Exposure to Hazardous Materials

Review UMGC's hazardous materials procedures.

If there is a threat of chemical, biological, or radiological agents being released into the air, UMGC will go into a lock-down situation where all personnel will be informed to shelter in place.

Chemical weapons are made up of poisonous chemical compounds, whereas biological weapons are living microorganisms. Most cause injury when inhaled, and some cause injury through contact with the skin or through ingestion of contaminated food.

A chemical or biological attack usually involves dispersing agents into the air. If released outdoors, these types of weapons can be affected by weather conditions. Rain would reduce the effectiveness of the agents, and wind would spread them in unexpected directions.

Chemical warfare agents can be grouped into two types: those that affect the body surface they contact, and those that damage the general nervous system. Biological weapons are a living organism. Biological warfare agents include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other living microorganisms.


  • The Emergency Alert Radio will sound and specify the emergency situation.
  • UMGC Security and Emergency Action Team Leaders are signed onto the Emergency Alert Systems for the local authorities and UMDPS. UMGC will coordinate notification efforts based on alerts sent via these agencies.
  • The University of Maryland Department of Public Safety Early Warning Siren will sound and indicate a life-threatening emergency. Specific information on the alert can be obtained through the following resources:


  • Once advised and alerted to the emergency situation, the EAT Leaders will decide on the appropriate course of action. A decision is then made as to what is communicated to the employees, students, and guests.
  • The Public Address Systems and Emergency Text Alert System are utilized to inform employees, students, and guests of the situation and how to respond.
  • In the event that the emergency is imminent, the Security Director and supervisors have the authority to declare the emergency and initiate a PA announcement and/or Emergency Text Alert without EAT Leadership approval.
  • If deemed necessary to direct people to shelter-in-place, shelter in-place will be announced and communicated.

In all threat conditions, tune in to local radio or TV stations. Pay close attention to all official warnings and instructions on how to proceed.