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campus safety and security


General Safety Tips

It’s always smart to be safe.

We all have a role in looking out for our own safety and that of our campus community. Whether you’re visiting campus or a current student, consider these general safety tips offered by University Police:

  • Sign up for Rave Alert notifications.
  • Do not leave property unattended.
  • Do not leave valuables visible in your vehicle.
  • Register your expensive items with the police department (bike, laptop, 
    big-screen TV, etc.).
  • Be aware of your surroundings and communicate your plans with others.
  • Do not release personal or financial information to unknown sources.
  • Utilize the police escort service (available 24/7). To request an escort, call 260-449-3000.
  • Be an active bystander.
  • If you see something suspicious, say something.
  • DDSS (don’t do silly stuff) that would draw attention.
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If you hear a siren outside, 
go indoors.

If you hear a siren inside, 
go outside.

PFW university police stand near their cars.


What you need to know (like calling 911).

An emergency is any immediate threat to life and/or property that requires immediate response from police, fire, or ambulance personnel. Your judgment often determines if an incident is an emergency. If you consider a situation to be an emergency, then it is an emergency, which means you should call 911.

Preparation is critical to be effective in emergencies. All university personnel should become familiar with the Purdue Fort Wayne Emergency Handbook.


Know what to do.

No one wants to think of the worst, but it’s helpful to be prepared for any situation. The university has put together detailed procedures for several emergency events.

An active-attacker situation can cause disbelief, panic, and disorientation. Knowing what to do in advance increases your chance of surviving. Here are three reactions and instructions to follow.

Follow these instructions if you choose to run:

  • If there is an accessible escape path, use it.
  • Move away from the threat as quickly as possible.
  • Evacuate the building, regardless if others agree.
  • Leave your belongings behind.

Follow these instructions if you choose to hide:

  • If evacuating the building is not possible, find a secure place to hide and barricade your space.
  • Take shelter in a room, closet, or other space.
  • Lock and secure doors, turn off the lights, and stay away from the door.
  • Spread out from others so that you are not clustered in the same space.
  • Call 911 if it is possible to do so safely.
  • Create barriers to prevent or slow down the threat from getting to you.
  • Remain out of sight and quiet (remember to silence your phone).
  • Stay in place until cleared to do otherwise by emergency personnel.

Follow these instructions if you choose to fight:

  • As a last resort—and only when your life is in imminent danger—attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active attacker.
  • Incorporate a distraction (throw items and yell loudly).
  • Commit to your actions (be aggressive and use improvised weapons).
  • Disarm the attacker (solicit help, there is strength in numbers).


When severe snow or ice accumulation is predicted or occurs, impacting roads and sidewalks on campus, a Snow or Ice Emergency may be declared. This may also occur when the Allen County DHS declares a county wide emergency.


When existing or predicted low temperatures and wind conditions have the potential to pose a severe health threat to students walking to and from class, a Wind Chill Emergency may be declared. This is most likely when the sustained wind chill is −30ºF (−34ºC) or colder.

Actions and Impact

  • In person classes will be suspended. All classes capable of meeting online or scheduled to meet online will continue to meet online.
  • Routine operations of the university will be suspended. Most employees will be asked to leave campus and/or to work from home until further notice.
  • Parking will be restricted on campus roads as posted.
  • Employees who are not predesignated as critical on-campus personnel should follow their unit’s procedures and plan to work from home for the duration of the emergency.
  • Employees predesignated as critical on-campus personnel should follow their unit’s procedures and make a reasonable effort to report to campus as required.
  • Affected unit heads will designate critical on-campus personnel annually and notify them of their status as such, providing additional unit-specific procedures as appropriate.
  • Critical on-campus personnel are Purdue Fort Wayne employees who are required to report to campus in order to provide the minimum level of service on campus (e.g., emergency services, snow removal, housing) and those needed to prevent irreparable damage to animals, research, and mechanical systems.
  • If travel is prohibited in the county in which a critical on-campus personnel employee resides, supervisors should not require the employee to travel to campus.
  • Critical on-campus personnel may be required to stay on campus in advance of, or for all or part of the duration of, a Snow or Ice Emergency, as directed by their supervisor, in order to ensure the continuing operation of the university at the necessary level. Emergency housing and meals will be provided at university expense to critical on-campus personnel as needed.
  • Information on specific pay practices for a Snow or Ice Emergency will be distributed to departments by the appropriate director of financial affairs, as appropriate.

