FAQs

UMB offers emergency information for our faculty, staff, students, and affiliates. You can read about signing up for and managing your UMB Alerts account, finding out what to expect in a shelter-in-place situation, and much more. 

UMB Alerts

What is UMB Alerts?

UMB Alerts is the system used by the Emergency Management Team at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to notify the campus community about emergencies and weather-related closings. UMB Alerts messages are sent out via registered phones, email accounts, and SMS text message. To receive the most timely alerts, register your cellphone number with UMB Alerts.

How do I sign up?

If you are a member of the UMB faculty or staff, or a student, you are automatically enrolled in UMB Alerts with your University email and/or phone number. In addition, you may choose to provide a personal email address, phone number, or cellphone number (for SMS text message alerts).

To update your account or verify your information, log in to the UMB Account Management site with your UMID. As a UMB faculty or staff member, or a student, you will be asked to verify your UMB Alerts information each time you change your UMID password.

If you are a UMB affiliate, you are automatically enrolled in alerts to your UMB email address and campus phone number. To receive alerts on your personal device(s), you must update your information.

Affiliate enrollment for UMB Alerts expires when your affiliate account expires or is terminated. You can find out when your account expires by logging in to the UMB Community System.

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and BioPark employees are eligible to receive UMB Alerts, but are not automatically enrolled. If you are not already an active UMB Affiliate with a UMID, you will need to first verify whether you already have a UMB Alerts account. If you do not have an account, you will create one using the enroll code provided by your employer. UMMC and BioPark employee accounts expire one year after creation. You will receive a 30-day notice of when your account will expire. At that time, you may choose to renew your account for another two years.

How does it work?

If there is a weather-related closing or a critical situation that has the potential of causing harm or imminent danger within campus boundaries, a brief notification is sent out to the UMB community. In the case of an emergency situation, a second message may be distributed once the situation has been resolved.

Will this cost me anything?

Standard text message charges may apply from your wireless provider, depending on your text message plan. If you have an unlimited text-messaging plan, there would be no additional charge.

Will I receive unsolicited messages (spam) on my mobile phone or email account?

No. The UMB Alerts provider, e2Campus, enforces a zero spam policy, which prohibits unsolicited messages. e2Campus will not sell your contact information to third-party marketers.

Can I opt out of receiving UMB Alerts?

Yes. As a UMB affiliate, UMB faculty or staff member, or student, you may opt out of receiving UMB Alerts by updating your preferences through the UMB Account Management site. If you are an employee of UMMC and/or the BioPark and you enrolled using a code, you can log in to the UMB Alerts system and terminate your account directly.

Warning: If you choose to opt out of text message alerts, you acknowledge that you may not receive the timeliest information.

I do not have text messages set up on my phone. Can I receive UMB Alerts by email?

Yes. When you sign up online, fill in your email address in the proper field. You will be sent emergency notifications through the email address that you register.

What should I do if I am not receiving text alerts?

First, make sure that your texting function is working properly. If your text messages are functioning properly, log in to the UMB Alerts account management system and verify that your information is correct. If you are still having trouble, please contact the UMB Help Desk.

Does UMB Alerts work on multiple cellphone networks?

Yes. The UMB Alerts provider, e2Campus, is a cross-carrier service. Browse the list of supported wireless carriers.

General Questions

Does the University have an emergency preparedness plan?

Yes. The Campus Emergency Management Plan is available to all users. If you would like a paper copy, please request one by calling 410-706-7055. Specific questions can be directed to Robert Rowan, emergency management director.

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 online resources.

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

The Campus Alerts web page 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 about what to do in an emergency.

What is administrative leave?

As required by severe inclement weather or other emergent situations, the President or his designee may delay campus opening or close the campus during the day. In such event, one of the media announcements set forth in the attached "Inclement Weather Announcement" will be issued. In the event of delayed opening, afternoon closing, or evening closing, nonessential employees who were scheduled to be at work will be excused from work for the time the campus is closed. They should indicate on timekeeping records that the excused time is "Administrative Leave With Pay" and note in the Comments section of the timesheet "Authorized by President - Emergency Conditions." (See UMB Policy Section VI – 12.00 (A) UMB Policy on Emergency Conditions: Cancellation of Classes and Release of Employees.)

What is liberal leave?

