The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Shelter-in-Place and Evacuation


Shelter-in-Place events usually take place when the risk is outside.  In order to minimize your exposure to the risk, you will be asked to move to a secure building space.

Shelter-In-Place will be signaled by emergency alerts to the campus community as outlined on the Notifications page.

  1. Upon the Shelter-in-Place alert, immediately seek shelter inside the closest sturdy building. 
  2. If already indoors, remain in place until directed by UMass Police.  Resist temptation to go outside until give the "All Clear" signal.
  3. Faculty members who are conducting class should remain in their classroom.
  4. Close all doors and windows, turn off air conditioning or heating units where possible, and wait for further instruction. Stay away from windows and doors or any unsecured objects that may fall.
  5. DO NOT use elevators.
  6. DO NOT leave until the “All Clear” signal is received from emergency personnel. The University will disseminate information - including the all-clear to exit a building - as soon as it is available through the use of the emergency notification systems such as; UMass Alerts, broadcast e-mail, homepage and Outdoor Warning Sirens.

Faculty Guidance for Shelter-in-Place



Determine in advance the exit routes for any building you frequent.  Establish an alternative route in case the nearest exit is blocked or unsafe.

In case of a fire or other emergency that requires all occupants to immediately leave a building or area, evacuation will be signaled by the internal building alarm or by the direction of emergency personnel. Please follow the directions below:

  1. Leave the building or area immediately through the nearest exit. Evacuation is REQUIRED when the alarm is sounding, for every individual in the building, whether student, faculty, staff or visitor.
  2. DO NOT use elevators during an evacuation.
  3. Exit in an orderly fashion. WALK – do not run.
  4. Gather at a designated meeting place or at a safe distance from the building or area, taking care not to block entrances and exits. Emergency personnel will need a clear path into and out of the building or area.
  5. Stay together. Assess who is present. Faculty members who were leading classes should gather names of students; supervisors should gather names of staff, residence hall directors should gather names of residents.
  6. Report the condition and location of any persons unable to leave the building or area or who need assistance to emergency personnel.
  7. Wait for the “All-Clear” from emergency personnel before attempting to re-enter the building or area. If a fire or other incident makes a building or area unsafe to enter for a significant period of time, you will be directed to a temporary shelter.

People with Disabilities:

During an evacuation, follow the same protocol outlined above. If you need assistance leaving a building or area, notify a co-worker, friend, roommate, etc. that you will wait by the nearest stairwell. Do not use an elevator during an evacuation. Also, call UMass Police at 413-545-2121 from your cell phone and let the operator know of your exact location. Stay calm until help arrives.

More information for Individuals with Disabilities.