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Evacuation and Shelter In Place

See below for information on evacuation, shelter in place and secure mode within our campus residential communities.


​Evacuation is necessary during many different hazards, such as fire, power outage, and hazardous materials release.

TAKE ACTION when instructed to evacuate

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Evacuate in a safe and orderly manner.
  3. Always evacuate during fire alarms.
  4. Identify the safest and most efficient route to the evacuation point, listen for instructions, and remain aware of your surroundings.
  5. If there are obstacles blocking your primary evacuation route, find an alternate exit.
  6. Once evacuated, remain calm and wait to follow further instructions from police/ fire.
  7. If your location becomes unsafe, proceed to a safe and secure area, and call the police.
  8. Assist others if it is safe to do so.
  9. Ask for help or call 911 if you are unable to evacuate safely.

GET READY to evacuate during an emergency

  • Know where the emergency exits and fire pull stations are in your building.
  • Know where your emergency assembly/recall location is for your building, department, unit.
  • Develop a plan to account for everyone in your department, unit, building once you have evacuated and arrived at the emergency assembly location.
  • If you need assistance evacuating — whether you have a permanent or temporary special/functional need — ensure college staff and faculty are made aware of your need.

Shelter in place

Shelter in place means finding a safe location indoors and staying there until you are given an "all clear" or told to evacuate. You may be asked to shelter in place because of an active shooter, tornado, hazardous materials release, or other hazards.

TAKE ACTION when instructed to shelter in place

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Wait in the safest location possible until you are given the "all clear" or told to evacuate.
  3. During an active assailant/shooter situation:
  • Determine whether you need to barricade yourself. Know if the door opens outward or inward. Test the lock.
  • Proceed to a location that can be secured and lock or secure the door. If necessary, move something in front of the door to ensure it cannot be forced open.

   4. Remember: Contact CMU Police or 911 ONLY if you feel that your safety is in jeopardy.

GET READY to shelter in place

  • In finding a safe location: Does the door lock? Does it open out or in? Is there furniture nearby that you can use to barricade the door? Can you close or block the windows?
  • Think of what you might need (food, water, and medication) if the shelter in place notice lasts many hours.
  • In a severe weather event: put as many walls between you and the outdoors as possible and head to the lowest floor possible. The basement is an ideal location.
  • Know where CMU's Identified Shelter Locations are located.

SECURE MODE – Campus Residential Housing 

Through its electronic access controls, campus residential housing can be placed into a secure mode status, meaning all exterior doors are locked. A campus or community incident may prompt the CMU Police Department, in partnership with the university administration and Residence Life staff, to place campus residential housing into a secure mode status during situations such as an active violence incident or a dangerous individual at large. 

While in secure mode, students, faculty and staff with access rights can still access the buildings and move throughout the locations as usual. 

The CMU Police Department coordinates the activation and deactivation of the secure mode feature, in partnership with the university administration and Residence Life staff. The campus community will receive updates regarding the incident that prompted the secure mode activation from University Communications and the police department.