Emergencies are situations where there is a threat of a fire, life-threatening situation, trauma, or sudden onset of illness. Be prepared for an emergency by reviewing safety policies and procedures regularly. Have a plan BEFORE the emergency!

In An Emergency

Determine if an emergency is occurring in your area. Get yourself to a safe location and call UVM Police by dialing 911. 

911 from UVM Landline

If you dial 911 from a UVM phone (656-****), it will be answered by emergency dispatchers at UVM Police Services. They will be familiar with UVM locations and building names. They are equipped to alert Fire, EMS, and police resources. You can also reach UVM Police by dialing (802)656-FIRE (3473).

911 From a cell phone

If you dial 911 on a cell phone, it will most likely connect you to the closest Vermont State Police barracks. You should:

IMMEDIATELY identify yourself by saying, "I am at University of Vermont." The dispatcher can get UVM Police on the line to help you with your campus emergency. UVM Police knows the names of academic buildings and can assist you quickly. Vermont State Police will likely ask you for your street address.

Contact UVM Police 802-656-FIRE (3473) if you need advice or are uncertain who to call.

6 steps of laboratory emergency response at UVM

  1. Understand the hazards of the materials you are working with in your laboratory.
    • Conduct the monthly Laboratory Self-Inspection Checklist, as required by the UVM Lab Safety Program.
  2. Learn how to recognize an emergency. Sign up for UVM Lab Safety Training Courses. Research shows that if you do not act on it within 3 minutes, you’re not likely to act at all. Don't ignore strange indoor odors.
    • Pay attention to what your co-workers and laboratory community members are doing. Be alert for what seems like an unusual situation. Call UVM Police at (802)656-3473 to get immediate assistance.
  3. Protect yourself first, and then others.
    • This is the heart of emergency response. 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 SOS (802)-656-2560, press option 1 for non-emergnecy assistance.
  5. Arrange for clean-up.
    • If you do not have all necessary materials or knowledge for cleanup, call UVM Service Operations at 656-2560 and press option 1 to speak to a dispatcher. Ask them to page Safety staff.
  6. De-brief 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.

Emergency evacuations

To evacuate a campus building, pull the manual pull station alarm. This will notify others in the building to leave immediately. Anyone who determines, in good faith, that an emergency is in progress is authorized to activate a building fire alarm.

Small Fires

Fires can spread quickly, especially in a laboratory. Be prepared to pull a fire alarm and evacuate the building for a fire or smoke of any size.

Small and contained fires can be managed by knowledgeable people using fire extinguishers.  It is imperative that the correct extinguisher type is used and safety practices employed.  See "Fire Extinguishers" on the Fire & Life Safety page to arrange training.

Chemical Spill Response

Biohazard Spill Response

Radiation emergency response

Any radiation emergency, either actual or suspected, must be reported to the Radiation Safety Office (RSO) as soon as possible.

  • If the radiation emergency occurs during normal working hours, Monday thru Friday, 8:00 - 12:00, 1:00 - 4:30, call the RSO at 62570.
  • After normal working hours or on weekends or holidays, call 911 and UVM Police Services will be notified. The UVM police dispatcher will then notify the RSO personnel according to a priority list.
  • Please refer the the Radiation Safety Handbook (PDF) for further information on radiation spill response procedures and other general radiation safety information.

When to contact UVM service operations support (SOS)

Non-emergency but "critical service needs" can be serviced by UVM Physical Plant personnel. Here are some examples:

  • Power outage
  • Flood in the building
  • Large chemical spill during work hours (anything the lab can't clean)
  • Indoor air quality issues (odors)
  • Broken light bulbs

You can get immediate help from any of the following campus personnel by calling this number:

  • a plumber
  • an electrician
  • an HVAC technician
  • Risk Management & Safety staff

Call UVM Service Operations (SOS) at 802-656-2560. They will page emergency personnel. This service is available 24 hrs/day, 7 days/week. Please give them your name and phone number so someone can contact you to get more details before responding.

Sign up for Emergency Response Training for Lab Workers (Classroom Training)

Review the information below to stay informed and prevent lab accidents and injuries.

Report Incidents, Exposures. Concerns

Return to Safety in Laboratories


Emergency Numbers:

UVM Police: 911 or 802-656-3473

SOS: 802-656-2560