Announcements and Communication
Decisions regarding the declaration of Wind-Chill, Snow, or Ice Emergencies will be communicated as quickly as possible, with the intention of sharing decisions that may impact classes and/or university operations by 6 a.m. on the day to which the action will apply. When Wind-Chill, Snow, or Ice Emergencies are declared, the following means of communicating with the campus community may be utilized:

  • Purdue Fort Wayne email system
  • Purdue Fort Wayne Rave text alert system
  • Purdue Fort Wayne Guardian alert system
  • Posting of announcements to the Purdue Fort Wayne website and social media sites
  • Notification of local broadcast media

All bomb threats must be treated as a serious matter until proven otherwise. They are meant to disrupt normal activities. A building evacuation is not a decision for just anyone to make under these circumstance—only the proper authorities can make this call.

Follow the established building-evacuation procedures if advised to do so by administration or emergency personnel. Implement the following procedures whether the bomb threat appears real or not:

  1. A suspicious object or potential bomb is discovered.
    • Do not handle the object.
    • Clear the area.
    • Call 911.
      • Radio and cell-phone communication should not be used in the vicinity of any suspected explosive device or suspicious package.
    • Be sure to include the location and appearance of the object when reporting.
  2. Bomb threat is received. Ask the caller the following questions (if possible) and write down the answers:
    • When is the bomb going to explode?
    • Where is the bomb located?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • What does it look like?
    • Why did you place the bomb?
  3. Keep the caller talking as long as possible. Try to determine the following information:
    • Time of the call
    • Age and sex of the caller
    • Speech pattern, accent, possible nationality, etc., of the caller
    • Emotional state of the caller
    • Any background noise

Procedures to deal with earthquakes are much less specific than other emergencies. Everyone must initiate emergency precautions within a few seconds after an initial tremor is felt, assuming the worst-possible case.

The best earthquake precautions to take involve evaluating your work area by securing or removing objects above you that could fall during an earthquake. Emergency personnel will check all buildings immediately after a major quake. Priority is given to residence halls and buildings with elevators.

Take the following actions when an earthquake begins:

  • Remain calm and act, don’t react.
  • Seek shelter under a desk or table or in a doorway frame and hold on. Stay away from windows, shelves, and heavy equipment.
  • Move away from buildings, utility poles, overhead wires, and other structures if outdoors. Avoid downed power or utility lines. as they may be energized. Do not attempt to enter buildings until you are advised to do so by emergency personnel.
  • Stop in the safest place available if you are in an automobile, preferably an open area away from power lines and trees. Stop as quickly as safety permits, and stay in the vehicle for the shelter it provides.

Take the following actions after the initial shock has taken place:

  • Be prepared for aftershocks. Aftershocks are usually less intense than the main quake, but they can cause further structural damage to buildings.
  • Protect yourself at all times.
  • Evaluate the situation and call 911 for emergency assistance if necessary.
  • Do not use lanterns, torches, lighted cigarettes, or open flames, since gas leaks could be present.
  • Open windows, etc., to ventilate a building. Watch out for broken glass.
  • Implement the fire protocol if the earthquake causes a fire.
  • Determine whether anyone has been caught in the elevators or was trapped by falling objects. Call 911 immediately if this has happened.
  • Evacuate a building if its structural integrity appears to be deteriorating rapidly.

Do not use a telephone unless it is absolutely necessary for emergencies. Heavy use of the telephone will tie up the lines and prevent emergency calls from going out.

