Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How do I report an emergency?
A: To report an emergency call 911 from any telephone.  On-campus telephones will connect you with the Cornell Police 911 Center.  Cellular telephones and off-campus telephones will connect you with the Tompkins County 911 Center.  You may also contact Cornell Police by calling 607 255-1111.

To report an emergency by using one of the outdoor Blue Light Telephones or indoor Emergency Telephones, open the door and push the button or lift the receiver and you will be connected the Cornell Police 911 Center.

Q: What should I do if I observe suspicious or possibly criminal behavior or observe a safety or security risk?
A: Contact Cornell Police by calling 911 (emergencies) or 607 255-1111 (non-emergencies).

Q: How will I know when I need to evacuate from my building?
A: Evacuation is required:

  • Any time the fire alarm sounds
  • An evacuation announcement is made, or
  • A university official orders you to evacuate


Q: What should I do if I am unable to evacuate from the building due to a physical disability?
A: Be proactive and develop a plan before an emergency happens.  Visit the Emergency Evacuation Planning web page for more information.

If you are unable to leave the building due to a physical disability:

  • Go to the nearest area where there are no hazards.
  • Use a telephone to call 911 or Cornell Police at 607 255-1111
  • Be sure to give them the room number so they can send help to you.
  • If possible, signal out the window to on-site emergency responders.
  • One person may remain with you if they wish to assist you.


Q: Does Cornell have an emergency warning notification system?
A:  Yes, Cornell’s emergency warning notification system consists of a variety of communications tools and information channels to quickly provide accurate information.  Specific tools and channels used will depend on the type and severity of the emergency and include:

  • CornellALERT Text/Voice Messaging System – if you receive an emergency warning text or voice message, you should promptly follow the directions given in the message. Cornell University faculty, staff and students should sign up to receive emergency notification text messages.
    • Students should go to Student Center and select the links for Emergency Contact Info and Emergency Mass Notification.
    • Employees should go to the Workday web site. After logging into Workday, click on the “All About Me” tab and then select “Important Links: Employees”. Select Emergency Mass Notification and enter your information.
  • Outdoor Warning Sirens – if the sirens are sounded you should promptly follow the instructions given after the initial tone and move to a safe place.
  • E-mail sent to all current faculty, staff, and student cornell.edu addresses
  • Building Fire Alarm Systems (evacuate the building if the fire alarm sounds)
  • Cornell University Operating Status Web Page
  • CUinfo