Emergency Procedures

Every resident should understand how the University will communicate information in an emergency. Additionally, residents should be aware of basic procedures in order to be prepared and able to act quickly and safely should an issue arise.

University Communications in an Emergency

The University Emergency Management Operations Team (EMOT) including senior leadership from across the University is responsible for sharing information and determining and implementing a course of action during an emergency situation. In case of an emergency:

  • Check the University home page, www.columbia.edu, for news and updates.
  • Sign up for the Emergency Text Message system to receive emergency alerts.
  • Stay in contact with your RA or a member of Residential Life staff who will be on-call or on-site to distribute additional information and instructions.

How to Report an Emergency

  • Public Safety 212-854-5555
  • Hartley Hospitality Desk 212-854-2779
  • Columbia Health (Morningside) 212-854-2284
  • 911

Housing Specific-Guidelines for Potential Issues

Columbia Housing will defer to EMOT during all major issues. Be aware of these basic guidelines for potential issues and watch for updates from the University:


  • Check the University website for further instructions about safety precautions and University operations.
  • Stay indoors in cases of extreme weather.


Gas Leak

  • Learn the signs of a possible gas leak. In particular, if you detect a strong odor leave immediately and take others with you.
  • Do not light a match or smoke, turn appliances or lights on or off (including flashlights), use a telephone or start a car. Doing so can produce sparks that might cause the gas to explode.
  • If the situation allows for time, call Public Safety 212-854-5555 or the Hartley Hospitality Desk at 212-854-2779.
  • In an emergency, call 911 or 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

Power Outage/Blackout

  • In case of a power outage or blackout in the residence halls, be in contact with your RA for information and instructions.
  • Keep a flashlight in your room in case of an emergency.

Emergency Maintenance Issues


There are a number of resources available to help you react quickly and safely in case of an emergency:

  • Safety and evacuation information is posted on back of each resident’s door. Familiarize yourself with this information so you are prepared.
  • Visit the University Preparedness website for emergency-related issues and information.
  • Check information from the New York City Office of Emergency Management.