Report building damages to Facilities Management at 260-481-6832. Gas leaks and power failures create special hazards. Follow established building evacuation procedures if a fire alarm sounds.

Do not panic if you become trapped in a building. Take the following actions:

  • Place an article of clothing (e.g., shirt, coat) outside a window as a marker for rescue crews.
  • Tap on a wall at regular intervals to alert emergency personnel of your location if there is no window in the room.

Evacuation is the process for totally clearing identified campus buildings in the event of a dangerous situation. Some reasons for evacuations include bomb threats, fire, and active attackers. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Familiarize yourself with your department’s evacuation plan ahead of time.
  2. Activate the building’s alarm if necessary or if directed to do so by emergency personnel.
  3. Evacuate the building when an alarm sounds continually or if directed to do so by emergency personnel.
  4. Leave the building immediately, using the shortest route possible in all crisis situations.
  5. Do not use elevators during an emergency evacuation. Emergency personnel may use an elevator for evacuation after a review of the circumstances.
  6. Head to the nearest marked exit quickly and ask others to do the same when an evacuation alarm is sounded or when told to leave by emergency personnel.
  7. Move clear of a building once you have evacuated it, allowing others to exit freely.
  8. Do not return to an evacuated building until you are advised to do so by emergency personnel.
  9. If you have a disability and are unable to use stairways, follow these instructions:
    • Stay calm and take actions to protect yourself. Call 911 if you have access to a campus telephone or a cell phone.
    • If you must move from your location, move to an enclosed stairway exit if possible and request persons exiting the building to notify University Police of your location.
    • Note: You can also fill out a Voluntary Registry for Evacuation Assistance, or learn about voluntary disability disclosure at the Disability Access Center.
  10. Seek evacuation assistance only from people with emergency assistance training unless you are in immediate danger.

Follow these actions in the event of an explosion or similar emergency:

  1. Leave the building/area immediately. If you are unable to get out, take cover under tables, desks, etc. This will provide protection from glass or debris. Evacuate the area as soon as it is safe to do so, following established building-evacuation procedures.
  2. Call 911 as soon as possible. Give the emergency dispatcher the following information:
    • Location
    • Area where the explosion occurred
    • Cause of the explosion (if known)
    • Injuries

Wait until the emergency dispatcher tells you to hang up to ensure that all the necessary information has been obtained.

Fire alarms are indicated by strobe lights that read “Fire” and the continuous sounding of alarm horns or verbal instructions through the alarm system.

Notify University Police or the fire department immediately if you become aware of smoke or a fire and follow these steps:

  1. Activate the building’s fire alarm at a pull station as you evacuate the building. Fire alarms feature flashing strobe lights and horns that sound continually or may feature spoken instructions.
  2. Make certain that the building’s alarm has been sounded. Evacuate the building following the established building evacuation procedures
  3. Call 911 from a safe location or use an emergency call box to report the exact location of the fire. Provide the following information if possible:
    • Name of the building
    • Location of the fire within the building
    • A description of the fire and (if known) how it started

Follow these instructions if you become trapped in a building during a fire:

  1. Stay calm and take the steps necessary to protect yourself.
  2. Move to a room with an outside window if possible.
  3. Call 911 if you have access to a telephone and tell the police dispatcher where you are. Do this even if you can see emergency personnel from a window.
  4. Stay where rescuers can see you through a window, and wave a light-colored item to attract their attention.
  5. Stuff clothing, towels, or paper around the cracks of the door to keep smoke from reaching you.
  6. Open the window at the top and bottom if possible. Be ready to shut the window quickly if smoke rushes in.
  7. Be patient. Rescue efforts will take time within large structures.

Be prepared for a fire by making the following preparations:

  1. Identify each building’s fire exits.
  2. Find the alarm pull stations in your area of the building and know how to use them.
  3. Find the fire extinguisher(s) in your area of the building and know how to use them. 

Sprinkler systems and water-flow detection devices are present in most of the buildings on campus. Water pressure in these detection devices is monitored by University Police, and changes automatically trigger a response by the fire department.

