Frequently Asked Questions

Does the University of Chicago have an Emergency Management Plan?
The University has a comprehensive Emergency Management Plan to cover emergency situations from weather to pandemics. The plan provides guidelines for activating decision processes, gathering decision-makers and marshaling resources to address University-wide emergencies.

How do I report an emergency?
To report a University emergency call the University of Chicago Police Department from any on-campus telephone by dialing 123. If you are reporting a University emergency using a cell phone dial 773.702.8181.

How are emergencies defined?
A University-wide emergency is defined as an unplanned event that:

  1. Poses a serious threat to persons or property, and significantly disrupts normal operations
  2. Cannot be managed by routine response
  3. Requires a quick and coordinated response across multiple departments or divisions

Who is responsible for the coordination of the University's response to emergencies?
The University is dependent on many interconnected services for the success of the day-to-day operations and has applied that same concept to the management of emergencies by creation of the Emergency Management Team (EMT). The University's EMT provides a framework within which essential units come together to coordinate the response to an emergency.

Will I need to evacuate my building or campus?
Yes, you may have to evacuate. There are three response levels associated with an order to evacuate:

  • Level I Evacuation is total building or partial building evacuation due to conditions making it no longer safe to remain inside a building or a specific area in a building
  • Level II Evacuation is total or partial sector(s) evacuation due to conditions making it no longer safe to occupy buildings or areas in a certain sector(s) of the campus
  • Level III Evacuation is evacuation of the University of Chicago campus

How will the University communicate with the campus in an emergency?
The University is accelerating the long-planned implementation of an electronic emergency notification system. This system, called cAlert, will enable authorized University officials to reach members of the University community through mechanisms other than regular University email and telephones.

How do I sign-up to receive cAlerts?
Visit to subscribe to cAlert to receive emergency alerts using any communications device, such as email, mobile phone, off-campus telephone or pager. If you are already subscribed, log in to edit or add contact information.

How often is the emergency plan updated?
The emergency plan is updated as needed or at a minimum of once a year. 

As an individual what must I do to be better prepared in an emergency?
Whether natural or man-made, a disaster can strike at any time and in many ways. University students must become familiar with the emergency plan for their residence hall, residential building, and academic unit. University employees must become familiar with their own department's emergency plan. All members of the campus community are encouraged to create a personal emergency response plan to guide the communication and actions between you and your loved ones during a disaster.

Can anyone represent the University to the media or is there a designated spokesperson?
To ensure accurate and timely information is communicated to the public University Communications staff will serve as the spokesperson for the University.

Where can I find and access the University's Emergency Management Plan?
Click here to review the Emergency Management Plan.