Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. The appropriate response will vary based on the type and severity of the incident and will be tailored to the risk. Messaging from BU Alert will provide guidance on how to proceed.
For a minor incident, you may be advised to avoid the area until authorities have controlled the situation, however for more serious emergencies the responses below may be necessary.
The use of a structure to temporarily separate individuals from a hazard or threat.
Organized, phased, and supervised withdrawal, dispersal, or removal of civilians from dangerous or potentially dangerous areas, and their reception and care in safe areas
Shelter in Place
Sometimes the best way to stay safe in an emergency is to get inside and stay put inside a building or vehicle. Where you should stay can be different for different types of emergencies. Be informed about the different kinds of emergencies that could affect your area and the ways officials share emergency information. Ask your local emergency management agency about the best places to take shelter during different types of emergencies.
Get Inside, Stay Inside
If University officials tell you to “stay put,” act quickly. Listen carefully to instructions from BU Alert, because the exact directions will depend on the emergency situation. In general, you should:
- Get inside. Bring your loved ones, your emergency supplies, and when possible, your pets,
- Find a safe spot in this location. The exact spot will depend on the type of emergency,
- Stay put in this location until officials say that it is safe to leave.
Stay in Touch
- Call or text your emergency contact. Let them know where you are, if any family members are missing, and how you are doing.
- Use your phone only as necessary. Keep the phone handy in case you need to report a life-threatening emergency. Otherwise, do not use the phone, so that the lines will be available for emergency responders.
- Keep monitoring BU Alert for updates. Do not leave your shelter unless authorities tell you it is safe to do so. If they tell you to evacuate the area, follow their instructions.
Potential evacuation could be caused by, but not limited to fire, biological threat, bomb threat, flood, gas leak, or building system malfunctions. Evacuation is mandatory when the fire alarm system for the building is activated, or initiated by the Boston University Police Department (BUPD), BUMC Public Safety, Boston Police Department (BPD), Boston Fire Department (BFD), or other recognized authorities.
Boston University comprises more than 350 buildings. As such, there is no single assembly location. Larger buildings have a predesignated rally point as part of their evacuation plans. In the event of an emergency, specific information about evacuation and relocation will be provided via BU Alert, if necessary.
Building Evacuation Floor Map
Evacuation floor maps have been created and posted in all University and hospital buildings to act as an aid in the event of an evacuation. The floor maps show primary and secondary means of egress and the locations of fire extinguishers and fire alarm pull stations. In buildings that contain laboratories, safety showers and eyewash stations are also shown on the floor plans. On BMC inpatient floors, the maps also show smoke separations to aid in horizontal evacuation if necessary. Become familiar with the layout of your building in the event of a real emergency.
In addition to the general fire evacuation plan, Environmental Health & Safety has created building-specific evacuation plans for many buildings on the Charles River Campus (CRC), Fenway Campus (FEN), and the Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC)