Emergency Management

Emergency Preparedness and Safety Guide

Emergency Management

The Emergency Preparedness and Safety Guide provides instructions on how to prepare and respond to various emergency situations that may impact Emerson College.

Please take a few minutes to read the procedures below and consider how you would respond. Use the index to navigate across multiple topics.


Emergency Contact Information

  • Boston Police, Fire and Medical: 911
  • Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) – Emergencies: 617-824-8888
  • Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) – Non-emergencies: 617-824-8555
  • Facilities Services/Custodial: 617-824-8880
  • Center for Health and Wellness: 617-824-8666
  • Counseling and Psychological Services: 617-824-8595
  • Office of Housing and Residence Life: 617-824-8620
  • Weather Closing and Emergency Information: 617-824-8500

[return to guide index]

Reporting Emergencies

Dial 911 for all fire and medical emergencies. For all other emergencies, call the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) at 617-824-8888 or 8888.

An emergency is any situation that requires immediate police, fire, or medical response to preserve life or property. ECPD can be contacted by dialing 8888 from any phone on campus.

When reporting an emergency, be prepared to give the following information:

  • Location of the emergency – directions, street address, building, and room
  • Type and severity of the emergency:
    • Fire: Type and size of fire
    • Medical: Type of illness or injury, cause, and number of victims
    • Police/crime: Type of crime, description of suspects, and their direction of travel
    • Chemical/hazardous materials: Quantity and type of substances involved, hazards, and injuries
  • When the incident occurred
  • Your name, location you’re calling from, and phone number
  • Call from a safe location, if possible. Remain calm. Speak slowly and clearly. Do not hang up the phone until the dispatcher tells you to.

[return to guide index]

Hostile Intruder

These guidelines have been developed for hostile intruder situations in accordance with the best practices established by law enforcement experts. If it is possible to do so safely, exit the building immediately when you become aware of a hostile intruder incident, moving away from the immediate path of danger, and take the following steps:

  • Notify anyone you may encounter to exit the building immediately.
  • Evacuate to a safe indoor area away from the danger and take protective cover. If possible, go to another campus building. Stay there until assistance arrives.
  • Call the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) at 617-824-8888 or dial 911 and provide the dispatcher with the following information:
    • Your name
    • Location of the incident (be as specific as possible)
    • Number of intruders (if known)
    • Identification or description of intruder(s)
    • Number of persons who may be involved
    • Your exact location
    • Injuries to anyone (if known)
  • Individuals not immediately impacted by the situation are to take protective cover, staying away from windows and doors until notified otherwise.
  • If exiting the building is not possible, the following actions are recommended:
    • Go to the nearest room or office.
    • Close, lock, and barricade the door.
    • Spread out within the room; do not huddle in one location.
    • Grab devices that can be used to counter the intruder.
    • Turn off the lights.
    • Silence all phones but DO NOT turn them off.
    • Seek protective cover.
    • Keep quiet.
    • DO NOT answer the door.
  • Wait for responding law enforcement officers to assist you out of the building.
  • Find updates on the situation at www.emerson.edu/emergency.

[return to guide index]

Shelter in Place

This procedure provides basic information and instruction for seeking shelter. In some emergencies, it is safer for you to stay indoors than it would be to evacuate. You may need to shelter-in-place for a variety of reasons including weather, chemical hazards, or public safety emergencies.

Shelter-in-Place Procedures for public safety emergencies:

  • Get indoors and go to the nearest room or office.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Move away from any windows.
  • Seek protective cover if instructed to do so.
  • In case of a violent intruder:
    • Lock and barricade the door.
    • Spread out within the room; do not huddle in one location.
    • Grab devices in the room that can be used to counter the intruder.
    • Turn off the lights.
    • Silence all phones but DO NOT turn them off.
    • Seek protective cover.
    • Keep quiet.
    • Do not answer the door.
  • Stay inside until informed that it’s safe to go outside.
  • Follow instructions of emergency personnel.
  • Find updates on the situation at emerson.edu/emergency.

[return to guide index]

Building Lockdown

A lockdown is a procedure used to lock all building entryways in order to protect people inside a facility from a dangerous external event. People may not enter a building during a lockdown.

  • Stay in your office or room and lock all doors and windows.
  • Stay inside until informed that it’s safe to go outside.
  • Silence all phones but DO NOT turn them off.
  • Follow instructions of emergency personnel.
  • In case of a violent intruder:
    • Lock and barricade the door.
    • Spread out within the room; do not huddle in one location.
    • Grab devices in the room that can be used to counter the intruder.
    • Turn off the lights.
    • Silence all phones but DO NOT turn them off.
    • Seek protective cover.
    • Keep quiet and act as if no one is in the room.
    • Do not answer the door.

