An explosion is caused by a rapid expansion of gas from chemical reactions or incendiary devices.  Signs of an explosion may be a very loud noise or series of noises and vibrations, fire, heat or smoke, falling glass or debris, or building damage.  

Immediate Action

  • Get out of the building as quickly and calmly as possible.  
  • As soon as possible, and from a safe location, press 911 on a telephone to report the incident.
  • If items are falling off of bookshelves or from the ceiling, get under a sturdy table or desk.
  • If there is a fire, stay low to the floor and exit the building as quickly as possible.
  • If you are trapped in debris, tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are.
  • Assist others in exiting the building and move to designated evacuation areas.  See Evacuation/Rescue Plan For Persons With Disabilities.  Keep streets and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.
  • Untrained persons should not attempt to rescue people who are inside a collapsed building.  Wait for emergency personnel to arrive.


The responding emergency unit will respond and make decisions regarding the control and abatement of the explosion incident, and issuing or not issuing the all clear for safe building re-entry and occupancy.

Decision Maker(s)

The emergency unit or agency in control will decide when to turn control of the scene back over to the appropriate University entity, e.g., the University Police or facility tenant(s).  Depending on the nature of the incident, other public response and law enforcement agencies may be involved in decisions or control of the scene, e.g., criminal actions.  

Subsequent Procedures/Information

Depending on the nature and degree of the explosion incident, other support agencies and University resource units may be brought in for services or assistance.