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Emergency Preparedness FAQ

Q: What has Phillips Academy done to prepare for emergencies?

A: Phillips Academy maintains a set of crisis management protocols that spell out responses for adults to follow for some of the most common kinds of emergencies such as a fire, hurricane, drug or alcohol overdose or injuries. Beyond this, the school has also been developing a comprehensive, department-by-department disaster management plan to guide faculty, administration and staff in responding to and recovering from the widest range of emergencies. The plan is geared first and foremost toward the protection and care of students and other members of our community.

Perhaps the most important asset in responding to emergencies is the academy’s well-prepared Crisis Management Team. This group of academy staff, faculty and administrators gather quickly, assess needs, implement appropriate responses and communicate with internal audiences and parents as necessary. During the last year, the CMT has met frequently to discuss and plan contingencies for situations that might arise from local or national threats.

While the school has a number of tools it can use to communicate information in an emergency--Facebook, Twitter, the website and email--in a fast moving crisis the school also has a text/voicemail notification system that it will use to send out messages to the cell phones of students, faculty, staff and parents.

Q: How does the academy keep parents informed in an emergency?

A: In an emergency on campus when parents are not immediately able to contact their children or their children’s house counselors or cluster deans by telephone, parents should:

  • Call the Office of the Dean of Students’ 978-749-4175. If there is no answer, dial
  • Dean of Students' emergency hotline (978-749-4170). This line will be staffed during emergencies and contain a recorded message at other times.
  • If the academy's local or regional phone service is disrupted, call the off-campus toll-free number at 877-445-5477 for a recorded message that will be updated regularly with information and instructions.
  • Check your cell phone for text and voicemail messages sent from the school's emergency alert system.
  • Check for e-mail messages from the Head of School. In order to reach the greatest number of parents by e-mail, we ask that all parents submit an e-mail address that they check often to the Office of the Dean of Students at
  • Check the Academy website at, Facebook page, and Twitter feed  for information and instructions.
Q: What would you do if you had to evacuate the campus?

A: As long as the campus is not specifically affected by an emergency, the academy has the ability to shelter students in place for an extended period of time. The Commons has the ability to feed students for up to a week without outside delivery. The campus power plant can operate even when regional electric services are affected.

However, the academy has worked in partnership with local public safety officials to plan for an emergency that might require students to evacuate the campus. Within Andover the academy would work with local public safety officials to evacuate to one of Andover’s public schools. If the academy needs to evacuate beyond the town of Andover, local public safety officials will assist in arranging transportation, if the academy’s usual transportation carriers are unable to respond.

Q: What medical services do you have on campus to treat students who might be sick or injured?

A: Isham Health Center is open 24 hours a day while school is in session to respond to individual student medical needs or a health emergency on campus. Its staff includes a full-time pediatrician who resides on campus, a nurse practitioner, and registered nurses.

Isham has its own pharmacy, as well as a relationship with a local retail pharmacy to obtain any needed medications. X-rays and laboratory tests are available on site. In addition, Isham has a medical staff of 80 local medical and surgical specialists who are available to provide care to our students.

While Isham does not provide emergency room services, local community hospitals and the tertiary medical centers of Boston are all within easy access.

Q: What would the academy do if it had to shut down and air travel was not possible?

A: In a situation where students were unable to travel from campus by air, the academy would attempt to make other arrangements for transportation. If other means of transportation for students were not available or practical because of distance, the academy would keep the student on campus or make arrangements for him or her to stay with a local family, with the approval of the student’s parent.

Q: Where does the academy get its water and what would it do if the water became contaminated?

A: The water supply for the town of Andover is Haggetts Pond, located in Andover. The town has long had an emergency response plan in place to protect the water supply. Water quality is monitored as it is brought into the town’s water treatment plant and any significant change in quality is quickly detected. Following treatment, water is pumped to several covered reservoirs in town. These reservoirs distribute water by gravity to schools, residences and businesses throughout town. In an emergency, when water use might be restricted, the reservoirs contain a 5-7 day supply of water. Should Haggetts Pond be contaminated, the treatment plant could be shut down until the Board of Health determines the water is safe to drink. In addition, the Town has security procedures in place to prevent entry into and damage or contamination of the treatment plant itself.

Finally, the academy’s food service provider would work with its regular suppliers to obtain bottled water for the community, should it become necessary.

Q: Is Phillips Academy at risk from radiation exposure in the event of an accident at the Seabrook Nuclear Plant in Seabrook, N.H?

A: Andover is located outside the immediate impact area of the Seabrook nuclear reactor. In fact, towns in the Andover area have been designated to receive evacuees in the event of an accident or vandalism to the Seabrook plant. The academy has identified evacuation destinations and transportation to get there should evacuation be required.