It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee to immediately notify the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students, employees or visitors on campus. Visit the Campus Safety web page for up-to-date information on campus health and safety issues and how to register for emergency alerts.

Dial 414-229-9911 from a cellphone for First Response to all Emergencies at the UWM Campus

Active Shooter

The University Police Department is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and has an authorized strength of 33 full-time sworn police officers. Support personnel include dispatchers, clerical and security officers. The University Police are trained and equipped to respond to campus active shooter incidents.

If Building Exit is Possible:

If you are in a building with an active shooter and it is possible to do so safely, exit the building immediately when you become aware of an incident, moving away from the immediate path of danger and take the following steps:

  1. Notify anyone you may encounter to exit the building immediately
  2. Evacuate to a safe area away from the danger and take protective cover. Stay there until assistance arrives.
  3. Call 414-229-9911 from a cell phone to reach the University Police. Provide the dispatcher with the following information:
    • Your name
    • Location of the incident (be as specific as possible)
    • Your exact location
    • Number of shooters (if known)
    • Identification and description of shooter(s)
    • Number of persons who may be involved
    • Injuries to anyone (if known)
    • Advise of number and type of weapons (if known)
  4. Individuals not immediately impacted by the situation are to take protective cover, staying away from windows and doors until notified otherwise.

If Building Exit is Not Possible — “Shelter in Place”:

If you are in a building with an active shooter and exiting the building is not possible, the following actions are recommended:

  1. Go to the nearest room or office
  2. Close and lock or barricade the door with a desk or heavy object
  3. Turn off the lights
  4. Seek protective cover
  5. Keep quiet and act as if no one is in the room
  6. Do not answer the door
  7. Call 414-229-9911 from a cell phone to reach the University Police if it is safe to do so. Provide the dispatcher with the following information
    • Your name
    • Your location in the building (be as specific as possible)
    • Number of shooters (if known)
    • Identification or description of shooter(s)
    • Number of persons who may be involved
    • Injuries to anyone (if known)
    • Advise of number and type of weapons (if known)
  8. Wait for police or security to assist you out of the building- follow their instructions

Airborne Chemical or Biological Release

Some kinds of chemical accidents or attacks may make going outdoors dangerous. Leaving the area might take too long or put you in harm’s way. In such a case it may be safer for you to stay indoors than to go outside.

“Shelter in Place” means to make a shelter out of the place you are in. It is a way for you to make the building as safe as possible to protect yourself until help arrives. You should not try to shelter in a vehicle unless you have no other choice. Vehicles are not airtight enough to give you adequate protection from chemicals.

Step 1: Notification from Police

  • In the event of a chemical or biological release that would require protective actions be taken by campus residents, the University Police would be notified by the city/county of the incident.
  • A variety of notification methods will be used to inform all UWM employees of the protective action alert.
  • Those university buildings that are equipped with voice public address systems will use them to notify occupants of any imminent danger, and give direction on what to do.

Step 2: Close Doors and Windows

  • Do not exit the building.
  • If possible move to interior, windowless room on an upper floor.
  • Close all doors to the outside and lock all windows.
  • Wet towels or other fabric items and jam them in the crack under the door. Use plastic (trash bags are good) to cover all windows and doors. Use tape to seal the edges of plastic.

Step 3: Seal off Ventilation Sources

  • Turn off fume hoods, range hoods, air handlers, and all air conditioners. Switch inlets to the “closed” position.
  • Seal off all vents, grills, or other openings to the outside to the extent possible.
  • Minimize the use of the elevators in the building. These tend to “pump” outdoor air in and out of a building as they travel up and down.
  • If you become bothered by the gaseous release hold a wet cloth or handkerchief over your nose and mouth.
  • If you experience breathing difficulties contact the University Police (414-229-9911 from a cellphone) and request immediate medical assistance.

Step 4: Remain Indoors

  • Monitor the local media for further information and guidance.
  • Do not evacuate the building unless told to do so by University Police or the Milwaukee Fire Department.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.  Over 350,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest this year.  It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and at any age.  An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest and is an easy to operate tool for someone with no medical background.

The majority of AEDs are located at the first floor elevator lobbies of each UWM building.  Consult emergency evacuation maps for exact location.

AED training is available from UWM Police.

Bomb Threats

Bomb threats are usually conveyed via telephone and generally made by individuals who want to create an atmosphere of general anxiety or panic. All bomb threats should be assumed to pose a legitimate danger to UWM campus population.

When you receive a bomb threat:

  • Take the caller seriously, but remain calm and firm. You should attempt to obtain as much information as possible.
  • Ask open-ended questions. Use the checklist below as a guide.
  • Take notes on everything said and on your observations about background noise, voice characteristics, etc.
  • If possible, get a co-worker to call the University Police emergency phone line (414-229-9911 from a cellphone) while you continue talking to the caller.
  • Call the University Police emergency phone number 414-229-9911 from a cellphone immediately after the call.
  • Notify your supervisor/department head.
  • University Police will be dispatched to your area to investigate and evaluate the threat. University Police will provide detailed instructions upon arrival.

Questions to Ask:

When is bomb going to explode?
Where is it right now?
What does it look like?
What kind of device is it?
What will cause it to explode?
Is it chemical, biological, explosive?
Caller’s name and address
Did you place the bomb?
What is your name?
What is your address?
What is your location?
Try to recall the exact wording of the threat

Characteristics of Caller’s Voice:

Cracked Voice
Deep Breathing
Clearing Throat
  • If voice is familiar, who did it sound like?
  • What was the sex of the caller?
  • Can you estimate an approximate age of the caller?
  • Make a note of the date the call was received.
  • Record the number at which the call was received and the time of the call.
  • Make a note of the approximate length of the phone call.

Background Sounds:

Street Noises
Factory Machinery
Long Distance
Animal Noises
PA System
Office Machine

Threat Language:

Message Read by Caller
Message Taped
Foul Language

Receipt of Suspicious Package/Bomb

Bombs can be constructed to look like almost anything and can be placed or delivered in any number of ways. The probability of finding a bomb that looks like the stereotypical bomb is almost nonexistent. The only common denominator that exists among bombs is that they are designed or intended to explode.

Most bombs are homemade and are limited in their design only by the imagination of, and resources available to, the bomber. If you receive or discover a suspicious package or foreign device:

  • Do not, under any circumstances, touch it, tamper with it or move it!
  • Report it immediately to University Police by calling 414-229-9911 from a cell phone.

Evacuate Building

If the threat of an explosion is imminent, activate the fire alarm to initiate building evacuation. Evacuate the building quickly and calmly by way of the nearest exit.
Upon exiting, proceed to a safe distance from the building.

Keep clear of emergency vehicles. Stay with the group from your area or with your class. Do not reenter the building until the “all-clear” has been given.

Chemical Spill Response

Chemical spill response

Have a spill kit available to clean up minor spills. That kit should include:

  • Instructions and/or Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for the chemical in use
  • Personal protective equipment including gloves, safety goggles and other protective clothing
  • Spill pads or pillows sufficient to contain and absorb 1 liter of liquid
  • Plastic bags or containers to place spill waste material

Do NOT attempt to clean up a spill if any of the following conditions apply:

  • More than one chemical has spilled;
  • The quantity spilled is greater than one liter;
  • The substance is unknown or you are uncertain of the hazards of the substance; or
  • You are uncomfortable in the situation.

Minor Spill Response

(Less than 8 oz. of a Known Material)

Minor spills may be controlled and cleaned up by employees who work with the substance and understand the hazards of the material following these steps:

  • Alert people in the immediate area of the spill;
  • Wear protective equipment, including safety goggles, gloves and a long-sleeved shirt or other protective clothing;
  • If spilled material is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources.
  • Avoid breathing vapors from the spill;
  • Apply spill pillow/pads or other absorbent material, first around the outside of the spill, encircling the material, then absorb to the center of the spill;
  • Sweep/shovel up absorbent material and place into a sealed, leak-proof bag or container;
  • Dispose of all materials (gloves, brooms, paper towels) used to clean up the spill in a sealed container as well; and
  • Label and dispose of all bags or containers as hazardous waste. Contact University Safety and Assurances ( for a hazardous waste collection.
  • Print this spill kit and chemical-specific guidance (PDF) to keep with your spill kit.

Major Spill Response

(More than 8 oz. or Unknown Material)

  • Attend to injured or contaminated persons and remove them from exposure as practical.
  • Alert other persons in the area to evacuate. Close the doors to the affected area.
  • Contact the University Police for assistance:
    • From a cell phone, dial 414-229-9911. You will be connected to a UWM Police Department Dispatcher.
    • Give your name, information on the material spilled (name, quantity, etc.) and the exact location of the spill (room, floor, etc.). Be sure to stay on the phone until released by the emergency operator.
  • Report to the building entrance to provide information to and/or assist emergency personnel.

Other Situations

Chemical spill on body:

  • Remove all contaminated clothing
  • Flood exposed area with running water from a faucet or safety shower for at least 15 minutes
  • Have another individual contact the University Police: 414-229-9911 from a cell phone, to obtain medical attention
  • Report the incident to your supervisor or instructor and University Safety and Assurances

Chemical Splashed in Eye:

  • Immediately rinse eyeball and inner surface of eyelid with water continuously for 15 minutes. Forcibly hold eye lid(s) open to ensure effective wash behind eyelids
  • Have another individual contact the University Police at 414-229-9911 from a cell phone to obtain medical attention
  • Report the incident to your supervisor or instructor and University Safety and Assurances

Radioactive Spill Response

Minor Spills and emergencies are those spills of a few microcuries of activity where the radionuclide does not become airborne and emergencies where there is no personal injury.

