Timely Warnings, Emergency Notification & Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Notification

Boston University has established the BU Alert notification system for the purpose of communicating with the campus community upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus. For more information about BU Alert, visit BU Alert FAQs. Students may add or update their BU Alert contact information by visiting the Student Link and clicking the “Personal” tab to update “Address and Phone.” Questions concerning enrollment in the BU Alert program may be addressed to the Admissions Office (617-353-2300).

Faculty and staff may add or update their BU Alert contact information by visiting the BUworks Central Portal and clicking on the “Employee Self-Service” tab, and then selecting “Personal Information” to update “BU Alert Information.”

In the event a situation arises—either on or off campus—that, in the judgment of the Chief of Police and Executive Director of Public Safety or his designee, constitutes an ongoing or continuing threat, a “timely warning” will be issued. The warning will be issued through the BU Alert system. Notice may be sent via text message, voice mail, or email. Notice may also be posted on the BU home page and other BU web pages, and scrolled on the University’s cable television system.

Emergency Response and Evacuation Procedures

Boston University has established emergency response and evacuation procedures to ensure that it is prepared for emergency situations. For more information, visit Emergency Response Planning and Emergency Response FAQs. That website provides the detailed emergency response plans for severe weather, emergency closings, and instructions for evacuations and sheltering in place. It also outlines the responsibilities of the Emergency Response Team in the event of an emergency. Boston University has been designated as a Storm Ready Community from the National Weather Service.

Boston University participates in tabletop and other training drills annually, including drills to respond to active shooter situations.

The Boston University Police Department and the Boston University Medical Campus Public Safety Department are first responders for all emergencies, including police, fire, and medical emergencies. In the event of a fire, call 911 first, and then call BUPD or the BUMC Public Safety Department. BUPD responds to all calls for service and addresses any hazardous situation it encounters during patrol operations or that is reported. BUPD supervisory personnel, in consultation with University administrators, as appropriate, determine whether there is a significant emergency that requires notification through the BU Alert system.

The Vice President for Administrative Services is the Incident Commander for all confirmed emergency situations and will determine the content of the message and identify the segment(s) of the community to be notified. If the situation warrants immediate action and the Vice President for Administrative Services is not available, the Boston University Chief of Police or his designee will assume this role. In all cases, Boston University Police Operations is responsible for initiating the BU Alert system and sending the message.

In the interest of safety for the members of our community, the University will initiate the BU Alert system without delay unless the notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist victims or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

The Public Relations office shall be responsible for dissemination of information to the larger community, including via the University’s website and BU Today.

The Emergency Response Planning Division (ERPD) is responsible for the maintenance, review, and revision of the University’s emergency response and evacuation plans and coordinates regular tests of the emergency response and evacuation procedures on at least an annual basis. These tests may be announced or unannounced and each will be documented with a description of the exercise, the date and time, and whether the test was announced or unannounced. ERPD publicizes the University’s emergency response and evacuation procedures in conjunction with at least one test per calendar year. Following every declared emergency or following a campuswide drill, a written critique will be prepared by the Director of ERPD evaluates the drill as a means of assessing and evaluating emergency plans and capabilities.