Emergency Action Plan

April 2022

In accordance with the requirements of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.35, 1910.36, and 1910.37 and the Amherst College Environmental Health & Safety Policy, the following guidelines have been established to inform and train our employees about emergency escape procedures, fire detection, fire prevention, protection and suppression activities, personnel accountability, medical and rescue responsibilities, and response to other hazardous situations.

Employees of Amherst College are expected to know how to initially respond to an emergency situation. Appropriate responses may be as simple as evacuating the area, summoning additional assistance, mitigating the hazard, or assisting another member of the Amherst College community in cases of accident, fire, illness, or injury.

The Emergency Action Plan must be made available to all employees upon request. A copy of this particular plan will be posted in each shop and custodial area for ease of reference. Additional copies can be obtained from the Environmental Health and Safety Manager or from the Environmental Health and Safety Training

Emergency Evacuation Training Requirements

All Amherst College employees must be trained in safe evacuation and notification procedures in cases of actual or drill emergencies. Emergencies which may occur include, but are not limited to, a bomb threat, earthquake, explosion, fire, flood, gas leak, hazardous material incident, or personal injury accident.

Amherst College shall through the Environmental Health & Safety Committee, their representatives, or the Office of Environmental Health & Safety, review the Emergency Action Plan with all affected employees. The plan and appropriate training will be initially provided on or before
March 20, 1999. After that date the plan will be provided:

  1. for each new employee of the College, as soon as possible
  2. whenever an employee's responsibilities or designated activities under the plan change
  3. whenever the plan is altered
  4. when it is apparent that refresher training should be provided

The training must address escape routes, notification of appropriate response agencies, instructions on activating a building fire alarm system, how and when to use a fire extinguisher, and what should be done after evacuating a building. At the appropriate times, under the direction of the Amherst College Campus Police Chief or his/her designee, fire drills will be carried out in the academic buildings and the residential facilities. The drills shall be conducted to familiarize the staff and occupants with the sound of the fire alarm and to initiate the appropriate, desired response.
Since each building at Amherst College is different in construction, design, occupancy, and purpose, the plan may need to be slightly modified to expedite evacuation and aid in the mitigation of the hazard.

Emergency Exit Requirements

In addition to OSHA requirements, Massachusetts Building and Fire Prevention Regulations dictate how exits are to be constructed and maintained. These regulations apply to not only exit doors but also to the exit access (corridors and stairwells that lead to the exit) and the exit discharge (the area past the exit doors which may include exterior ramps, steps, fire escapes and sidewalks.)

Exits are permanent, unobstructed means of egress that must lead to a street, walkway, or other open space outside the building. They can, under certain circumstances, lead directly into another building or area of refuge provided that they then lead directly to the outside. Exits must be adequate in number and shall be clearly visible to all occupants in the building - academic or residential. Exit signs are usually red in color but are permitted to be green. The signs are required to be self-illuminated or may be lit by battery pack or generator in case of power outage.

Exits’ accesses and discharges must be maintained and unobstructed. Exits provide a safe and easily identifiable route out of a building in cases of emergency and allow swift and unhampered ingress for firefighters or other emergency personnel in the event of a fire or rescue. Therefore, designated exits must meet the following criteria:

