Emergency Management

Emergencies can happen anywhere at any time, and include everything from a natural disaster to a medical incident to a fire. If you need to report an on-campus emergency, please call the WPI Police immediately at 508-831-5555 or dial 5555 on a campus phone extension.

Click the boxes below to view instructions for specific campus emergencies.


Quickly determine the best way to protect your life.

Evacuate If Possible:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Keep your hands visible to responding police of cers.

Hide Out:

  • Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view.
  • Block entry to your hiding place and lock doors.
  • Silence cell phones.

Take Action:

  • Only when your life is in imminent danger.
  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
  • Act with physical aggression. Throw items at the shooter if possible.
  • Call 911 WPI Police (508) 831-5555 when it is safe to do so.


(Automated External Defibrillator)


Current emergency management guidelines caution against automatic evacuation during a bomb threat. In most cases, people are likely to be more secure in their offices, laboratories, or classrooms than in hallways that have not been searched, or outdoors where an actual threat may be even more likely to exist.

If You Receive a Bomb Threat Call:

  • Have someone nearby contact the WPI Police at (508) 831-5555 or on campus phone extension 5555.
  • Keep caller on line as long as possible.
  • Note time of call.
  • Note approximate age/gender of caller.
  • Note speech pattern (accents).
  • Note emotional state of caller.
  • Note background noise.
  • Ask when bomb will go off.
  • Ask where bomb is (which building).
  • Ask what kind of bomb is it.
  • Ask why bomb was placed.

If you check your area:

  • Don’t touch the object.
  • Don’t open drawers or cabinets.
  • Don’t turn on/off any electrical devices or switches-light switches, cell phones, radios, or any other kind of electronic device.
  • Be aware of the potential for secondary devices.
  • Do not attempt to evacuate the building without the authorization or assistance of emergency personnel.
  • If you observe a suspicious object or potential bomb on campus, do not handle it. Step away from the area and notify the police immediately.


  • DROP to the ground; take TAKE COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
  • If there is not a table or desk near you to take cover, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from windows, outside doors and walls.
  • Stay away from anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures, bookcases etc.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if is in close proximity to you and if you know it’s a strongly supported doorway.
  • Do not leave campus until you know the conditions of the roads and highways
  • If you are outdoors or in a vehicle, move to an open area, if possible. Stay away from buildings, power lines, block walls, and overpasses.


If you become trapped in an elevator, the following actions should be taken:

  • DO NOT panic. Use the elevator phone or your cell phone to call for assistance from WPI Police (508) 831-5555.
  • Press the alarm or help button to notify others who may be nearby
  • DO NOT attempt to force the door open or attempt to climb out of the elevator car. The elevator may re-start without warning.
  • Your best course of action is to relax, get comfortable, and wait for professional assistance. Even if the air temperature feels warm, there is plenty of air circulating in the elevator and throughout the shaft.
  • Provide the following information to WPI Police:
    • Your name
    • Total number of people in the elevator
    • Report any injuries, medical conditions, or disabilities.
  • WPI Police will contact Facilities and/or the fire department to get you out.


Pre-Planning is Important. If you may need assistance evacuating in an emergency you should pre-plan and contact the Of ce of Accessibility Services at (508) 831-4908. Accessibility Services works with Residential Services regarding the living arrangements and class schedules of disabled students. Accessibility Services will notify Residential Services and WPI Police on required accommodation and service needs for students. Physically disabled employees should contact Human Resources. HR will notify WPI Police on required accommodations.

If you require assistance:

  • Evaluate your need to identify yourself as someone who requires assistance during an evacuation. Some people who may need assistance have no visible disability.
  • Master the skill of giving quick information on how best to assist you. Be clear and concise. If you have difficulty speaking, consider using a carry-with-you preprinted message.
  • Establish a personal network consisting of people who are regularly in the same area as you. Do not depend on any one person as they may not always be available. Assess your own abilities and communicate your capabilities and limitations to those in your network.


