Columbia University

Global Travel

Traveler: Steps to Follow in an Emergency

Members of the Columbia University community who need emergency assistance or other travel assistance while abroad should:

1. In case of any emergency, also call the ISOS Scholastic Members' line: +1-215-942-8478. (As needed, you may dial any of the other international numbers on the back of your ISOS card.)

A caller must provide the following information to the ISOS alarm center:

  • Caller’s name and relationship to Columbia University, or relationship to eligible Columbia traveler
  • Eligible Columbia traveler’s name, location, age, gender, and nationality
  • School or department with which the eligible traveler is associated
  • Our ISOS membership number: #11BSGC000064 (this number is also found on the front of your ISOS card.)
  • Telephone number where you can be reached
  • Name, location, and telephone number of doctor, hospital, or clinic (if applicable)

*ISOS has been instructed to first contact Columbia University's authorized persons/first responders.

2. In a life-threatening or other serious emergency, call the equivalent to "911" for your host country.

See the 911 equivalent list; it includes emergency (ambulance, fire and police) numbers for countries around the world.

3. In a Medical Emergency: Columbia students covered by the University’s Student Health Insurance Plan through Aetna Student Health should also reach out to OnCall: +1-603-328-1926. This step is crucial for later seeking reimbursement for international services from that insurer.

4. Lastly, if the authorized persons/first responders are not available, ISOS has been instructed to contact Columbia University Public Safety at +1-212-854-5555, as it operates 24/7 on campus. Public Safety will route the call or message to the appropriate school/department/program ISOS Program Coordinator.

NOTE: The first responders will work with ISOS for immediate emergency actions and will act as a liaison for the University. After receiving all pertinent facts from the local ISOS team, they will disseminate information to all appropriate University personnel. If the traveler requires medical attention, the first responders will bring Health Services into all discussions. The Dean, Department Head, or ISOS Program Coordinator will contact the traveler's family and take over case management after the immediate emergency has been addressed.

If you have any questions, please email us at