[return to guide index]

Evacuation

Should an evacuation be necessary, go to the nearest exit or stairway and proceed at least 50 feet away from the building.

Treat Every Building Alarm as an Emergency:

  • Follow exit signs to exits and stairwells.
  • If a stairwell or exit is blocked or filled with smoke, find a secondary egress route.
  • NEVER USE an elevator to evacuate.
  • Once outside the building, DO NOT re-enter. Go to your designated meeting site.

Planning in Advance:

  • Know your primary and secondary evacuation routes in your building.
  • Know where the closest fire alarm pull station is located.
  • Know who the safety monitor is for your floor.
  • Review your building's Fire Emergency Procedures. Your safety monitor should have copies of the Fire Emergency Procedures for your building. Copies can also be found online at emerson.edu/police/emergency-preparedness.
  • If you would like to request assistance with an evacuation, please contact Emergency Management at 617-824- 8104 or 8104 in order to develop an appropriate evacuation plan.

[return to guide index]

Bomb Threat

If you receive a bomb threat by telephone, try to remain calm and get as much information as possible from the caller. Try to write down the caller’s exact words and the time of the call. Check to see if the caller’s phone number or location is displayed on your phone.

If possible, try to ask the caller:

  • When is the bomb going to explode?
  • Where is the bomb?
  • What does it look like?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause it to explode?
  • Did you place the bomb?
  • Why?
  • What is your name and address?

Try to notice descriptive or other useful details (preferably write them down):

  • Did the caller sound like a man? A woman?
  • Approximate age?
  • Distinctive voice, pronunciation or accent, or speech patterns?
  • Tone of voice and attitude?
  • Did the call seem to be a recording?
  • Were there background voices or noises or other clues about location or caller identity?

If the threat came in a form other than a call (e.g., a note was left or delivered):

  • Immediately notify the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) by calling 617-824-8888 or 8888.
  • Report the time, location, and content of the threat message, as well as your location and phone number.
  • Stay on the line until the dispatcher terminates the phone call.
  • If you are told to evacuate the area, take your notes about the call with you.

[return to guide index]

Suspicious Package/Object

This procedure provides basic information relating to suspicious packages or objects. It can be utilized for any type of package or object, including those with unknown contents.

If you are holding a suspicious package/object:

  • Gently set the item down on a solid surface or on the floor. If there is powder or liquid, try to set the item down in a container like a trash can or bucket.
  • Evacuate others from the immediate area.
  • Leave the immediate area.

If you locate a suspicious package/object:

  • DO NOT touch or move the object.
  • DO NOT activate the fire alarm system.
  • Contact the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) at 617-824-8888 or 8888.
  • Evacuate only the immediate area.
  • Isolate the area and do not allow anyone to enter until ECPD has specifically said that the area is safe.
  • Notify a supervisor.
  • Request other witnesses to remain nearby to speak with ECPD responders.
  • Remain available to assist responders.

[return to guide index]

Crime Reporting

To report a crime or criminal behavior in progress on campus, contact the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) at 617-824-8888 or 8888.

Do not approach or attempt to apprehend the persons involved. Take only actions necessary for self-defense. If you are safe, stay where you are until the police arrive. Otherwise, try to move to a safe location. Provide as much information as you can, including:

  • Type of crime or criminal behavior and the location of the crime
  • Description of person(s) (height, weight, sex, clothing) and if any weapons were involved
  • Direction of anyone’s travel away from the scene
  • Vehicle description (color, year, make, model, license plate number)

To report non-emergency police-related activities, including crimes that are no longer in progress, missing property, minor auto accidents without injuries, disabled vehicles, etc., call the Emerson College Police Department at 617-824-8555 or 8555.

[return to guide index]

Fire

If you are INSIDE the building:

  • STOP all activities and immediately initiate an evacuation.
  • Close doors behind you as you exit, if it is safe to do so.
  • Activate the nearest pull station if you do not already hear the fire alarm.
  • If you encounter visitors/guests, assist as necessary.
  • Follow EXIT signs to the nearest stairwell.
  • DO NOT use elevators. 
  • Leave the area by means of your primary evacuation route.
  • If this exit is blocked or not safe for travel, use the secondary route. 
  • Once outside the building, report to your designated meeting site. Wait for instructions.
  • DO NOT re-enter the building until the Fire Department indicates that it is safe to do so.

Remember R.A.C.E.

Relocate: Remove yourself from the immediate danger.

Alarm: Activate the fire alarm.

