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Annex A - Shelter Operations

Decision to Open an On-Campus Shelter


Binghamton University facilities may be requested to be used as a shelter for community residents who have been displaced from their homes due to natural or man-made disasters. The university works with the Broome County Office of Emergency Services (BCOES), the American Red Cross (ARC), and the Broome County Department of Health (BCDOH) to coordinate all activities related to emergency shelter operations. In addition to providing assistance to the local community, the university itself may have the need to provide emergency sheltering or relocation assistance to meet internal needs.

Needs for Sheltering

The needs for sheltering can include events such as floods, tornados and fires, as well as providing a temporary location of critical services when an emergency makes it impossible to provide for continuity of operations. With a wide array of needs for use of shelters, it is impossible to define with 100% certainty the manner in which university facilities may be requested.

Requesting policy for external agencies

During times of community emergencies, unusual events and other unforeseen circumstances it may be necessary for an external agency to request the use of Binghamton University facilities or resources. In order for the university to quickly and efficiently respond to all requests it is necessary to direct all calls to a single point.

All requests for university resources shall be made to New York State University Police (NYSUP) at (607) 777-2393. This number is staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The external agency must describe the nature of the request and provide a call-back number. A university official will return the call to discuss the request.

Authority to approve the use of a university facility as a shelter

Upon receiving a request to utilize a university facility as a shelter site, the NYSUP communications officer shall immediately make contact with a NYSUP Chief Officer or the Director of Emergency Management and brief him/her of the request. The NYSUP Chief Officer of the Director of Emergency Management shall collect all appropriate information and brief the Vice President of Administration of the request.

The decision to open a university facility as a shelter site may only be made by a member of Senior Staff.

Priority Use of a Binghamton University Facility

To help determine the availability of a university facility, the following list shall be used as a guideline to determine the priority for the use of the university facilities.  The President's Office or a member of the Senior Officer's Group may alter this priority list as necessary.

  1. Emergency use for Binghamton University staff/faculty/students
  2. Academics
  3. Athletics
  4. Outside Contracts
  5. Emergency use for the community

General Population Shelter

A General Population shelter provides basic needs for healthy members of the community who are otherwise able to care for themselves if the emergency situation had not dislocated them from their homes.

Responsibility for all individuals registered into a general population shelter is that of the American Red Cross.

The shelter shall include: protection from the weather, food, water, restrooms, and shower facilities.

Some individuals in the General Population shelter may require basic Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) at a low or minimal level. This need for FNSS would not rise to a level that would require those individuals being put in a Special Medical Needs shelter. These include, but are not limited to, diabetics who require regular blood-glucose testing, partially or fully blind people, those who require the help of a guide dog, or people who need mobility aids like wheelchairs. Upon check in, individuals who require any minor special assistance should be documented and those services should be administered by General Population shelter staff.

Functional Special Needs Shelter (Special Medical Needs)

A special medical needs shelter provides basic and advanced needs for members of the community that may not be able to care for themselves. A Functional Special Needs shelter is designed to provide special care to individuals who may require a level of attention that is higher than the general population.

Responsibility for all individuals registered into a special needs shelter is that of the Broome County Health Department and the New York State Health Department. During the academic year, students and staff of the Decker School of Nursing may be used to assist the medical staff (nurses and doctors) working in the Functional Special Needs shelter.

In addition to the same basic needs provided in a general population shelter, a Functional Special Needs shelter may also need to supply specialized medical care including, but not limited to nursing care, medication, and medical equipment.

Selection of a campus facility

When determining which university facility may be utilized as an emergency shelter, the following items must be considered:

Facility Capacities

Binghamton University has several facilities that can be used in shelter operations. Capacity for these venues has been based on minimum spacing numbers provided by the American Red Cross (40 sq. ft. per cot). THESE ARE MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY LIMITS AND MAY BE REDUCED IF FLOOR SPACE IS USED FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN COT SPACE. The building capacities listed below include space for a separate dining area, aisles / walkways (evacuation safety), and other support services that require floor space.  If additional service space is needed, the building occupancy must be reduced.

COMBINED GEN. POP. / FUNCTIONAL NEEDS     489 / 40 209 / 22 40 / 24

Once it has been determined that a Binghamton University facility will be opened as an emergency shelter, the following individuals must be notified:

Preparation of the selected facility

The building administrator for the selected facility(s) shall assist in the preparation of the building. Physical Facilities must be immediately involved to provide labor and resources to prepare the facility to receive evacuees. Needed supplies will include, but not be limited to the following resources for the Events Center (see diagram):

Physical Facilities must be consulted for the purpose of setting building utilities to appropriate levels (i.e. heat, air conditioning, etc.)

The building emergency generator shall be inspected for appropriate level of fuel (if necessary) and functionally tested if practical.

NIMS and Incident Command

All shelter operations on the Binghamton University campus will be managed through the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). The Incident Management Team (IMT) shall be activated as soon as possible and shall manage all campus operations while the shelter is open.

All external agencies operating at the shelter shall provide a liaison to the IMT. A Binghamton University Agency Representative shall be provided to the Broome County EOC while the shelter is open.

Status of other campus facilities

Because the management of an emergency shelter will exhaust many university resources, it may be necessary to temporarily terminate or alter activities on campus. The IMT shall make the final determination as to the status of any campus activity. Events/actions that must be considered include, but are not limited to the following activities:

Shelter Operations


Cleaning / Maintenance


Helicopter Operations


Registration process


Medical care


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Last Updated: 4/7/14