Does the MBL have an Emergency Management Plan?
The MBL has a comprehensive Emergency Management Plan to cover all emergency situations that may affect the MBL campus. The plan provides guidelines for activating decision processes, gathering decision-makers and marshaling resources to address MBL-wide emergencies.

What does the MBL Emergency Management Plan Cover?

The MBL Emergency Management Plan is intended to cover a broad range of potential situations that could affect safety and the continuity of the education and research mission of the MBL. It also establishes the management processes for responding to such events, including defining roles and responsibilities, activating and communicating with leaders, and organizing resources to address emergency conditions.
These include:

  • Natural hazards – Severe weather, earthquake, or other conditions over which the MBL has no control;
  • Infrastructure failure – Interruption of utilities or information technology services, building systems breakdown, environmental hazards, fire, or other facilities malfunctions;
  • Human factors – Medical emergencies, illness, and behavioral incidents. Security incidents – Occurrences that potentially threaten personal safety or loss of physical and intellectual property;
  • External events – Community or regional incidents that occur beyond the limits of the MBL, and which could affect people and/or MBL facilities.

The MBL emergency program includes detailed operational plans and procedures developed and maintained by various departments and integrated under the management plan.


How do I report an emergency?

Important! – Any emergency situation requiring immediate response (Police, Fire or Emergency Medical Services) must first be reported by calling Falmouth Emergency Services at 911 (9+911 from internal phones).

In the event of a fire, sound the nearest alarm and evacuate the building before calling 911.

For all other situations, Campus Security is the primary locations for receiving information from the MBL community about incidents on or affecting the MBL campus.  Campus Security provides 24-hour security services for the MBL Campus and MBL Community.

To report an incident, Campus Security should be notified immediately by calling 508-289-7911 (7911 within the MBL telephone system).

In addition to the notification process above, for further assistance in other situations:

Chemical Spill or Radiation Accidents

— Call the MBL Environmental Health & Safety Office (EH&S) at ext. 7217 or ext. 7911. MBL operators and Campus Security have appropriate emergency numbers.


— Call Massachusetts Poison Control Center 9 + 1 (800) 222-1222.

MBL Campus Security

— Call ext. 7217

How are emergencies at the MBL defined?

Emergencies occur with varying levels of severity and are often dynamic events requiring rapid adjustments to changing conditions.  Many incidents may initially appear minor, but may rapidly evolve to a higher level of severity or broader impact on the MBL.

For planning and response, the MBL has defined three levels of emergency situations:

  • Category I – a relatively minor, localized department or building incident.
  • Category II – a serious situation that potentially affects the continued operation of one or more buildings, or a safety or security incident.
  • Category III – A disaster with severe impact on the MBL and/or the surrounding community.


Who is responsible for the coordination of the MBL’s response to emergencies?

Primary responsibility for emergency planning, preparedness, and incident management is with the Incident Management Team (IMT).  The IMT is a cross-departmental team of senior managers representing core administrative, academic, and research functions that support the entire MBL organization.

The role of the IMT is to coordinate and support the overall MBL response to any emergency situation, and to provide the Incident Command (ICS) structure for the MBL.

Members of the IMT are responsible for close coordination with other leaders from the MBL research centers and other departments, and to ensure that all areas of the MBL are fully engaged in planning and responding to emergency situations.


Will I need to evacuate my building or campus?
Yes, under certain serious situations you may have to evacuate.

  • In the event of a building fire alarm, you must immediately evacuate the building and report to the nearest assembly area.   This is very important so we will know that everyone is safe and accounted for.
  • Should the MBL campus face a severe storm event, such as a hurricane, you may also be instructed to evacuate the campus, including your residence.  In such a situation, you will receive advance warnings and additional instructions.


How will the MBL communicate with the campus in an emergency?

In an emergency situation requiring rapid notification, trained and authorized personnel will distribute short messages via the MBLAlert system. MBLAlert communicates by email to every member of the MBL community, as well as through SMS text messages and automated phone calls to those who sign up for this free expanded service.

In addition to the MBLAlert system, MBL may also post notices on the digital displays around campus.

Less urgent advisories will be posted on the MBL Intranet, or in meetings or other communications tailored to the particular situation.


How do I sign-up to receive notices via the MBLALERT system?

Scientists, staff, students, and visitors registered in the MBL One Card system are automatically enrolled with the primary email address provided in the database. Each eligible user will receive a welcome e-mail at the time of enrollment, which prompts creation of a username and password.  After log in, users can verify that information automatically generated from the MBL One Card system is accurate.  To add new devices that will receive MBL Alert messages, go to the MyMBLCard web page.  You may also receive occasional email messages from MBLAlert requesting you to review and update your contact information.

More information and FAQs about MBLAlert are here.


As an individual what can I do to be better prepared in an emergency?

Whether natural or man-made, a disaster can strike at any time and in many ways.  Personal preparedness is critical, and there are many resources available for you to help develop your personal emergency plan.  One helpful source is The Federal Emergency Management Agency Preparedness Campaign.

In addition, it is always a good idea to remain up to date and familiar with the emergency procedures for your building, and to follow any instructions that may be provided by the MBL.

To ensure that accurate and timely information is communicated to the public, the Director of Communications or his/her designee will serve as the spokesperson for the laboratory.


Where can I find a summary of the MBL emergency management plan and other information?

Visit to review the emergency management plan and other important reference information.