Emergency Preparedness

From planning for disasters to conducting your fire inspections and drills, the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Fire Safety is committed to the safety and continued success of the University of Denver (DU) and its students, staff and faculty.

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Emergency Procedures

In the event of an emergency, the following steps should always be taken:

  • Call Campus Safety at 303-871-3000
  • Dial 911 (if necessary)
  • Move to a safe place (if necessary)
  • Active Shooter
    • If a hostile intruder/active shooter is OUTSIDE your building:
      • Get to a room that can be locked; close and lock doors and windows
      • Turn off the lights
      • Get everyone down on the floor so no one is visible from outside of the room
      • Call 911 and answer the dispatcher's questions
      • Stay in place; calls from unfamiliar voices may be the attacker attempting to lure you out
      • Do not respond to any voice commands until you are sure that they are from a Police Officer or a Campus Safety Officer
    • If a hostile intruder/active shooter is INSIDE your building:
      • If it is safe to do so, exit the building immediately
      • Notify anyone you may encounter that they should exit the building immediately but do not let anyone's indecision slow you down
      • Call 911 and answer the dispatcher's questions
    • If exiting the building is not possible, take the following actions:
      • Go to the nearest room or office
      • If you are locked out of all rooms, seek refuge in the nearest restroom, lock yourself in a stall, stand on the toilet, and keep calm
      • Close and lock the door and/or block it with furniture
      • Cover any windows
      • Call 911 and answer the dispatchers' questions; if you cannot speak, keep the line open
      • Keep quiet and act as if no one is in the room; silence all cell phones
      • DO NOT answer the door
      • Stay in place
      • Do not respond to any voice commands until you are sure they are from a Police Officer or Campus Safety Officer
    • If a hostile intruder/active shooter ENTERS your office or classroom:
      • Remain calm
    • Dial 911; if you cannot speak keep the line open
    • Try to escape if you are able
    • If escape is impossible, you must take action to survive!
      • Try to hide
      • Play dead
      • Attempt to overpower the attacker with force; use anything at your disposal and fight for your life
      • If someone other than yourself acts to overpower the attacker it is recommended that you assist; the more people involved will increase the success of overpowering the attacker
    • If a hostile intruder/active shooter LEAVES your area:
      • Close and lock the door and/or block it with furniture
      • Call 911 if you have not already done so
      • DO NOT answer the door
      • Do not respond to voice commands until you are sure that they are from a police officer or Campus Safety officer
    • If you decide to flee during a hostile intruder/active shooter situation:
      • Make sure you have an escape route and plan in mind
      • Do not attempt to carry anything while fleeing
      • Do not attempt to remove injured people
      • Move quickly
      • Keep your hands up; high and visible
      • Follow the instruction of any police officers or Campus Safety officers you encounter
    • What to expect from responding police officers:
      • Police officers responding to an active shooter situation proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard. Their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured people; rescue teams composed of other officers and emergency medical personnel will follow after areas have been secured.
    • Understand that the police will be treating all those they encounter as possible suspects. When you encounter the police:
      • Remain calm
      • Do as the officers tell you
      • Put down and bags or packages you may be carrying
      • Keep your hands up and visible at all times
      • If you know where the hostile intruder/active shooter is, tell the officers
      • Once out of harm's way, remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate
      • Do not leave until you have been interviewed and released
  • Suspicious Activity & Terrorism Awareness
    • The Division of Campus Safety (DCS) maintains partnerships with Homeland Security as well as other federal, state, and local agencies, tasks forces, and organizations responsible for the exchange of information related to international and domestic terrorism.
    • DCS depends greatly on our community's involvement. No agency can effectively protect life and property without the support and cooperation of the citizens they serve. Much like our other community outreach programs that focus on crime prevention and related community concerns, DCS needs you to be our "eyes and ears" in the community. DCS asks that you remain aware of your surroundings and if you see something say something.
