Emergency Procedures

Students, faculty and staff should follow emergency procedures to keep themselves safe and free emergency responders to resolve an incident quickly.

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Severe Weather

The Buffalo Niagara region of Western New York can at times experience severe weather. Winter weather can be especially unpredictable and may affect each campus differently. It is important for the university community to be prepared to take action if severe weather notifications or warnings are issued.

  • Always use good judgment before deciding to travel on or off campus.
  • Dress appropriately for anticipated weather conditions.
  • If directed, seek shelter inside a building until notified by officials that it is safe to leave.
  • If flooding occurs, seek higher ground and avoid standing or moving water.
  • Stay away from downed electrical lines or devices.

During a severe weather emergency, make all decisions with your personal safety in mind.

Report an Emergency

On North, South and Downtown Campuses
  Call 716-645-2222 or
  Use a blue light phone

Off Campus — Call 911

UB Guardian — download the safety app 


Hazardous Materials
Call 716-829-3301

Call 716-645-2227

Notification and Warning About Severe Weather

UB uses a variety of communication channels to notify you about severe weather and any changes to scheduled operations:

  • UB Alert will send text messages and emails to all @buffalo.edu email addresses.
  • UB Alert Twitter will inform its followers of regular updates. You must set your notifications to receive Twitter notifications from this account.
  • UB will post notices on the main website.
  • UB will post alerts on local television and radio stations.
Follow UB Alert on Twitter

Follow @ub_alert on Twitter for the latest information during a severe weather event. 

Subscribe to UB Alert

Use your UBITName and password to subscribe, but select the email account or phone service you would like to receive messages. Subscribe to UB Alert now.

Making the Decision to Change Scheduled Operations

The decision to change scheduled operations is based on the input of an advisory group of officials from across the university responsible for student life and safety, academic scheduling, emergency management, athletics, human resources, facilities operations and campus infrastructure.

Operational decisions take into consideration factors such as current weather conditions, which can change hourly; forecasts throughout the region; the conditions of roads both on and off campus; travel warnings or bans issued by neighboring municipalities and scheduled academic and extracurricular activities.

Based on information considered during the decision making process, including conditions that may affect a particular region or campus, university officials may recommend activation of one or more of the following options.

All Classes and Events are Cancelled

All classes and events are canceled. Weather conditions are severe enough to threaten the safety of the campus community. As the situation improves, this restriction will be altered, as necessary, to resume scheduled operations.

Only those individuals designated as essential personnel should report to work.

Scheduled performing arts or athletic events may or may not be affected by this announcement. Ticketholders are advised to check with the sponsoring unit of a public event. 

Classes and Events Delayed

All classes and events are delayed for a specific time period based on current conditions and forecasts.

Essential personnel should report for work if conditions allow. 

Early Departure for Employees

Weather conditions have deteriorated to the point where transportation and health and safety of employees may be jeopardized.

Employees should not be required to leave, but instead permitted to leave then or any time after the early departure announcement is made.

Classes and Campus Operations Conducted as Usual

All classes and events will continue as scheduled, but officials will continuously monitor campus conditions and communicate any changes as necessary.

Although the university is open during periods of adverse conditions, supervisors and department chairs may alter work schedules to make allowances for unique travel problems. 

When a Student or Instructor Cannot Get to Class


Notify your instructors, in writing, in as much advance as possible, if you cannot safely get to your scheduled class(es). You will not be penalized if you cannot make it to class or work due to severe weather conditions.

You are responsible for completing any assigned make-up work promptly.


Faculty unable to travel to campus are responsible for making alternate arrangements with their students.

Offer any student who is unable to attend a regularly scheduled class or exam or complete assignments because of weather-related conditions reasonable accommodations for any missed academic work. Instructors may determine a reasonable amount of coursework that should be completed in order to make up a student’s absence.

Resolution of Disagreement

In the event that a student absence situation cannot be resolved between the student and the class instructor, or either party is aggrieved by the process, appeal by the student shall process first to their department chair, then to their unit dean and finally to the Vice Provost for Educational Affairs.

Information for Employees — Faculty or Staff

Managing My Time If I Stay Home During Severe Weather

Only the New York State governor can officially declare that UB is closed and authorize employees to remain away from work without charge to leave accruals.

Therefore, employees who do not report to work during a storm must take vacation time or otherwise charge their absence to appropriate leave accruals, even when the university cancels classes and activities.

If a closure is approved by the state after the event, you may be able to get vacation credit restored. Your department will notify you if this happens.

Anyone who does not have sufficient leave accruals may borrow from future accruals. Consult with the Human Resources staff in your area.

Essential Employees

Services related to the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and guests must continue in spite of severe conditions. The same is true of facility maintenance, security and other critical services.

Your supervisor determines, based on the nature of the event, which employees are essential.

Use your best judgment in assessing the risk of coming to campus and returning home based on your individual circumstances.

Employees who provide essential services should be identified and notified to ensure that they understand who must remain at or report to work in the event of a change in operations.

In severe conditions, notification will be sent via the UB Alert system if employees providing essential services should report to work.

Essential employees who cannot safely get to work must use accruals to account for their absences.

When I'm At Work When Classes Are Canceled

No one who reports to work will be deprived of the opportunity to work.

There is no guarantee that employees who arrive at the campus or those who stay after a change in scheduled operations announcement will be able to continue work at their usual work places.

  • Adequate supervision may not be available or the building in which the individual works may not be open.
  • Provision should be made for alternate campus work locations and alternate work for those who do get to campus but who cannot go to their regular work places or cannot perform their regular work assignments.
  • If it is determined during the course of a workday that the university cannot operate effectively, employees are not required to leave at that moment, they may leave then or any time thereafter. Only the time that an employee is absent is charged to leave accruals.

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