Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does the university have an emergency preparedness plan?
  2. Where can I get additional information about preparedness for terrorism in general?
  3. How can I get up-to-date information about a campus emergency?
  4. If the campus is closed due to an emergency in the middle of the work day, will there be an orderly release of staff and students?
  5. If the campus is closed due to an emergency in the middle of the work day, are there established exit routes from campus?
  6. Does the university have a plan to shelter in place in the event of a terrorist attack?
  7. What does shelter in place mean?
  8. How long might I be required to remain in a building?
  9. Do I have to stay? Is there a legal requirement?
  10. If I have to leave a building, what precautions should I take?
  11. How do I know when it is safe to leave the building?
  12. How will I know what is going on?
  13. What should I tell my family members?
  14. Where should I stay inside the building?
  15. What should I do about my laboratory work?
  16. Should I tape over windows and doors with plastic sheeting?
  17. Will we be issued gas masks or other Personal Protective Equipment?
  18. How will I get food and water?
  19. What do I do if I have a medical or personal emergency?
  20. Should I keep a supply of medications at work?
  21. Can I drink the water and use the bathrooms?
  22. What if I am away from my office (lab) but still on campus?
  23. Can my family join me on campus?
  24. Is the University going to have Shelter in Place drills?

1. Does the university have an emergency preparedness plan?

Yes. The Campus Emergency Management Plan can be found on the Campus Alerts page of the UMB web (http://www.umaryland.edu/alerts). If you would like a paper copy, please request one by calling 410-706-7055. Specific questions can be directed to the Emergency Management Director, Mr. Robert Rowan, at rrowan@af.umaryland.edu

2. Where can I get additional information about preparedness for terrorism in general?

The Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland Baltimore has an extensive website on the subject. The Health Sciences and Human Services Library also has an extensive set of links to on- line resources http://www.hshsl.umaryland.edu/resources/terrorism.html

3. How can I get up-to-date information about a campus emergency?

The Campus Alerts web page (http://www.umaryland.edu/alerts) and the Campus Emergency Information telephone line (410-706-8622) should be the first places to get this information. If they are not available, the Fire Wardens assigned to every floor of every university building will have current information and instructions on what to do in an emergency.

4. If the campus is closed due to an emergency in the middle of the work day, will there be an orderly release of staff and students?

The Emergency Management Team, University Police, and Parking and Commuter Services will make every attempt to create an orderly flow of staff and students off campus. Please be patient and follow whatever release order is given.

5. If the campus is closed due to an emergency in the middle of the work day, are there established exit routes from campus?

No. The Emergency Management Team will advise both motorists and pedestrians if there are exit routes that should be avoided due to a hazardous condition.

6. Does the university have a plan to shelter in place in the event of a terrorist attack?

Yes. Under certain conditions, the Emergency Management Director may advise the occupants of one or more university buildings to shelter in place. The outline of the plan can be found at http://www.umaryland.edu/alerts. If you would like a paper copy, please request one by calling 410-706-7055.

7. What does shelter in place mean?

Sheltering in place is one of several response options available to emergency management directors to provide an additional level of protection to staff and students in the event of an emergency. Sheltering in place means persons will remain in a building until emergency management officials issue additional instructions or declare that the emergency condition has ended. It is a short-term option for limiting the potential exposure of persons to hazards that may be present in the outdoor environment.

8. How long might I be required to remain in a building?

Sheltering in place is a short-term option for protection. It will most likely be a matter of hours, not days.

9. Do I have to stay? Is there a legal requirement?

If the President, Governor or Mayor has declared an emergency (martial law) you may not be allowed to be outside or on the road. Without such a declaration the university cannot force you to stay, but it is strongly recommended that you do. If you do decide to leave the building, you may be putting others at risk by opening the exterior doors.

10. If I have to leave a building, what precautions should I take?

If government authorities have not placed a prohibition on persons being on public streets, and you wish to leave a building during a shelter in place advisory, you will be doing so at your own risk and against the advice of university emergency management authorities. The university can not advise you in this regard and will accept no responsibility for any adverse consequences.

11. How do I know when it is safe to leave the building?

Fire Wardens or the Shelter in Place Coordinators will announce when it is OK to leave the building.

12. How will I know what is going on?

The Campus Alerts web page (http://www.umaryland.edu/alerts) and the Campus Emergency Information telephone line (410-706-8622) should be the first places to get this information. If they are not available, the Fire Wardens assigned to every floor of every university building will have current information and instructions on what to do in an emergency. In addition, a Shelter in Place Coordinator has been identified for each university building. They have been trained to take certain actions and maintain communication with the university emergency command center for the duration of the emergency condition.

13. What should I tell my family members?

Telephone communications during an emergency condition should be kept to an absolute minimum so that emergency use of those communication channels will not be compromised. You can advise your family members that in the event of a campus emergency, you will contact them as soon as it is prudent to do so.

14. Where should I stay inside the building?

Under certain threat conditions, the Emergency Management Team may advise building occupants to move to certain areas of a building. However, in the absence of specific instructions, building occupants should remain in the areas that they normally occupy. Additional information about areas of refuge may be supplied by the building Shelter in Place Coordinator or Fire Wardens.

15. What should I do about my laboratory work?

Render all laboratory operations and materials to a safe condition as quickly as possible. This might include terminating chemical reactions or processes; disposing of hazardous chemicals that are in use; securing radioactive materials; and putting away cultures and potentially infectious materials. Discontinue any laboratory process that might create a hazard if chemical fume hoods, biosafety cabinets, or building ventilation were turned off.

16. Should I tape over windows and doors with plastic sheeting?

No. The additional protection afforded by these measures is small compared to the control of ventilation that will be exercised by Facilities Management at the direction of the Emergency Management Team. In some circumstances, these actions may actually increase the risk of injury to building occupants.

17. Will we be issued gas masks or other Personal Protective Equipment?

No. Gas masks are only of value if you have them with you at all times and you have sufficient warning of the presence of an inhalation hazard. Neither condition is likely to be the case in the workplace. The Emergency Management Team does not recommend distribution of any other item of personal protective equipment.

18. How will I get food and water?

Sheltering in place is a short-term option for protection. It will most likely be a matter of hours, not days. Should the need arise, the Emergency Management Team will arrange for the delivery of necessary supplies.

19. What do I do if I have a medical or personal emergency?

You should dial 711 on any university telephone and describe the emergency to the Police Officer who answers.

20. Should I keep a supply of medications at work?

Sheltering in place is a short-term option for protection. It will most likely be a matter of hours, not days. If your medications are critical to your well-being, you should always have access to a reasonable supply.

21. Can I drink the water and use the bathrooms?

Yes, unless you are specifically advised not to do so by the Shelter in Place Coordinator or Fire Wardens.

22. What if I am away from my office (lab) but still on campus?

Depending upon the notice received of an impending event you may elect to return to your office or to shelter in place wherever you are.

23. Can my family join me on campus?

If they are not already with you, they should not travel to campus to join you.

24. Is the University going to have Shelter in Place drills?

Yes. Building Shelter in Place Coordinators will receive training on the roles and functions they will be expected to perform. Periodic drills will be conducted both at the building and campus levels.