Lab personnel utilizing the spill kit provided to each laboratory by the Radiation Safety Program can handle most minor spills. Detailed procedures to follow are:

  • Notify all individuals in the room at once.
  • Limit access to the area to those persons necessary to deal with the spill. Do not let other people into the area until the spill is decontaminated
  • Open the lab spill kit and obtain necessary supplies.
  • Confine the spill immediately.
    • Liquid Spills:
      • Put on protective gloves and clothing.
      • Drop absorbent paper or vermiculite on the spill.o
    • Dry Spills:
      • Put on protective gloves and clothing.
        • Dampen thoroughly, taking care not to spread the contamination. Generally, water may be used, except where a chemical reaction with the water could generate an air contaminant or a chemical or physical hazard. Mineral oil or another predetermined organic solvent should then be used.
          • Notify Radiation Safety of the spill at the first opportunity. If after hours notify University Police (dial 911 or 414-229-9911 from any campus phone or cell phone), who can contact members of the Radiation Safety Program staff.
          • Survey personnel involved with the spill before they disperse; decontaminate or change clothes as necessary.
          • Complete systematic decontamination based on a pre-established plan of action.
          • Submit a written report of the accident to the Radiation Safety Officer. Include a complete history of the accident and subsequent corrective measures which were taken, and signatures of all individuals involved.

Major Spills and emergencies are those spills involving millicurie or greater activity, where airborne contamination occurs, or personal injury or fire is involved. These situations require additional assistance, and these procedures should be followed:

  • During working hours, notify the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) (414-430-7507 or 414-229-6339) at once. During holidays, evenings, and weekends, contact University Police at 911 or 414-229-9911 from any campus phone or cell phone. University Police will contact a member of the Radiation Safety staff. Consult emergency phone list for additional numbers.
  • Remove personnel from the area of the spill and hold them nearby until they can be checked for contamination by Radiation Safety Program staff.
  • If an individual is injured, apply immediate first aid as necessary. Do not let the possibility of radioactive contamination hinder first aid efforts. Decontamination of wounds, etc., can always be done after the victim’s medical condition has been stabilized.
  • If the spill is liquid and the hands are protected, right the container by hand; otherwise, use tongs, a stick, or similar lever.
  • If the spill is on the skin, flush thoroughly with water and wash with soap or detergent.
  • If the spill is on clothing, remove the article at once and discard it in a plastic bag.
  • If the spill is airborne, evacuate the area at once. Switch off all ventilators and fans. Facility Services should be contacted: 414-229-4742 during business hours or 414-229-4652 after hours.
  • Vacate and seal the room and go to a safe area, avoiding additional contamination of personnel. As practical, take precautions to limit the spread of contamination to other areas.
  • Shield the source spill if possible but only if it can be accomplished without further contamination or without significantly increasing your radiation exposure.
  • Take immediate steps to decontaminate personnel involved.
  • Decontaminate the area following a pre-established plan. The RSO or another member of the radiation safety staff will direct the decontamination procedure.
  • Monitor all personnel involved in a spill and cleanup.
  • Submit a written report of the accident to the RSO. Include a complete history of the accident, as well as corrective measures taken, and signatures of all individuals involved.

Continuity of Operations Plan

UWM depends on certain functions such as building operations, financial transactions, communications and information systems applications and infrastructure to conduct its business.  Accordingly, UWM departments shall develop comprehensive contingency plans (Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP)) to support mission critical functions.

The responsibility for continuity of a function at UWM, in the absence of a critical resource, rests with the user of the resource.  Responsibility for the recovery of the resource rests with the provider. As a result, providers and users of mission critical functions at UWM are expected to have a COOP.  This plan will identify high likelihood and high impact risks so that specific actions steps can be developed to ensure readiness, response, recovery and restoration.  All plans will be periodically tested, reviewed and updated.

A COOP template and guidance is available to help departments in drafting their Business Continuity Plan from UWM Police Department. Contact UWM Police.

Civil Disturbances or Demonstrations

Call University Police – Dial 414-229-9911 from a campus phone or cell phone

  1. Keep calm. Resistance may only increase the destruction of property and a threat to bodily harm. Do not confront demonstrators.
  2. Call University Police: Dial 911 or 414-229-9911 from a campus phone or cell phone
    Provide the following information:
    a. Location (building, floor, room, entrance, etc.).
    b. Approximate number of leaders.
    c. Size of group.
    d. Obvious objective or demand of group.
    e. Describe if the group is rational, organized, violent, etc.
  3. If possible, continue with your normal work schedule until the University Police arrive.
  4. When the University Police arrive, provide them with an update. Follow their instructions.

Class Cancellation – Inclement Weather

Campus Administration monitors severe weather conditions. The decision to cancel classes is made by the Chancellor in consultation with his/her senior staff.

Dial 414-229-4444 or view the UWM website for notice of class cancellations. Information on class cancellations will also be broadcast on local media outlets.

8:00AM to 12:00PM classes should be cancelled before 6:00AM.
12:00PM to 4:00PM classes should be cancelled before 10:00AM. 4:00PM to Evening classes should be cancelled before 2:00PM.

Disease Outbreak

Follow campus pandemic plan for disease outbreak preparedness procedures.

Information regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).


Step 1: Stay Indoors

  • Stay indoors during tremors.
  • Take cover under tables or desks, or go to a structurally strong location such as a hall by a pillar.
  • Do not go outside.
  • Watch for falling objects such as light fixtures, bookcases, cabinets, shelves and other furniture that might move or topple.
  • Stay away from windows.

Step 2: Drop, Cover, Hold

  • Drop to the floor.
  • Cover your head with your arms.
  • Hold that position

Step 3: Remain in Place Until Shaking Stops

  • Do not dash for exits since they may be damaged and the building’s exterior brick, tile or decorations may be falling off.
  • When the shaking stops, check for injuries to personnel in your area. Render First Aid assistance if required.
  • Check for fires or fire hazards — spills of flammable or combustible liquids, or leaks of flammable gases.
  • Turn off ignition and heat sources if it is safe to do so. Shut off all gas sources.

Step 4: Assess Damage and Exit Building

  • Follow procedures for fire, hazardous incidents and serious injury as necessary.
  • Exit the building, if possible, and go to a predetermined assembly point to report injuries, damages and potentially hazardous conditions
  • Call the University Police (Dial 414-229-9911 from a cellphone) or send a runner to the Campus Police Station (NWQ) to notify them of any needed assistance and emergencies that may exist.
  • Once you have exited the building, do not reenter until the building has been declared safe by trained emergency personnel.

Electrical Failures

Before a Power Outage:

  • Prepare or review existing internal communications plan to notify affected personnel about workday and after-hours emergencies
  • Identify and prioritize vital power-dependent functions, operations, and equipment. Plan ahead for short-term and longer-term impacts and needs.
  • Battery-powered flashlights should be kept at known locations, readily accessible during outages. Candles and other open flame devices are prohibited.
  • Keep duplicates of critical data.
  • Determine if there are emergency power outlets (red) in your area. Use them for critical functions only.
  • Determine if there is emergency lighting in your area. Keep flashlights in all work areas.
  • Develop strategies for resuming operations when power returns.

Short-Term Power Outage:

  • Assess the extent of the outage in your area. Report outages to your Building Chairperson and/or Facility Services at 414-229-4742. If after hours contact Facility Services at 414-229-4652 or University Police at 414-229-9911 from a cellphone.
  • Building chairpersons may make the decision to evacuate individual buildings. If you are told to leave the building, lock or secure your area, collect your personal belongings and leave. Reenter the building only when directed to do so by the Building Chair or the UWM Police.
  • If evacuation of the building is not necessary, restrict movement to areas that are adequately illuminated.
  • Report any losses or equipment damage to Risk Management at 414-750-4699 or 414-229-6339 as soon as possible.

Response to Prolonged Power Outage:

  • Building chairpersons should check their buildings elevators and initiate rescue efforts by notifying the University Police, if necessary. Only trained rescue personnel shall assist persons stranded in elevators.
  • Building chairs should notify the University Police (414-229-4627) and Facility Services (414-229-4742) to facilitate assistance and repair as necessary.
  • Move building occupants in darkened work areas to safe locations. Keep refrigerators and freezers closed throughout the outage.
  • Unplug personal computers.
  • Unplug non-essential electrical equipment and appliances.
  • Open windows for additional light and ventilation, if appropriate.
  • The Crisis Management Team will make any decisions to cancel classes.
  • Report any losses or equipment damage to Risk Management at 414-750-4699 as soon as possible.

After Power Outage:

  • After a power outage make sure that all power is restored before turning on any equipment.
  • Facility Services will ensure that all elevators are reset as well as security systems reactivated and other alarms are reset.

Elevator Malfunction

Elevator malfunction

In case of an elevator malfunction, contact the University Police at 414-229-9911 on a cell phone. The police will send an officer to the scene and will contact Facility Services for assistance. To ensure the safety of all, only trained elevator technicians should perform repairs to elevators or attempt to rescue any trapped passengers. UWM elevator technicians can generally respond to most elevator malfunctions within 20 minutes. If faster response is needed, University Police may contact the Milwaukee Fire Department.