  1. All illuminated “EXIT” signs must be maintained. Custodial or electric shop staff must change bulbs as soon as they are found to be out.
  2. All emergency lights powered by battery or emergency generator must be maintained. Custodial, electrical, and EH&S staff should test accessible emergency lights weekly. The electrical shop staff must check those lights that are not accessible at least annually.
  3. All corridor smoke and fire doors must be kept closed to prevent smoke migration to other parts of the building during a fire. Door chocks and stops on corridor doors shall not be used except when actively cleaning a floor in the immediate area.
    • Exception - Corridor and stairwell fire/smoke doors that are held open by a magnet do not have to be kept in the closed position. If a smoke detector is activated or the fire alarm sounds within the building, the doors will automatically close.
  4. Corridors and stairwells cannot be obstructed or used for storage. The only items that can be placed in corridors or stairwells are non-combustible items like soda machines and metal cabinets as long as they do not block the exit traffic. Prohibited items include, but are not limited to:
    • recycling and trash containers
    • cardboard boxes and paper
    • combustible or flammable decorations, including Christmas trees and wreaths
    • gases, oils, fuels, or other combustible and flammable liquids
    • stuffed chairs, couches, and other furnishings that are capable of burning or smoldering
  5. Exit doors cannot be chained or locked from the inside except in those cases where the facility is being renovated or otherwise labeled to prevent initial entry.
  6. Doors that are located within the means of egress that may be mistaken as part of the means of egress must be labeled “Not an Exit” or otherwise identified.
  7. Doors, partitions, or other effective means to prevent occupants from going past the exit and exit discharge must interrupt stairways that continue beyond the level of exit discharge (such as those stairwells in Frost Library and Webster).
  8. Elevators cannot be used as an emergency means of egress from a building, except:
    • for the evacuation of the disabled by fire or police personnel
    • as otherwise permitted by the Amherst Fire Department and the Amherst College Campus Police
  9. All exits and signage must be maintained during alteration, construction, demolition, and repair of a building. If an exit is to be blocked temporarily or the exit is part of the construction project, an alternate means of egress must be approved by the office of Environmental Health & Safety.

In order to ensure that all occupants of the building have evacuated safely, the Facilities Safety Committee has instituted the following requirements:

  1. If the Amherst College Campus Police Department receives a report of an active fire or other serious hazard within a building they shall notify the Facilities Service Desk.
  2. The Facilities Service Desk will notify employees by radio about the fire or other hazardous situation and the building involved.
  3. After notification by the Facilities Service Desk, regardless of which building is involved, the following shall take place:
    • Custodians assigned to the building involved in the emergency shall evacuate the building through the closest available exit. Once outside of the building, they should proceed to the front of the building so that their supervisor can locate them. When notified of the emergency, the Custodial Supervisor or designee shall immediately report to the front of the affected building to ensure that staff has evacuated safely. The supervisor should report his/her findings to the Amherst College Campus Police as soon as possible for accountability reasons.
    • Trades Workers, Delivery, and Special Services Staff shall report to their main office or shop to be accounted for by the department or shop supervisor. If a carpenter, electrician, or plumber has been asked to go to the scene of the emergency, he/she must let their supervisor know his/her location before they initiate work activity at the building. Once the trade's person arrives at the scene of the emergency, they should report to the front of the building to the person in charge (i.e., Fire or Police Department representative) for instructions.
    • Outside Contractors assigned permanently or temporarily to the building involved in the emergency shall evacuate the building through the closest available exit. Once outside of the building, they should report to the front of the building to the appropriate shop supervisor.
    • The Facilities Supervisor or designee, after hearing the report from the Facilities Service Desk, shall immediately report to the front of the affected building to ensure that all employees have evacuated safely. He/she should report his/her findings to the Amherst College Campus Police as soon as possible for accountability reasons.
  4. After the Facilities employees have evacuated the building and gone to their assigned location in front of the building, they should remain there until they speak with their supervisors. They should not reenter the building until the fire alarm or other audible warning has been silenced and the Amherst Fire Department or Campus Police has granted permission.

Fire - Reporting

The following procedures shall be followed when someone discovers a fire in a building, regardless of how large the fire is:

1) Close the door to the room where the fire is located. This will confine the fire to a smaller area.

2) Activate the closest fire alarm system. Pull stations are usually located next to an exit or stairwell door

3) Phone 2111 to report the location of the fire. You or someone you designate must make the telephone call from a safe location as quickly as possible. Once you have given the dispatcher the information, wait until the dispatcher hangs up before you hang up because the dispatcher may need more information. The Amherst Fire Department through the Campus Police will know from your call that this is an active fire and not “burned food” or a malicious false alarm.

