Emergency Management News & Highlights

Mason Alert Text Message Registration

Dear Patriots,

In our continuous effort to improve communication of emergencies to the campus community, we will be transitioning to an “Opt Out” Mason Alert text message registration model from our current “Opt In” process. This will significantly increase the number of people who receive emergency notifications via text message, which is the quickest Mason Alert delivery method.

Beginning on Monday, December 9, when you log into Patriot Web ( you will be prompted to confirm or enter your mobile phone number and elect whether to receive or decline Mason Alert emergency notification text messages. If you decide to decline this service, you may leave the mobile phone field blank.

This process will be conducted annually to ensure that students, faculty, and staff maintain accurate contact information in the Mason Alert emergency notification system. Beginning February 1, 2020, you may only update your primary mobile phone saved in Mason Alert using the Patriot Web portal.  Instructions on how to update your mobile number will be provided on the Mason Alert webpage  Students and employees are still encouraged to add friends and family to their Mason Alert account.

If you wish to receive Mason Alert text messages without registering your mobile phone, you may decline Mason Alert messages in Patriot Web, log into your Mason Alert account, and add your mobile number(s) to receive Mason Alert text messages.

Mobile phone numbers collected through this process will be saved in Banner and used for emergency communication purposes.  If you have any questions or concerns about this process please contact or call (703) 993-8448.

Safety, Emergency, and Enterprise Risk Management

(703) 993-8448

Emergency Management News & Highlights

Important Safety and Emergency Preparedness Information

Dear Patriots,

You have either heard of or experienced last month’s erroneous active threat announcement. Fortunately, this was not a real event, but instead an error caused by an external vendor which has been resolved.  For more information about this situation, please visit our advisories page.  Many members of our community reacted quickly using their training to find a safe location, barricade/lock doors, and helped others as necessary. Although we regret this incident, it does remind us of the importance of individual and institutional preparedness. We continue to explore ways to make our campuses as safe as possible.  Please help us in this endeavor by educating yourself on recommended preparedness and response procedures and report emergencies or suspicious conditions to University Police by calling (703) 993-2810.

Mason Alert: All students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to register one or more cell phone numbers with Mason Alert, the university’s emergency notification system. Mason Alert text messages provide timely notification of events affecting your safety.

Active Threat Prevention and Response: Please take 15 minutes to review the university’s Active Threats Awareness and Prevention Video designed to help you identify and report concerning behaviors. This video also reviews actions that should be taken if a person with a weapon is reported on campus.  To register for a scheduled viewing of the Active Threats Awareness and Prevention Videoin the Johnson Center Cinema facilitated by University Police and the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS) with a question and answer session, please click here. University Police provide routine Active Threat Training Opportunitiesor training upon request.  To sign up or request training please click here.

Rave Guardian Public Safety App: Mason offers a free public safety app to all students, faculty and staff. Rave Guardian is integrated with Mason Alert and offers a number of important features, including a virtual safety escort function, the ability to submit tips anonymously to University Police, and a panic call button that relays your location to University Police.  The Rave Guardian app is free through the iTunes store and the Google Play store

Be Prepared: Information on how to prepare for and respond to emergencies that might occur on campus is available at This site also has resources to help faculty and staff prepare for emergencies that interrupt classes or impact research activities.

If you have any questions or concerns about Mason’s readiness for potential emergencies on campus, please contact EHS at or 703-993-8448.

Fire Safety News & Highlights

Campus Fire Safety Month

September is Campus Fire Safety Month, and the Environmental Health & Safety Office (EHS) is pleased to use this opportunity to remind the Mason community of a few essential fire safety tips. In addition to the advice below, EHS encourages you to review the university’s Fire Safety Plan, which describes roles and responsibilities, policies, and procedures designed to mitigate the causes of fire, prevent loss of life and property by fire, and outline the procedures used to maintain fire protection and life safety systems at George Mason University.

Stay Warm…and Safe!

With cold weather approaching, it’s important to be aware of heating safety practices. While the university permits the use of personal space heaters, they must be used in accordance with the directives below.

  • Space heaters must have tip over automatic safety cut-offs and wiring that is in good condition.
  • All combustible materials must be removed at least three feet from the space heater.
  • Never place a space heater directly on top of combustible paper products, wood, or fueled equipment.
  • Space heaters must be plugged directly into the wall, without the use of an extension cord or power strip.
  • Space heater may never be used in areas where hazardous materials (i.e., flammable materials) are used or stored.
  • Space heaters must be turned off when they are left unattended.
  • Heaters must have a ceramic element. Coil elements are not permitted.

Download this tip sheet from the National Fire Protection Association to learn more about heating safety practices.

Fire Emergencies – Evacuation

Most of us have a habit of entering and leaving our offices through the same door. In an emergency, that exit door may not be accessible, and you’ll need to quickly locate an alternate way out.

