Common RAVE Alert Terms


The term Shelter-in-Place means to seek immediate shelter and remain there during an emergency rather than evacuate the area.

The term Sheltering-in-Place means to make a shelter of the building that you are in, and with a few adjustments this location may be made even safer and more comfortable until it is safe to go outside. Sheltering can be related to a variety of situations: severe weather emergencies, hazardous condition, chemical release, or criminal activity. The basic concept behind Sheltering-In-Place (SIP) is to put barriers between yourself and the danger, while maintaining awareness, communications, and safety.

When public safety officials provide directions to shelter in place, they want everyone to take steps immediately:

  • Stay inside the building (or if you are outside, go inside as quickly as possible).
  • Do not use elevators where you can become trapped.
  • Select interior room(s) above the ground floor with the fewest windows and vents. The room(s) should be large enough for everyone to sit comfortably and quietly. Use multiple rooms if necessary.
  • Stop classes and/or other operations in the building.
  • If there are visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay—not leave.
  • Quickly locate supplies you may need such as material to cover vents and door cracks food, water, a radio, etc.
  • Ideally, choose room(s) with hardwired telephones as cellular networks may be unavailable. Use these phones to report any emergencies.
  • Stay away from windows and doors; draw the curtains/shades or cover the windows. You should not be visible from the outside or from the corridor.
  • (In case of chemical release) If there is time, shut and lock all windows and doors. Locking them may provide a tighter seal against chemicals.
  • (In case of chemical release) If possible, put a wet towel, or piece of clothing against the crack between the door and the floor to seal it.
  • (In case of chemical release) If the room has local controls, turn off or block any heat, fans, air conditioning, or vents.
  • Use a radio or the internet to check for additional information via the Alert4U web page, or monitor local radio stations for emergency information and further details.
  • Remain calm and await further instructions.
  • DO NOT leave the room until directed to do so by a public safety official 

Evacuate / Leave the Area

When the fire alarms sound or upon notification by campus police or emergency responders, occupants must evacuate the building.

  • If time and conditions permit, take only your most important personal items such as a purse, car keys, or glasses, and secure your workplace.
  • Leave by the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same.
  • Follow instructions from campus police or emergency responders.
  • If you open a door, check the door for heat with the back of your hand before opening it. Do not open the door if it is hot.
  • Walk, do not run. Do not push or crowd.
  • Keep noise to a minimum so you can hear emergency instructions.
  • Use handrails in stairwells, and stay to the right. Remember that elevators are reserved for people with disabilities.
  • Assist people with disabilities in exiting the building. If this is not a safe location given the emergency, assist them to the nearest perimeter location. Assist people with disabilities to the closest interior evacuation location, if it is safe to do so.
  • Watch for falling debris and glass inside and outside of building.
  • Once outside, move quickly away from the building and proceed to the closest evacuation location. You should try to be at least 500 feet away from the affected building.
  • Attempt to keep existing groups and classrooms of students together. This will assist in identifying if anyone was left behind or is missing from the group.
  • Keep roadways, fire lanes, and fire hydrants clear for emergency vehicles and responders.

What should I do to be prepared for an evacuation?

  • Know your building or classroom's floor plan. Know where the doors, windows, stairs, and fire extinguishers are.
  • Determine in advance the nearest exit from your work or classroom location and the route you will follow to reach that exit in an emergency. Know the locations of alternate exits from your area, or the areas you frequent on campus.
  • If you are in an unfamiliar building, look for exit signs and stairwells upon entering.
  • If you work in an interior office, know exactly how many doors you will pass along your evacuation route before you reach the nearest exit. In heavy smoke, exit signs may be invisible. Even in heavy smoke, you can count the number of doors as you pass, so you will know when you reach the exit door.

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Contact MTSU
  • University Police: 615-898-2424
  • Housing: 615-898-2971
  • Counseling Services: 615-898-2670
  • Student Affairs: 615-898-2440
  • News & Media: 615-898-2919