecterns, media centers).
  • Remain quiet.

If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

  • Remain calm.
  • Call police, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location.
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.

3. Fight / Take Action Against the Active Shooter

As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her.
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons – do not be concerned with destruction of property, this is your life now.
  • Yelling.
  • Committing to your act – do it and if possible then run, evacuate or if that is not possible – hide.
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There Is Severe Weather?

Severe weather can strike with or without warning.  In situations where there is advance warning (such as winter storms or hurricanes), the University will make every effort to close before dangerous travel conditions arise.  However, since individuals will be arriving to the University from many different areas, personnel will make a closing or delay decision based on conditions in and around the campus.  Students, faculty and staff need to make personal decisions that take into account their own comfort with the weather conditions, driving skill level, and their knowledge about how conditions might change or affect their travel routes.

The latest information on closings and delayed openings can be found via the following:

Text Alerts

To receive text notification of emergencies or closings, register your mobile phone/device with RAVE.


The following television and radio outlets may provide information, at their discretion:

  • Radio – AM: WCBS – 880, WINS – 1010.
  • Radio – FM: WMSC – 90.3, NJ – 101.5.
  • TV: WCBS – Channel 2, WNBC – Channel 4, FOX – Channel 5, WWOR – Channel 9, News NJ – Channel 12.

University Hotline

In addition, Montclair State provides a weather-related closing hotline number: 973-655-7810.

University News and Social Media

News announcements will be published on the University website homepage.

The news announcements also will be posted on the main University Facebook page and on the University’s Twitter account.

Calls to University Police regarding school closings tie up vital phone lines in emergency situations. Please do not contact the University Police to find out if school is closed.  Instead, use the weather hotline or tune into one of the media outlets listed above.


Observe the following rules if lightning is occurring or is impending:

  • Power down computers and turn other electrical equipment off (never unplug electrical cords if lightning is occurring).
  • Avoid water fixtures, telephone lines, and other electrical conducting materials.
  • Stay inside buildings and off campus grounds.

Although rare in our area, the following natural phenomena can occur:


If a tornado is spotted or imminent take the following steps immediately:

  • Evacuate all trailers and temporary structures.  Proceed immediately to a structurally secure building.
  • Do not seek shelter in gyms, auditoriums, and other large open areas.
  • Go to the interior area of the building.
  • Take cover under a sturdy object.
  • Protect your head, neck, and face.
  • Stay away from windows and items that might fall.


  • If an earthquake strikes while you are in a building, take cover immediately under a sturdy object covering your head, neck and face.  Be prepared to move with the object. To the extent possible, stay away from windows and items that might fall.
  • Do not attempt an evacuation during the earthquake.  Also be prepared for aftershocks.
  • In outdoor areas, stay away from power lines, buildings, and any objects that might fall. In an automobile, pull off the road away from overpasses, bridges, and large structures that might fall.
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There Is a Hazardous Material Accident?

Procedures to be followed:

  • If a hazardous substance is discovered on the campus, the individual should immediately contact University Police and provide as much information as possible.  At a minimum, the individual should provide a description of the substance (color and texture) and any specific characteristics (odor, smoke, etc.). Exposed individuals should quarantine themselves at a safe location.
  • If a telephone call or information is received stating hazardous materials (HAZMAT) is somewhere on the campus:
    • Recipient should write down the call as precisely as possible, noting time of call, length of call, any distinguishing characteristics of the caller’s voice, to include male/female, accent, age, etc., and the possible location.
    • Recipient should not hang up the phone when the call is completed.  Keep the line open or place it on “hold.”
    • Recipient should immediately contact University Police and advise the dispatcher of the call and provide detailed information.
  • When necessary and as directed, faculty and staff will inform students and others of the situation and ask them to leave all personal belongings, to include books, backpacks and coats in the isolated area and evacuate the room or area that is potentially affected.
  • Faculty and/or staff should be the last to leave the classroom/area and should conduct a quick review to assure the isolated area is evacuated.
  • All students, faculty, and staff will move to locations designated by emergency officials on site.
  • If a hazardous release occurs outdoors on the campus grounds or at a nearby location that may affect the campus, the following procedures will be taken:
    • An emergency lockdown order will be issued by University Police
    • The Physical Plant Department will shut down the appropriate utilities (ventilation, air conditioning, etc.) within the building to further prevent the air-borne spread of any substance.
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I Receive a Bomb Threat?

If a suspicious package is discovered on the campus, the individual making the discovery should immediately contact University Police and provide as much information as possible.  At a minimum, the individual should provide a description of the suspicious package and any specific characteristics.

  • If a telephone call or information is received stating a bomb is somewhere on the campus:
    • Recipient should write down the call as precisely as possible, noting time of call, length of call, any distinguishing characteristics of the caller’s voice, including male/female, accent, age, etc., and the possible location.  (Note:  Use the attached checklist for bomb threats.)
    • Recipient should not hang up the phone when the call is completed.  Keep the line open or place it on “hold”.
    • Recipient should immediately contact the University Police and advise them of the call, and provide a detailed information.

