Evacuation Guidelines

What It Means

Evacuate means to immediately leave an indicated location, whether indoors or outdoors.

Evacuation requires all community members to exit a building or area and, in some instances, the campus.

Depending on the situation, evacuation might mean moving offsite but within the vicinity of the campus, such as the opposite side of the street, or moving to a remote location not immediately contiguous to the campus, such as a neighboring facility. Evacuation is more commonly the case in the instance of a fire, for example.

One primary factor in determining evacuation (versus sheltering in place) is whether a backup building (emergency shelter) or safe space (secure room) is readily available and whether evacuation can be facilitated without jeopardizing the life and safety of the masses. However, there may be cases where evacuation is not an option. Rather, circumstances may arise in which there is a campus-wide or community-wide disaster of such magnitude that evacuation is rendered unsafe and sheltering in place is a better option, or even a requirement.

When Evacuation Is Necessary

  • Severe weather, e.g., flooding, loss of power supply.
  • Damage or dangerous conditions posed by the facility rendering it unsafe for occupancy.
  • Fire.
  • Chemical spill (isolating an immediate area and potentially exposed persons).
  • Loss of utilities and/or a power failure.
  • Water-supply failure.
  • Radiological and hazmat incidents.
  • Airborne biological/environmental contaminants.

Evacuation Guidelines

If an evacuation of one or more buildings or the entire campus is necessary, please follow these recommended guidelines:

  • Elevators should not be used; occupants should exit by way of accessible stairwells.
  • Landings and stairwells should be checked for individuals who may need assistance due to mobility impairment or a disability.
  • Evacuation must be timely and orderly; don’t stop or stay in the area in order to retrieve personal belongings.
  • Move quickly and calmly; if a relocation site is indicated, go there and await further instruction.
  • If you cannot evacuate, move to the nearest window and signal for help and contact the Merrimack College Police Department at 978-837-5911. 


On campus
Ext. 5911 (or use RAVE Guardian for instant,
silent text communication)

Off campus