    • Reporting of suspicious activity can help disrupt the terrorist planning cycle. Terrorists are trained to "blend in" and assimilate to their surroundings. Most terrorist acts are well organized and well planned. Terrorists will conduct training, surveillance and "dry runs" prior to commission of a terrorist act. They like to strike at both government and civilian targets to instill fear. Although it is the intent of the terrorist to instill fear in you, it is your vigilance that the terrorist fears most. This information is not meant to evoke fear, but rather to create a greater understanding for everyone.
    • Who to report Suspicious Activity to:
      • If you think a life is in danger or a serious crime is about to be committed, call 9-1-1, then DCS at 303.871.3000 if able.
        If it is not an emergency, but you think the person or situation should be investigated, contact DCS at our non-emergency number, 303.871.2334.
    • In the event you become aware of suspicious activity:
      • Do not take direct action, confront the individual, or become personally involved
      • Do not reveal your suspicions, but employ good observation skills
      • Do record as many details as possible
      • Do notify the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.
    • Reporting/Observation Guide:
    • When recording the essential details utilize the following guide:
      • Who or What did I observe?
      • Where and When did I observe the specific behavior?
      • Why do I think the behavior and/or activity is suspicious?
    • Tips on providing descriptions of persons, vehicles, etc.
      • Physical Characteristics (race, gender, age, hair/eye color, height/weight/build. etc)
      • Clothing description
      • Peculiarities (scars, tattoos, missing limbs, etc)
      • Weapons (if any)
      • Method of travel (description of vehicle, bike, etc.)
      • Direction of travel
    • How to identify suspicious activity:
      • Unusual requests for information, regarding security or habits
      • Unusual interest in high risk or symbolic targets, such as inappropriate videos or photograph-taking, annotating maps, note-taking, or using binoculars and night-vision goggles
      • Unusual activity, such as strong odor coming from buildings or vehicles, someone who is over-dressed for the weather, people in places where they don’t belong, or people avoiding eye contact
      • Fraudulent identification, such as fake passports or driver’s licenses
      • Numerous visitors, perhaps those who arrive and leave at unusual hours, trying to be unnoticed or acting in a suspicious manner
      • Avoiding community contact; they may only let you into their apartment or workspace with plenty of prior notice, change their locks often, keep certain rooms off-limits, or never allow maintenance or cleaning crews to enter.
      • Large, unusual, high-risk deliveries;
      • Watch for vehicles delivering hazardous materials parked or driving in an inappropriate area, unusual deliveries of chemicals or fertilizer, unattended boxes in public access places, or unusual mail
      • Unusual purchases or thefts; pay attention to any purchases, rentals or thefts of uniforms, explosives, weapons, ammunition, propane bottles, toxic chemicals, or vehicles able to contain or haul hazardous materials
    • We Need You To:
      • Remain alert and be aware of everyday activities in your community and on campus. Take notice of unusual behavior.
      • Know your neighbors and work associates on campus
      • Know who makes regular deliveries at work
      • Know regular maintenance and cleaning people
      • Report any unattended backpacks, suitcases or packages left in inappropriate locations.
      • Do not accept packages from strangers.
      • Learn where emergency exits and stairways are located. Think about how to evacuate a building or congested public area in a hurry.
    • You can also report information or learn more about terrorism awareness at:
  • Fire & Evacuation
    • In the event of a fire:
      • Pull the fire alarm and call 911
    • Use a fire extinguisher only if:
      • You have been trained
      • You have your back to an unobstructed exit
      • You have a fully charged and proper type unit for the fire you are fighting
      • The fire is contained and you have reported the fire by activating the fire alarm
      • Everyone else has left the area
      • There is little smoke or flames
    • Never fight a fire if:
      • You lack a safe way to escape should your efforts fail
      • It has left its point of origin
      • You are unsure of the type of extinguisher you need
    • If you cannot control the fire within 30 seconds, abandon your efforts, close the door, and evacuate
    • If you hear a fire alarm or see fire strobes blinking, evacuate the building immediately!
