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How do I order everyone inside when I'm being attacked?

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up vote 31 down vote accepted

You need to define a burrow for the safe zone, and a civilian alert that restricts movement to it.

  • To create the burrow

    1. Press w to go to the burrows screen

      • Press a to add a new burrow

      • Size the burrow (remember, a burrow is 3d)

      • Choose a name, color, etc

  • To create a new alert

    1. Press m to go to the military screen

      • Press a to go to the alerts screen

      • Press c to create a new alert

      • Name it with N

      • Change the burrow restriction by pressing enter on the burrow while the burrow is highlighted. If you have a more complicated burrow setup you can add multiple burrows to an alert.

  • To activate the alert (as the civilian alert)

    1. Press enter while the alert is highlighted.

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+1 Great answer – tzenes Jul 27 '10 at 3:57
Much better, thanks @badp. – C. Ross Jul 28 '10 at 15:41
@C.Ross Thank you so much. I didn't notice this in Captnduck's tutorials, or 51ppycup's 2012 tutorials. How early in the game do you personally do this? Do you end up having to change the size of your burrow as your fortress grows, or do you just plan ahead for your whole fortress? – theJollySin Oct 30 '12 at 15:39
@theJollySin Happy to help. I usually do it after the first wave of migrants, but you can set it all up on pause if you have to. I usually do have to expand it, adding internal and external burrows and the like. – C. Ross Oct 30 '12 at 17:06

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