Laboratory Emergency Response

Emergencies are situations where there is a threat of a fire, life-threatening situations, or unexplained symptoms associated with an odor.

In An Emergency...   

Get yourself to a safe location and call UVM Police by dialing 911 from a UVM office phone or land line. You can also reach UVM Police by dialing 656-FIRE (3473).

From a cell phone, 911 will most connect you to the closest Vermont State Police barracks. If their line is busy, it may go to another State Police barracks.  

  • IMMEDIATELY identify yourself by saying, "I am at University of Vermont ". The dispatcher can then get UVM Police on the line to help you more quickly with your emergency.

UVM Police knows the names of academic buildings; they can find and help you more quickly. 

Not Sure You Have An Emergency?

You can call UVM Police to get advice or assistance, especially if you are not certain if the situation is an actual emergency. Call UVM Police at 802-656-FIRE (802-656-3473).

Service Operations (SOS)

Non-emergency but critical service needs can be serviced by UVM Physical Plant personnel (plumber, electrician, HVAC) or Safety staff quickly. Call UVM Service Operations (SOS) at 802-656-2560, select option 1 to speak to a dispatcher and have someone paged. This service is available 24 hrs/day, 7 days/week. Leave a phone number so someone can reach you to get more details before responding.


To evacuate a building in case of an emergency (of any nature), pull the manual pull station fire alarm (to notify others), leave the building and then call 911. Anyone who determines, in good faith, that an emergency is in progress is authorized to activate a building fire alarm.

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6 Steps of Laboratory Emergency Response at UVM:

1. Understand the hazards of the materials you are working with in your laboratory. Manage them prudently.

  • Refer to The UVM Laboratory Self-Inspection Checklist and incorporate these items into  your daily routine.

2. Learn how to recognize an emergency situation. Research shows that if you do not act on it within 3 minutes, you’re not likely to act at all.

  • It turns out that human beings really don’t want to know that something bad is happening. Pay attention to what your co-workers and laboratory community members are doing, including being alert for unusual situations. Call for help if you are not sure what to do. Call UVM Police at 911 or use their non-emergency number of 656-3473 to get immediate assistance.

3. Protect yourself first and then other people.

  • This is the heart of emergency response. It sounds simple but emergency situations, by their nature, usually surprise us while we are busy doing other things. It is important that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself first so that you are able to do what it may take to protect others.

4. Assess the situation. When the event is under control, decide what it will take to do the proper cleanup.

  • Determine if you can manage or clean up the situation by yourself. Are there co-workers around to help? Do you have the proper supplies and personal protective equipment? Do you need outside assistance? Please call Health & Safety staff for advice or assistance if necessary.

5. Arrange for clean-up.

  • If you do not have all necessary materials or knowledge for cleanup, please call UVM Service Operations at 656-2560 and press option 1 to speak to a dispatcher. Ask them to page the Department of Risk Management and Safety staff.

6. Debrief and review the event.

  • Review how the incident was handled with your entire staff and decide what, if anything, could have be handled differently. This may include providing repeated or additional training. FInd ways to deal with any lost research materials, equipment, or time, and put a revised plan into place to prevent this or a similar incident from happening again.