Confine: Confine the fire as you leave by closing doors and windows.

Evacuate: Evacuate from the building.

Key Fire Safety Tips

  • Do not store cardboard, paper or other combustibles in fire-rated stairwells.
  • Do not prop open fire-rated doors, unless held open by magnetic holds.
  • Maintain 18” clearance beneath sprinkler heads.
  • Do not block/obstruct emergency exits.

Remember P.A.S.S.

If you MUST use a fire extinguisher:

Pull the safety pin on the grip handle.

Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the handles all the way together.

Sweep the extinguisher from side to side.

[return to guide index]

Hazardous Materials

All major hazardous materials (hazmat) spills on campus must be reported to the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) immediately by calling 617-824-8888 or 8888. Be prepared to provide (and spell) the names of the materials involved and to describe the locationsize, and nature of the incident. 

A major hazardous material emergency exists when any of these conditions are present:

  • Clean-up of a hazardous material spill is beyond the level of knowledge, training, or ability of the staff in the immediate spill area.
  • The spill creates a situation that is immediately dangerous to the lives and health of persons in the area or facility.
  • The material spilled is unknown.
  • The material is highly toxic.
  • A significant fire hazard may be present.
  • The material has the potential to reach the environment (e.g., via a floor drain).
  • The spill is in a common area (e.g., hallway) or other area accessible to the public.
  • Advanced personal protective equipment (more than gloves and a half-face respirator) is required to respond to the spill.
  • A responder is unsure whether the spill should be considered “minor” or “major.”

In a major hazardous material emergency:

  • DO NOT try to clean up the spill.
  • Alert people in the immediate area and evacuate the room.
  • Call the Emerson College Police Department at 617-824-8888 or 8888 to report the spill and any personal contamination.
  • If an explosion hazard is present, take care not to create sparks by turning electrical equipment on or off.
  • Confine the hazard by closing doors as you leave the room.
  • If exposed, flush the affected area with abundant amounts of water for at least 15 minutes. Then seek medical assistance if needed.
  • Report the location, nature, and size of the incident to emergency responders when they arrive on scene. Provide any additional information you believe would be helpful. Examples:
    • Has anyone been exposed?
    • What has been released (gas, liquid, solid)?
    • Has the spill stopped or is it actively being released?
    • Is the release contained, or is it entering the environment (vents, sewer, soil, etc.)?
    • Are there any sources of ignition nearby?
  • Isolate contaminated persons; do not allow them to leave or to spread the contamination.
  • Avoid contamination or chemical exposure to yourself.

Minor Hazardous Material Emergency: Minor indoor spills of hazardous materials or waste that present no immediate threat to personal health or safety, or of being released into the environment, are to be cleaned up by the person responsible for the spill unless they are not comfortable doing so. Hazardous material users and hazardous waste generators must be aware of the properties of the materials they use and the waste they generate.

Employee Responsibility: All employees working in areas where hazardous materials are used or stored are responsible for knowing proper procedures to deal with spills and the requirement that large spills (more than one gallon of liquid or one pound of solid) must be immediately reported to the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) at 617-824-8888. The Facilities Department will decide if outside assistance is warranted for the spill. If a qualified Facilities representative is not available, the ECPD officer on scene shall make the determination for additional assistance.

[return to guide index]

Medical Emergencies

Call the Emerson College Police Department at 617-824-8888 or 8888 in any emergency that requires immediate police response. In the event of a serious medical conditioncontact 911 before contacting ECPD to preserve a life.

  • Do not move a seriously injured person unless there is a life-threatening situation.
  • For serious medical conditionscontact 911 before contacting ECPD at 617-824-8888 or 8888.
  • Give your name, location, and telephone number.
  • Give as much information as possible regarding the nature of the injury or illness, whether or not the victim is conscious, etc. 
  • Do not hang up until directed to do so by the emergency operator. 
  • Return to the victim, administer first aid if you know how, and keep the victim as comfortable as possible. 
  • Remain with the victim until emergency responders arrive.

[return to guide index]

Severe Weather

Severe weather emergencies may include thunderstorms, snowstorms, ice storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes.

During severe weather, people may be prevented from entering campus for hours or days. Notice of a decision to close or delay opening Emerson College will be communicated as quickly as possible.

Closings and delays are announced using the following methods:

  • Emerson email and text messages will be sent via the emergency notification system, Emerson Alert.
  • emerson.edu/emergency
  • 617-824-8500, select option "2"
  • Emerson College Facebook page and Emerson College Twitter
  • Radio: WRKO 680 AM, WBZ 1030 AM, WERS 88.9 FM
  • Television: WBZ Channel 4, WCVB Channel 5, WHDH Channel 7, WFXT Channel 25
  • The Emerson Native App will receive push notifications in the event of a closing or emergency.

