Emergency Action Plan

Last Revised May 2023
See full pdf version.

Princeton University Emergency Management website


  • 911 (from any campus phone)
  • 609-258-3333 (from a cell phone)

Designated Assembly Area:

1 & 3: Courtyard between 1879 Hall and the School of Architecture

Special Assignments:

Fire Protection Systems:

Audible and visible alarm system activated by the manual pull stations located adjacent to each stairwell.

Emergency Coordinator:


If you discover a fire:

  • Alert people in the area of the need to evacuate
  • Activate the nearest fire alarm
  • Call Public Safety at 258-3333 once outside

If a building fire alarm is sounding or you receive notification of a fire emergency:

  • Feel the door or doorknob to the hallway with the back of your hand. If it feels hot, do not open it – the fire may be on the other side of the door. If you are trapped, put a cloth or towel under the door to help prevent the entry of smoke. Dial 911 and tell the Public Safety dispatcher your location and telephone number and that you are trapped in the room and need rescue. Stay on the phone until instructed otherwise.
  • If the door is not hot, open it slowly. If the hallway is clear of smoke, walk to the nearest exit and evacuate via the nearest stairwell to the street/grade level exit.
  • Close doors behind you.
  • Do not attempt to use elevators. Elevators are tied to the fire detection system and are not available to occupants once the alarm sounds.
  • Assemble at the area designated in your departmental Emergency Action Plan (see above) and remain there until instructed by Public Safety or the fire department that it is safe to re-enter the building.

Evacuation Procedures

Evacuate immediately unless you have specific emergency responsibilities designated in the Additional Duties section of this plan. After you have left the building, go to the designated assembly area and remain there. At the assembly point, supervisors will account for personnel and notify the Emergency Coordinator or Public Safety if any personnel are missing. During an emergency, students and visitors who may not be familiar with this plan must be informed of the requirement to evacuate.

Shelter in Place

During certain emergency situations, particularly chemical releases, radioactive material releases and some weather emergencies, you may be advised to “Shelter in Place” (e.g., remain inside) rather than evacuate the building.

  • Stay inside the building.
  • If possible, go to a room or corridor where there are no windows. In the event of a chemical release, go to an above-ground level of the building, since some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements, even if windows are closed.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Shut and lock all windows and doors. Locking can provide a tighter seal.
  • Turn off the heat, air conditioning or ventilation system, if you have local controls for these systems. Most University buildings have ventilation systems controlled centrally by Facilities Engineering.
  • Close fireplace dampers.
  • Quickly locate supplies you may need, e.g., food, water, radio, etc.
  • If possible, monitor for additional information via the main University web page, radio (88.1, 97.5, 101.5, 103.3, 1350, 1450, 1490) or television for further instructions.
  • Do not call 911 unless you are reporting a life-threatening situation.

Additional steps to be taken if materials are available:

  • In the event of a chemical, biological or radioactive material release requiring Shelter-in-Place, seal doors and windows with duct tape and/or plastic sheeting, wet paper towels, etc.
  • Cover cracks under doors with damp towels.

When the “all clear” is announced:

  • Open windows and doors.
  • Turn on heating, air conditioning or ventilation system.
  • Await further instructions.

Persons with Disabilities

Planning for Assistance in an Evacuation

If you think you might need specialized assistance during an evacuation (e.g. a visual alarm device, identification of fireexit stairwells, specialized evacuation equipment or alternative egress route planning) due to a medical condition or disability, you may contact your emergency coordinator to arrange for a needs assessment. Self-identification is voluntary and confidential. All such requests and any special arrangements made will only be disclosed to Public Safety and individuals who have a responsibility to assist under the plan. Remember that elevators are tied to the fire detection system and are not available to occupants once a fire alarm sounds.

Evacuation Procedures

If you are alone at the time of a fire or emergency evacuation, notify Public Safety of your location by calling 911 from any campus phone or 609-258-3333 from a cellular phone. Proceed to the nearest fire-exit stairwell and wait on the landing for assistance. To ensure that your location is known, tell an individual who is evacuating to notify Public Safety at the designated assembly point of your location. Members of Public Safety, the Princeton Fire Department or the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad will assist you from the building.

University Fire Emergency Policy and Procedure

In case of a fire emergency1 , notify Public Safety immediately at 911. Public Safety has primary responsibility for managing fire emergencies and summoning outside assistance when necessary. Unauthorized re-entry into a building during a fire emergency is not permitted. Violators of this policy are subject to University and state fire code sanctions.

Building occupants are not required to fight fires. Individuals who have been trained in the proper use of a fire extinguisher and are confident in their ability to cope with the hazards of a fire may use a portable fire extinguisher to fight small, incipient stage fires (no larger than a waste paper basket). Fire fighting efforts must be terminated when it becomes obvious that there is risk of personal harm.

Each University Department must designate an Emergency Coordinator responsible for developing and maintaining a departmental Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and training employees on all elements of the plan as well as any special duties assigned specific individuals. During a fire emergency, only individuals designated in the EAP may remain in the building to fulfill their responsibilities. All other occupants must immediately evacuate the building in accordance with the departmental emergency action plan.


The Emergency Coordinator is responsible for providing all new employees or other regular building occupants with initial Emergency Action Plan training.. All building occupants must be familiar with the contents of this plan and retrained annually. The Emergency Coordinator is responsible for full dissemination of any changes to the plan following the annual review.

Fire extinguisher training and the arrangement of fire drills is available upon request through the University Fire Marshal (8-6805).

Additional Information

Additional information on emergency action planning can be found on the Emergency Management website or by contacting Kelly States, Associate Director, Environmental Health and Safety (8-2648 or [email protected]) or Scott Loh, University Fire Marshal (8-7343 or [email protected]).

1 A fire emergency is defined as (1) an uncontrolled fire or imminent fire hazard, (2) the presence of smoke or the odor of burning, (3) the uncontrolled release of a flammable or combustible substance, or (4) a fire alarm sounding.