    • Take only keys, wallets, and essential belongings with you
    • If possible, wear appropriate clothing
    • If you are the last to exit your room, close the door
    • Leave the building immediately
    • Do not investigate the source of the emergency
    • Walk, don't run, to the nearest exit
    • Use stairs, not elevators
    • If you are unable to evacuate, call Campus Safety at 303-871-3000 or 911 and report your location
    • As you make your way out, encourage those you encounter to exit
    • Follow instructions of the Department of Campus Safety or other identified emergency personnel
    • Wait for instructions before returning to your building after an evacuation
    • Persons with disabilities:
      • If a person is unable to evacuate a building due to a physical disability, the following steps should be taken:
        • If the building has a designated area of rescue, the person should be moved to this area
        • If the building does NOT have a designated area of rescue, the person should be moved to a room that is far from danger. Close all doors and windows and ensure the room is equipped with a telephone. Call 911 or Campus Safety at 303-871-3000 and leave the phone with the person requiring rescue.
        • Do NOT attempt to move or carry the person downstairs unless there is imminent danger of injury or death
  • Medical Emergency
    • If someone is injured or becomes ill:
    • Stay calm
    • Dial 911 or call Campus Safety at 303-871-3000 and explain the type of emergency, the location, conditions, and number of patients
    • Let the dispatcher know of any safety hazards - chemical spill, fire, fumes, etc.
    • Do not hang up unless told to do so by the dispatcher
    • Do not move the victim unless there is danger of further injury if s/he is not moved
    • Render first-aid or CPR only if you have been trained to do so
    • Do not leave the injured person except to summon help or retrieve an AED; send someone else if possible
    • Comfort the patient until emergency responders arrive
    • Have someone stand outside the building to flag down the ambulance and/or Campus Safety when they reach the area.
    • Report all work-related injuries to a supervisor
  • Bomb Threat
    • If you receive a bomb threat, remain calm and:
      • Write down the number from which the call is coming
      • Write down the exact time of the call
      • Write down as accurately as possible the statements made by the caller
      • Listen to the voice to determine the sex, age, accent, speech impediments, tone, etc. Note any distinguishing features.
      • Listen for background noises
      • Quietly signal for someone else to listen on the line, if possible
      • Do not hang up; stay on the line as long as possible; wait for the caller to hang up
    • Keep the caller talking and ask as many questions of the caller as you can, including:
      • When will the bomb go off? How much time remains?
      • Where is the bomb located?
      • What does it look like?
      • What kind of bomb is it?
      • How do you know about the bomb?
      • Why was it placed here?
      • Who are you?
      • What is your name?
    • Call Campus Safety immediately at 303-871-3000
    • Stay in place and refrain from touching objects, open doors or cabinets, or searching for the bomb.
    • Have your notes ready for responding officers when they arrive.
  • Suspicious Packages or Objects
    • If you have any reason to believe that a letter or parcel is suspicious, DO NOT take a chance, call Campus Safety immediately at 303-871-3000.
    • DO NOT touch the package or object
    • DO NOT tamper with the package or object
    • DO NOT attempt to move the package or object
    • DO NOT open the package or object
    • DO NOT put the package or object in water or an enclosed space such as a drawer or box
    • Isolate the package or object and evacuate the area
    • Characteristics of Suspicious Packages
      • Special deliveries, foreign mail, or air mail
      • Restrictive markings such as "Confidential" or "Personal"
      • Excessive postage
      • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
      • Incorrect titles
      • Misspelled words
      • Stains or discoloration on the package
      • Excessive weight
      • Rigid, lopsided, or uneven envelopes
      • Protruding wires or foil
      • Excessive tape or string
      • Visual distractions such as illustrations
      • No return address
  • Shelter in Place (weather)
    • Shelter in place is the safety term used to notify the community of a weather-related emergency–typically a tornado or severe storm including hail. The University of Denver’s shelter in place procedures are as follows:
      • Stop classes or other operations in the building
      • If there are visitors in the building, provide for their safety by asking them to stay--not leave. When public safety officials provide directions to shelter in place, they want everyone to take those steps immediately, where they are
      • Tornado sirens are intended to notify those outdoors to make their way inside
      • Once inside, make your way to a room or area without exterior glass
      • Remain calm and await further instructions, once the threat has passed, Campus Safety will send the notification
    • If out in the open:
      • Do not wait out the storm in your car, attempt to outrun the tornado by driving perpendicular to its path
      • Move away from the path of the tornado
      • Seek shelter in a sturdy building
      • If no buildings are available, lie face down in the nearest depression, ditch, ravine, or culvert; cover your head with your hands and stay there until the storm has passed
  • Shelter in Place (hazardous materials)
    • In some instances, it may be safer to “shelter in place” (i.e. remain indoors) in order to avoid the release of hazardous materials. In this case, it may be necessary to shelter in place following the intentional or accidental release of a chemical, biological, or biological contaminants into the environment. The University of Denver’s shelter in place procedures are as follows:
      • Close and lock all doors leading into your office area
      • Alert others in your office of the order
      • Close all exterior windows
      • Gather all personnel into a central location. Choose a room with none or few windows or vents
      • Do not use the telephone for non-essential purposes (such as contacting the media)
      • Do not investigate unusual or suspicious noises outside your office area
      • Remain until the “all clear” alert is given
  • Utility Failure
    • These may include electrical outages, plumbing failure/flooding, gas leaks, ventilation problems, elevator failures, etc.
