UMass Boston

EHS Emergencies

If you have an emergency, always call 911.

Emergency Evacuation Procedure

  1. When the fire alarm sounds, occupants should ensure that nearby personnel are aware of the emergency, close doors (but do not lock them), and exit the building by the established evacuation routes. Occupants should leave the building whether or not an emergency text message was received.
  2. Occupants should assist visitors, students, and others who are not familiar with the plan to safely evacuate.
  3. All occupants should go to the assembly area and await further instructions from UMass Boston Police.
  4. All personnel should know where their primary and alternate exits are located, and be familiar with the various evacuation routes available. Floor plans with escape routes are posted in the building.
  5. Building occupants must not use elevators as an escape route in the event of a fire. Elevators are programmed to return to the lobby for use by firefighters.
  6. No employee is permitted to re-enter the building until advised it is safe to do so by a representative of UMass Boston Police, Boston Fire Department, or OEHS.


  • Immediate readiness to evacuate is essential
  • Elevators cannot be used to exit the building
  • Never enter a room that is smoke filled
  • Before opening a door, check to ensure it is not hot to the touch. If hot, do NOT open. If warm, open slowly to check room or hallway conditions.


Some building occupants require assistance during building evacuation. Some building occupants who need assistance have voluntarily registered with the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion at The list of individuals needing assistance will be provided to the Fire Safety Officer and the Department of Public Safety. There will likely be other staff, students, and visitors in the building who require assistance, but who are not on the list. Fire Safety Team Volunteers can help individuals needing assistance by directing them to areas of refuge (i.e. protected stairwells), and notifying emergency response personnel of the person’s location. Transporting disabled individuals up and down stairwells should be avoided. All people, regardless of their circumstances, need to take some responsibility for their safety in an emergency, which means being able to move away from any and all hazards.


Note: To all classroom instructors and individuals with research and teaching responsibilities

  1. On the first day of classes and labs, announce the location of the nearest exit for the students to use in the event of an emergency evacuation. Briefly discuss the university's evacuation procedure.
  2. Instruct students to evacuate the building immediately when a building fire alarm sounds. Under no circumstances is the alarm to be ignored.

Building Evacuation Plans

Basic Procedures for all Medical Emergencies

The first aid you administer to an injured individual should be limited to procedures necessary to stabilize and protect the person from further injury. Immediately call the University Public Safety Office at 911 for emergency medical services. Do not use a public pay phone or cell phone to call off-campus emergency medical services (e.g., Health & Hospital's ambulance service). It will slow down the arrival of an ambulance to the location of the medical emergency. University police officers are First Responders and are trained in first aid and CPR procedures. Public Safety will simultaneously call for ambulance services and immediately dispatch officers to the scene of the medical emergency to assist until off-site medical assistance arrives on the scene. They will also escort the ambulance to the medical emergency site. The instructions that follow are intended as guidelines for untrained individuals who witness or are personally involved in a medical emergency.

Essential Action Steps and Conditions for All Medical Emergencies

  • Remain calm.
  • Call the University's Department of Public Safety at 911 from any University phone. Briefly describe the incident, nature of the injuries and location of the injured person.
  • DANGER: Do not put yourself at risk to help someone else. Assess the scene first. Do not help the victim or attempt a rescue unless you are ABSOLUTELY certain that the environment in which the victim is located is safe and does not represent a life-threatening situation for you.
  • If you observe what appears to be a medical emergency and a potentially-hazardous situation through a closed door's vision panel, do not open the door until Public Safety officers arrive on the scene. Opening a door can be very risky (e.g., a smoldering fire can flare up and/or you can suddenly be surrounded by a hazardous atmosphere).
  • Put on suitable personal protective equipment before coming in contact with the victim.
  • If the victim appears to be unconscious, determine responsiveness by attempting to communicate in a loud voice. If the victim does not respond, place your hand near the victim's breathing zone to check for a sign of respiration. Do not move the person's head or neck in the process.
  • If you detect the victim is not breathing and the heart is not beating - and you are properly trained in CPR - establish a clear airway and begin CPR.
  • Do not move an injured person unless s/he is in further danger (e.g., advancing fire).

First Aid Procedures


  1. Immediately flush eyes thoroughly with a gentle stream of clean, cool water for at least 20 MINUTES WITHOUT DELAY. Delay of a few seconds can greatly increase the extent the of injury.
  2. Do not use neutralizing solutions including boric acid and out-of-date bottled eye wash solutions.
  3. Hold eyelids apart and roll eyeballs around during irrigation to wash the entire surface.
  4. Wash alkaline solutions for longer periods of time as they are more hazardous than acid solutions.


  1. Immediately rinse affected areas thoroughly with cool water for at least 20 MINUTES WITHOUT DELAY. Act fast to reduce absorption through the skin and damage to the skin.
  2. Remove contaminated clothing while rinsing. Speed in removing chemicals from the skin is the most important way to reduce the extent of injury.
  3. Be prepared to provide Public Safety with important information about the incident. Identify the chemical source. Occasionally follow-up medical treatment is specialized (e.g., iced benzalkonium chloride solution for hydrofluoric acid).
  4. Do not use neutralizing chemicals, creams, or lotions.