4) Extinguish or Evacuate

  1. If the fire is small and you have been trained to use the fire extinguisher, you may attempt to put the fire out. (Refer to the Fire Extinguisher Section of this plan.)
  2. If you have not been trained to use the fire extinguisher or the fire is too large to extinguish, EVACUATE the building and:
    • Go to the closest exit and proceed directly to your assigned area away from the building. You should have a pre-designated area to meet for accountability reasons.
    • Notify others on your way out that this is a real fire but do not stop to force their evacuation.
    • When you get to your assigned area, wait to be accounted for and stay with your class, department or office so that the fire department or campus police officer can ask questions about the building or fire.
    • If you have knowledge of the fire, such as location, size, cause, or you are aware of a person trapped, immediately notify the Campus Police Officer who will provide the fire department with this information
    » If you are unable to evacuate the building because of fire or smoke in the corridor:
    1. Remain calm.
    2. Close the door to the room you are in and call the Amherst College Campus Police at 2111 to report your position so that you can be rescued.
    3. If smoke begins to come in under the door, stuff blankets or towels (preferably wet) under the door to prevent the smoke from coming in. Wave a brightly colored article of clothing or similar material in the window to attract attention;
    4. do not break the window unless absolutely necessary. Breaking the window may result in falling glass injuring people below or smoke entering the window making it more difficult to breath.

5) Do not re-enter the building, until:

  1. The fire alarm has been silenced, and
  2. The fire or police department has indicated that it is acceptable to re-enter.

Fire Extinguishers

The fire extinguishers around the campus have been strategically placed by potential hazard, size, and type. In most cases fire extinguishers should be located next to the main door of a room, near an exit door (i.e., a stairwell) or every 50’ – 75’ in the corridor of a building depending on the criteria of the Massachusetts Building Code. Fire extinguishers should not be located on the opposite side of the room away from your only means of egress.

For health and safety reasons as required by OSHA, only persons who have been trained in the handling, selection, and use of a fire extinguisher shall operate them. The use of the wrong type of extinguisher could cause the fire to spread or the user to become seriously injured.

  1. Pressurized Water (P/W)- These are normally found in residence halls where cloth, paper, and wood are the most common hazards. They are metallic colored and hold approximately 2 ½ gallons of water. They are capable of discharging a distance of 25’ – 30’ for approximately 1 minute.
  2. Dry Chemical (ABC) or (BC) – These are normally found in cars, laboratories, and other places where gasoline, oil, and other combustible/flammable liquids are used. They are usually red in color and are capable of spraying 10’ – 15’ for approximately 30 seconds.
  3. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – These are normally found only in electrical or mechanical rooms where electricity is the hazard. They are used to put out electrical fires while the equipment is still energized. The carbon dioxide extinguishers are red in color, have no gauge to indicate amount of contents, and are limited to a spray distance of 5’ – 10’ for about 10 seconds.
  4. Halon - These extinguishers were used for computer room fires in the past, but there use now is questionable because of health risks associated with the halon agents in a fire situation. Amherst College no longer uses this type of extinguisher or extinguishing agent.
  1. Type A - Cloth, paper and wood that produce Ash
  2. Type B - Gasoline, oil, and other combustible/flammable material placed in a Barrel.
  3. Type C - Electrically energized fires involving equipment and Circuits or Current
  1. Check the type of extinguisher
    • Is it the right type for the fire involved? Check the side of the extinguisher to determine type.
  2. Check the extinguisher for operation
    • Does the extinguisher have an inspection tag, plastic tie, and pin in place?
    • Does the pressure gauge needle point straight up, indicating fully charged?
  3. PASS Procedure
    • Pull the pin. – Test the extinguisher to see if it works.
    • Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the handle to activate the agent.
    • Sweep across or at the base of the fire depending on the fire type.
  4. Never turn your back towards the fire, even if you think it is out.

