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!

Emergency Procedures

Have an AED in your building? UVM Emergency Management has more information about AED maintenance and training.  

In An Emergency

Determine if an emergency is occurring in your area. Get yourself to a safe location and call 911. Provide details of your emergency and wait in a safe area for emergency responders to arrive. You may have critical information to provide to them. 

If medical assistance is needed, call or text 911. UVM Rescue or a local ambulance service will respond to your call with the local fire deparment.  

Manual Pull Alarms

There are manual pull alarms near stairwells and exits in campus buildings. Pull/push the building manual pull fire alarm if there is a fire, natural gas leak or other emergency situation in your area and you wish to notify others to evacuate.  

Everyone must evacuate a building if a fire alarm is sounding; it is illegal to remain in the building. Only the Fire Department or Incident Commander who arrives to the scene can allow you back into the building.

Call (or Text) 911 from any phone

If you dial 911 from ANY phone, it will now be answered by a State of Vermont e911 dispatcher. Tell them you are at University of Vermont! Provide them with your building address, building name and lab room number as well as the details of your emergency so they can get you the appropriate responders to the scene. 

e911 is equipped to alert UVM Police, local Fire departments, Emergency Medical Services (ambulance) etc.  

You can also reach UVM Police for emergency advice by dialing 802-656- FIRE (3473). There is a dispatcher answering this phone 24 hour/day, 7 days/week. 

6 steps of laboratory emergency response at UVM

  1. Understand the hazards of the materials you are working with in your laboratory.
  2. Conduct a required monthly Laboratory Self-Inspection, as required by UVM's Lab Safety Program.
  3. Learn how to recognize an emergency.  Sign up for UVM Lab Safety Trainings.  Research shows that if you do not act on an emergency within 3 minutes, you are not likely to act at all.  Please do not ignore strange indoor odors. Call Service Operations at 802-656-2560 and report them.
    • Pay attention to what co-workers and lab community members are doing. Be alert for what might be an unusual situation. Call UVM Police at (802)656-3473 to get advice or immediate assistance.
  4. Protect yourself first, and then others.
    • Take necessary steps to protect yourself first so that you are able to do what it might take to protect others.
  5. Assess the situation. Once the event is under control, decide what it will take to do the proper cleanup.
    • Ask yourself...Can I manage or clean up the situation by myself? Are there co-workers around to help me? Do I have the proper supplies and personal protective equipment to clean the situation up myself? Do I need outside assistance? If outside assistance is needed, call Service Operation Support (SOS) at 802-656-2560 and report your needs.
  6. Arrange for clean-up.
    • If you do not have all necessary materials or knowledge for cleanup, call UVM Service Operations at 656-2560. Leave your name and number and ask them to page EHS staff.
  7. De-brief and review the event.
    • Review how the incident was handled with your staff. Decide what, if anything, could have be handled differently. This may include repeating a training or getting additional training. Lost research materials, equipment over $1000 should be reported to Risk.Management@uvm.edu    Document and train everyone about your revised plan to prevent a similar event 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 manual fire alarm and evacuate the building for a fire or smoke of any size. Manual pull alarms are generally located near stairwells. 

Small and contained fires (eg: incipient fires) can be managed by knowledgeable people who have been trained to use a fire extinguisher.  It is imperative that the correct extinguisher type is used and safety practices employed.  Online Fire Safety Training and Hands-on Fire Extinguisher Training is available to faculty, staff and students.  See "Fire Extinguishers" on the Fire & Life Safety page to arrange training for specific groups.

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 Radiation Safety Office (RSO) at 802-656-2570.
  • 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:

  • Chemical fume hood or alarm not working properly
  • Lab ventilation not working
  • Power outage
  • Flood in the lab or building
  • Large chemical spill during work hours (any toxic or reactive chemical spill, or any chemical spill over 1 liter)
  • Indoor air quality issues (strange odors)
  • Broken light bulbs

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

  • A UVM plumber
  • A UVM electrician
  • An HVAC (ventilation) technician
  • Environmental Health & 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.

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

Airgas: 802-863-1151