In case someone is trapped in an elevator:

  • Staff should attempt to locate the elevator car and communicate with passengers by any means available, including yelling through the closed shaft doorways if necessary. Ensure the passengers that they are safe in the car, ask them to remain calm and inform them that help is on the way.
  • Insist that the passenger(s) remain in the car until an experienced elevator technician is called to the scene. Passengers should not attempt to use access panels for escape as the elevator may unexpectedly resume operation, which could cause serious injury or worse.
  • Check all floors to visually verify that all of the shaft doors are closed.
  • If a shaft door is found open, do not attempt to close it.
  • Keep all others away from an open shaft door until an elevator technician arrives.
  • Identify the building and if the building contains multiple elevators, identify the specific elevator number or elevator location (if in a bank of elevators).
  • Locate the floor position of the elevator.
  • Report the status of the elevator:
    • Example: “Enderis Hall, elevator #2, 5th floor, the doors are open, the elevator is 6″ above the floor” to the University Police. The Department of Facility Services Trouble Hotline may also be called at 414-229-4742 during regular business hours (7:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M).

Emergency Evacuation

During certain emergency conditions, it may be necessary to evacuate a building. Examples of such occasions include: smoke/fire, gas leak, bomb threat or chemical spill.

Room specific “Classroom Emergency Procedures” are posted in all general assignment classrooms on campus. These signs provide information on how to contact emergency responders. They also include the specific building address and room number and list actions to follow in the event of any type of emergency occurring in the classroom — medical, fire, power outage or tornado warning. In larger classrooms (50 person capacity or greater), an emergency procedures card is available at the lectern. These procedures are especially important for students who move from building to building throughout the day and may not be familiar with evacuation routes and shelter areas for the various buildings in which they have classes.

Classroom emergency procedures
Floor plan

The Department of University Safety and Assurances has also posted updated Emergency Evacuation Floor Plans in all of the campus buildings. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the evacuation plans for the building in which you work and those buildings you frequent. If you notice that your Emergency Evacuation Floor Plan is missing or if you need a “Classroom Emergency Procedures” sign, please contact University Safety and Assurances at 414-229-6339 so that we can replace a missing plan or print one for you. Evacuation Floor Plans can also be found on the Campus Planning web site. For security purposes, you will need to provide your Panther ID and password to view these plans

In addition, the Department of University Safety and Assurances asks that once occupants have exited, they should move at least 100 feet away from the building. Also, those evacuating should stay out of the way of responding emergency personnel vehicles, fire lanes, fire hydrants and equipment staging areas.

If there is a need for evacuation of your building, move calmly to the exits and remain at a distance until the “All Clear” has been given.

According to UWS Chapter 18, Conduct on University Lands, section (g) (PDF):

“No person may remain in any university facility or on university lands when an audible or visual fire alarm has been activated or upon being notified by fire fighting, law enforcement or security personnel to evacuate.”

  • Police and fire personnel lives are at stake when people do not properly evacuate. Save your life and theirs by evacuating.

Emergency Evacuation of People with Disabilities

While an “emergency” by its very definition is an unforeseen event, it also usually requires immediate action. Developing an evacuation plan which addresses identifying exits, designates areas of refuge and assembly point (where all evacuees will meet once they have evacuate the building), and provides additional assistance to persons with disabilities gives everyone a plan of action which shortens their response time and enables them to help themselves and others. All persons at UWM, including those with disabilities, must prepare for emergencies ahead of time.

An evacuation plan must start with this basic premise: Everyone must try to evacuate to the nearest, safe exit. At least two emergency passageways must be identified in each building. Each passageway must either lead to an exit or safely lead to a designated area of refuge.

After identifying the exits, a recommendation is that each person with a disability ask a co-worker, friend or fellow student to provide assistance if an emergency develops. This “evacuation assistant” should be informed about what disabilities you have and how he or she can best help you.

Persons with disabilities have four basic evacuation options:

  1. Horizontal evacuation. This entails using building exits to gain access to outside ground level, or going into unaffected wings of multi-building complexes.
  2. Stairway (vertical) evacuation. This means of evacuation means using stairwells to reach ground level exits from the building.
  3. Staying in Place. Unless danger is imminent, remaining in a room with an exterior window, a telephone and a solid or fire resistant door may be your best option. With this approach, the person may keep in contact with emergency services by dialing 414-229-9911 and reporting his or her location directly to the University Police. The police will then immediately relay this location to on-site emergency personnel, who will determine the necessity for evacuation. Phone lines are expected to remain in service during most building emergencies. If the phone lines fail, the individual can signal from the window by waving a cloth or other visible object. NOTE: The Stay in Place approach may be more appropriate for sprinkler protected buildings, or buildings where an “area of refuge” is not nearby or available. It may also be more appropriate for an occupant who is alone when the alarm sounds. A label on the door jamb or frame can identify a fire resistant door. Non-labeled 1 ¾ inch thick solid core wood doors hung on a metal frame also offer good fire resistance.
  4. Area of Refuge. With an evacuation assistant, going to an area of refuge away from obvious danger is another emergency plan option. The evacuation assistant will then go to the building evacuation assembly point and notify the on-site emergency personnel of the location of the person with a disability. Emergency personnel will determine if further evacuation is necessary. The safest Areas of Refuge are stair enclosures common to high-rise buildings, and open-air exit balconies. Other possible Areas of Refuge include fire-rated corridors or vestibules adjacent to exit stairs and elevator lobbies. Many campus buildings feature fire rated corridor construction that may offer safe refuge. Taking a position in a rated corridor next to the stairs is a good alternative to a small stair landing crowded with the other building occupants using the stairways as a means of egress in an emergency. For false alarms or an isolated and contained fire, a person with a disability may not have to evacuate. The decision to evacuate will be made by the Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD). The MFD will tell the individual of their decision or relay the information via the University Police Department.

Suggested Guidelines for Different Types of Disabilities

  • Mobility Impaired – Wheelchair
    Persons using wheelchairs should Stay in Place, or move to an Area of Refuge with their assistant when the alarm sounds. The evacuation assistant should then proceed to the evacuation assembly point outside the building and alert the Milwaukee Fire Department or University Police to the location of the person with a disability. If the person with a disability is alone, he or she should phone the University Police at 414-229-9911 with their present location and the area of refuge they are headed to.

NOTE: If the stair landing is chosen as the area of refuge, please note that many campus buildings have relatively small stair landings, and wheelchair users are advised to wait until the heavy traffic has passed before entering the stairway.

Stairway evacuation of wheelchair users should be conducted only by trained professionals or the Milwaukee Fire Department. Only in situations of extreme danger should untrained people attempt to evacuate wheelchair users.

  • Mobility Impaired – Non Wheelchair
    Persons with mobility impairments who are able to walk independently may be able to negotiate stairs in an emergency with minor assistance. If danger is imminent, the individual should wait until the heavy traffic has cleared before attempting the stairs. If there is no immediate danger (such as detectable smoke, fire or an unusual odor), the person with the disability may choose to stay in the building with the options listed above, until the emergency personnel arrive and determine if evacuation is necessary.
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
    Most buildings on campus are equipped with fire alarm strobe lights; however, some are not. Persons with hearing loss may not hear audio emergency alarms and will need to be alerted of emergency situations. Emergency instructions can be given by writing a short explicit note to evacuate.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with hearing loss may be met by modifying the building fire alarm system, particularly for occupants who spend most of their day in one location. Persons requiring such accommodation should contact the UWM ADA Coordinator at 414-229-5419 (voice) or Teletypewriter (TTY) users, please use the relay service by dialing 711.

  • Visually Impaired
    Most people with a visual impairment will be familiar with their immediate surroundings and frequently traveled routes. Since the emergency evacuation route is likely different from the commonly traveled route, persons who are visually impaired may need assistance in evacuating. The assistant should offer their elbow to the individual with a visual impairment and guide him or her through the evacuation route. During the evacuation, the assistant should communicate as necessary to assure safe evacuation.

Prior planning and practicing of emergency evacuation routes are important in ensuring a safe evacuation.

For additional information contact UWM’s ADA Coordinator or the Accessibility Resource Center at 414-229-6287.

Additional Resources:


In the event of an explosion on campus, take the following actions:

  1. Immediately take cover under tables, desks, or under objects which will give protection against falling glass and debris.
  2. After the initial effects of the explosion have subsided, notify the University Police dispatcher at 414-229-9911 from a cell phone. Give your name, tell them if there is a fire and describe the location and nature of the emergency.
  3. Activate the building fire alarm.
  4. Evacuate the building by the nearest exit. If disabled personnel cannot safely evacuate the building, assist to the nearest stairwell away from damaged area. Alert emergency personnel of their location.
  6. Once outside, move to a clear area that is at least 500 feet away from the affected building. Keep streets and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews.
  7. DO NOT RETURN TO AN EVACUATED BUILDING unless authorized by the Milwaukee Fire Department or the University Police.

Fire Related Emergency

Emergency Response to Fire Occurrence

It is important to determine in advance what your response will be in the event of a fire occurrence on campus. The basic steps you will follow are:

  • Step 1: Activate Alarm
  • Step 2: Evacuate the Building
  • Step 3: Call cell phone 414-229-9911 to notify University Police

Fire Alarm Procedures

The fire alarm means: “EVACUATE!” Even if you are in the middle of a class it is time to leave.

  • Alert persons in area of fire and direct them away from danger.
  • Close door(s) to confine fire.
  • Activate the fire alarm.
  • Evacuate through nearest safe exit.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Move calmly to the designated Evacuation “Assembly Area” for your building.
  • Keep streets, fire-lanes, hydrant areas and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel.
  • Call the University Police from a safe location. Dial 9-911 from any campus hard-wired phone or 229-9911 from a cell phone.
  • Do not re-enter until the Fire Department or University Police announce “All Clear.”