Fire Prevention Plan

It is the responsibility of each Facilites employee to correct or report unsafe conditions that could cause a fire, hamper emergency egress, or result in a personal injury accident. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each employee to:

  1. Correct certain hazards at the time of discovery, such as replacing bulbs in exit signs, removing cardboard, paper, and other combustible material from corridors, or taking out chocks from fire and smoke doors. Report discharge or missing extinguishers and burned out emergency lights to the Physical Plant Service Desk.
  2. Notify the supervisor of hazards needing corrective action, such as hazardous materials left in the corridors, leaking sprinkler heads, potential ignition sources, open (uncovered) electrical panels.
  3. Contact the Environmental Health & Safety Office for corrective action, such as hazardous materials left in the corridors, leaking sprinkler heads, potential ignition sources, open (uncovered) electrical panels, missing fire extinguishers, or burned out emergency lights.
In accordance with OSHA and the Massachusetts State Building and Fire Prevention Codes, the following must be inspected and maintained to ensure proper and safe egress from a building in case of fire or other emergency:
  1. All combustible material shall be removed from the corridor as soon as possible.
  2. Recycling areas for cardboard, paper, and other combustible material should be in separate enclosed areas and not in a means of egress or exit.
    • any area, corridor, or room that has an EXIT sign is part of the “means of egress”
  3. All emergency lights and exit signs must be maintained at all times.
    • Bulbs should be replaced as soon as they are out.
    • The custodial staff on a weekly basis should test accessible emergency lighting.
      ­ Push the test button. If the light does not work, notify supervisor or the Facilities Service Desk.
    • Emergency lights should also be tested by the Facilities Electric Shop and by EH&S when doing routine inspections.
  4. All paths that make up the means of egress, including the exit discharge outside the exit door, fire escape and the sidewalk that leads away from the building, must be maintained. Snow and ice must be cleared or made safe to allow for egress from the building
  5. Boxes and other stored items within 18” of a sprinkler head must be removed.
  6. Combustible material like cardboard, cloth, paper, and wood should not be placed next to an ignition source such as a heater, furnace, pilot light, or electrical equipment.
  7. Electrical and mechanical rooms cannot be used for storage, unless approved by the specific shop supervisor, Director of Facilities, or the Environmental Health and Safety Manager.
  8. No stored materials are permitted within 3 feet of an electric panel or similar type of equipment.
  9. Electrical cords and outlets must not be overloaded or used improperly.
    • Electrical cords must be properly sized for the equipment they serve.
    • Never use a smaller diameter extension cord than the primary cord that serves the equipment.
    • Do not overload an outlet with several plugs at the same time. It is suggested that a small 5 or 6 outlet strip with its own circuit breaker be used.
    • If working outdoors, the electrical cord must be attached to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (G.F.C.I.)
    • Electrical cords must not pass through ceilings, doors, or walls except for custodial or shop activities where the door is held open for a limited time while the cleaning or other activity is being done and while the employee is on the floor of work activity.

    Rescue and First Aid Procedures

    Amherst College shall provide the necessary rescue and first aid services through the Amherst College Campus Police, The Amherst Fire Department, and all properly trained Amherst College Facilities employees. To provide the best possible rescue and first aid services, Amherst College has adopted the following policy for our employees and other members of the campus community if a person has become ill or injured and is in need of assistance:

