Emergency Scenarios

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

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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).

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.

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 Procedure


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.


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.

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:

Shelter in Place

  • There are a number of emergency situations during which building or facility evacuation is not the best solution and may not be advisable. In such cases, shelter in place may be preferable.
  • One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency is to "shelter in place". This means to seek immediate refuge and remain there during an emergency.
  • If the emergency involves a hazardous material select a small interior room with no or few windows and take refuge there.
    • Close windows and apply duct tape if advised to do so.
  • If the incident involves an armed or violent intruder or an active shooter, shelter in place or consider evacuating if it is safe to do so.
  • How to Shelter-In-Place:
    • Turn off lights and silence phones and electronic devices.
    • Find a place to hide and/or safely secure yourself.
    • Block entry to your place of shelter (lock or barricade doors and entryways).
    • Hide in your place of shelter and remain silent.
    • Keep cellphones or electronic devices with you.
    • Call 911 if safe to speak aloud.
    • Refer to www.d.umn.edu, if possible, for current information about the situation.
    • Remain sheltered in place until directed to discontinue by official advisement (UMD Police Department order, UMD emergency text messaging system or email, advisement by bona fide emergency services personnel).
  • The vastness of UMD's buildings and facilities and its large number of students, employees, and visitors make lockdown procedures impractical and potentially unsafe. Only in rare circumstances will a UMD building or facility be locked-down. In all other situations that warrant large-scale protective measures, a shelter-in-place advisory will be issued and followed.

Tornado or severe thunderstorm

A tornado or severe thunderstorm watch means that conditions are right for severe weather to develop rapidly. If a watch is issued for southern St Louis County, the following steps should be taken:

  • Monitor the local emergency alert radio station, the Duluth media, or the National Weather Service web site.
  • Supervisors with employees working outdoors should consider instructing them to go inside the closest building with safe areas.
  • Supervisors with employees working indoors (such as in offices or laboratories) may instruct employees to close windows and blinds, and be ready to move to safe areas.
  • Faculty with classes in session should close windows, inform students of their building's safe areas, and be ready to relocate to those areas.

A tornado or severe thunderstorm warning means that severe weather is happening and the situation is dangerous. The National Weather Service will sound the sirens in the event of a tornado warning, but not in the event of other severe storms. The University will activate tone-alert radios. If a tornado or a severe thunderstorm warning is issued for southern St Louis County, the following steps should be taken:

  • Move students and staff to a safe area immediately. Safe areas include basements, pedestrian tunnels, or interior hallways on the lowest floor. Avoid large, poorly supported roofs and structures such as auditoriums or gymnasiums.
  • Close classroom, laboratory, or office doors, and stay away from windows.
  • Remain in a safe area until the warning expires or until the all-clear signal has been issued.


When temperatures inside classrooms are expected to reach 85 degrees or above during class times, the EVCAA office will issue a heat cancellation for classes in non-air-conditioned buildings. Faculty, staff and students will receive this email in the same manner they do for other weather-related closings. The notice will specifically apply to classes being held in buildings without air-conditioning. All other classes will remain in session. Faculty may, at their discretion, assign an online assignment or prearrange a meeting in another appropriate location that students know to go to during heat dismissal.

Severe Winter Weather

As a general practice, the University of Minnesota Duluth does not close unless the health, safety, or security of University personnel and students is seriously brought into question.

If the decision to close the Duluth campus is made, all official University announcements will be made exclusively through University Marketing and Public Relations. Announcements of an emergency closing will, to the extent possible include information on whether the closing includes specific University services, events, and evening or weekend classes and programs.

University Marketing and Public Relations will use a variety of communications tools to announce any closing. Duluth media, the UMD Snow Hotline (218-726-SNOW), UMD SAFE-U Alert text messaging, social media, and the University Web page will be used to alert the University Community. The community is expected to seek out announcements and information on possible closing. Calling University offices will not guarantee that the latest or most accurate information is provided to the caller