According to UWS Chapter 18, Conduct on University Lands, section (g) (PDF):

  • “No person may remain in any university facility or on university lands when an audible or visual fire alarm has been activated or upon being notified by fire fighting, law enforcement or security personnel to evacuate.”
    • Police and fire personnel lives are at stake when people do not properly evacuate. Save your life and theirs by evacuating.

Instructions for Anyone Confined by Smoke or Fire

If you notice an increase in room temperature or a strong smell of smoke in your area:

  1. CAREFULLY FEEL THE DOOR USING THE BACK OF YOUR HAND. If the door is hot, do not attempt to open it. If you feel no heat, then;
  2. PARTIALLY OPEN THE DOOR WHILE STANDING BEHIND IT FOR PROTECTION. Survey the existing conditions before exiting, if your passage is blocked, then;
  3. Close the door and use any available material (towels, shirt, blouse, etc.) to seal threshold openings. If a water source is available, soak materials before packing them into place. If you are in an older building equipped with transoms above the doors, make certain that these are closed.
  4. Use the room phone to contact University Police (x9911) to let them know your exact location. If no telephone is available, signal your location by waving a cloth or similar material from the window.
  5. ONLY IF SMOKE BEGINS TO ENTER YOUR AREA, should you partially open a window and stay near it, keeping low and breathing the fresher air from outside.
  6. If you are in a building that does not have windows that can be opened and smoke begins to enter, it may become necessary to break a window to obtain needed oxygen. This must be done only as a last resort and with extreme care, by keeping out of the direct path formed between the window to be broken and the doorway or opening through which smoke is entering. The glass pane must be broken low, to provide easy access to outside air. This can be done by throwing a heavy object at the lower pane, while standing out of the direct path formed between the window and doorway or opening.

Emergency (SAFE) Phones

SAFE Phone

UWM maintains an advanced system for the reporting of any problems to the University Police. The heart of the system is a dedicated 911 emergency telephone computer with enhanced location determination capabilities.

There are four types of phones on campus, all connected to this system:

  • All office and laboratory phones which are part of the campus Centrex system (229- exchange) are connected to the emergency telephone system. One must dial 9-911 from these phones to gain access to the emergency system.
  • All public pay phones in campus buildings and on campus properties are connected to the 911 system. No coin is required when dialing 911.
  • A network of outdoor emergency S.A.F.E. phones covers the campus. These phones, which are found primarily along walkways, are located in yellow boxes which are topped by blue lights. Most phone boxes are mounted on black poles which are labeled “Emergency.” Other phone boxes are located on buildings, in parking lots and on other structures at locations where they will be most visible.The location of all the outdoor emergency phones can be found on this campus map.
  • To use the Emergency S.A.F.E. phone, open the door to the box and hold the red button until the call is answered. This will activate the 911 system, which will indicate the phone’s location at the campus police station.
  • The caller can then talk to the police dispatcher. Please remain on the phone until the dispatcher has recorded all of the pertinent information including the nature of the emergency, your name, your location, and any other relevant information.

How to Request Assistance When Calling from a Cell Phone

  • Dial 414-229-9911. This will connect you with the UWM Police Department Dispatcher.
  • Provide information on the exact location (including cross streets, mileposts or landmarks) and the nature of the emergency
  • Indicate whether police, fire or medical assistance is needed
  • UWM University Police will arrive in addition to other emergency responders


When a fire alarm is sounded, elevators are programmed to go to the first floor of the building and remain locked out of normal service prevent building occupants from using the elevator during a fire. In the event of a fire or other emergency condition, the elevator can only be operated by trained firefighters.

Under no circumstances should anyone, other than a trained and experienced elevator technician attempt to perform repairs to an elevator or its associated equipment, or attempt to rescue any entrapped passenger(s) unless a bona fide emergency, such as a risk to life or a fire, exists.

Under certain rare circumstances, when it is believed that a serious life/safety hazard exists, police or fire department personnel may access elevator shafts or cars using the proper procedures.

Most campus elevators are equipped with emergency phones for the purpose of summoning aid for those stranded in a stalled elevator. Please identify yourself and the number from which you are calling. Identify the emergency, including type, location, injuries, and/or other known details to determine assistance needed. If possible, stay on the line until the dispatcher tells you that you can hang up.

The University Police non-emergency phone numbers are 414-229-4627.

Fire Alarm Equipment

All university buildings are equipped with fire alarms that sound an audible tone. Some buildings have strobe flashers for the hearing impaired.

Most campus building alarm systems are directly monitored by the university police. To ensure proper notification, however, you are also encouraged to call them via telephone. In an emergency situation, dial 9-911 from a campus phone or 414-229-9911 from a cell phone. Buildings that are not directly monitored by the police are the Zelazo Center and the University Services Building.

Therefore, from these buildings you must dial 9-911 from a campus phone or 414-229-9911 from a cell phone (this will connect you with the University Police Dispatcher). You may also dial 911 from a campus coin phone, or use an outdoor emergency phone to report an incident to the University Police.

Per Chapter 18, “No person may interfere with, tamper with or remove, without authorization, any smoke detector, fire extinguisher, fire hose, fire hydrant or other firefighting equipment.”

Fire Preparedness

  • Learn where emergency exits are located. All designated exits are clearly marked.
  • Review the Emergency Evacuation Floor Plans for your building in advance of an emergency so that you are familiar with alternate routes in the event that your normal exit route is blocked by fire or smoke.
  • Participate in fire drills. Fire drills are conducted to familiarize you with the sound of your building’s fire alarm, the emergency exits which you may not normally use, and the procedures for calling the UWM Police.
  • In case of fire evacuate through the nearest, safe stairwell. Do not use elevators.

If You Are Disabled
If you are disabled you should learn about fire safety, plan ahead for fire emergencies, and be aware of your own capabilities and limitations. Look for “areas of refuge”, like stair enclosures or the other side of corridor fire doors. Most elevators are designed to stop operating when the alarm is sounding and are not safe during a fire. Sometimes it may be safer to stay in your room. Contact the Accessibility Resource Center (414-229-6287; voice or TTY) or see Emergency Evacuation of People with Disabilities for information.

Report Fire-Related Crimes to the Police:
There is a reward for information leading the arrest of an arsonist. Causing a false alarm is a crime punishable by a fine of $5,000 and 5 years imprisonment. Vandalism of fire extinguishers, exit signs, and fire alarms robs you of your fire protection. Any person found responsible for these crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Help Eliminate Fire Hazards

Electrical Abuse:

  • Electrical hazards represent a serious, widespread occupational danger; practically all members of the workforce are exposed to electrical energy during the performance of their daily duties. It is important that you be aware of the potential for fire resulting from electrical hazards.
  • Use of electrical “octopuses” to obtain more outlets can result in overloaded circuits and fire. Use only 15 amp fused power strips. Replace damaged wires and be sure to match your appliance power requirements to the circuit power.
  • Never remove the grounding post from a three-prong plug.
  • Hotplates, coffee makers, irons, space heaters, etc. should never be left unattended. They should be unplugged after use and not stored until they are cool enough to touch. Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture.
  • Match the size of an extension cord to the appliance power cord to prevent cord overheating. Extension cords are not intended for “permanent” installations. Wherever possible, appliances shall be connected to permanently wired receptacles.
  • A three-foot clearance is required in front of all circuit breaker panels. Storage of combustibles in mechanical/electrical service closets is prohibited.

See also Electrical Safety in the Office (PDF) for information relating to eliminating electrical hazards in the office environment.

Storage of bicycles, chairs, desks, file cabinets, boxes and other items is prohibited in all exit ways. Storage is prohibited in all exits and aisles leading to exits. This includes primary hallways and all stairwells.

Exits must remain unobstructed and accessible at all times. Blocked exits have caused “chain reaction” pile-ups of fallen people during emergencies. Obstructed stairwells or exits can seriously hinder your escape effort during an emergency.

Historically, blocked exits are the cause of most fire-related deaths in commercial buildings.

Open Flames:
Open flames such as Bunsen burners, barbecue grills, torches, etc. shall never be left unattended. Extinguish all open flames, even if left for a very short time.

Never prop open fire doors with wedges or other objects. The very purpose of these doors is to prevent smoke and heat from traveling up stairwells and along corridors.

Flammable Liquids and Gases:

  • Storage of flammable liquids in laboratories, shops, and classrooms is limited to specific quantities and approved containers, cabinets or vaults.
  • Know what the maximum permissible quantity of flammable liquids is for your laboratory area and never exceed this amount. Reference your department’s Laboratory Safety Plan for additional information.

Other Resources

Emergency Evacuation

Emergency Preparedness: Emergency Evacuation

Emergency Evacuation of People with Disabilities

Emergency Preparedness: Emergency Evacuation of People with Disabilities

Fire Inspection Checklist

The following items are included on the checklist used by the Milwaukee Fire Department when inspecting UWM buildings: Here is a Fire and Life Safety Inspection Building Checklist for your use.


  • Obstructed exit: Remove any obstruction to exit immediately.
  • Fire escape route blocked or restricted: Remove any obstruction to fire escape route immediately. Storage resulting in restricted access is prohibited.