Delayed Opening

The official opening time for the College is 8:00 am. A delayed opening of two hours means that the College will open at 10:00 am. If the College announces a delayed opening of two hours, all employees (other than those designated as “essential” personnel) should report to work at 10:00 am. If your regular work hours begin after 10:00 am, report to work at your regular scheduled time.

In the event of a delayed opening, classes scheduled with a start time before 10:00 am are canceled and must be made up at a later date.

Campus Is Closed

The College will announce canceled classes via the Emergency Notification System, Emerson Alert, by 6:00 am for day classes and by 3:00 pm for evening classes. An announcement canceling classes cancels both classes and work unless otherwise indicated.

If you encounter severe weather:

  • If outside, get into the building; if inside…stay inside!
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Major weather-related emergencies will be communicated through Emerson Alert.

[return to guide index]

Tornado

  • A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) when tornados are possible in the area.
  • tornado warning is issued by NWS when a tornado has been sighted, or indicated by weather radar, in the area.
  • Monitor local TV stations, Emerson Alert, and emerson.edu/emergency for updates.
  • If a tornado warning is issued, be prepared to take shelter on the lowest level of your building or an interior space away from windows.
  • DO NOT pull the fire alarm to alert others of a tornado warning.
  • Stay away from windows and exterior doors.
  • Move to an interior hallway for shelter if you are unable to shelter in an interior room or basement.
  • Wait for an “all clear” notification prior to returning to your work area, classroom, or living area.
  • If outdoors, lie in a ditch, low-lying area, or crouch near a building if shelter is not available or if there is no time to get indoors.

[return to guide index]

Earthquake

  • If inside, get under a strong table or desk or drop to the ground against an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Stay away from windows, hanging objects, or tall furniture that can topple over.
  • DO NOT stand in a doorway, as this does not provide protection from falling or flying objects and you may not be able to remain standing.
  • Stay where you are until shaking stops.
  • After shaking stops, evacuate the building. DO NOT use elevators.
  • If outside during an earthquake, move to a clear area far from trees, poles, and buildings. Once in the open, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Stay there until the shaking stops.

[return to guide index]

Flooding/Water Leak 

Immediately notify Facilities Management at 617-824-8880 of any flood, back-up, or leaking water.

Reporting a Problem:

  • What is the source of the water (pipe, seepage, roofing, etc.)?
  • How much water is present?
  • How fast is the water entering the area?
  • Is there any sewage involved?
  • Are there hazardous materials involved?
  • Has anything been damaged? Specifically if Emerson-owned property such as books, collections, equipment, or infrastructure has been damaged.
  • Is anything in danger of being damaged?
  • Are any other utilities involved?

DO NOT Enter Standing Water:

  • Water can carry an electric current without any visible signs. This can be dangerous.
  • Assume the water is dangerous until a qualified assessment is complete.
  • Some flooding may contain hazardous materials or sewage.
  • DO NOT use elevators during a flood.

If SAFE to Do So:

  • Turn off electrical devices.
  • If there are hazardous materials involved (chemicals, asbestos, sewage, etc.), refer to the Hazardous Materials Procedure.
  • If the water is entering from the roof and it is related to a storm, relocate to a safer area of the building or an alternate location. Leaking from a roof following a storm may indicate a structural instability or an otherwise unsafe condition that needs to be inspected.
  • Move property that may become wet or damaged to an elevated area.
  • Use absorbent materials or barriers to contain that affected area.
  • Isolate the affected area.

DO NOT risk exposure to save property. 

[return to guide index]

Utility Disruption

This procedure provides basic information relating to the disruption of normal utility service, including heating, cooling, water, electricity, telecommunications, and the network.

Contact

Facilities Management for all local, non-emergency issues by calling 617-824-8880 or by placing a Facilities Work Order at facilities.emerson.edu.

  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Water (including pressure)
  • Electricity
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Building automation
  • Other unsafe conditions

If you feel the area is unsafe, evacuate the area and request assistance by calling the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) at 617-824-8888 or call 911.

  • DO NOT burn candles.
  • DO NOT use elevators.
  • Unplug all electrical equipment (including computers) and turn off light switches.

Telephone Repair: 617-824-8080 or helpdesk [at] emerson.edu

  •  Telecommunications disruptions

IT Helpdesk: 617-824-8080 or helpdesk [at] emerson.edu

  • Network
  • Computers/Laptops
  • Software

[return to guide index]

Download the Safety Guide