Authorization to Issue Emergency Messages on NY–ALERT

The President of the College (or designee) shall have authority to issue emergency messages using the NY-ALERT system. When reasonable efforts to reach the President of the College (or designee) fail, the Chief of Police or the Incident Commander (or respective designees) may authorize such emergency messages. The NY-ALERT system may only be used for emergency and safety information and protective action messages to the campus community as defined in the SUNY Acceptable Use Procedure for NY-ALERT. University Police dispatchers and officers serving in that capacity are trained to send such messages and may do so only on the authority of the President (or designee) or, when unavailable, the Chief of University Police or Incident Commander (or respective designees).

The State University of New York Acceptable Use Procedure for NY-ALERT


Acceptable use of NY-ALERT


To integrate New York State’s NY-ALERT All-Hazards Alert and Notification system into the State University of New York (SUNY) emergency alerting program. This procedure seeks to ensure the appropriate and effective use of the NY-Alert service by authorized campus personnel.


NY-ALERT is the New York State All-Hazards Alert and Notification web-based Portal. This portal provides a mechanism by which campus officials can send emergency and safety information and protective action messages to the campus community. Via NY-ALERT, SUNY campuses can provide pre-incident educational and warning information to students, employees, visitors, and parents, as well as provide timely emergency information to the same groups to protect lives and well-being, protect assets and minimize campus disruption.

The NY-ALERT system can be used only by authorized campus personnel (up to ten (10) per campus) to send emergency messages, including emergency protective actions, warnings, and post-incident information related to life safety issues to the campus community. List of users attached.

Alert notifications are allowed pertaining only to events in the categories identified below or other “life-threatening” situations. “All Clear” and/or additional follow-up messages pertaining to the end of the event or additional instructions regarding the event are acceptable.

Emergency Contact Information is collected and provide only for emergency notifications by authorized campus management. 

General notifications of campus non-emergency events or activities are not acceptable via the SUNY NY-ALERT service.

Classification and Acceptable Usage

Bomb Threat based on intelligence that indicates the threat is credible.

Civil Disturbance large group disrupting normal campus activities.

Fire large-scale fire to building(s), wildfires, local community or industry that endangers campus.

Hazardous Material dangerous material, chemical, biological, nuclear spreading from a contained area.

Major Road Closing/Incident unanticipated event that would disrupt safe passage to and from campus.

Medical Emergency – pandemic or event with mass casualties.

Personal Safety – situations that include the use of weapons, violence, perpetrator(s) at large, active shooter, hostage situation or missing persons. Any situation, on or off campus, that, in the judgment of the Chief Administrative Officer or designee, constitutes an on-going or continuing threat to person or property.

Suspicious Package – reasonable belief that a package may contain chemical, biological or nuclear substance that would cause harm to persons or property.

Utility Failure – a major disruption or damage to utilities including gas, electrical or water.

Weather – severe weather conditions to include flooding, snow/ice/cold, thunderstorm, wind, tornado or hurricane.

