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Student Life

Emergency Preparedness: Specific Situations


Be Prepared!
  • Know where the fire alarm pull stations are and how to activate them.
  • Know your evacuation routes and keep them clear at all times. Never use the elevator to evacuate.
  • Know where the closest fire extinguishers are and review the instructions for their use.
If Fire or Smoke Is Detected
  • Activate the building alarm system.
  • Evacuate the building, moving a distance of at least 100 feet from it. Follow posted building evacuation routes if possible.
  • Notify others as you leave the building by shouting “fire” and knocking on doors.
  • If possible, close doors and windows as you leave to prevent the fire from spreading.
  • If there is smoke in the area, get down on the floor and crawl out of the building.
  • Feel all doors before opening them. If a door is not hot, open it slowly. If a door is hot, DO NOT open it. Move to a second exit, or if one is not available, stay in place and try to open a window for fresh air.
  • If you are unable to evacuate, call 911 and give your location. Try to do something to help identify your location from the outside of the building (e.g. hang a sheet, blanket, or colorful piece of clothing out the window).
  • Once you are outdoors, if you know the specific location or cause of the fire, or are aware of someone still inside the building, provide that information to Campus Safety at (703) 284-1600 (ext. 1600 on campus) or emergency-response personnel.
  • Dial (703) 284-1600 (ext. 1600 on campus) to report a serious illness or injury. If the situation is potentially life-threatening, dial 911.
  • Provide the level of first aid for which you are trained and equipped. Generally, do not try to move an injured person; this should be done ONLY when the person’s position puts him or her in additional danger.
  • When possible, have someone meet the ambulance or Campus Safety officer at a clearly visible location to quickly direct them to the injured or ill individual.
  • If sudden cardiac arrest is suspected, use one of the automated external defibrillators (AED) located around campus and identified by AED signs. Dial 911 immediately and bring an AED to the incident site. No previous experience is necessary to operate the device; it will talk the user through its safe application and will not shock someone with a normal heart beat. When a wall-mounted AED case is opened, an alarm will sound to alert others that help is needed.
  • In the event of a power outage, limited emergency power is supplied to campus buildings to provide for safe evacuation (but not for continued occupancy).
  • Power outages should be reported to the Physical Plant by calling (703) 284-1529 (ext. 1529 on campus) or Campus Safety at (703) 284-1600 (ext. 1600 on campus).
  • Use a flashlight, NOT candles.
  • Evacuate laboratories immediately, since most fume hoods will not operate when building power is cut off.
  • If Campus Safety personnel determine that relocation to a safer area is necessary, they will go from floor to floor to notify students, faculty, and staff in academic buildings. Residence Life staff will notify students in the residence halls.
NOTE: Campus Safety and several other offices have battery-powered radios and will keep the campus community informed during situations that result in power outage.

  • In the event of severe weather or other unusual conditions, Marymount University may delay or cancel classes, or close altogether. Information about delays, cancellations, and closings will be made available through MU Alerts and other media as soon as possible once a decision is made. Consult Marymount’s Weather and Emergency Information Line, (703) 526-6888 (ext. 6888 on campus), the University’s Web site (www.marymount.edu), and local radio and television stations for information.
  • Power outages may occur during severe weather. To reduce the potential for injury and/or damage, please refer to the instructions under “Power Outage.”
If a Tornado/Hurricane Warning Is Issued
  • Immediately move to the lowest interior floors of your building, and into a windowless area (hallway, bathroom). As you leave your room/office, close windows and lock the door behind you.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • Do not evacuate the building unless a fire begins or the building structure is unsafe.
  • If you are outside in your vehicle and see a tornado approaching, do not remain in your car. If there is a sturdy building nearby, go to the lowest level of that structure for protection. If you are out in the open, lay in as low an area as possible, away from cars.
  • Take all calls seriously and report them to Campus Safety at (703) 284-1600 (ext. 1600 on campus) immediately.
  • Try to obtain as much information from the caller as possible: location of the bomb; detonation time; reason for the threat; information about the caller (age, affiliation with any organization, etc.)
  • Notify your supervisor or the person responsible for the building.
  • Do not try to locate the bomb and never touch suspicious objects or packages.
  • Do not use portable radios or pull the fire alarm in a facility where a bomb may be located.
  • In the event of a biological, chemical, or radioactive spill, or if an odor of gas or a noxious substance is detected in your area, leave the area immediately and call Campus Safety at (703) 284-1600 (ext. 1600 on campus).
  • If possible, secure the area to prevent others from entering.
  • If the hazard is thought to place all building occupants at risk (e.g. the odor of natural gas), pull the fire alarm to evacuate the building.
  • In campus science laboratories, follow the posted instructions.
  • Do not re-enter the building/area until it is determined safe by emergency responders.
  • Cooperate, giving the person exactly what he/she is asking for, nothing more.
  • Try to notice distinguishing traits: clothing, race, height, weight, age, eye color, facial hair, or other identifying features such as scars, moles, etc.
  • Pay attention to the type of weapon used, if applicable.
  • Listen carefully to the person’s voice for distinguishing characteristics.
  • Record what direction the person goes after the confrontation. If a vehicle is used, record the license plate number, as well as the make and model.
  • Call Campus Safety at (703) 284-1600 (ext. 1600 on campus) immediately following the incident. Campus Safety personnel will come to your assistance and notify the police.

Whenever a building alarm sounds, you must evacuate to a distance of at least 100 feet from the building. Await instructions from Campus Safety officers or other emergency personnel.
Active Shooter Policy
  •  An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms.
  • Victims are generally selected at random
  • The event is unpredictable and evolves quickly
  • Law enforcement is usually required to end an active shooter situation
  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
  1. Run!
    • If you can get out of the building safely, do so quickly and quietly
    • Have an escape route and plan in mind
    • Leave your belongings behind
    • Keep your hands visible as you exit
  2. Hide!
    • If you cannot get out of the building, hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view
    • Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors
    • Stay quiet
    • Silence your electronic devices
    • Turn off all lights, close all window coverings
  3. Fight!
    • As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
    • Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter
    • Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter

    Please watch the following video demonstrating the proper procedures for an active shooter scenario:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VcSwejU2D0

  • Remain calm and follow officers’ instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets)
  • Immediately raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid quick movements toward officers such as attempting to hold on to them for safety
  • Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating
  • Location of the active shooter
  • Number of shooters
  • Physical description of shooters
  • Number and type of weapons held by shooters
  • Number of potential victims at the location
In the event of a chemical or biological attack, the order to “shelter-in-place” may be given.
To shelter-in-place
  • Move to an interior room or hallway with no windows.
  • On your way to the sheltered space, close windows and doors to the best of your ability.
  • Designated personnel will be responsible for turning off air-handling systems to reduce the flow of air into the buildings from outside.
  • Specific instructions will be provided by Campus Safety officers and, in the residence halls, by Residence Life staff. Remain indoors until you are advised that it is safe to leave. Shelter-in-place would likely be needed for no more than a few hours.

Arlington Alert

You may wish to consider registering for Arlington Alert, Arlington County’s emergency notification system that sends important alerts and updates via cell phones, pagers, and e-mail. To sign up, visit Arlington Alert.