Environmental Health and Radiation Safety

What to do in the event of an EVACUATION / SHELTER IN PLACE

NOTE: Health Science Campus employees should refer to the Internal Evacuation Procedure, # EP-08-005, for evacuation protocols unique to the patient care setting.

In certain emergency situations, such as the release of hazardous materials, emergency responders may order the evacuation of certain offices or buildings, or instruct people in those facilities to shelter in place.

It is possible that some emergency scenarios could result in one of these protective actions being ordered for one part of campus and the other protective action for a different area of campus. When such actions are warranted, police, fire, safety or university officials will advise you of the appropriate action via radio and television stations, public address systems, loudspeakers, door-to-door notifications, or other appropriate means.

 EVACUATION -- An organized withdrawal from a building or area to reach safe haven.


Determine in advance the nearest exit from your work location, classroom or dorm room, and the route you will follow to reach that exit in an emergency. Establish an alternate route to be used in the event your route is blocked or unsafe.

During Evacuation:

  • Evacuate quickly.
  • Follow instructions from emergency personnel and follow the directions provided for safe routes of evacuation.
  • Check doors for heat before opening. (Do not open door if hot).
  • Close the door as you exit your room or office.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather.
  • Take only essentials with you (e.g., eyeglasses, medications, identification and cash/checkbook/credit cards) - do not pack belongings.
  • Turn off unnecessary equipment, computers and appliances.
  • Walk, do not run. Do not push or crowd.
  • Keep noise to a minimum so you can hear emergency instructions.
  • Use handrails in stairwells; stay to the right.
  • Assist people with disabilities.
  • Listen to a radio, if available, to monitor emergency status.

If you are relocating outside the building:

  • Move quickly away from the building.
  • Watch for falling glass and other debris.
  • Try to stay with your fellow employees so all can be accounted for.
  • If you have relocated away from the building, DO NOT return until notified that it is safe to do so.


During certain emergency situations, particularly chemical, biological or radioactive material releases and some weather emergencies, you may be advised to “shelter in place” rather than evacuate the building.

When directed to shelter in place:

  • Stay inside the building (or go indoors as quickly as possible).
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Quickly locate supplies you may need such as food, water, radio, etc.
  • If possible, go to a room or corridor where there are no windows and few doors.
  • If there is time, shut and lock all windows and doors, (locking the door may provide a better seal on the door against chemicals).
  • In the event of a chemical release, go to an above ground level of the building; some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if windows are closed.
  • Turn of the heat, fans, air conditioning or ventilation system, if you have local control of the systems.
  • Drink bottled water or stored water, not water from the tap.
  • If possible, check for additional information through the local radio and television stations, or on UT’s website.
  • Do not call 9-1-1 unless you are reporting a life-threatening situation.
  • If you smell gas or vapor, hold a wet cloth loosely over your nose and mouth and breath through it in as normal a fashion as possible.

When the “All Clear” is announced:

  • Open windows and doors.
  • Turn on heating, air conditioning or vent system.
  • Go outside and wait until the building has been vented.
Last Updated: 6/27/22