evacuate and shelter


A building evacuation is activated by either the fire alarm or at the directive of authorized emergency personnel, including UMass Emergency Alerts.

Proceed with caution, considering the following guidelines:

  1. Leave the building immediately through the nearest emergency exit, which may not be the main entrance.
    1. Overhead emergency exit signs will lead you out of the building quickly.
    2. Evacuation is REQUIRED when the alarm is sounding, for every individual in the building, whether student, faculty, staff or visitor.
    3. If you are unable to leave the building, refer to Shelter-in-Place below for additional considerations.
  2. Do not use elevators, unless authorized emergency personnel direct you to do so.
  3. If smoke is in the area, but not impeding evacuation, cover mouth and stay low to the ground as you proceed out.
  4. If smoke, heat, flames, or other hazards block your exit route, find an alternative route
    1. If no other option is available, stay in a room with the door closed.
  5. Close hoods and sashes if you are in a laboratory equipped with a fume hood and/or biosafety cabinet.
  6. Turn off equipment and secure hazardous operations, if possible.
  7. Gather 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.
  8. Report the condition and location of any persons unable to leave the building or area or who need assistance to emergency personnel.
  9. Emergency personnel will let you know when the risk has been contained and you can re-enter the building.

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.


Shelter-in-Place is a term that indicates there is a dangerous hazard outside and you should find a safe location inside to find shelter from the threat. It is important to select a shelter location that will provide protection from the specific hazard or threat – emergency personnel and UMass Emergency Alerts will share information that should be used to guide your actions. There is not one location that is ideal for all circumstances, here are some general considerations: 

  1. Severe weather: find an interior space, without windows, that is located on a lower level of the building.
  2. Fire: find an enclosed room away from the fire/smoke, a vestibule/hallway near an exit, or a stairway landing (but do not block stairs from people leaving)
    1. Always call UMass Police (413-545-2121) or 911 and notify them of your location.
  3. Hazardous material release: find an interior room and close all windows and doors.
  4. Active shooter/armed assailant: referring to the Hide section of Run-Hide-Fight, secure yourself in a room and turn off phone and lights to appear as thought the room is empty and stay clear of windows and be ready to act in case the room is attacked.
  5. Other dangerous situations: use the incident details to find a safe location from the hazard and use the space around you to appropriately shelter-in-place.
  6. Emergency personnel will let you know when the risk has been contained and you can resume activity.

Faculty Guidance for Shelter-in-Place


More information for Individuals with Disabilities.