Fire Doors

  • General: Exit doors must be identified and operable.
  • Exit door blocked or restricted: Remove any obstruction to exit doors immediately.
  • Inoperative fire door: Fire doors must be operative, self-closing or attached to a fused device.
  • Closing door device: Check self-closing device to assure it is functional.
  • Door wedged open: Immediately remove wedge or item holding fire-rated door in an open position.
  • Latches: Self-closing doors should close fully and latch.
  • Panic Bar: Assure that panic bar is in operable condition.

Housekeeping – Miscellaneous

  • Aisles/Stairs/Hallways: Immediately remove any obstruction, material, trash that could hamper easy exits from aisles, hallways and stairwells.
  • Storage in basements and attics: Must be neat and reasonable.
  • Storage in stairwells and stairwell landings is prohibited.
  • Wall decorations: Combustible decorations on walls not to exceed 10% of overall wall space.
  • Gas cylinders: Pressurized cylinders must be labeled and secured.
  • Storage areas: Storage rooms or areas must be neat and reasonable.


  • Charge: Examine pressure gauge to determine if fully charged.
  • Service: Examine extinguisher pin for any apparent damage and check for broken seal.
  • Tagged/Marked: Tag should indicate inspection within past month.
  • Blocked: Assure that extinguisher is accessible for use and unblocked by furniture or debris (3 foot minimum clearance).
  • Mounted: The top of the fire extinguisher should be no more than five feet from the floor.

Flammable And Combustible Liquids


  • Excessive/Improper Storage: Remove flammable decorations from areas of assembly to alleviate hazard. Remove combustible material from mechanical or equipment rooms.


  • Defective Fixtures: Assure immediate repair of any damaged electrical fixtures.
  • Missing Cover Plate: Immediately replace any missing or damaged outlet covers.
  • Missing Electrical Panel Cover: Report any missing or damaged electrical panel covers.
  • Extension Cord: Cords are allowed for temporary use of portable appliances.
  • Access Blocked to Electrical Panel: Remove materials blocking access to panel (3 foot minimum clearance).


  • Storage: No items may be stored within 18″ of a sprinkler head in any direction.


Fire Exit Drills

  1. General Guidelines and Policy:
    1. Purpose The purpose of fire exit drills is to ensure the efficient and safe use of the exit facilities available in the case of an emergency. Proper drills ensure orderly exit under control and prevent the panic that has been responsible for much of the loss of life in the major fire disasters of history. Order and control are the primary purposes of the drill. Speed in emptying buildings, while desirable, is not in itself an object, and should be made secondary to the maintenance of proper order and discipline.Responsibility  Fire exit drills shall be designed and conducted according to the occupancies specified below and in cooperation with the authority having jurisdiction. Responsibility for the planning and conduct of drills shall be assigned by campus risk management and safety to competent persons qualified to exercise leadership. A written record of all drills conducted should be maintained including a critique of the event. This record should be maintained by the campus safety or security coordinator.General Guidelines Drills shall include suitable procedures to make sure that all persons in the building, or all persons subject to the drill, actually participate. If a fire exit drill is considered merely as a routine exercise from which some persons may be excused, there is a grave danger that in an actual fire, the drill will fail in its intended purpose. All drills should be pre-planned and pre-announced. Surprise drills tend to limit productive learning, breed apprehension, and cause passivity to future alarms. Any alarm not preceded by plan or announcement shall be treated as an actual fire condition. Fire exit drills shall be held with sufficient frequency to familiarize all occupants with the drill procedure and to have the conduct of the drill a matter of established routine. Drills should be carefully planned to simulate actual fire conditions. Not only should they be held at varying times, but different means of exit should be used based upon an assumption that if some given stairway is unavailable by reason of fire or smoke, all the occupants must be led out by some other route. Fire exit drills should be designed to familiarize the occupants with all available means of exits, particularly emergency exits that are not habitually used during the normal occupancy of the building.Fire Exit Signs
      Adequate posting of fire exit signs is a responsibility which each campus must address. A highly visible graphic design should be conspicuously posted with the following information:
      • Evacuation routesIdentification of “you are here” locationLocation of the pull stationsLocation of portable extinguisher
     NOTE: The term “fire exit drill” is used to avoid confusion between drills held for the purpose of rapid evacuation of buildings and drills of fire fighting practice that, from a technical viewpoint are correctly designated as “fire drill”, although this term is by common usage applied to egress drills in schools, etc.
  2. Fire Exit Drills in Specific Campus Occupancy: The usefulness of a fire exit drill and the extent to which it can be carried depends upon the character of the occupancy. Drills are most effective in occupancies such as classrooms, where the occupant load of the building is under discipline and subject to habitual control. In buildings where the occupant load is of a changing character and not under discipline such as Student Unions, no regularly organized fire exit drill is possible. In such cases, the fire exit drills must be limited to the regular employees, who can be thoroughly schooled in the proper procedure and can be trained to properly direct other occupants of the building in case of fire. In occupancies such as hospitals, regular employees can be rehearsed in the proper procedure in case of fire. Such training always is advisable in all occupancies whether or not regular fire exit drills can be held. The following sections address some of the special fire exit drill details which should be observed for specific occupancy classes.
    1. Educational Occupancy — Classrooms, Lecture Halls, Laboratories, Administrative Buildings, Workshops All educational buildings on campus must hold one fire exit drill per year, preferably during the first four weeks of the semester. Faculty and staff shall work in cooperation with safety personnel in scheduling drills before the semester begins to allow for curriculum planning. Evacuation instructions are to be conspicuously posted in each classroom, hallway, and stairwell to provide the necessary evacuation information and ensure orderly egress from the building. Signs should also specify that elevators must not be used to exit and should delineate alternative routes. Classroom faculty and staff should be familiar with the easiest exit to be used in the fire drill and the alternative exits available. Faculty and staff should close (not lock) doors and windows and take responsibility for checking facilities for complete evacuation. All personal belongings within reach should be taken from classrooms by students. Handicapped students should inform faculty or staff at the start of the semester of any special requirements with respect to locations and procedures that will best facilitate those students’ egress from the building in an emergency. In general, wheelchair users should go to the stairwell which is furthest from the fire and wait for help. Fire departments should be notified that stairwells be checked first. Other handicapped persons should be assisted by students faculty or staff.
    2. Residential Occupancy — Housing, Lodges, Etc. Residential facilities demonstrate the greatest need for adequate and effective fire exit awareness due to the potential loss of life in what often are high rise structures. Fire exit drills in dormitories must be performed once per year at a minimum. Because of the nature of the occupancy, it is usually the case that additional drills are performed due to false alarms. A major concern in dormitory fire drills is the resistance of residents to evacuate the building in the event of a drill. This problem may be alleviated by contacting the city attorney to determine what type of citation may be applied (i.e., disorderly conduct). Citations may then be issued during the fire drill by the fire department or other official to achieve cooperation. Resident assistants and other employees must take responsibility for the complete and orderly evacuation of the building. Education and awareness are key components to an effective fire evacuation program. Directional signs in hallways and in each dorm room will help student to become more fully aware of their options. Special consideration must be given to handicapped students with regard to fire safety in dormitories. To be most effective, handicapped students should be required to evacuate the building during a fire exit drill regardless of their location in the building. Pre-planning is key for the handicapped person because his/her own familiarity with the buildings, exits, and the safest methods of egress is vital. First responders should pre-plan by having designated individuals assigned to evacuate handicapped persons requiring assistance. The handicapped person should also seek out buddies to assist in the evacuation and should explain all instructions beforehand. No-one should be left behind during a fire exit drill or fire condition. To facilitate evacuation, handicapped persons should be assigned to rooms on ground or egress level whenever possible. Rooms should be identified on the outside of the building with a distinctly coded sign to advise the fire department without distinguishing the student. If evacuation of a handicapped person is not possible, he/she should return to the room, close the door or proceed to the nearest stairwell if possible and wait for the fire department rescue. For this reason, each dorm should have a list of all handicapped students and their room location on file with the fire department. On each floor of the facility, the resident staff should proceed down the hall knocking loudly on each door as he/she passes. Staff should not unlock each door as this is time-consuming and may result in danger to the staff person.
    3. Assembly Occupancy — Theaters, Auditoriums, Lecture Halls, Arenas, Student Unions Because actual fire drills are not practical for places of noncontinuous assembly where the students or public body changes with each program, employees or attendants of such places should be schooled in the duties they are to perform in case of fire in order to be of greatest service in effecting orderly exit of assemblages.An adequate number of competent attendants must be on duty when assembly occupancy is used. Attendants should be instructed in the proper use of portable fire extinguishers and other manual fire suppression equipment if provided.An audible announcement may be made prior to the start of each program to notify occupants of the location of the exits to be used in the case of emergency. Signs with directions for speedy and orderly egress should be posted at aisle ends and at all entrances and exits.
    4. Health Care Occupancy – The administration of every health care facility shall be responsible for the development of a written plan for the protection of all persons in the event of a fire. A qualified person shall be appointed as the fire exit drill coordinator (safety director, security director, disaster committee member, etc.) and will conduct fire drills at least once per quarter on all three shifts including weekends. Fire exit drills are to be pre-planned and pre-announced over the P.A. System. (e.g., “Attention please – a fire drill will be conducted at this time. All personnel return to your departments.”) Patients should be advised by unit staff. Advanced planning will test the efficiency, knowledge, and response of personnel without disturbing patients. Fire drills should be instructional in nature and include the following:
      • Describing the hypothetical situation. Sounding the alarm. Removing personnel and patients from danger. Confining the fire (close doors). Turn on all lights. Extinguishing techniques (blankets, extinguisher, hose). Ventilating according to need (engineered smoke system).
      Staff members should be assigned to evaluate the response to the drill in other areas of the facility. For example:
      • Person assigned to meet and escort fire department to fire area. Sprinkler control valve person to locate appropriate valves and standby for instruction. Fire pump observer to station. Auxiliary generator observer to station.
      A written record of any drill conducted should be maintained by the fire drill coordinator including a critique of the event and recommendations to correct any deficiencies noted.
    5. Day-Care Occupancy- In order to meet the requirements for certification, an approved fire evacuation plan shall be executed not less than once per month in campus day-care centers pending severe weather. Fire safety should be included in the curriculum of the day-care center taught by knowledgeable staff to ensure preparedness by children and staff. Large uncomplicated signs should be strategically place and explained to children prior to a fire exit drill to help educate them in orderly egress. A fire exit drill coordinator shall be assigned to coordinate the fire drill efforts and to maintain written records of the drills and critiques thereof. Staff shall be instructed to check each room for children and shall have responsibility for a specific group of children during a fire drill. Upon exiting a room, doors and windows should be closed but not locked. Roll call will be taken immediately after exiting building to ensure that all children have evacuated and are present. Area fire authorities should be consulted to confirm that fire exit drills are being executed in the safest and most efficient manner for a specific building.
    6. Administrative Occupancy- Due to the stable nature of administrative buildings, fire exit drills should be held annually following the guidelines set forth in the section on educational occupancy above. Special consideration must be given to handicapped employees and non-employee guests in the building. Awareness by the occupying staff of the needs of these people will help to facilitate easy egress.