In the event of a fire:

  • Activate the fire alarm system by pulling a fire alarm station on your way out of the building.
  • If time permits, stabilize lab procedures, turn off stoves and ovens, and unplug or disable any device that could make a dangerous situation even worse.
  • Leave the building via the nearest exit. Warn others as you leave.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Feel doors before opening; if door is hot, don’t open it.
  • Close doors and windows as you leave if safe to do so.
  • Report the fire to WPI Police by calling (508) 831-5555 once outside.
  • If trapped, keep the doors closed and place cloth under them to keep out smoke. Signal for help by hanging an object (e.g., such as a jacket or shirt) out of the window to attract attention.
  • Remain at least five hundred (500) feet outside of the building and await further instructions. Keep roadways open and beware of approaching emergency vehicles. Notify emergency responders of anyone trapped, especially anyone with a physical disability who cannot evacuate.
  • Do not go back in the building for any reason until an authorized university official deems it safe to re-enter.
  • If your clothes catch fire remember STOP, DROP & ROLL. Rolling can smother the flames.


In the event that a fire alarm sounds, follow these procedures:

  • Know the location of the two nearest exits.
  • Feel the door before opening. If the door is hot to touch, DO NOT OPEN!
  • If egress is blocked due to hot door or excessive fire and/or smoke, stay in room and summons help. Block smoke at foot of door with towels or clothing. Open all outside windows and yell for help.
  • Evacuate premises immediately during a fire alarm, whenever possible, close all doors after leaving.
  • DO NOT use elevators during a fire.
  • DO NOT attempt to extinguish any fire.
  • If you cannot stay in an area due to the presence of fire, and/or smoke, exit premises by crawling low under smoke and heat. Cover mouth with a cloth.


Whenever there is a release of hazardous material that requires assistance:

  • Evacuate the area.
  • Meet Emergency responders outside the building, and provide details of the incident.
  • When reporting, be specific about the nature of the involved material and exact location.
  • Do not attempt to clean up the spill.
  • Notify WPI Police (508) 831-5555.
  • Close doors to isolate the area.
  • If anyone had contact with the hazardous material, they should be isolated and await treatment by emergency personnel. Do not leave the site until you are cleared by emergency responders.
  • Do not pull the fire alarm unless there is a fire.
  • Re-enter the building only when an “all clear” is provided by first responders.


If you hear or see a hostage situation:

Immediately remove yourself from any danger and notify WPI Police at x5555 or (508) 831-5555.

Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Location and room number of incident.
  • Number of possible hostages and hostage takers.
  • Physical description and names of hostage takers, if possible.
  • Any weapons the hostage takers may have.
  • Your name, location and phone number.

If you are taken hostage:

  • Remain calm, be polite and cooperate with your captors.
  • DO NOT attempt escape unless there is an extremely good chance of survival. It is safer to be submissive and obey your captors.
  • Speak normally. DO NOT complain and avoid being belligerent or argumentative.
  • DO NOT draw attention to yourself with sudden body movements, statements, comments or hostile looks.
  • Observe the captors and try to memorize their physical traits, voice patterns, clothing or other details that can help provide a description later.
  • Avoid getting into political or ideological discussions with the captors.
  • If forced to present terrorist demands to authorities, either in writing or on tape, state clearly that the demands are from your captors. Avoid making a plea on your own behalf.
  • Try to stay low to the ground or behind cover from windows or doors, if possible.

In a Rescue Situation:

  • Do NOT RUN. Drop to the floor and remain still. It that is not possible, cross your arms, bow your head, and stand still. Make no sudden moves that a responder may interpret as hostile or threatening.
  • Wait for instructions from responder and obey all instructions you are given.
  • Do not be upset, resist, or argue if a responder isn’t sure whether you are a terrorist or a hostage.
  • Even if you are handcuffed and searched DO NOT resist. You will be taken to a safe area, where proper identification and status will be determined.


  • Stay indoors - keep away from windows and glass doors.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Find shelter on the lowest level in a hallway, interior room or closet.
  • Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm and winds may pick up again.

Storm Terminology:

  • Hurricane Watch indicates that conditions are possible in the specified area, usually within 36 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning indicates that conditions are expected in the specified area, usually within 24 hours. Seek shelter.


An imminent threat of violence may be cause for a lockdown of all or part of campus. Some exterior doors will lock automatically. Emergency responders may lock others manually. The goal is to limit exposure of students, faculty and staff to danger by preventing dangerous persons from entering campus buildings.