  1. Act quickly. Get the victim into fresh, uncontaminated air if the rescue action does not put you at risk.
  2. Be prepared to provide important information to Public Safety. If known, identify the chemical(s) inhaled. Describe medical signs and symptoms. Accurate information will result in the best handling of a poisoning.


  1. Be prepared to provide Public Safety with the name of the chemical and the amount ingested, if known. Describe medical signs and symptoms. Accurate information is essential for the Poison Control System ( (617) 232-2120 ) to provide effective medical assistance via the telephone.
  2. If the victim is conscious and not convulsing, immediately have the person ingest one to two glassfuls of milk or water to dilute the chemical. This is the preferred treatment of choice as water and milk do not result in a hazardous exothermic chemical reaction that would worsen the situation.
  3. Never induce vomiting. It is frequently dangerous to the victim, particularly if corrosive materials have been ingested.
  4. Make certain the chemical container goes to the hospital with the victim. Also, send a sample of vomitus for analysis.


  1. Drop to the floor and roll.
  2. Use a drench shower only if it is in VERY CLOSE PROXIMITY.
  3. Do not run if your clothing is burning. Running fans the flames, intensifies the fire and the extent of the burn injuries.
  4. Use a fire blanket to extinguish flames with great caution because burning clothing retains heat and may continue to smolder. Also, if a person wrapped in a blanket remains standing, a chimney effect may occur and cause the smoke to rise past the person's breathing zone.
  5. DO NOT remove clothing if it is stuck to the skin, but rather, continue to apply water.


  1. Apply cool water to the burned area to reduce pain and swelling.
  2. Apply a dry sterile dressing to the burned area. Do not touch or directly breath on the wound.
  3. Do not use any commercial sprays or home remedies such as butter.
  4. Do not break any blisters.


  1. Take fast action because electrical shock injuries can cause burns and can cause a person's lungs and/or heart to stop functioning.
  2. NEVER approach or touch a person who is in contact with live electrical equipment. Locate and shut-off power source first.
  3. If power shut-off is not possible and you believe it can be done without personal risk, you may use a nonconducting object (e.g., long piece of wood) to disconnect the person from the live electrical source.


  1. Control bleeding with direct pressure on the wound with a sterile gauze pad. Elevate the wound above the level of the heart.
  2. Do not remove any object such as glass or wood from a cut. Removal should be done by medical personnel.
  3. If a person is bleeding heavily, have the person lie down with feet elevated. Keep the victim warm and calm.
  4. NEVER apply a tourniquet.


  1. Do not move an injured person until medical assistance arrives unless there is a real danger of further injury (e.g., an approaching fire).
  2. If you must move the victim, move the person as a whole, protect the victim's head at all times and watch where you are going.
  3. Support every part of the body if circumstances require you to lift the victim. Keep the victim's body in a straight line, do not bend. Always use your legs, not your back, while lifting or pulling.

Ways to Get Out (Egress)

A continuous and unobstructed way of exit travel from any point in a University building to a public way (always outdoors). A means of egress consists of an exit access and an exit.

The exit access - that portion of a means of egress that leads to an exit. Exit access from a University laboratory, office, classroom, or any other occupied building location includes (a) the occupied space such as a laboratory, classroom, office, (b) the exit doors leading from the occupied space and (c) the corridors and other walkway paths that an individual would have to travel through to reach an exit door. All exit doors open into either one of the enclosed stairwells or a public space outdoors.


What can you do to ensure that the exit access remains continuous and unobstructed?

  • Do not lock the exit doors leading from your office, laboratory etc. from the inside in a way that requires a key to open them.
  • Do not block the doors with equipment or other items that would block egress.
  • Do not stack items along the immediate path to your exit doors with items that narrow the pathway or with items that are unstable and could fall into the egress pathway.
  • Do not store items in an area that is close to an exit door that leads into a stairwell.
  • Do not store or handle chemicals in any egress pathway.

The exit - that portion of a means of egress separated from other building spaces of the building by construction with a specific fire resistance rating to provide a protected way of travel to the exit discharge. Exits include exterior exit doors and stairwells. The University's stairwells are designed to protect individuals from the effects of a fire during evacuation. The stairwells are constructed of materials with a two-hour fire resistance rating. University exit doors (leading into a stairwell or to the outdoors) are identified by an illuminated "EXIT" sign that is either above the exit door or close to it (e.g., ceiling-hung signs with a directional arrow pointing towards the exit door).


What can you do to ensure that the exits remain unobstructed?

  • Do not discard or store furniture and other items in the stairwell landings.
  • Do not prop open a stairwell door. A propped-open door will compromise the protective function of a stairwell. Whenever you encounter a propped-open stairwell door, close it.
  • Whenever you discover stored or discarded items in stairwell landing areas, call Facilities at 7-5580 and request that the items be removed.
  • If you notice that an exit door light is out or a ceiling-hung sign has been disturbed so that the directional arrow does not point toward the exit door, report it to Facilities.