University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Quick Reference Guide for Emergencies


In order to protect yourself and others, each UW-L employee should know what to do in an emergency. Your response to any incident must focus on minimizing injury and loss of life. Do not jeopardize your safety or the safety of others to protect the physical assets of the university.


Determine if event is a life threatening or non-life threatening emergency.

Dial 911to report any life threatening emergency to local authorities.

(Provide follow-up notification to University Police  - 789-9999)

Call 789-9999 to report all other emergencies to University Police.

Call 785-8000 for other campus switchboard/dispatch requests for assistance or information.

A Life Threatening Emergency is an unforeseen event in which there is a clear potential for serious injury to a person if immediate action is not taken. If in doubt, consider the emergency life threatening.

An Emergency is an unforeseen event that calls for immediate action to protect individuals, the environment or property.


Campus Emergency Officer: (University Police — 789-9000;  Chief — 785-8711)
The Chief of University Police assumes overall direction during an emergency and is responsible for employing the guidelines within the Emergency Response and Preparedness Plan.

Declaration of a Campus State of Emergency: (Chancellor’s Office — 785-8004)
The authority to declare a campus state of emergency rests with the Chancellor upon recommendation of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance.

Campus Safety Officer: (Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Office — 785-6800)
The Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Manager will provide advice and/or assistance to Campus Emergency Officer during any emergency or disaster.

Media Relations: (Advancement & External Relations Office — 785-8489)
The office of University Relations will coordinate media relations and act as the link between the University and the public.

Notification of Campus Personnel:
University Police staff will be responsible for notification of campus response personnel and campus administration.

Student Wellness: (Student Development Office — 785-8150)
The chief student affairs officer will direct and coordinate appropriate staff in response to crises that impact or involve students.

Transportation, Buildings, and Grounds: (Physical Plant Office — 785-8585)
The Director of Facilities Management will organize and coordinate building and utility services, manpower, equipment, supplies, and transportation during a campus emergency.


Report Emergencies:
Immediately report all emergencies to campus or local emergency response personnel at the numbers provided above.

Be proactive, identify and eliminate potential hazardous situations. Know the location of emergency exit routes, fire alarm pull stations and other emergency equipment. During an emergency take steps to reduce severity of incident. Direct people away from hazards.

Gather and Share Information:
Be prepared to inform emergency responders of the cause (medical, fire, chemical), exact location, number/extent of injuries and rescue needs. Evacuate the facility/area if necessary.

Involve Others:
When you get others involved, it can help calm the situation down. Request assistance with reporting emergency or any other incident specific need.

Respond to Emergency Notification Systems:
Communicating emergency notification information to the entire campus or a single building during an actual emergency is a difficult task. At present, there are two systems in place to notify personnel of such emergencies.

The first consists of smoke/fire alarms controlled by the campus. The alarms are tested on a monthly basis, typically while the building is unoccupied. When these alarms sound building occupants should immediately exit the facility.

The second system includes the weather warning sirens controlled by La Crosse County emergency government. The weather warning sirens are tested for 3 minutes at 11:00 a.m. on the first Monday of every month. During inclement weather, the sirens will only be activated when a tornado has actually been sighted, either visually or by radar. In such cases personnel should seek appropriate inside shelter, preferably in a basement location; or if in a multi-story building, in an interior hallway on a lower floor. Stay away from outside walls and glass windows or partitions. Attempt to listen to weather updates on a radio or television. The tornado warning signal is a steady blast three minutes in duration. There is no all clear signal.

These systems infrequently experience false alarms, but with limited exceptions all alarms should be treated as an actual event.

Emergency Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities:
Persons with disabilities or persons who provide assistance to persons with disabilities should contact the Disability Resource Services Office at 785-6900 to discuss building evacuation procedures. Preparedness is critical and should include emergency evacuation routes, refuge locations and/or individuals to provide assistance in times of emergency.


The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has developed a comprehensive Emergency Response and Preparedness Plan. The purpose of the document is to provide protection of lives, property and operations through the effective use of university, community, county and state resources. The Plan provides an organizational and procedural framework for the management of emergency situations. The Plan and this Quick Reference Guide does not cover every conceivable situation; they do provide guidance to cope with most campus emergencies. The Plan is available on the internet at the following address (

Any questions related to this plan should be referred to Chief Scott Rohde in University Police at or 785-8711.