In the event of inclement weather or other unusual conditions affecting traffic conditions or the operation of public transit or campus facilities, the President or his designee may declare "liberal leave" to be in effect for the entire day affected by the inclement weather or other conditions. Nonessential employees may elect to work or take accrued annual, holiday, personal, or compensatory leave, or leave without pay. Supervisors may establish reasonable procedures for nonessential employees to follow to notify their departments if they decide to take leave, but prior approval to take leave shall not be required when liberal leave is in effect. (See UMB Policy Section VI – 12.00 (A) UMB Policy on Emergency Conditions: Cancellation of Classes and Release of Employees.)

How do I know if I’m an essential employee?

Deans and vice presidents or their designees are responsible for providing written notice to employees that they are designated as "essential" or "nonessential." Those employees not notified that they are "essential" may presume that they are considered "nonessential." Essential employees are never excused from work and are required to report and perform their duties as scheduled regardless of any decision to delay opening or to close the campus. Essential employees who work when nonessential employees are excused shall be compensated with compensatory leave or cash payment equivalent to the value of the time worked.

What buildings are not University buildings?

A map of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus is available at http://www.umaryland.edu/maps/. The areas shaded tan are part of the UMB campus. The area shaded lavender is the University of Maryland Medical Center. Below the map is a list of UMB academic buildings and support buildings, along with nearby patient care centers and community resources.

How can I find information about alternate routes home?

Alternate routes home can be found on the Office of Parking and Transportation Services website. In addition, a variety of free navigation applications are available for your Android phone or iPhone. These services will provide not only maps, but also assistance in finding the fastest route by avoiding traffic jams.

Should I call Baltimore Police or University of Maryland, Baltimore Police in an emergency?

To obtain police assistance for any emergency on the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus, contact UMB Police at 410-706-3333 or *711.

How will I get updated UM shuttle route information?

If you have not signed up to receive NextBus alerts, please do so. NextBus is your primary information source for the UM shuttle.  

Campus Evacuation

Do I have to leave right now?

Possibly. An evacuation order will specify the time frame of the evacuation. For instance, the order may specify that you are to evacuate immediately, or the order may specify that you are to evacuate by a particular time. In either case, your safety may depend on your adherence to the instructions of public safety officials. If an evacuation of campus is ordered, all nonessential employees not directly engaged in responding to the emergency must evacuate in accordance with the evacuation order. 

During an emergency, the availability of public safety personnel is limited. Therefore, you need to leave campus to prevent diverting resources from responding to the emergency and to protect yourself since public safety personnel may not be able to respond if you need assistance. Please note that the activation of a building fire alarm indicates that immediate evacuation of the building is necessary.

What do I do if my building is evacuated?

Occupants may need to evacuate campus building(s) in response to an imminent threat, such as a fire or hazardous material release. Building evacuations are communicated through the building fire alarm system or, if out of service, emergency responders. If the fire alarm is activated or an order to evacuate is given by emergency responders, occupants should:

  • Evacuate the building using the nearest stairwell. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATORS.
  • Make use of the nearest exit door to the outside of the building. Exit doors marked for emergency should be used.
  • Once outside, move across the street or down the sidewalk, away from the building entrance.
  • Follow any additional instructions provided by emergency responders.
  • Disabled persons or others requiring assistance may remain in Areas of Rescue Assistance until fire department personnel can assist them in exiting the building or the “all clear” is given.
  • Do not re-enter the building until the “all clear” is given by the fire officer in charge or University police.

Can I get my car out of the garage?

Yes, unless the evacuation order included instructions to the contrary.

An immediate evacuation has been ordered. Can I go back into my building to get my personal things?

No. If an immediate evacuation is ordered, re-entry into a campus building may present a threat to your safety.

I’m an essential employee. Do I need to stay?

Decisions about releasing essential employees will be made by the responsible director or department head based upon the situation and need.

How will I receive word of an evacuation order?

When an evacuation order is issued, an email will be sent to all campus email addresses. Text and voice alerts will be sent to all registered devices. A message will be posted on the Emergency website and a brief message will appear on the UMB home page, with a link to more information. Also, electronic signs in most buildings will display a message explaining the order. Building wardens and emergency wardens also will disseminate evacuation information.

Campus Is Closed

Who are essential employees? How do I know if I’m an essential employee?

