FAQs

-Emergency Plans-

What emergency plans does the university have in place?

George Mason University maintains an all-hazards Emergency Operations Plan in accordance with state requirements. Mason’s Emergency Operations Plan defines the structure and general procedures that should be followed in an emergency. This plan is supported by emergency support functions that help direct function-specific (i.e., communications, transportation, mass care, etc.) response activities. Hazard-specific plans have been developed to respond to unique emergency events and are integrated into the Emergency Operations Plan. Due to the sensitive nature of the information contained within emergency plans, the university does not make them available to the public. If you have specific questions or concerns about emergency preparedness and response procedures at George Mason University please contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office at (703) 993-8448 or safety@gmu.edu.

How do I develop an emergency plan for my work area / classroom?

Emergency preparedness guides provide specific information about how to prepare for an emergency and what you should do during an emergency. EHS will assist you in completing and compiling these guides for your work area and provide training on how to respond to emergencies. For more information or assistance please contact EHS at (703) 993-8448 or safety@gmu.edu.

Where do I find information on building evacuation procedures?

Where do I find information on where to go or what to do during severe weather?

What do I do if there is an earthquake?

What if I am unable to leave campus during an emergency?

When the university experiences a regional emergency, university-wide emergency, or severe weather event and determines that it is not safe for students, faculty, and staff to leave campus, instructions will be provided on where to assembly, who to contact for assistance, and the services available. Information and messages regarding emergencies will be sent to you via Mason Alert (George Mason University’s emergency notification system alert.gmu.edu) and posted on the university’s homepage www.gmu.edu.

Where can I find information on specific emergencies that may occur at George Mason University?

Sign up for Mason Alert, George Mason University’s emergency messaging system at alert.gmu.edu. You can also look at the university’s homepage, www.gmu.edu, for information about the university’s operating status.

 

-Mason Alert-

What is Mason Alert?

Mason Alert is George Mason University’s emergency notification system that is used to send emergency notifications and timely warnings to the university community via text, email, telephone call, and digital signage.

How do I register to receive emergency notification of an emergency on campus?

All university students and employees are automatically enrolled in Mason Alert. You will only receive emergency messages via email unless you have registered you cell phone number(s) with Mason Alert. If you are new user or have not logged into your Mason Alert account:

  • Your user name is your mason email address, (username@gmu.edu or username@masonlive.gmu.edu).
  • Your temporary password is: “mason” (all lower case letters).

How do parents of students receive emergency notifications (Mason Alert messages)?

Parents may register for Mason Alert by creating a guest account at alert.gmu.edu.

How do I access my Mason Alert account?

Go to alert.gmu.edu to access your account. Your user name is your George Mason University email address or the email address that you used to register for a Mason Alert account (remember to include the “@gmu.edu” or “@masonlive.gmu.edu”). Your password is a unique password that you create(d). Your password will not be the same as your George Mason University email password unless you set up your Mason Alert account with the same password.

I forgot my Mason alert email or password. How do I retrieve them?

If you forgot your email address, it is your @masonlive.gmu.edu or @gmu.edu email address. If you forgot your password go to alert.gmu.edu and click on “Lost Password.”

If you need additional assistance, email alert@gmu.edu.

What types of alerts will I get from Mason Alert?

Mason Alert provides emergency information regarding hazardous or emergency situations on campus. Emergency messages will include information about changes to the university’s operating schedule, canceled classes, and warnings about situations that occur on campus and the actions you should take to protect yourself from harm. You may also elect to receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

 

-Personal Preparedness-

What steps should I take to be prepared at home and at work?

Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed. Information on each of these actions is available at www.ready.gov.

How do I make an emergency supply kit for work and at home?

Go to www.ready.gov, click on “build a kit”. There you will find information on what to include in your emergency supply kit, where to store it, and how to maintain it.

What emergency supplies should I keep in my car?

Go to www.ready.gov, click on “get a kit”, and then select “for your vehicle.”

Does George Mason University keep a list of emergency contacts for employees in case of an emergency?

Employees are encouraged to provide information for one or more emergency contacts to the university in the event that an emergency occurs and the university must contact an employee’s emergency contact. Emergency contact information can be entered in Patriotweb (patriotweb.gmu.edu). Visit Patriotweb, log in, select “Personal Information”, select “View Emergency Contacts”, and select “Update Emergency Contacts” at the bottom of the page.