Smoke detectors are provided where required. Battery-powered smoke detectors in on-campus student housing with a low-battery signal (a chirping sound at approximately one-minute intervals) should be reported to residence hall management at 260-481-4180.

Manually activated alarm pull stations are located at the exit points in all buildings.

If any sprinkler, heat detector, or alarm pull station is activated, an alarm will sound throughout the building. A strobe light above the fire alarm will flash to alert people with hearing impairments. Most smoke detectors will also activate the building’s alarm. The location and type of device that was activated will be indicated on the central station monitoring equipment at Campus Credentials and Transportation. This will reduce the amount of time spent locating an emergency area.

Fire alarm systems may cause elevators to come to a halt on the main floor. Do not use the elevators to evacuate a building.

Emergency lighting is provided in some buildings. The lighting will activate automatically in a power failure and will stay lit for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Illuminated exit signs are provided throughout the buildings.

A release shall be considered the unintentional spread, spill, or other discharge of a chemical, biological, or radiological agent in a manner other than the intended use of that agent by the user.

Follow these steps for chemical, biological, or radiological agent spills or releases when the incidents are beyond the abilities of present personnel to control:

  1. Notify those affected to evacuate the spill or release area immediately. Go to a fire alarm pull station if a building requires evacuation.
  2. Call 911 to report the incident.
  3. Give the emergency dispatcher the following information:
    • Your name, telephone number, and location
    • Time and type of incident
    • Name and quantity of the material (if known)
    • Extent of injuries or damage (if any)
  4. The dispatcher will send emergency personnel and will notify Environmental Health and Safety.
  5. Evacuate the affected area at once and seal it off to prevent further contamination of others until the arrival of emergency personnel.
  6. Avoid contact with others if you have become contaminated by a spill or release. Remain in the vicinity of the accident site so that emergency personnel can find you more easily. Seek first-aid intervention immediately. Notify emergency personnel of the status of your contamination, including any specifics you can give regarding the contaminant: chemical, biological, or radiological contaminant, amount, and activity (for radioisotopes).
  7. Make no effort to contain or clean up spills or releases unless you have the necessary training.
  8. Take the appropriate steps to ensure that no one evacuates the building through the contaminated area.
  9. Follow established building-evacuation procedures if a fire alarm sounds.
  10. Keep clear of any emergency command post at the site unless you have official business there.
  11. Do not reenter the affected area until directed to do so by emergency personnel.

Call 911 immediately. This will dispatch the appropriate emergency response personnel. They can secure an ambulance if necessary. Stay on the phone with the emergency dispatcher as long as possible to answer questions and provide updates. Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Exact location of the people involved (building and room number)
  • Primary injury(ies) and the number of people injured
  • Approximate age(s) of the injured
  • Is the person breathing?
  • Is the person conscious?
  • Is the person experiencing chest pain?
  • Is the person experiencing severe bleeding?

After calling 911, notify a supervisor immediately if the injured person is an employee.

The employee’s supervisor for all employee job-related illnesses and injuries must complete a First Report of Injury Form. Download the form at the Workers’ Compensation site and call Human Resources and Office of Institutional Equity at 260-481-6840 for more information.

Treatment for illnesses and injuries is available at the Campus Health Clinic in Walb Student Union, Room 234. Call the clinic at 260-481-5748 or visit the Campus Health Clinic site for their current hours of operation. Faculty, staff, and students with minor illnesses or injuries may be referred to the clinic.

Psychological crises exist when individuals are dangerous to themselves or others (e.g., irrational behavior, threatening suicide, threatening others).

Call 911 if a psychological crisis is evident or if person is harmful to themselves or others.

Follow these suggestions in an unusual or potentially dangerous situation:

  • Never try to handle a situation you feel might be dangerous.
  • Call 911.
  • State that you need immediate assistance.
  • Give your name, location, and state the nature of the problem.

Emergency Contact Information
For emergencies, always dial 911.