The State University of New York NY-ALERT Best Practices and Usage Guide

  • SUNY NY-ALERT will not be used by any party for any political, financial or personal gain, advertisement or advocacy. All parties that use NY-ALERT will adhere to the professional ethics standards promulgated by the State of New York. 
  • Each campus must identify an NY-ALERT Emergency Manager (EM) who will be the primary Point-Of-Contact (POC) for NY-ALERT on the campus.
  • The campus POC will maintain the list of individuals who will be granted Authorized User status.
  • Upon approval and password assignment, the Authorized Users will receive training in the use of NY-ALERT by a SUNY NY-ALERT trainer and/or NYSEMO.
  • Every Authorized User should fill out the SEMO-NY-ALERT portal profile and be sure to set up their secret question with an answer. The SEMO/NY-ALERT dispatcher will ask the secret question if or when an Authorized User calls into the office rather than utilizing the SEMO/NY-ALERT portal interface. If the person can’t answer the secret question the SEMO/NY-ALERT dispatcher WILL NOT send out the emergency notification no matter what.
  • Authorized Users are responsible for the proper use of the system and the accuracy of the content of all messages transmitted.
  • Only Authorized Users may create and transmit a message and/or alerts via the system.
  • Authorized Users may transmit messages to populations or targeted audiences within their campus jurisdiction only.
  • Authorized Users are responsible for the security and access management of the system within their facility and/or via their access passwords.
  • Campuses will, in a timely fashion, provide any changes in contact information for any Authorized User to Assistant Vice Chancellor
  • A person appointed to a position previously held by an Authorized User must reapply for authorization. Authorization is not provided Ex Officio.
  • SUNY NY-ALERT is a stand-alone tool. Users are expected to use the existing capabilities to meet their needs. Recommendations for future enhancements are encouraged through proper SUNY channels.
  • NYSEMO reserves the right to refuse access to the system and remove users from the system at any time for abuse, misuse or violation of any policy.
  • While the system has been developed to be as reliable and robust as possible, NYSEMO and the State of New York are indemnified in the event that the system fails to deliver any or all messages, if any or all portions of the system are not operational, if any third party vendor’s system fails or is no longer available through the system or for the misuse/abuse of the system by an Authorized User.
  • NYSEMO and the State of New York are indemnified and do not guarantee the accuracy of the information in alerts/notifications by Authorized Users, organizations and jurisdictions. ALERTING (Emergency Incident) GUIDELINES: Upon notification of a potential developing or actual emergency, a campus Authorized User having consulted other public safety and/or campus officials as appropriate, may determine the need to alert a population to the situation and provide recommended protective actions. If the campus Authorized User determines that such Alerting is appropriate, the following steps will be taken:
    1. Determine the population to be alerted (e.g. full campus, specific group SUNY phase two);
    2. Determine the gateways to utilized (e.g. faxing, telephone dialing, email and/or text (SMS): at a minimum always use email gateway plus one other;
    3. Construct the message to be delivered; Note: use message tips on the last page of this document.
    4. Access SUNY NY-ALERT via on-site internet access/or by contacting the SEMO dispatcher at 518-292-2200.
    5. Transmit alert message.

NYSEMO State Emergency Control Center (SECC) Activation Support:

Should a campus Authorized User determine that Alerting is appropriate but not be able to access the portal, the campus Authorized User may telephone the NYSEMO SECC and, upon identification verification via NY-ALERT issued secret question, request activation.

The NYSEMO SECC will verify the identity of the campus Authorized User, access the NY-ALERT portal and, under the direction of the campus Authorized User, craft and execute the Alert. The NYSEMO (SECC) will then notify the NYSEMO Duty Officer and the appropriate Regional Director, via telephone, of the alert (

External Activation of NY-ALERT:

NYSEMO has established a partnership with NYS agencies, several federal agencies and public entities (e.g. National Weather Service, regional state offices, schools, colleges/universities, healthcare facilities) across the state for the use of NY-ALERT. As a result, Notifications and Alerts may be generated by those entities locally or at the State level. By the nature of the NY-ALERT infrastructure, this will result in the dissemination of information into the campus’ population. The Campus POC will be notified of any/all Alerts that are created within their jurisdiction and may, based upon the specifics of the incident, determine appropriate actions which may include additional Alerting.

Message Tips

  • Alert administrators should re-familiarize themselves with the SUNY NY-ALERT online system on a regular basis.
  • It is strongly recommended that campus collect non-campus emails and phone numbers whenever possible for notification data. Be advised that if you use on-campus email and phone numbers it could significantly impact the campus communication systems during an alert.
  • Do not rely upon only one communication method during an emergency. For example, weather-related class suspensions should continue to use media broadcast.
  • A message should use only bold, italics and underlines for formatting. All other formatting will be stripped. Prior to the notification being sent by the SEMO/NY-ALERT system.
  • Phone numbers should be typed as 555-666-7777.
  • Attachment use should be limited and cannot exceed 4mb.
  • Emergency notifications should be clear, concise and short.
  • All alerts should use the email notification method.
  • Recommend that alert administrators use pre-recorded messages when appropriate. For example weather-related emergencies, traffic alerts.
  • Do not use acronyms, which may be confusing when translated. For example CAB for Campus Activity building or FAB (faculty Administration building).
  • The subject line of the alert is limited to 100 characters.

Effective Dates

Approved 10/09/2007 by the President