    1. Contact the Amherst College Campus Police at 2111. Stay on the phone until the dispatcher hangs up as you will be asked:
      • your location
      • what happened
      • how many people are ill or injured
      • what first aid care is being provided and by whom
      • your phone number at the scene
      • if someone is available to meet the police officer or ambulance
    2. Stay with the person until trained medical personnel arrive and take over. Trained medical personnel may be:
      • an Amherst College Campus Police
      • a CPR / First Aid Certified Amherst College employee
      • a member of Amherst College Emergency Medical Services (ACEMS)
      • an Amherst Fire Department employee
    3. Do not move the victim or provide care unless you are trained to do so and the victim is at risk.
    4. Facilities First Aid Providers, should:
      1. Assess the situation for hazards to themselves and others.
        • Make sure that the appropriate medical aid has been summoned.
        • Obtain the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for yourself or assist the victim by providing him/her with a means to stop the bleeding, etc.
        • Initiate proper first aid (i.e., CPR, control of bleeding, shock or medical emergency)
        • Talk to the person and:
          • have someone take notes, if possible
          • obtain full name of the person injured
          • find out what happened
          • try to get some medical history, a list of medications taken, and any allergies
          • ask age/date of birth
          • ask name of doctor
          • ask time of last meal
          • check vital signs (if appropriate)
          • conduct Secondary Survey if time and patient permits
        • Stay with the patient until more trained medical personnel arrive and take over.
    5. Blood and Body Fluid Clean-Up
      • All blood and body fluids left behind (after the incident) should be properly removed by an Amherst College Facilities employee, a blood borne pathogens trained and immunized custodial staff member, an Amherst College Campus Police Officer, a member of the Amherst Fire Department, or the Environmental Health & Safety Manager.

    First Aid Kits

    Complete First Aid kits should be located in potentially hazardous areas such as the Facilities Carpentry and Plumbing Shops, the Heating Plant, and the Grounds Office. In addition, a portable kit or two should be made available for large projects performed by our in-house staff so that a kit can be brought directly to the site. Smaller first aid kits should be located in the electric shop, paint shop, garage, service desk area, and in each vehicle used by the Facilities shops or trades. Supervisors of shops and operators of vehicles should check the First Aid kits monthly or after use.

    First Aid kits should contain:
    [ ] Disposable gloves (latex or rubber)
    [ ] Sterile gauze pads (4 x 4’s) and (2 x 2’s)
    [ ] Sterile gauze roller bandage (2”) and (4”)
    [ ] Hypo-allergenic tape (2”)
    [ ] Assorted Bandaids
    [ ] Tweezers
    [ ] Scissors
    [ ] Disposable Ice Packs
    [ ] Disposable pocket mask or shield for CPR
    [ ] Scissors

    (Topical creams ointments and sprays should not be located within the first aid kits or used by staff providing first aid care.)


    Call the AMHERST COLLEGE CAMPUS POLICE at 2111 when a person:
    • is unconscious or unresponsive
    • has trouble breathing or is breathing in a strange way
    • has chest pain or pressure
    • is bleeding severely
    • has pain or pressure in the abdomen that does not go away
    • is vomiting or passing blood
    • is having or has had a seizure
    • has a severe headache, slurred speech, tingling fingers, and/or dizziness
    • has ingested poison or suspected poison
    • is having an alcohol or drug related abuse or reaction
    • has injuries to the head, neck, or back
    • has injuries involving suspected broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
    • has experienced an electrical shock
    Also call the AMHERST COLLEGE CAMPUS POLICE if there is:
    • a fire or explosion
    • a downed electrical wire
    • significant flooding
    • a hazardous material incident
    • a suspicious odor of gas
    • a motor vehicle accident
    • a rescue activity

    The Emergency Action Plan is not a complete written procedure for everything that could happen on the Amherst College Campus. A more complete Emergency Disaster Plan can and should be used if the Emergency Action Plan is not comprehensive enough.

    This Emergency Action Plan shall be reviewed annually and can be changed sooner if any Facilities employee identifies problems. Concerns or corrective measures shall be referred to the Office of Environmental Health & Safety or to a representative of the Environmental Health & Safety Committee.

    It is the responsibility of each supervisor to oversee the implementation and enforcement of this plan. The Director of Facilities Planning and Management, the Assistant Director for Operations, the Environmental Health and Safety Committee, and the Amherst College Campus Police Department have implemented this Emergency Action Plan for health and safety reasons.

    Emergency Action Plan Evaluation