If a lockdown is ordered:

  • Stay Inside! Do not leave the building unless an imminently dangerous situation arises inside or unless you can escape safely. If outside, seek shelter in the nearest building.
  • Take shelter in a lockable room if possible.
  • Close windows, shades and blinds, and avoid being seen from outside the room if possible.
  • Monitor WPI Alert and email for updates and further instructions. A description of the suspect(s) will be disseminated as soon as possible using these methods.
  • Report any emergency or unusual conditions to WPI Police.
  • Use discretion in admitting anyone into a secure building. Require that all backpacks and other bags be left outside at least 30 feet from the building. Require that the person seeking shelter open all outer garments for visual inspection before allowing entry.
  • Once in a secure location, do not leave until receiving the “all clear” from a police officer, WPI Alert, email or website communication.


The Marketing and Communications Office serves as the point of contact for all media inquiries. During an emergency situation, it is especially important that reporters be directed to the Marketing and Communications Office. The Marketing and Communications Office speaks on behalf of the University and has the most accurate and up-to-date information available about an incident. In addition, Media Relations works closely with emergency responders to coordinate what information can or should be released to the general public.

When receiving any calls from a media representative, please take the following steps:

  • Direct all media inquiries to the Marketing and Communications office at (508) 831- 5305 or media@wpi.edu.
  • To assist the Office of Media Relations in responding as quickly as possible, feel free to obtain the following information and forward it to the Media Relations Office:
  • The reporters name and phone number
  • The media organization he/she represents
  • The type of information he/she is seeking
  • The reporter’s deadline
  • Regardless of the situation or what the media questions might be, never say “No Comment”. A better response is “Thanks for calling. Allow me to refer you to our Media Relations Office, who handles media questions and they will be able to assist you.”
  • Never talk “off the record” with the media. Always assume that they will use any information that they obtain in their report.


The WPI Police Department officers are all certified in CPR and First Aid. Operating hand and hand with the WPI Police are the Student EMS Responders and WPI Health Services.

Remember these are general guidelines – Do not hesitate to call x5555

  • Call WPI Police immediately at (508) 831-5555 or on campus phone extension x5555.
  • If injury involves neck, spinal or back, DON’T MOVE the injured person unless the environment might cause further harm.
  • If a wound is serious, quickly apply direct pressure using a clean thick pad or cloth for controlling bleeding.
  • If the person is unresponsive (not breathing, has no pulse), and you know CPR, begin immediately. Ask a bystander to call 911.
  • If feasible keep injured person lying down with injured body parts elevated. Cover him/her with a blanket or coat to keep him/her from losing body heat.
  • Feel the person’s neck for pulse, use middle and index fingers at neck artery under the angle of lower jaw.
  • If there is seizure activity, clear the area around the person to avoid further injury. Do not place anything in the person’s mouth. Do not restrain the individual.


If you are in contact with a student who appears to be an immediate threat to his or her own safety or that of others, call WPI Police (508) 831-5555.

Quick Reference for Helping Students having difficulties

Recognize Symptoms:

  • Significant change in academic performance or classroom conduct.
  • Unusual behavior or appearance.
  • Traumatic event or change in relationships.
  • Reference to suicide, homicide, or death.

Respond to the Student:

  • Speak privately with student.
  • Directly and candidly discuss your observations and concerns.
  • Offer support and assistance.

Refer to a Mental Health Professional at the Counseling Center:

  • Be caring, firm, and straight-forward in your referral.
  • Consider calling from your office or escorting student to the Counseling Center.

Consult with On-Campus Resources - Discuss your concerns about a student with any of the following on campus resources:

  • WPI Student Development & Counseling Center (508) 831-5540.
  • WPI Student Health Services (508) 831-5520.
  • Dean of Students – (508) 831-5201.


SEXUAL ASSAULT DEFINED. Sexual assault is having or attempting to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another individual without consent. This includes sexual intercourse or sexual contact achieved by the use or threat of force or coercion, where an individual does not consent to the sexual act, or where an individual is incapacitated.

What to do in the event of a sexual assault:

Get medical attention as soon as possible:

  • Contact WPI Student Development & Counseling Center (508) 831-5540 or go to the WPI Health Center (508) 831-5520. If after hours, contact the physicians-on-call line (508)334-8830 to access medical services.
  • Do not change your clothing.
  • Do not shower, wash, douche, or use the toilet prior to a medical exam.
  • Do not apply medication to injuries unless absolutely necessary.
  • Do not disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred.
  • Do not drink or chew gum.
  • Do not store your clothing in anything other than a plastic bag.

