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Shelter in Place

Learn how to shelter in place on the UMGC campus.

In the event of a hazardous material alert, armed intruder, dangerous situation, or any other situation deemed necessary, UMUC properties will direct all personnel to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed to keep everyone safe while remaining indoors. Please refer to active shooter procedures for specific steps to take in the event of an armed or dangerous individual.

Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room if possible, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. If you are instructed to shelter-in-place, follow these instructions:

  • Stop classes or work, or close business operations.
  • If there are students, customers, clients, or visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay, not leave. When authorities provide directions to shelter-in-place, they want everyone to take those steps now, where they are, and not drive or walk outdoors.
  • Unless there is an imminent threat, ask students, staff, customers, clients, and visitors to call their emergency contact to let them know where they are and that they are safe.
  • Close and lock all windows, exterior doors, and any other openings to the outside.
  • In the event of a hazardous material alert, seal off the bottom of the doors, vents, and other sources of air flow with cloth material, tape, or plastic.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains. Gather essential disaster supplies, such as nonperishable food, bottled water, battery-powered radios, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and plastic garbage bags.
  • Select interior room(s) above the ground floor, with the fewest windows or vents. The room(s) should have adequate space for everyone to be able to sit somewhere. Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary. Large storage closets, utility rooms, pantries, and copy and conference rooms without exterior windows will work well.
  • Avoid selecting a room with mechanical equipment like ventilation blowers or pipes, because this equipment may not be able to be sealed from the outdoors.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired telephone in the room(s) you select. Call emergency contacts and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Cellular telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
  • Bring everyone into the room(s). Shut and lock the door(s).
  • Keep listening to the radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. University and local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community.


UMUC will receive information from a variety of sources to include Emergency Alert Radios, located at designated campuses; news and media outlets; and the University of Maryland Department of Public Safety Early Warning Siren.

The campus community will be informed to shelter-in-place via the Emergency Text Alert System (MyAlerts), PA Systems, broadcast email, or via specific alert systems used by the specific campus or worldwide location.

Faculty, staff, and students outside of the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area or those that work, take classes, or seek counseling services at locations not owned or managed by UMUC are urged to sign up for the local institution, local government, or military installation’s emergency notification system. Please contact UMUC Security or view worldwide emergency contacts for information.


Sign up to get text messages or e-mail alerts when there are weather closures or emergencies.

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