Portable Fire Extinguishers

Employees are not expected to fight fires. Your responsibility in a fire situation is to alert others and to evacuate.

Small fires can often be put out quickly by a well-trained individual with a portable fire extinguisher. However, to do this safely, you must understand the use and limitation of a portable fire extinguisher and the hazards associated with fighting fires. Do not attempt to extinguish any fire without calling for help and pulling the fire alarm. Always leave an exit at your back in order to escape before using an extinguisher. Make sure the fire is limited to the original material ignited and is contained (such as in a waste basket).

To extinguish a fire with a portable extinguisher, a person must have immediate access to the extinguisher, know how to actuate the unit, and know how to apply the agent effectively. Attempting to extinguish even a small fire carries some risk. Fires can increase in size and intensity in seconds, blocking the exit path and creating a hazardous atmosphere. In addition, portable fire extinguishers contain a limited amount of extinguishing agent and can be discharged in a matter of seconds. Therefore, individuals should attempt to fight only very small or incipient stage fires.

Remember (P.A.S.S.): Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep

Examining a fire extinguisher


Holding extinguisher upright, twist the pin to break the plastic safety seal. Pull the pin completely out.


Aim low. Point the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire not the flames. This is important – in order to put out the fire, you must extinguish the fuel.


Squeeze the handle. This releases the extinguishing agent.


Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher back and forth until the fire is completely out. Watch the fire area. Back away if fire breaks out again repeat the process.

Operate the extinguisher from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. Be sure to read the instructions on your fire extinguisher – different fire extinguishers recommend operating them from different distances. Remember: Aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames!

Report missing, discharged, or otherwise tampered with fire extinguishers to Facility Services (414-229-4742)


Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters – except fire. Most communities in the United States have experienced some kind of flooding, after spring rains, heavy thunderstorms, or winter snow thaws. Flooding within a building may also be the result of a mechanical failure.

The following are some steps you can take in response to a flood situation to minimize property damage and losses:

If the flooding is caused by a pipe break, sink overflow or other plumbing problem:

  • During normal business hours, notify Facility Services at 414-229-4742. After hours contact Facility Services at 414-229-4652 or the University Police at 414-229-9911 (emergency number) or 414-229-4627 (non-emergency phone number).
  • Try to identify the source of the water and turn it off if this can be done safely.

If the flooding is caused by heavy rains or winter snow thaw:

  • During normal business hours, notify Facility Services at 414-229-4742. If the situation occurs after hours, contact Facility Services at 414-229-4652 or University Police at 414-229-9911 from a cellphone.
  • Attempt to close doors and windows to prevent additional water from entering the building, if possible.
  • Focus resources on minimizing the spread of water into other areas of the building.

Additional actions you may take to minimize damage from water include:

  • Protecting property and records by removing items from floors and /or covering items with water-resistant coverings.
  • Moving items of value to “higher ground” if possible.
  • Unplugging electrical equipment such as computers, printers, etc. if it is safe to do so. If electrical circuits appear to be getting wet, leave the area immediately.

Depending upon the severity of the situation, evacuation of personnel may be required. If immediate evacuation is necessary, use the fire alarm system to notify building occupants.

Once the building has been evacuated, call the University Police by dialing 414-229-9911 from a cellphone, or send a runner to the Campus Police Station (NWQ) to notify them of any needed assistance or other emergencies that may exist.

Report any losses or equipment damage to Risk Management at 414-229-6339 as soon as possible.

Property Claims Checklist (PDF).

Gas Leak

Natural gas is colorless, non-toxic and odorless, although an odorant is added as the gas is fed into the distribution system. Known as mercaptan, this odorant is an important safety measure because it provides a distinct smell (much like the smell of rotten eggs) in the event of a gas leak. Natural gas is lighter than air and rapidly dissipates into the air when it is released. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, cease all operations. Take appropriate actions to ensure your personal safety.

  • If gas smell is on the inside and windows can be easily opened, open to ventilate the area.
  • Leave the area at once and pull the nearest fire alarm to initiate evacuation of the building.
  • From a cell phone dial 414-229-9911. Your call will be connected to the UWM Police Department Dispatcher.
  • Give your name and the exact location of the leak (room, floor, etc.) as well as any other information you think would be useful. Be sure to stay on the phone until released by the emergency operator.
  • If the situation warrants, request that the fire department be called.
  • Evacuate the building by the nearest exit. Report to the building entrance to inform emergency response personnel of the situation.
  • Building Chairs and/or their designee will check occupied areas of their buildings and notify occupants that they must immediately evacuate the building by means of the nearest exit. Exit quickly and calmly by way of the nearest exit to a safe distance from the building. Leave sidewalks and roadways free for emergency responders.
  • Escort persons unable to negotiate stairs to area near emergency exit staircase. After the emergency exit is clear of traffic, move them onto the landing of the emergency stairwell. Do not attempt to move them down the stairs. A staff person should go to the building entrance to inform arriving emergency personnel where any such persons are waiting.
  • Do not reenter the building until authorized to do so by University Police or the Milwaukee Fire Department.

Medical Assistance and First Aid

Call for Medical Assistance: 414-229-9911 from a Cell Phone

  1. If serious injury or illness occurs on campus, immediately dial 414-229-9911 from a cell phone for medical assistance. Give your name, describe the nature and severity of the medical problem and the campus location of the victim. Do not hang up unless released by the emergency operator.
    1. If the victim is conscious and oriented, the individual has the right to determine his/her own health care needs and the response to those needs. Under such circumstances, university staff should refrain from recommending specific health care vendors.
    2. In circumstances involving a person who is unconscious and/or disoriented, calling the University Police is the appropriate response.
  2. Keep the victim still and comfortable until help arrives. Do not move the victim.
  3. In case of a minor injury or illness, students may go to the Student Health and Wellness Center or have trained persons provide appropriate first aid.
  4. First Aid and CPR training is available through many agencies including the local American Red Cross.
  5. Persons with serious or unusual medical problems should be encouraged to notify their supervisors or instructors of the medical problem and the standard emergency treatment related to that problem.

Post Incident Building Re-Entry Procedure

Fires, releases of chemical, biological or radiological materials, floods, gas leak, and other major emergencies that result in a building being evacuated may pose a health and safety threat to people.  The Post Incident Building Re-Entry Procedure shall be followed to protect the individuals that need to re-enter the building as part of recovery operations

Suspicious Package

Evaluate all articles received. Take caution whenever receiving mail or packages of suspicious origin or questionable content.

  • Ask yourself the follow questions when screening articles received:
    1. Is the article unexpected or does it appear unfamiliar?
    2. Is the address vague or incomplete?
    3. Is the return address missing?
    4. Does it have unusual weight or texture?
    5. Are there restrictive markings such as “for addressee only” or “personal”?
    6. Is the article addressed to an individual who no longer works within your department?
  • Do not attempt to touch, open or move any suspicious letter, article or package.
  • If you receive an article, package or letter which you are concerned about immediately put the article down.
  • Do not panic. Biological agents are not easily aerosolized. The mere act of opening an envelope or package containing a suspected agent would generally not provide the energy required to project the agent into your airway or breathing zone.
  • If possible request the assistance of a co-worker or other person in your area to immediately contact the University Police at 414-229-9911 from a cellphone to inform them of the potential for a biological release on campus.
  • If you are alone, phone the police yourself, attempting to limit the number of things you come in contact with. If you have been contaminated, limiting what you touch will limit the spread of the contamination.
  • Wait for the police to arrive. Do not leave the area. Do not allow others who may have been in the area when the article was received or opened to leave until the Police arrive and assess the situation.
  • University Police will isolate the package and initiate all follow-up activities.
  • The Milwaukee Fire Department Hazardous Materials Unit will be called to respond to the incident. Additionally individuals from the Milwaukee Health Department will be called to campus to assist.
  • A controlled evacuation of the building in which the suspected agent was found will probably occur. Evacuated individuals will be instructed to report to a “congregate care” center to provide information to authorities. Follow-up actions will be based on each individuals potential for exposure to the suspected agent.

