What To Do in an Emergency


Watch: Conditions are right for a tornado to develop. Continue with normal activities, but continue to monitor the weather.

Warning: Radar or weather spotters have identified a tornado.

  • Listen for the tornado siren. A single siren blast will sound continuously until the danger has passed. There is no “all-clear.” The danger has passed when the siren silences.

If Indoors

  • Know the location of the nearest shelter for your facility. This can be a basement or a ground floor hallway with no windows.
  • Get under a desk or a table.
  • Be careful removing debris that has fallen around you.
  • Remain calm in a protected area until the threat has ceased or the danger has a passed.
  • Call Campus Safety at 911 (dial 1911 if calling from an on campus landline phone) to report injuries or damage.

If Outdoors

  • Try to seek shelter indoors, if you cannot;
  • Try to get to a protected or safe area away from buildings, windows and glass, telephone or light poles or any place where there could be falling debris (A low area such as a ditch or ravine or a depression works well).
  • Lie face down and cover your head and face.
  • Be careful removing debris that has fallen around you.
  • Call Campus Safety at 911 (dial 1911 if calling from an on campus landline phone) to report injuries or damage.

Fire/Hazardous Materials Emergency

  • Activate the nearest fire alarm and call 911 (dial 1911 if calling from an on campus landline phone)  if possible to report the location and cause of the fire/hazardous material emergency.
  • Everyone must leave immediately when a fire alarm is activated, even if there are no obvious signs of an emergency.
  • Do not use the elevator.
  • Remain calm and assist others in safely getting out.
  • Confine the fire by closing all doors and windows if possible. Follow directions given by emergency personnel and go to the location designated by your building coordinator to await further instructions.


  • Stay inside the building until the shaking stops. Don’t run downstairs or rush outside while the building is shaking.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall.
  • A sturdy table or desk can provide cover.
  • Once the building stops shaking, exit the building calmly and check for others in need.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • If outdoors, stay in the open until the shaking stops, avoid any falling debris fields such as buildings, power lines, etc.

Active Shooter/Dangerous Person

  • Remain calm, do not engage the intruder unless no other option available.
  • A quick and quiet escape is suggested, if it can be done safely.
  • If attempting to escape, keep your hands elevated with open palms visible, especially if encountering law enforcement officers. Follow all instructions officers may give you.
  • If you cannot safely exit the building, seek secure shelter.
  • Close and lock windows, lower blinds, remain out of sight, and turn off lights.
  • Once secured inside, take cover behind concrete walls, thick desks, and filing cabinets that are away from windows and doors.
  • Remain quiet, and turn off cell phone ringers.
  • Only one person from the room should call police at 911 (dial 1911 if calling from an on campus landline phone) and tell them where you are, where the dangerous person is, and the condition of others with you. Follow their instructions. If you cannot speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can hear what is going on.
  • Assist others if they are injured.
  • Do not respond to any unfamiliar voice commands until you can be sure they are coming from a police officer.

Persons with Disabilities

Plan in Advance

Individuals who need assistance during an evacuation, even temporarily (due to broken leg, illness, medications, etc.) should plan in advance. It is important to be aware of your own capabilities and limitations.

  • Notify a director or department head if you use a particular building on a regular basis.
  • Notify a Resident Life staff in residence halls.
  • Identify someone who might provide assistance in leaving the building and/or who will inform emergency management personnel of your presence and where you are located.

Building Evacuation

  • Exit the building immediately using the most direct route
  • If unable to evacuate on your own, ask for assistance to the nearest enclosed exit stair or remain in your room.
  • Ask someone leaving the building to notify emergency responders of your location. Rescue is the fire department’s first priority.
  • If a phone is available, call 911 (dial 1911 if calling from an on-campus landline phone) and tell them where you are.


  • Seek shelter in a room with no windows on the interior of the building if possible. Follow standard procedures if possible.
  • Call 911 (dial 1911 if calling from an on campus landline phone) from a cellular phone and let them know your location.