Police will be posted to ensure no one enters the building(s) until emergency personnel arrive and the area is determined to be safe.

All students, faculty, and staff should vacate the affected buildings, and move to a safe location as designated by officials on site, staying at least 500 feet from the nearest building.

Only trained personnel should attempt to perform a methodical search of the buildings.

There is no specified time limit for when individuals will be permitted back into the isolated area.  This will depend solely upon the information received and the results of the findings of University Police.

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I Receive a Suspicious Package?

If a suspicious letter or package is received, or one that is unexpected or unknown and has the following characteristics:

  • Excessive postage
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Excessive weight
  • Rigid envelope
  • Foreign mail, air mail or special delivery
  • Hand written or poorly typed address
  • Restrictive markings such as confidential, personal, etc.
  • An excessive amount of securing material used, such as masking tape, string, etc.
  • Incorrect titles
  • Oily stains or discoloration
  • Visual distractions
  • Lopsided or uneven
  • Titles but no names
  • No return address
  • Protruding wires or tinfoil

Do the following:

  • Place it down immediately and gently.  Move people away from the package.
  • Do not shake, empty or do anything that would make the substance airborne.
  • Do not move the package.
  • Isolate the area.
  • Close doors, windows and (if possible) shutdown ventilation systems.
  • Do not allow others to enter the area.
  • Leave the room and quarantine yourself.
  • Notify University Police immediately by calling 973-655-5222 or using an emergency telephone (which connects directly to University Police).  Always call from a safe location.

The above directions also apply to an opened package containing an unknown substance.

Remain calm. The majority of these types of events are hoaxes.

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There Is a Civil Disturbance or Demonstration?

Montclair State University recognizes the rights of members of the University community to freedom of assembly and speech, and strongly believes in fostering discourse and the free exchange of ideas at the University. However, as a matter of law and University policy, these rights and interests are restricted, and must be exercised on University property in a manner consistent with the mission and operation of the University and the rights of other members of the University community.

Nonetheless members of the University community may not exceed the bounds of appropriate expression during the course of demonstrations by interfering with the educational activities and business of the University and with the rights of others. The Office of the Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life has established guidelines for demonstrations on University property.  The full text of these guidelines can be found at Dean of Students Website.

In the event of a demonstration or civil disturbance:

  • Remain Calm. Do not argue, provoke, or try to obstruct demonstrators.
  • Secure your area and your belongings (lock doors and safes, secure important files and records, secure equipment.
  • Avoid the disturbance.  If the disturbance is outside, stay indoors and away from exterior doors and windows.

Call University Police at 973-655-5222 if officers are not already on scene.

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I Have a Medical Emergency?

If a medical emergency arises, take the following steps:

  • Protect victim from further injury.
  • Activate the Emergency Medical Services system by notifying University Police of the location, nature and extent of the injury by calling 973-655-5222 or by or using an emergency telephone (which connects directly to the University Police Department dispatcher).  If off campus, dial 911.
  • If trained, provide first aid until help arrives.
  • Do not move the victim unless they are in imminent danger.
  • Send someone to direct emergency responders to the appropriate location, if possible.

CPR and first aid courses are taught on a regular basis by Montclair State University Emergency Medical Services.  For more information, contact Montclair State EMS at extension 7836.

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I've Been Sexually Assaulted?

Victims of sexual assault at Montclair State University have several options for care and services. The victim has the right to accept of decline any or all of the following:

  • Receive medical care, i.e., evaluation and treatment for injuries and preventive medication for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
  • Receive forensic examination for evidence collection.
  • Receive the services of a Campus Interpersonal Violence Advocate.
  • File criminal charges.
  • File civil charges.
  • File University disciplinary charges.
  • Report as a “Jane/John Doe” victim: This allows the victim to have a forensic examination, but not file charges or release identity to anyone except the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Evidence collected is stored for ninety days in case a victim chooses to file charges within that time period. The incident is reported to University Police for statistical purposes only, without revealing the victim’s identity. Community warnings will be issued in cases of non-acquaintance assault, when it is believed that the community may be in danger.
  • Seek sexual assault services off campus.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, tell someone immediately! Montclair State Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) can help a victim only if a member of the team is notified. Notify Montclair State SART by contacting University Police at 973-655-5222 or the Health and Wellness Center at 973-655-4361.

Contacting Montclair State University SART does not mean someone has to be charged with a crime. It does mean that victim will be offered appropriate care. Anyone can notify Montclair State SART about a sexual assault. If someone prefers not to contact University Police or the Health and Wellness Center, other choices are the Dean of Students, the Women’s Center, Counseling and Psychology Services or Residence Life staff. All members of these departments have thorough knowledge of Montclair State SART and can be helpful in assisting a victim.

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