Tornado Safety

Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin typically occurs the second week of April. All state agencies, including UWM and the University of Wisconsin System, are to conduct tornado drills during that week. The purpose of the awareness campaign is to remind people of the dangers associated with tornadoes, thunderstorms, flooding and hail and to encourage citizens to take protective safety measures such as developing a personal preparedness plan and putting together a disaster supply kit.

The purpose of campus participation in a tornado drill is to ensure that faculty, staff, and students know what to do and where to go should a tornado or severe weather event occur. The Department of University Safety and Assurances will coordinate drills in all buildings on the UWM campus, usually held Thursday of Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Tornado funnel cloud

Tornado Warning

A “Tornado Warning” indicates a tornado has been sighted and you should immediately take shelter. The “Tornado Warning” signal is a steady blast three minutes or longer in duration. There is no “All Clear” signal.

There are 48 outdoor warning sirens located throughout Milwaukee County. The warning siren nearest to the UWM campus is located at 1311 E. Chambers Street. These sirens are only intended to be heard outside to alert people to take shelter indoors. A full sounding of the sirens is done at noon on the second Wednesday of each month (weather permitting).

In the Event a Tornado Warning is Issued for the UWM Campus:

Building occupants should seek shelter in designated areas. A basement area or an inner corridor, away from windows and doors, are classic shelter areas. See the recommended shelter areas for campus buildings below.

If for some reason you are unable to flee to a safer area, get under a desk, heavy table or other object that could shield you from flying debris. Evacuation to a shelter or safer area is best, however.

Note that tornadoes can occur quickly and they last an average of seven minutes, so time is of the essence. If the weather looks threatening, monitor local media or the UWM’s Innovative Weather for weather updates. Also watch for RAVE Alerts which will be issued by University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Police. You can receive RAVE Alerts on your personal computer and on your cell phone. Faculty and staff can add RAVE to their cell phone. Typically a “Tornado Watch” will be issued when conditions are favorable for a tornado. A “Tornado Warning” will be issued either when a tornado has been sighted or when the National Weather Service Doppler radar detects tornado wind conditions. Please see detailed explanations of these alerts below.

Recommendations for Individuals with a Disability:

  1. Mobility impaired-wheelchair-elevator to shelter
  2. Mobility impaired, non-wheelchair-elevator to shelter
  3. Hearing impaired, inform of announcement and shelter advice
  4. Visually impaired, offer elbow and assist to shelter

Shelter Recommendations for Campus Buildings:

Tornado Shelter Area sign

Tornado Shelter Area signs have been posted in each campus building. Evacuation maps also designate where tornado shelters are located.

  • Architecture and Urban Planning (AUP): Seek shelter in basement hallways (e.g., carpentry shop), or in auditorium rooms 110 and 170, or enclosed north stairwell of north tower. Avoid all rooms, hallways and stairwells with exterior windows or display glass.
  • Art: Seek shelter in stairwells or basement hallway. Avoid upper levels, rooms with skylights and exterior rooms/hallways with windows or display glass.
  • Arts-Lecture Building: Due to the large roof area and exterior glass windows in the lecture hall (both are structurally hazardous during a tornado), occupants are advised to seek shelter in the Fine Arts Theater basement.
  • Bolton: Seek shelter in basement level or in the Business Administration Building’s parking structure. On the first floor of Bolton, Room 150 can serve as a shelter area. Seconds count — if it is not possible to move quickly to a lower level, move to a center, windowless area of the building. Restrooms and interior stairwells provide good protection. Avoid all exterior rooms.
  • Cambridge Hall: Seek shelter in the parking structure near the center stairwell.
  • Chapman: Seek shelter in central hallway of first floor or in interior rooms and restrooms. Avoid upper levels and all windows or exterior rooms.
  • Chemistry: Seek shelter in basement or south wing lecture halls (Rooms 170, 180 and 190). Seconds count — if it is not possible to move quickly to a lower level, move to a center, windowless area of the building. Restrooms and interior stairwells provide good protection. Avoid all exterior rooms, laboratories, hallways, stairwells and lobby areas with windows or display glass.
  • Cunningham: Rooms G 93, 107, 151 and 195 are designated shelter areas. Other areas in the building include sub-basement, basement level one, floor 2, floor 3 or in stairwells. Classes in room G 40 may remain in classroom. Seconds count — if it is not possible to move quickly to a lower level, move to a center, windowless area of the building. Restrooms and interior stairwells provide good protection. Avoid all exterior rooms or lobby areas with windows and areas near windows or display glass.
  • Curtin: Seek shelter in basement or stairwells. Seconds count — if it is not possible to move quickly to a lower level, move to a center, windowless area of the building. Restrooms and interior stairwells provide good protection. Avoid all exterior rooms or lobby areas with windows, skylights or display glass.
  • Eastlake Tower: Seek shelter in the east stairwell. Proceed to lowest level of the stairwell.
  • Enderis: Rooms 103, 107, 109, 110, 115 and 127 have been designated as shelter areas. Other shelter areas are in the basement or stairwells. Seconds count — if it is not possible to move quickly to a lower level, move to a center, windowless area of the building. Restrooms and interior stairwells provide good protection. Avoid all exterior rooms or lobby areas with windows or display glass.
  • Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (EMS): Seek shelter in basement, Rooms E180 and E190, stairwells or lower level of the parking structure. Stairwell P should not be used at all for any emergency where the occupants are to remain in the building. The upper floors can be exposed to the elements should the roof door blow open (which it does with moderate winds) and the first floor requires you to exit the building.
    First through fourth floors (except for the extreme western portions known as the “heavy wing”) should be directed to the lowest level of the parking structure in the sub-basement (B140) down stairwells ‘T’, ‘Q’ and ‘R. The ‘heavy wing’ should go down either the ‘west Q’ or ‘west R’ stairwell to the designated tornado shelter area.Seconds count — if it is not possible to move quickly to a lower level, move to a center, windowless area of the building. Restrooms and interior stairwells provide good protection. Avoid all exterior rooms or lobby areas with windows or display glass.
  • Engelmann: Seek shelter in basement hallway. Avoid spaces that are opposite doorways or openings into rooms that have windows in the exterior walls. Close doors to offices and rooms along the north and south sides of the building to contain potential flying glass from exterior windows.
  • Garland: Seek shelter in basement. Avoid all exterior rooms and upper levels.
  • Great Lakes Research Facility: Seek shelter in Room 100B Conference Room and Hallway 100J (next to Room 144/173
  • Greene Hall: Seek shelter in basement. Avoid all upper levels and exterior rooms.
  • Greene Museum: All occupants should seek shelter in the interior restroom. This is the only central, windowless area.
  • Hefter Conference Center: Seek shelter in the basement. Door to basement will be kept unlocked whenever building is occupied during the tornado season.
  • Holton: Seek shelter in basement. Avoid spaces that are opposite doorways or openings into rooms that have windows in the exterior walls. Close doors to offices and rooms along the west side of the building to contain potential flying glass from exterior windows. Avoid all upper levels and exterior rooms.
  • Honors House: Seek shelter in interior spaces without windows.
  • Innovation Accelerator: Seek shelter in the first floor restrooms. Alternately, seek shelter in interior windowless rooms. Do not shelter in the west stairwell because of windows.
  • Johnston: Seek shelter in basement. Avoid all upper levels and exterior rooms.
  • Kenilworth Apartments: Seek shelter in the bathrooms and common spaces that do not contain windows on the lower levels.
  • Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex: Seek shelter in basement, or hallways and rooms with no exterior windows or display glass. Seconds count — if it is not possible to move quickly to a lower level, move to a center, windowless area of the building. Restrooms and interior stairwells provide good protection. Avoid all exterior rooms, laboratories, hallways, stairwells and lobby areas with windows or display glass.
  • Klotsche Center: Seek shelter in First floor corridor, racquetball courts and locker rooms.
    • Pavilion: Seek shelter in the Athletic Suite, Athletic Locker Rooms and Health Sciences Suite – Interior rooms and hallways
    • OHOW: Seek shelter in the 1st Floor bathrooms and weight room (North Wall).
    • All other areas: Klotsche Center first floor corridor and Pavilion parking levels G2-G5 (NOT the first (top) level of the parking garage)
  • Lapham Science Center: Seek shelter in basement, or hallways and rooms with no exterior windows or display glass. Avoid all rooms, lobby areas, hallways and stairwells with exterior windows or display glass.
  • Library: Seek shelter in the interior spaces of the building away from exterior and interior windows, such as the microfilm room, compact shelving-west (basement), east basement shelving, or stairwells with no exterior glass. Avoid the first floor areas of the east and west wings, the glass enclosed stairwell and lobbies, overhead walkway between the two wings and compact shelving-east study area. People in the east wing of the library should not attempt to cross over to the west wing. It is better to seek shelter in one of the designated interior rooms.)
    • First Floor: Students using the Student Success Center, and those working in Digitization and Connected Systems Institute, should take shelter in E154, E157, E159, E177, and E179.
    • Second Floor: Shelter areas are rooms E 281 (can accommodate approximately 100), E 297 (Women’s Restroom), E 255 (Men’s Restroom). Occupants may also be directed to the east exterior stairwell (E 200W).
    • Third Floor: E 397 (Women’s Restroom), E 355 (Men’s Restroom) and the center stairwell.
  • Lubar Hall: Shelters are located on every floor and are listed below.
    • Parking Garage: Shelter in place
    • First Floor: N110, N116, N140, N146, S151, S191 and S195
    • Second Floor: N234A, N234B, N234C, N243, N258, N262, N286, N288, S220, S230, and S250
    • Third Floor: N330,N333, N334, North West Hallway, N352, N354, N368, N389 North East Hallway,S311, S319, S341, and South East Hallway
    • Forth Floor: N450, N456, N458, N458B, N474, N476, N482, N484, N486, N488, North East Hallway, and South Hallway
  • Lubar Welcome Center: Shelter areas are Stairwell P and the 1st Floor bathrooms.
  • Mellencamp: Use east staircase to seek shelter in basement. Interior, windowless offices should also provide adequate protection. Avoid upper levels, exterior rooms and stairways with windows.
  • Merrill: Seek shelter in basement hallways. Avoid upper levels and exterior rooms.
  • Mitchell: Seek shelter in basement, away from windows. Avoid upper levels and exterior rooms.
  • Music: Seek shelter in basement.
  • Norris: Currently under renovation
  • Northwest Quad: Seek shelter in basement hallways and stay away from windows and exterior doors.
  • Listed below are individual building instructions. Occupants are instructed to:
    • Building B – Floors 4 and below – use Stairwell P and head down to the basement hallways to shelter in place. Occupants of floors 5 and higher, shelter in place within Stairwell P. You may head down towards the lower levels.
    • Building C – Use the center stairwell to head towards the basement hallways to shelter in place.
    • Building D – Use the center stairwell to head towards the basement hallways to shelter in place.
    • Building E – Move to the lower levels and into the hallways.
    • Greenhouse – Use Stairwells Q and P to head towards the basement hallways to shelter in place.
  • Pearse: Seek shelter in basement. Avoid all exterior rooms and upper levels.
  • Physics Building: Seek shelter in basement, or hallways away from windows. Avoid all, exterior rooms, ground floor lobby and breezeway between Physics and Olson Planetarium.
  • Plankinton Building: Seek shelter in interior rooms/stairwells away from windows. WUWM employees should seek shelter in the basement.
  • Power Plant: Seek shelter in basement.
  • Riverview Apartments: Seek shelter on lower levels in the interior bathrooms and suite entry areas that do not contain windows. Residents may also seek shelter on the second floor laundry room.
  • Sabin: Seek shelter in basement hallway or basement-level interior rooms. Avoid all exterior rooms and upper levels, and any area near windows or display glass.
  • Sandburg Residence Halls:
    • Response teams will evacuate residents and guests from rooms on 3rd floor common area spaces into a tower lounge or stairwell. Security/RA response teams will also make announcements asking residents and guests to move to the lounges.
    • Guest registration and monitors will shut down and secure main entrance and direct lobby patrons to the first floor lounge and/or stairwells in the South Tower.
    • Wait for further instructions from Residential Programming Staff Member on duty or University Housing Administration.
    • Residents will be instructed to:
      • STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. Close drapes and draw blinds to contain possible flying glass.
      • Move to an interior part of the building, preferably with an interior wall between them and the approaching tornado. Multi-storied University buildings are strongly reinforced and offer more than adequate protection structurally, particularly on the lower floors.
  • Saukville Field Station: Seek shelter in basement. Avoid rooms with exterior glass.
  • Theater: Seek shelter in basement. Avoid lobby and any rooms and hallways with exterior glass or skylights.
  • Union:
    • If an event is taking place in the Wisconsin Room, occupants will be directed to the Union Cinema (E294).
    • If an event is taking place in the Ballroom, occupants will be directed to the Alumni Fireside Lounge (W140)
    • Third floor occupants should go to the north and south stair towers and continue down stairs into basement.
    • Second floor occupants should go to the north and south stair towers and continue down stairs into basement.
    • First floor building occupants (Food Court/Panthershop) occupants should go to the north and south stairs into basement.
    • Credit Union staff and customers will exit to stairwell West 100 T.
    • Ground floor occupants will go down the east stairs to the basement and then to Gasthaus or the Recreation Center
    • Avoid the north enclosure (e.g., atrium/food court), Ballroom, Wisconsin Room, lobbies and any other area with windows, display glass or skylights.
  • University Services and Research Building: Seek shelter in an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building. Occupants of the first floor who have enclosed concrete block offices can remain in their office. Second floor occupants should move to the first floor inner corridors.
  • Vogel Hall: Seek shelter in interior room without windows (Room 110).
  • Great Lakes Research Facility: Seek shelter in auditorium area outside the main office. Keep bay doors closed during tornado emergency.
  • Zelazo Seek shelter in interior rooms: 174, 188 and 192; avoid rooms with exterior windows or display glass.
  • Zilber School of Public Health
    • First Floor Shelters: Rooms 122, 128, 156A, 156B, 195 & center stairwell.
    • Second Floor Rooms: 210H-N, 232, 236, 250A-C, 281A-E, 290& center stairwell.
    • Third Floor Rooms: 332, 336, 394, 396, 397, 398 & center stairwell.
    • Fourth Floor Rooms: 406, 432, 436, 485, 490, 491, 493, 495, 496, 498, 499, & center stairwell.
    • Fifth Floor Rooms: 518, 520, 522, 572, 576, 580, 582, 585, & center stairwell.