  • Medical attention at the local hospital is required to preserve evidence should you seek criminal prosecution. It is important to know if you go to the hospital, the local or WPI police will be called.
  • If you suspect that you may have been given a predatory rape drug, please give health care professionals this information. A urine sample can be collected within 72 hours of a sexual assault for predatory drug testing.
  • Seek free confidential counseling at the Student Development and Counseling Center.
  • Discuss your options and receive support from University’s Title IX Coordinator.
  • File a report with WPI Police (508) 831-5555 and/or the police department where the incident took place.


Shelter-in-Place is designed to keep you safe while indoors if dangerous environmental conditions exist, such as extreme weather or a hazardous materials release.

If a Shelter-in-Place is ordered:

  • If outside, seek shelter in the nearest building, preferably in an interior room with few windows.
  • Allow access to others seeking shelter. Remember: a Shelter-in-Place order means there are dangerous environmental conditions but NOT any known threat of violent behavior. Allowing others into the building will not jeopardize your safety.
  • Close all exterior doors, windows and any other openings to the outside.
  • Avoid overcrowding by selecting several rooms if necessary.
  • Monitor WPI Alert and email for further instructions.
  • Report any emergency or unusual conditions to WPI Police.
  • Do not leave the building until receiving the “all clear” from a police officer, WPI Alert, email or website.


  • Do not open the suspicious item. If you have opened it, remain calm.
  • Notify WPI Police (508) 831-5555 immediately.
  • Do not move the letter or package or examine it further.
  • Keep others out of the area. Close off the area if possible.
  • If possible, limit the use of cell phones and two-way radios near the suspicious item.
  • If the package is leaking a substance or powder and you came into contact with the substance, keep your hands away you’re your eyes, nose, mouth, or any part of your face.
  • Do not touch others or let others touch you.
  • Wash your hands and arms from the elbow down with soap and hot water.
  • Do not attempt to clean or cover anything that might have spilled from a package.
  • Follow all instructions given by emergency responders.


In the event of a thunderstorm:

  • Get inside a building, house, or hard top automobile. Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
  • Unplug electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning cause serious damage.
  • Use a corded telephone only for emergencies; cordless and cellular telephones are safer to use.
  • Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall tree or an isolated tree in an open area.
  • Avoid anything metal, including bicycles, motorcycles, golf carts, and golf clubs.

If someone is struck by lightning:

  • The person can be handled safely, since he carries no electrical charge.
  • Areas on the skin where the person was struck and where the electricity left the body may be burned. Check for burns in both places. Seek medical help immediately.


A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when tornadoes are possible in the area.

  • A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted, or indicated by weather radar, in the area. Take cover in a safe place.
  • Monitor local TV stations, WPI Alert and weather websites for severe weather updates.
  • Be prepared to take shelter on the lowest level of your building or residence hall if a tornado warning is issued.
  • Do not pull the fire alarm to alert others of a tornado warning.
  • Stay away from windows and exterior doors.
  • Move to an interior hallway for shelter.
  • If outdoors, lie in a ditch, low-lying area, or crouch near a building if shelter is not available or if there is no time to get indoors.
  • Wait for an all clear notification prior to returning to your work area, classroom, or living area.


Utility Failures

  • Immediately report utility failures during regular work hours (Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) to the WPI Facilities Office at (508) 831-5500.
  • Immediately report utility failures after regular work hours, on weekends, and on holidays to WPI Police at (508) 831-5555.

Phone & IT Failures:

  • Call Helpdesk at (508) 831-5888 during normal business hours to report an outage. If this number is not working, call the WPI Police alternate phone number listed below.
  • In the event of a campus-wide phone failure, Public Safety’s normal phone numbers may not work, including the emergency number. Public Safety’s alternate phone number in a power outage is (508)754-1889 (landline).


WPI University implements the following procedures for announcing operational changes during periods of inclement winter weather. Closing and delays are announced through WPI emails, WPI Weather Line (508) 831-5744, television/radio and University Website.

  • Do not come to campus when a weather-related closing is announced. Employee access to inner-campus is typically limited to emergency vehicles and snow removal personnel. If a weather closing is possible, take any needed items from campus with you in advance as you may not be permitted to enter until snow removal is complete.