Boston University Command Center (BUCC)

A management center where the Emergency Management Team coordinates the University’s emergency decisions and resources. Headquarters for emergency management team command post.

Critical Incident

A critical incident is one that disrupts normal University operations and puts students, visitors, faculty, staff, or property at risk. Examples of a critical incident are hurricanes, blizzards and other forms of severe weather, fires, floods, utility and information systems failures, biological threats or exposures, oil or chemical spills, or radiation releases.

Command Post (CP)

This is the on-site field location for the Emergency Operations Center. The Incident Commander is in charge of the command post.

Emergency Assembly Point

Evacuation locations for each Campus building

Emergency Phases

A ranking that classifies emergencies according to their severity and potential impact:

  • Phase A = Minor, localized emergency
  • Phase B = Emergency Situation that disrupts operations
  • Phase C = Major Emergency involving the campus and/or community


In general, there are two types of evacuation that you might experience. Both are, hopefully, short term. he first is for a localized incident, such as a power outage or a fire. The second may be for a larger incident, like a hurricane or a flood. Whatever the reason for evacuation, it is best to have planned evacuation routes, procedures, and necessary items, prior to an ordered evacuation.

Local government officials, not Boston University, issue evacuation orders when disaster threatens. Listen to local radio and television reports when a disaster is imminent. If local officials ask you to leave, do so immediately; they have a good reason for making this request.

In certain emergencies, students, faculty, and staff may need to be temporarily relocated or provided with an assembly area. The following areas should be considered as possible emergency assembly areas:

  • George Sherman Union
  • Track & Tennis Center, 100 Ashford St.
  • Case Center Gyms
  • Agganis Arena & Recreation Center

Coordinate your evacuation plan in advance when creating your disaster plan. Ensure that you’ve tested the evacuation routes and that you have planned several in the instance of closed roads and routes.

Incident Command Response Team (ICRT)

The Incident Command Response Team is the trained leadership team that helps disseminates emergency instructions, assists evacuations and security, provides first aid, and deals with immediate salvage and preservation issues (ex. moving animals and plants, books, and equipment).

Incident Command System (ICS)

A standardized on-scene emergency management concept specifically designed to allow its users to adopt an integrated organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of single or multiple incidents, without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries. Boston University Charles River Campus and Medical Campus operate within the Incident Command System Structure.

Incident Response Phases

A Classification of emergency situation into one of three phases, Phase C being the most severe situation. The IRP is determined by the Incident Commander/Emergency Management Coordinator.

Emergency Alert Phase A

Emergency Alert Phase A is the initial response to a potential emergency situation or an actual event when the impact on the Charles River Campus is uncertain. This is a minor, localized emergency. This is an unplanned event that is not likely to adversely impact or threaten life, health, or property. The area of impact is contained to a small, localized area. The duration of incident is short term and does not affect University operations outside of the immediate incident area. Control of the incident is within the normal scope of University operations and does not require outside assistance.

Emergency Situation Phase B

Emergency Situation Phase B is an actual emergency that impacts the Charles River Campus and cannot be handled by on-site personnel in a routine fashion. At this level, the Command Center would be established, bringing together key department representatives who would coordinate a response from a single location. This is a major incident that disrupts University operations.

Major Emergency Phase C

Major Emergency Phase C is a large scale emergency or disaster that requires the recall of off-duty personnel or contractors and transfers overall University coordination to the Command Center Emergency involving the campus and community.


A lockdown is an emergency protocol to prevent people or information escaping, which usually can only be ordered by someone in command. They are also used to protect people inside a facility from a dangerous external event: schools practice lockdowns in the wake of the Columbine High School shootings in which students with guns entered the school; or from an internal event: prison facilities also practice lockdown procedure on their inmates when faced with rioting or unrest. It is a common anti-terrorism measure in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

A Partial Lockdown means that the doors leading outside of the building are locked and people may not exit or enter the building.

A Full Lockdown means that people must stay where they are and may not exit or enter the classroom, apartment unit, store unit, office space, or condo unit and cannot enter or exit the building. If people are in a hallway they must go into the nearest classroom, apartment unit, condo unit, office space, or store unit.

The term ‘lockdown’ can be defined as an emergency course of action taken by an agent of authority, such as police or prison personnel, to contain a problem or incident within the area of its origin by controlling the movement of people.

Shelter in Place

One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency where hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere is to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors. (This is not the same thing as going to a shelter in case of a storm.) Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire home or office building. If you are told to shelter-in-place, follow the instructions provided here, which we have formulated from the American Red Cross.

Why You Might Need to Shelter-in-Place: Chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants may be released accidentally or intentionally into the environment.

Should this occur, information will be provided by local authorities on television and radio stations on how to protect you and your family.

Because information will most likely be provided on television and radio, it is important to keep a TV or radio on, even during the workday. The important thing is for you to follow instructions of university and/or local authorities and know what to do if they advise you to shelter-in-place.

Local officials on the scene are the best source of information for your particular situation. Following their instructions during and after emergencies regarding sheltering, food, water, and clean up methods is your safest choice.

Remember that instructions to shelter-in-place are usually provided for durations of a few hours, not days or weeks. There is little danger that the room in which you are taking shelter will run out of oxygen and you will suffocate.