    • For your personal safety, in the event of a utility failure:
      • Remain calm
      • Immediately notify Campus Safety at 303-871-3000 and/or Facilities Management at 303-871-2200 (during business hours)
      • If the building must be evacuated, activate the building's Fire Alarm and follow the instructions in the "Fire and Evacuation" section
      • Unplug all electrical equipment and turn off light switches
      • Use a flashlight; do not light candles or use other open flames for lighting
    • Laboratory personnel:
      • Secure all experiments, unplug electrical equipment and shut off research gases
      • Close all fume hoods and chemical containers
    • Elevators:
      • If passengers are trapped in an elevator, advise them to stay calm and tell them you are getting help
      • If it is safe for you to stay in the building, stay near the passengers until assistance arrives
      • If you are inside an elevator when it stops, use the emergency phone or call button to report your situation
      • Do not attempt to climb out of the elevator
  • Chemical Spills
    • Sound the building fire alarm.
    • Call 911 and answer the dispatcher's questions
    • As soon as safe or practical a second call should be made to Campus Safety 303-871-3000
    • Evacuate the building to a safe distance; do not return to the area until instructed to do so by local authorities or Campus Safety
    • Obtain assistance for those injured or exposed to the effects of the spill (safety shower, medical attention, etc). Areas of bodily contact should be rinsed for 15 minutes with generous amounts of water
    • For situations that threaten fire or explosion and spills in which hazardous vapors are present: evacuate the area and tell others to evacuate, close, but do not lock doors behind you to isolate the area, if you have time to do so safely, close fume hood sashes, if you have time to do so safely, post a sign to warn others not to enter the area.
    • Be available to advise emergency response personnel when they arrive. Someone responsible for the room or building should be present to provide details of the incident.
  • Natural Disasters
    • Earthquakes
      • Stay away from large windows, shelving systems, or tall room partitions
      • Get under a desk, table, or door arch
      • If none of these is available, move against an interior wall and cover your head with your arms
      • Remain under cover until movement subsides
      • After the shaking stops, survey your immediate area for trapped or injured persons and ruptured utilities (water, gas, etc.)
      • If damage has occurred in your area or there are injured people, inform Campus Safety at 303-871-3000 immediately
      • If it is safe to do so, remain at your location and await further instructions from University personnel
    • Laboratory personnel:
      • Exit the lab to the corridor
      • Duck and cover near an interior wall
    • If out in the open:
      • Stay in an open area away from buildings, power lines, trees, and roadways
      • If in a car, pull over and stop. Do not park under an overpass or near a building
    • After an earthquake:
      • Put on enclosed shoes to protect against glass and debris
      • If the power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use open flames
      • Be alert for safety hazards such as fire, electrical wires, gas leaks, etc.
      • Check on others
      • Give or seek first aid
      • Evacuate if the building seems unsafe or if instructed to do so
      • DO NOT use elevators
      • Be prepared for aftershocks
      • Cooperate with emergency personnel
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