Deans and vice presidents or their designees are responsible for providing written notice to employees that they are designated as "essential" or "nonessential." Those employees not notified that they are "essential" may presume that they are considered "nonessential." Essential employees should always assume that they need to work, but may be excused by their supervisor. Essential employees who work when nonessential employees are excused shall be compensated with compensatory leave or cash payment equivalent to the value of the time worked.

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 Transportation 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.

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 motorists and pedestrians if there are exit routes that should be avoided due to a hazardous condition.

Can I use the shuttle to get home or to my car? Is the police escort service available?

When the campus is closed, the UM shuttle and police escort services will not run. If the campus is closing early, UM shuttle buses will leave the Pearl Street hub at the first scheduled time AFTER the time of closure and they will complete their routes if the situation permits. So that means, if the campus closes at 3 p.m., the last shuttle bus will leave the Pearl Street hub at the first listed time AFTER 3 p.m. NextBus should reflect the route closure on the schedule.

Whom do I call with questions?

When the campus is closed, the latest information is available at the Emergency web page. Please only call UMB Police to request assistance with a public safety or emergency situation.

Can I still use my parking garage?

If the status of any of the UMB parking garages changes, that information will be posted on the UMB Parking and Transportation website. The information also will be distributed via Twitter.

What if I need to take or study for exams?

If you feel that your studies may be impacted by a University closure, please contact the student affairs dean at your school for guidance.

Are off-campus activities affected?

When the University is closed, nonessential employees are excused from work. Since most University-sponsored activities are organized or managed by nonessential staff, they may be impacted. Please check with the activity’s organizer.

Shelter-in-Place

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 Emergency. If you would like a paper copy, please request one by calling 410-706-7055.

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.

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 leave the building, you may be putting others at risk by opening the exterior doors.

How will I know what is going on?

The Emergency web page 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.

Whom do I call with questions?

During an emergency, public safety officials are working to handle the incident at hand. Please call them only to report a serious incident or if you have a need for immediate assistance. Check Emergency for updates and information.

How will I get food and water?

Most emergencies last a short period of time. If the emergency goes on for an unusually long period of time, authorities will make arrangements for provisions.

What if the phones go out and I can’t reach my family?

In the event of a shelter-in-place order, emergency responders and University officials will be working toward getting the emergency under control and restoring necessities such as power and phone service. The most important thing is your safety, so remain in place until the shelter-in-place is lifted.

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.

Can my family join me on campus?

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

Can I get my car out of the garage if shelter-in-place has been ordered?

If there is a shelter-in-place order in effect, the doors on all UMB garages will be secured, and no vehicles may go in or out. Please remain in place until further instruction.

What happens if I leave the building during a shelter-in-place order?

If there is a shelter-in-place order, it means that public safety officials are occupied handling the emergency. As a result, they may not have the ability to ensure your safety on campus. Please remain in place until further instruction.

How will I know when the shelter-in-place order is over?

Please check the UMB Alerts site for updates. If internet or phone service is not functioning, officials will find another way to reach you (including delivering the news in person).

Will the shuttle and police escorts operate when shelter-in-place is ordered?

The walking and van escorts and the UM shuttle are not in operation during a shelter-in-place order.

I have an important final exam and need access to the library. Is that OK?

During a shelter-in-place order, you must remain where you are. Do not move between buildings and do not come to campus for any reason.

What if the order is given to shelter-in-place and I’m between buildings — for example, in the bridge between UMMC and the Bressler Research Building?

If a shelter-in-place order is issued, immediately move to the closest building, find the closest room, and stay there until you are notified that the shelter-in-place order has been lifted. In most situations, the shelter-in-place order will be accompanied by specific instructions designed to keep you safe in the current situation. For instance, during a tornado warning, you would be advised to seek shelter in an interior room with no windows, or as few windows as possible, to minimize potential exposure to flying debris.

If you seek shelter in University of Maryland Medical Center or Veterans Affairs buildings, you would follow their emergency procedures.

After a shelter-in-place order is issued, can I move into a different building if they are connected?

No. If a shelter-in-place order is issued, you should seek immediate shelter and remain in that place until the order is lifted. In some situations, moving from room to room or building to building may place you in danger.

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.

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 cannot advise you in this regard and will accept no responsibility for any adverse consequences.

How will 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 at the building and campus levels.