Evacuation Plans, like the one pictured here, are posted throughout all university buildings. Students, employees, and visitors are encouraged to know and use two exit routes for all buildings and know your designated assembly area. Evacuation plans also show the location of fire extinguishers and pull stations.

Review your evacuation plan today, and if you have any questions or need additional guidance, please contact EHS.

Training Opportunities

EHS offers Fire Extinguisher Use training to all members of the university community. In this engaging, one-hour course, you’ll learn how to operate a fire extinguisher through hands-on practice and classroom instruction. Visit to register for a class today, or contact EHS to schedule a group session for your office.

Emergency Management News & Highlights

Active Threat Message Error

Dear Mason Community,

This morning, our community received an alert that there was a dangerous person on our campus. This was an error.

The message was sent inadvertently by one of the university’s emergency notification system software vendors. It was not initiated by anyone on our campus. There was never a threat reported on the Fairfax Campus. Within minutes of receiving this message, the university immediately sent out a message letting the campus know that this was an error.

We understand that this was a frightening experience for our community and apologize for the fear it may have caused.

Environmental Health and Safety is working with the university’s emergency notification system providers to determine how this message was sent and to prevent future incidents.  It appears that this message was triggered by an automated process linked to a test conducted by the emergency notification system vendor in question.  Once we have more information about this incident, we will share it with our community.

Thank you for your patience.


David Farris, PhD

Executive Director of Safety & Emergency Management

George Mason University

Emergency Management Fire Safety News & Highlights Occupational Health

Heat Safety Tips and Resources

If this page does not automatically redirect, please click here:

Emergency Management Fire Safety News & Highlights

University Landline 911 Calls to be Transferred to Local County Police Agencies

This summer, 911 calls placed from university landline phones will start being transferred directly to local county police agencies. This modification will ensure uniformity in all Fire/EMS and Police 911 calls, as all cell/mobile 911 calls are currently answered by the local police agencies.

Should you dial 911 from a university landline, the local police agency will transfer your call to the George Mason Police Communication Center, located at the Police and Public Safety Center on the Fairfax Campus.

All police responses will still be handled by George Mason Police Department, and calls made to the department via the non-emergency line (703-993-2810) and the TDD line (703-993-2817) will be received by the Fairfax Campus Communications Center. The Arlington Campus police line (703-993-8070) and SciTech Campus police line (703-993-8370) are also unchanged.

Changes in the transfer of university landline 911 calls will go into effect on the following dates:

  • Arlington Campus: July 9 (Arlington County 911 Center)
  • SciTech Campus: July 16 (Prince William County 911 Center)
  • Fairfax Campus: July 23–25 (Fairfax County 911 Center)

Questions about these changes may be directed to University Police at 703-993-2810.


This announcement was originally posted to News at Mason on June 23, 2019 – follow this link to view the original post:

Emergency Management News & Highlights

Lightning Detection Alert System Testing at Noon on May 23, 2019

A new lightning alert system has been installed on West Campus (Fairfax) to provide weather warnings to students, employees, and visitors who are outdoors on recreation fields, athletic fields, or attending outdoor sporting events. When lightning is detected within 10 miles of campus, a loud 15-second siren will sound. Thirty-minutes after the last lightning strike within a 10-mile radius of campus, three five-second siren bursts will sound to signal that it is safe to resume activities outdoors. Although this system is installed on the West Campus, the siren will be heard throughout the Fairfax Campus and surrounding area. This system is currently scheduled to be operation from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily. For an overview of the system please see the following link:

A test of the system will occur on May 23rd at noon. During the test, both the 15-second siren and the three five-second siren blasts will be sounded. After 12:30 on May 23rd the system will be fully operational. When you hear the siren, for your safety seek shelter in a building or vehicle.

For additional information about emergency preparedness at George Mason University, please visit or contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office at 703-993-8448, or

News & Highlights Occupational Health

International Noise Awareness Day

Excess noise can lead to hearing loss, but did you know that it can also result in other health issues?  Exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels (dB) for extended periods of time can increase blood pressure, cause gastric problems, and lead to cardiovascular issues. While some noise (like campus construction) may be out of your control, you do have the power to manage other sources of noise in your life, such as listening to audio through headphones, or attending loud concerts or sporting events.

On this International Noise Awareness Day, and every day, make it a goal to:

  • Keep the volume down. Try this simple test to find out if your headphone or ear bud volume is set too loud:  Adjust your headphone sound levels to your normal listening volume and hold them at arm’s length.  If you can still hear the audio coming out of the earbuds, the sound is likely contributing to hearing loss.
    Limit the amount of time you spend engaged in excessively noisy activities.
  • Take short listening breaks; turn off your headphones and listen to what’s going on around you.
  • Wear earplugs to protect your hearing if you know you’ll be in an area with lots of noise, like a concert, sporting event, or construction zone.

Remember, hearing loss is irreversible!  Be proactive and reduce the noise levels in your life.

Visit these sites for additional information:

World Health Organization, Make Listening Safe

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Loud Noise Can Cause Hearing Loss