Emergency Preparedness
Emergency Closing of Residence Halls

Extreme emergencies such as major fire, tornado, extended power outage, epidemic, etc. may require the closing of a building(s), the interruption or suspension of classes, and the relocation of hundreds or thousands of students, whether for a relatively short period (e.g., hours, next day) or for an extended period (e.g., days or weeks).

In a short-duration emergency closing following a fire, storm damage, etc.:
  • Evacuate your building safely upon hearing the fire alarm
  • Assemble with others at your building's adjacent outdoor assembly area (or designated indoor assembly area in the event of inclement weather)
  • Remain calm
  • Try to locate your roommates, friends and neighbors
  • Await instructions from emergency responders
  • Seek additional instructions from campus sources such as 1040 AM radio, 88.1 FM radio, Comcast on-campus cable channel 76 (Terp TV), and x5-SNOW (or 301-405-7669)
  • Return to your building only when told it is safe to do so
If overnight or other short-term accommodations are needed before you can return to your building:
  • You are welcome to make arrangements to stay with friends, but please report such information to a Resident Life staff member
  • Do not assume it will be possible to return to your room for clothing or other personal items
  • Volunteers will be identified who can take students into their rooms for a night or two
  • You may be relocated to vacant spaces in other residence halls, depending on availability
  • If temporary shelter is needed for larger numbers of evacuated students, you may be directed to safety in locations such as the Cambridge Community Center, LaPlata Hall, Stamp Student Union Grand Ballroom, Campus Recreation Center, The Diner, Leonardtown Community Center, Ritchie Coliseum, Reckord Armory, Annapolis Hall and South Campus Dining Hall
  • Police, Resident Life and other campus authorities will advise evacuated students of a timetable and procedures, if possible, for gaining brief access to their rooms to retrieve belongings, check on the status of their rooms, get changes of clothing and toiletries, etc.
If classes are suspended and the campus is closed because of an extreme emergency (e.g., illness outbreak, pandemic flu, extended power outage):
  • You will be expected to activate the personal plan you made for emergency closing and leave the campus within 24-48 hours
  • Seek immediate instructions from campus sources such as 1040 AM radio, 88.1 FM radio, Comcast on-campus cable channel 76 (Terp TV), and x5-SNOW (or 301-405-7669)
  • Expect to obtain regular reports and updates information at the University of Maryland website and Department of Resident Life Website
  • On-campus dining services will be sharply curtailed, then stopped within a matter of a few days
  • Pack and take all belongings from your room, if possible
  • At a minimum, leave campus with all valuables (e.g., ID, cash, credit cards, driver's license, bank statements, passport) and essential personal possessions you might need during the next several weeks (e.g., medications, clothing, books and class materials, laptop or computer) on the assumption you will not be permitted to return to your room for several weeks or months
  • Schedules for transportation to a local Metro (subway) and MARC train station will be announced, for connections by bus, rail or subway to airports and other destinations in the Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas and the Eastern Seaboard
Time permitting, the optimal circumstances for your departure from your residence hall when an emergency closing is announced include:
  • Remove all your personal property
  • Take all trash, perishable food, and all unwanted items to an outside dumpster
  • Close and lock doors and windows
  • Return keys to your Service Desk, if so instructed
  • Be ready to leave a quickly as your ride arrives
  • Stop any newspaper deliveries and forward your mail
If you are not able to fully vacate your room when an emergency closing of your residence hall is announced, at a minimum please assure that within 24-48 hours you:
  • Take your valuables and other important property and any items you may need during the emergency closing; you will not have access to your room during the closing
  • Dispose of perishable food and unplug your refrigerator, leaving its door open
  • Remove trash, recyclables, and debris from your room
  • Leave your bed clean and clear of all belongings
  • Move all personal property off the floor and into your desk, dresser or closet shelves (in case of pipe break, flooding)
  • Unplug all electrical appliances
  • Close and lock doors and windows before you leave
  • Return keys to your Service Desk, if so instructed
In the aftermath of an emergency closing of residence halls:
  • Keep informed about the University's status and plans for reopening by bookmarking the University's home page www.umd.edu and www.resnet.umd.edu on your computer, asking your family and friends to do the same, and monitoring media reports
  • Act on your financial contingency plans, including how you will respond to bills that are due, obtain pay that is owed to you by an employer, meet your living expenses, meet any special expenses associated with travel and relocation, etc.
  • Keep all of your contact information up-to-date by making any changes or corrections at www.testudo.umd.edu.
  • During an extreme emergency and at the direction of state or federal authorities, the University may provide temporary lodging for displaced individuals in campus buildings, including the residence halls. Given this potential, it is best that you remove all your property at the time you leave campus. The University can make no guarantees that belongings you leave behind can be relocated to storage.