Frequently Asked Questions
- How are students alerted of an emergency?
- What is the best way to stay informed during an emergency?
- Are parents able to be added to the Boston College emergency notification system?
- What should a student or staff member do when they receive an emergency notification?
- What are the most common emergencies on campus?
- What is the role of Boston College’s Office of Emergency Management?
- What is the most important thing I can do to plan effectively for an emergency?
- Where should I go if I am told to evacuate?
- What does ‘Shelter in Place’ mean?
- What is the difference between a weather watch and weather warning?
- What should be in an Emergency Supply Kit and where do I find these items?
- What is a Family Communication Plan?
The Boston College Emergency Notification System sends out campus-wide emails and text messages to Boston College students, faculty, and staff. Postings to websites and social media pages are used as well. Details of this process can be read here: /emergency/communications.html
Contact information can be updated here: /emergency/communications/register.html.
The Boston College Emergency website (bc.edu/emergency) will be updated with messages, information, and instructions. There will also be information on the emergency on the Boston College Office of Emergency Management Facebook Page and Twitter Page, and the emergency information line can be reached at 1-888-BOS-COLL (1-888-267-2655). Due to the demand on resources during emergencies, BC Police will most likely be very occupied and therefore not able to answer non-emergency calls. Utilize the other emergency contacts at Boston College before the Boston College Police Department.
We do not include parents directlly in our emergency notification system. This is because the amount of additional text messages and emails necessary to send out would drastically slow down the response system. Despite this, we have many other outlets for parents/guardians to stay informed such as the website bc.edu/emergency, a Facebook page and Twitter page which are updated frequently. There is also the emergency hotline at Boston College that can be reached at 1-888-BOS-COLL (1-888-267-2655).
- Follow directions given, if any, in the message.
- Alert others around you.
- Contact your family and friends to let them know you are safe
- Go to www.bc.edu/emergency for more detailed information
Although emergencies are a rarity at Boston College, in the past there have been experiences with winter storms, hazardous materials, fires, and various other events. More information on these emergency situations can be found here: /content/bc/emergency/hazards.html
Our goal is to promote a culture of preparedness on campus through outreach to our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Our website and other pages are to be used as a resource for emergency procedures, preparations, and other recommendations for everyday safety. We work with departments and groups across campus to develop emergency plans and procedures, educate and train members of the Boston College community about preparedness and test and exercise the emergency systems, procedures and plans of the University.
- Assemble or purchase an Emergency Supply Kit (a list of basic items can be found here: /content/bc/emergency/how-to-prepare/emergency-kit.html)
- Familiarize yourself with what emergencies can occur on/near campus and the correlating safety procedures.
- Be sure that all contact information is updated so the Emergency Notifications can reach you effectively.
- Create a Family Communication Plan so that friends and family can stay informed about your safety and well being during an emergency.
- Keep updated on the emergency status of the university and local area which can be done on the bc.edu/emergency site
- Status of the City of Boston can be found here: http://www.cityofboston.gov/oem/
- Status of the City of Newton can be found here: http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/health/emerg/default.asp
- Status of the State of Massachusetts can be found here: http://www.mass.gov/mema
- If you have a medical condition where you may need to take medicine immediately (allergies, diabetes, etc.) it is important to either keep this medicine with you, or to at least wear some kind of indicator such as a medical bracelet or necklace so that health professionals can identify and help with specific needs you may have.
Usually in instances where evacuation is necessary, students and faculty will be directed to other large buildings on campus such as libraries or dining halls. It is a good idea to bring an Emergency Supply Kit with you.
More details on evacuation can be found here: /emergency/evac-shelter.html
If a particular emergency occurs and the hazards are outdoors, there will be a request that the Boston College community shelter in place. This means to find and enter the nearest building, to stay indoors and away from windows and doors. It is important to remain indoors until an official gives a notification that it is safe to leave.
More details on Shelter in Place can be found here: /emergency/evac-shelter.html
A watch means conditions are right for dangerous weather. In other words, a "watch" means watch out for what the weather could do, be ready to act. This means that the storm is not yet happening, but that the weather could become severe quickly. A warning means that severe weather is already in the area and it is important to take shelter immediately.
Some basic necessities for an Emergency Supply Kit can be found on our website at /emergency/how-to-prepare/emergency-kit.html. You can create your own kit by assembling these items together. These items can be found in grocery stores, pharmacies, camping stores, home center stores (Home Depot., Lowes, etc), and big retail stores (Target/WalMart). Full supply kits can also be purchased, ranging from ten dollars to hundreds of dollars depending on the contents of the kit. You can find these at Sears, Costco, Walmart, BJ’s, Target, Lowes, and Amazon.
They can also be purchased online at:
Red Cross Store: www.redcrossstore.org/shopper/ProdList.aspx?LocationId=1
Emergency Disaster Systems: www.edisasterystems.com/store/home.php
Quake Kare Inc. : www.quakekare.com/emergency-supplies-kits/survivalkits.html
iPrepared.com : www.iprepare.com
Emergency Supply kits should be kept in a dorm room, car, or place where it can be stored but easily accessed during an emergency. In a time of evacuation, it is important to take your kit with you!
This is a way to stay in contact with family and friends during an emergency. Phones and the Internet may not always be accessible, so it is important to develop a plan of communication. Determine a single contact (usually a family member) outside of your area. Make sure friends and family know who this person is and how to contact them. If you are effected by an emergency, notify friends and family as soon as possible to let them know where you are/ how you are doing. If you cannot reach them, let your single contact person know.
More information on this can be seen at: /emergency/communications/commplan.html
It is also a good idea to program an In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact phone number into your mobile phone in case first responders (EMS personnel, fire fighters, policemen, etc.) are trying to reach someone in your family.
You can also register as “Safe and Well” on the Red Cross website at https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php to let others in your family know that you are out of harm’s way.