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Emergency Scenarios

Below are some basic steps to respond to more common emergency situations.

Shelter in Place Procedures

Medical Emergency

In the event of a medical emergency, take the following steps:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Do not move the person unless he or she is in danger.
  • Avoid leaving the person except to summon help.
  • Render first aid or CPR if you are trained and qualified.
  • If necessary, locate and use the nearest Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

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Criminal Activity

If you become aware of criminal activity, take the following steps:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Do not attempt to apprehend or interfere with a criminal.
  • Note the criminal's characteristics: Height, weight, sex, race, age, clothing, weapon (if any), and direction and method of travel.
  • If the criminal flees the scene in an automobile, note the license plate, make, model, color, and any other characteristics of the vehicle.

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Workplace Violence

If you notice workplace violence, including intimidation, threats, physical attack and property damage, take the following steps:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately and provide a location and description of the assailant or suspicious individual.
  • Seek cover behind a locked door.

Shelter in Place Procedures

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If you discover a fire, take the following steps:

  • Manually activate the fire alarm.
  • Immediately exit the building and close the door(s) behind you.
  • Tell others in the area that there is a fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 when you have reached safety.

If you are trapped during a fire, take the following steps:

  • Wet and place cloth material around and under the door to prevent smoke from entering.
  • Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire.
  • Be prepared to signal someone outside, but do not break glass until absolutely necessary as smoke may be drawn into the room.

If caught in smoke, take the following steps:

  • Drop to the floor and crawl toward an exit.
  • Stay as low as possible.
  • Take shallow breaths through your nose and use a shirt or towel as a filter.

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In the event of flooding, take the following steps:

  • If it's safe to do so, turn off electrical equipment and secure experiments, vital equipment, records, and hazardous material by moving it to higher ground.
  • Call 9-1-1 to report hazardous substances that may contaminate flood waters.
  • Do not dump flood water down the storm drain unless doing so is approved by environmental health and safety staff.

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Power outages

In the event of a major, campus-wide outage, the University has emergency generators that restore power to some areas of campus. To report a minor, localized power outage, call UMD Facilities Management:

Weekday Trouble CallsMonday - Friday 7:30am-4:30 pm218-726-8262
Monday - Friday 4:30pm-12:00 Midnight218-726-8147
After Hours Emergency RepairsMonday - Thursday 12:00 Midnight - 7:30am911 (request call back from university police)
Weekends & HolidaysFriday 12:00 Midnight-Monday 7:30am726-7007 or 348-4748

The campus phone system works in the event of an electrical outage.

In the event of a major campus-wide outage, take the following steps:

  • Remain calm.
  • Turn off lights and unplug all electrical equipment, including computers.
  • Do not light candles or other flames as they could ignite an explosion.
  • If evacuation is required, secure all experiments and shut off research gasses. All chemicals should be stored in their original locations. Fully open fume hoods. If this is not possible or natural ventilation is inadequate, evacuate the laboratory until power is returned.

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Chemical, Radioactive, or Biological Spill

In the event of a spill, take the following steps:

  • During business hours, call UMD Environmental Health and Safety at 726-6764 or 343-9645. After hours, or if someone is injured, call 9-1-1.
  • Attend to injuries first.
  • Warn others nearby of the spill.
  • Avoid breathing vapors from the spill.
  • Direct potentially contaminated people to stay in a controlled area until they have been cleared of contaminants.
  • Isolate and contain the spill. Post or tape off the affected area and establish a controlled entry point to the area.
  • Do not allow others into the area, even to retrieve personal belongings.
  • Do not spread contaminants. Take off your shoes before walking to other parts of the building.
  • Cover wet spills with something absorbent. Cover dry spills with something slightly dampened.
  • Discard towels in the garbage. Do not wash contaminants down the drain.
  • Use appropriate kit to neutralize and absorb inorganic acids and bases or to absorb spills with vermiculite, dry sand, or diatomaceous earth. Collect and dispose of as chemical waste.
  • If spill is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources. Don't light burners or turn on switches.

To prevent emergencies, talk to your laboratory safety officer to ensure you are following all safety protocols.

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Bomb Threat

If a bomb threat is received by phone, take the following steps:

  • Remain calm. Use the telephone checklist (PDF 34 kb) to record information regarding the bomb threat and have it available for the police when they arrive.
  • If your phone has a display, copy the number or letters on the window display.
  • The most crucial information you can obtain from the caller is detonation time, location, and appearance of the bomb.

Don't hang up. Have someone call 9-1-1 from another phone. Give the phone number for the location that received the the bomb threat. If a bomb threat is received by note, take the following steps:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Do not handle the note.

If a suspicious object is found, take the following steps:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Do not touch or move the object.
  • Evacuate the immediate area.
  • Stop anyone from entering where the object is located.

If a suspicious package arrives in the mail, take the following steps:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Do not handle the package.
  • Evacuate the immediate area.
  • Stop anyone from entering where the object is located.

Signs of a suspicious package:

  • No return address
  • Excessive postage
  • Stains
  • Strange odor
  • Strange sounds
  • Unexpected physical appearance

Evacuation procedures:

  • Walk, don't run.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Move a safe distance from the building.
  • If you know of hazards or trapped persons, tell the nearest University police officer.
  • Do not re-enter the building. The University will announce when the building is safe to re-enter using UMD Alerts text messaging and the UMD web page (

Shelter in Place Procedures

Building Evacuation and Exit Plan

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Active Shooter

If you are in a building when a shooting occurs, take the following steps:

  • If it is safe to do so, leave the building and get away from the incident.
  • If you can't leave, lock and/or barricade all doors.
  • Close blinds and block windows.
  • Stay away from doors and windows.
  • Stay low/behind available heavy objects.
  • Turn off lights, radios, and computer monitors.
  • Keep yourself out of sight.
  • Silence all cell phones.
  • Call 9-1-1 to provide your location, report any injuries, or provide a description of the assailant(s) (e.g., name, number of suspects, gender, race, clothing, physical features, type of weapon(s)).
  • Remain in the secured area until you are certain that the shooter(s) is contained by law enforcement.
  • Do not attempt to rescue anyone if it will further endanger the persons within the secured area.
  • When in doubt, remain within the secured area. Check for a cleart text or email message from UMD.
  • If you encounter police officers, raise your hands and follow their commands immediately and completely. They may not know who the shooter is.

Shelter in Place Procedures

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