Employees should contact the Bowen Center Assistance Program at 800-342-5653. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students should contact the Student Assistance Program at 260-266-8060 or 800-721-8809. The office is open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Shelter in place means to seek immediate shelter and remain there during an emergency rather than evacuate the area. It is always preferred to evacuate. Shelter in place should be used only when an evacuation is not safe.

Certain events, such as tornado, severe weather, active attacker, and hazardous materials release, may necessitate the initiation of the shelter-in-place protocol. When notified, you should seek immediate shelter inside a building (preferably in a room with no windows).

Additionally, if you are sheltering because of a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) accidental release of toxic chemicals, the air quality may be threatened and sheltering keeps you inside an area offering more protection. Keep the following information in mind:

  • How would I be notified?
    • You would hear the all-hazards emergency warning sirens.
    • You would receive information and alerts through Rave and Guardian.
    • You observe or sense dangerous air conditions (HAZMAT).
    • You receive notification from emergency personnel.
  • Additional actions
    • Close all doors and windows to the outside.
    • Do not use elevators, as they may pump air into or out of the building (HAZMAT).
    • If possible, close and/or seal vents and ducts (HAZMAT).
    • Do not go outside or attempt to drive unless you are specifically instructed to evacuate.

Remain in place until police, fire, or other emergency response officials tell you it is safe to leave, or until information is announced through radio or television broadcasts alerting you that it is safe to leave.

Call 911 if a person is behaving in a dangerous, threatening, intimidating, or suspicious manner. Use the Guardian app if someone is committing a crime that constitutes an emergency situation.

You can report on-campus crimes that are not in progress to University Police at 260-449-3000. Report crimes off-campus to the Fort Wayne Police Department at 260-427-1222.

Report any crime to which you are a victim or witness as soon as possible to the police at 911. Provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • Nature of the incident (make sure the dispatcher understands that the incident is in progress)
  • Location of the incident
  • Description of the suspects involved
  • Injuries that have occurred
  • Description of any weapons involved
  • Description of any property involved

Stay on the line with the dispatcher until help arrives, if possible. Keep the emergency dispatcher updated on any changes, so responding emergency personnel can be updated. Keep the line open even if you cannot communicate. The emergency dispatcher may be able to hear what is happening and trace the call.

If you’re reporting a crime, don’t get involved in trying to prevent it unless you need to defend yourself.

Report any crime to which you are a victim or witness as soon as possible to the University Police at 260-449-3000. This could include, but is not limited to, breaking an entering, robbery, hit and run, physical assaults, or other actions that are perceived as a threat to person or property. Provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your telephone number
  • A brief synopsis of what occurred
  • Your exact location at the time of the call

A tornado is a violent rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction, with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Tornadoes may occur with little or no advance warning or siren activation.

Outdoor weather sirens will be activated and weather announcements will be sent out by text, Guardian app, and email using the Campus Emergency Notification System. The all-clear signal will be given throughout the campus using the same system. 

Be prepared for a tornado by taking the following actions:

  • Locate an accessible basement or corridor in the building. Designated shelter areas are marked SHELTER AREA.
  • Stay informed through local media sources on days when severe weather is expected.
  • Keep a good-quality, reliable flashlight in your office/work area.
  • Contact University Police at 260-481-6827 for more information on tornadoes.

Get to know the following signs that a tornado might be developing or nearby:

  • Dark, often greenish, sky
  • Large hail
  • Loud roar (similar to a train)
  • Cloud of debris (the tornado may not be visible)
  • Wind becomes calm and still
  • Frequent lightning

Take the following actions when it’s time to take shelter from a tornado:

  1. Proceed to the basement or ground floor of any building that has a designated shelter area. Position yourself in the safest portion of the shelter area—away from windows. Be prepared to kneel facing a wall and cover your head.
  2. Occupants of wood-frame or brick buildings with wood floors should leave the building and go directly to a more substantial concrete building if possible. If this is not possible, go to the lower-level interior area, away from windows and glass.
  3. Stay in the shelter until an all-clear notice is relayed by emergency personnel.
  4. Monitor local radio and TV weather reports.