What happens if I cannot come to work or am unable to leave the university because of an emergency?

If you cannot come to work due to unsafe conditions and the university has not altered its operating schedule, contact your supervisor to discuss your work arrangements and concerns.

When the university experiences a regional emergency, university-wide emergency, or severe weather event and determines that it is not safe for students, faculty and staff to leave campus, instructions will be provided on where to assembly, who to contact for assistance, and the services available. Information and messages regarding emergencies will be sent to you via Mason Alert (George Mason University’s emergency notification system alert.gmu.edu) and posted on the university webpage www.gmu.edu.

-Regional Emergency-

What is a regional emergency?

A regional emergency is an emergency that is large enough or severe enough to impact a portion of the D.C. Metropolitan Region, Northern Virginia, or the Commonwealth of Virginia that causes severe disruptions to traffic, utilities, transportation, or the climate. Examples include hurricanes, major snowstorms, flooding, pandemic diseases, terrorism, and regional power outages.

What is George Mason University’s role during a regional emergency?

George Mason University cooperates with state and local governments, community partners, and surrounding states to respond to regional emergencies. The role that George Mason University will assume in a regional emergency is dependent up the location, severity, and impact of the emergency. The university maintains plans in accordance with state regulations that will assist the university in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies of all types.

 

-Student Residents-

What information and resources regarding emergency procedures are available to student residents?

Please reference the Resident Safety Program webpage for information on resident student policies and frequently asked questions.

 

-Fires and Building Evacuations-

When should I evacuate a building and what should I do?

Evacuate the building when the fire alarm sounds or when a university official or first responder instructs you to evacuate. You should report to directly to your building’s Designated Assembly Area, identified on the evacuation plan located throughout each building. Failure to evacuate a building when the fire alarm is sounding is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.

What is a designated assembly area and where is it?

A Designated Assembly Area is a pre-identified outdoor location that is at least 50 feet from a building where individuals should go if they have to evacuate the building. You can find the designated assembly area on Evacuation Plans posted throughout university buildings.

Each Evacuation Plan has at least two Designated Assembly Areas identified (primary and alternate). Know where both are located in case one is not available. In the event that the Designated Assembly Areas cannot be occupied due to a hazard, are occupied by emergency response personnel, or are otherwise unsafe, select an alternate assembly area that meets the criteria outlined in the Emergency Evacuation Guide.

When is it safe to re-enter a building?

It is only safe to reenter a building that has been evacuated when the fire department, university official, or emergency response personnel tells you it is safe to do so.

 

-Emergency Information-

Where do I get information on when classes are canceled?

Sign up for Mason Alert. You can also look on the university homepage www.gmu.edu for additional information about university operations.

 

-Individuals with Disabilities-

What if I am unable to evacuate a building due to disability?

If you have a disability, you are encouraged to identify an Evacuation Assistant. This person may be a co-worker or friend who volunteers to assist you during an emergency. If you are unable to evacuate a building during an emergency, you should let your Evacuation Assistant or someone know you are unable to evacuate and go to an Area of Assistance. An Area of Assistance is an area that is reasonably protected from fire and severe weather; it should provide temporary shelter until emergency response personnel arrive. If you need assistance identifying an area of assistance, please contact EHS at (703) 993-8448 or safety@gmu.edu.

 

-Emergency Preparedness Training-

Does EHS provide training on how to respond to emergencies?

EHS provides Emergency Preparedness training as needed or as requested by Departments and Units at the university. Contact EHS to learn more.

How do I register for fire extinguisher training?

Fire extinguisher training is available to everyone at George Mason University at no cost. To learn more and to register, visit ehs.gmu.edu/training.

How do I register for CPR/AED and First Aid training?

CPR/AED and First Aid training are available at no cost to some members of the university based on their job function. Please contact EHS at (703) 993-8448 or safety@gmu.edu for more information.

See Also: American Heart Association

Not sure who to contact?

We work closely with many departments on campus, e.g., University Police, Student Health Services, Risk Management, etc., and sometimes it's hard to tell which office you need help from. Often times it's a combo of many! You are more than welcome to contact us if you are unsure, but we've also created a "Who do I contact?" resource if you'd like to take a look.