“All Clear” Notification

“All Clear” notifications are made by the National Weather Service and are announced by local media. If warranted, an “All Clear” notification will be made by the University Police. The University Police are in radio contact with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, which is also in charge of County Emergency Government, and appropriate weather outlets. After a tornado on campus, normal communications may not be available. Therefore, University Police and their designee (e.g. safety staff; Facility Services personnel;) may use squad car PA systems, bull horns, or personnel to move from building to building to announce the “All Clear”.

Alternatively, campus occupants are encouraged to check UWM’s Innovative Weather, local news, or weather media updates.

How Big a Threat are Tornadoes to UWM?

The UWM campus has never been struck by a tornado. However, twisters have been sighted near campus in years past. There is nothing about the UWM environment that would render it any more immune to tornadoes than any other piece of land in the Midwest. Contrary to popular belief, neither an urban environment nor the presence of Lake Michigan will do anything at all to deter or deflect a tornado. Tornadoes have been spotted in all areas of Milwaukee County. The fact that no large loss of life has occurred here is due simply to good luck and random chance. Other urban areas in the Midwest have been struck by tornadoes, with heavy loss of life and property damage.

How Will I Know If Conditions Are Right For Tornado Formation?

The National Weather Service will notify the University Police and other area law enforcement agencies via teletype if a “Tornado Watch” is in effect. This condition means that weather conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado, but that no tornadoes have yet been sighted. In all 2,000 mediated classrooms on campus, any VCR tuner connected to our Campus Cable Network can be tuned to either the Milwaukee Weather Channel (Channel 7) or the NOAA weather station for the Milwaukee area located in Delafield (Channel 27). Otherwise, if you have a radio or television in your office, tune to local radio and TV stations and listen continuously for weather updates. Be alert to changing weather conditions and look and listen for signs of an approaching tornado. Signs such as blowing debris or a sound often described as a roar or a sound similar to an approaching freight train can mean a tornado is nearby.

How Will I Know if a Tornado Has Actually Been Sighted?

In the event of a “Tornado Warning”, the National Weather Service will alert local agencies that a tornado has actually been sighted, either visually or by radar. Information will be transmitted over local radio and TV stations. A variety of notification methods will be used to direct all people on campus to seek shelter.

In all 2,000 mediated classrooms on campus, any VCR tuner connected to our Campus Cable Network can be tuned to either the Milwaukee Weather Channel (Channel 7) or the NOAA weather station for the Milwaukee area located in Delafield (Channel 27).

In addition, Milwaukee County Emergency Government will sound their warning sirens. The tornado “Warning Signal” is a steady blast three minutes or longer in duration. There is no “All Clear” signal.

What Should I do if a Tornado Threatens the Campus?

First, do not attempt to flee the tornado by foot or automobile. Twisters can move much faster than you can. Do not seek shelter in or under your car.

Secondly, move to a location inside the building away from windows or glass. Most injuries related to tornadoes are caused by flying broken glass or other debris. An interior stairwell, hallway, or room on the lowest floor or in the basement is best, as long as it is away from windows. Contrary to popular belief, the southwest corner of a building is no safer than any other corner of the building. You may want to consider moving to another building if necessary. The Union, Lubar School of Business, or EMS parking structures would provide excellent shelter, but not the open design of the Sandburg parking structure. Avoid auditoriums, gymnasiums, or other spaces with wide, free-span roofs.

How Long do Tornadoes Last and How Fast do They Move?

Detailed statistics about the time a tornado is on the ground or how quickly they move are not available. Their duration can range from an instant to several hours, but a typical tornado lasts approximately 5 minutes or so. Their movement can range from virtually stationary to more than 60 miles per hour. Typically, they move at roughly 10-20 miles per hour.

Workplace Violence

Workplace violence has emerged as an important safety and health issue in today’s workplace. Its most extreme form, homicide, is the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States.

UWM is committed to providing a safe and healthy place for our faculty, staff and students to work and learn. A person who believes that he or she has been the target of workplace violence should report it to the University Police and/or to his or her supervisor, manager or an appropriate administrator.

The non-emergency number for the University Police is 414-229-4627. If you believe you are in imminent danger, please contact the University Police by dialing 414-229-9911 from a cellphone.

UWM Resource: UWM Code of Conduct policy, May, 2013 (PDF)

Contact US&A Safety Office