Designated shelters are located in the lower level, basement, ground floor, and interior area of most buildings. Below are descriptions of where you can find shelter in buildings on campus:

  • Allen County Extension: inner storage room
  • Alumni Center: coatroom
  • Chiller Plant: inner office
  • Cole Clubhouse: interior restrooms
  • Development Building: central corridor
  • Dolnick Center: central corridor
  • Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science Building: ground-floor corridor
  • Gates Sports Center: basement
  • Ginsberg Hall: inside corridor
  • Helmke Library: basement
  • Kettler Hall: basement or ground floor of south and east wings
  • Liberal Arts Building: basement
  • Life Sciences Resource Center: rooms 111A and 111B
  • Lutheran Health Fieldhouse: main corridor by restrooms
  • Medical Education Center: basement hallways
  • Neff Hall: basement
  • Outdoors: nearest substantial building, time permitting, otherwise shelter in ground that is lower than the roadway
  • Parking Garage 1: Ramp B Gold
  • Parking Garage 2: lower-level interior ramp
  • Parking Garage 3: lower level, adjacent to storage room
  • Printing Services/Warehouse: interior hallway near restrooms
  • Purdue Extension Office: reception area
  • Music Center: center north/south hall outside auditorium and recital hall
  • Science Building: ground floor
  • Soccer Support Facility: restrooms
  • Student Housing: first-floor central corridor
  • Student Services Complex (International Ballroom): service corridor leading to dock
  • Support Services Building: art studio
  • Venderly Family Bridge: under either side of the concrete abutments
  • Visual Arts Building: first-floor hallway and restrooms
  • Walb Union: ground-floor stair areas. (excluding atrium area)
  • Williams Theatre: ground-floor restrooms and corridor
  • Crescent Avenue Bridge: either end in the concrete and brick structure

Tornado Watch
This alert means that conditions are favorable for a tornado in or near the watch area. Keep yourself informed of weather changes via radio or television updates.

Tornado Warning
This alert means that a tornado has been sighted or that one is imminent in the warning area. University Police will monitor all local radio frequencies. A tornado alarm will sound if there is danger in the campus area.

Warning Signals
Outdoor weather sirens will be activated and weather announcements will be sent out by text, Guardian app, and email using the Campus Emergency Notification System. The all-clear signal will be given throughout the campus by the Emergency Notification System.

Severe Thunderstorms
The National Weather Service issues severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. Remember that tornadoes are spawned from severe thunderstorms.

Siren Testing
The exterior warning sirens are tested at noon on the first Wednesday of every month, except during periods of adverse weather conditions.

Take the following actions in the event of a utility failure:

  • Call 911 if you discover a gas leak, an extremely dangerous and damaging water leak, or other major utility failure.
  • Do not attempt to correct the problem on your own. University Police will notify the necessary maintenance personnel, cleanup, and insurance representatives.
  • Do not call University Police for information concerning a utility failure unless you have an emergency.
  • Call Facilities Management at 260-481-6832 for nonemergency repairs or information.

Do not call University Police unless you have an emergency or you have information that could help identify the source of the utility failure.

Consider keeping a flashlight and portable radio in your office/work area.

Cease using all electrical equipment. Call University Police at 260-481-6827 if you discover leaking water or know the source of the leak.

Cease all operations, exit the area immediately, and call 911. Do not attempt to correct the problem yourself. Do not concern yourself with appliances or equipment. Leave the area immediately.

Use an elevator’s emergency telephone or activate the emergency bell if you become trapped. All elevators on campus are equipped with an emergency telephone or bell. Call 911 if you have access to a cell phone. Elevators have mechanical safety brakes that will operate in all situations, even during power failures.


Know the numbers.


Not everything is an emergency. In those situations, get in touch with the right area.

University Police

Environmental Health and Safety

Facilities Management