Emergencies can occur at any time, and can arise from a number of causes including fire, medical emergencies, chemical spills, gas leaks, bomb threats and physical threats. The first priority in any emergency situation is the safety of all people who may be in danger.

Be prepared

The key to successful emergency response is being prepared. To ensure that you are prepared, discuss your local emergency procedures with your supervisor. Make sure that you are familiar with:

  • alarm tones in your building
  • closest emergency exits
  • assembly areas for your building
  • local emergency personnel – chief wardens and nominated first aid officers.
  • any specific emergency procedures that relate to your work or work area (eg. chemical spills, emergency machinery shutdown, armed intruders).

Emergency response

Not all emergencies will commence with an alarm activation. Familiarise yourself with the general emergency response procedures:

  1. warn anyone in immediate danger
  2. fight the fire or contain the emergency, if safe and trained to do so.

If necessary...

  1. close the door, if safe to do so
  2. activate the 'Break Glass' alarm
  3. evacuate via your closest safe exit (look for the exit signs)
  4. report the emergency to 0-000 and your local security service. See the list of emergency contact numbers (top right hand of this web page).

Fire alarms

All University staff are responsible for the safe and efficient evacuation of visitors. Following an evacuation, each member of staff should account for any visitors and report missing persons to the chief warden, security or the attending emergency services.

The University's emergency alarm systems vary from building to building. Usually it is best to respond to an alarm activation in this way:

Evacuate the building
  1. Check for any sign of immediate danger.
  2. Shut down equipment and processes.
  3. Follow the EXIT signs.
  4. Escort visitors and those who require assistance.
  5. Do not use lifts.
  6. Proceed to assembly area.

Do not enter a building while an alarm is sounding, or re-enter an evacuated building until the "all clear" has been announced by University emergency personnel or the attending Emergency Services.

Medical emergencies

If a person is seriously injured or ill, call an ambulance immediately on 0-000. Be ready to provide the following details:

  • your name
  • location
  • number of people involved, and
  • details of the medical emergency.

Call your local emergency number to alert Security who will escort or direct the ambulance/medical personnel to the site of the emergency and arrange for first aid to be provided in the interim.

Send staff/students to the main building/property entrance to flag the ambulance as it approaches.

First aid
Nominated first aid officers are located in most University buildings. However, if a local first aid officer is not available, call your local emergency number to arrange for first aid assistance.

University Health Service
The University Health Service offers a general practitioner and "walk in" service for staff, students and visitors. Priority is given to emergencies or those in pain or distress. The University Health Service has two locations: Level 3, Wentworth Building (G01), telephone 9351-3484, Darlington Campus and Entry Level, Holme Building (A09), telephone 9351-4095, Camperdown Campus.

People with disabilities

It is not unusual for there to be employees, students or visitors with disabilities working or studying in University buildings. People with physical disabilities may have difficulty moving quickly or using stairs. People who are deaf or who have a partial hearing impairment may have difficulty in hearing emergency alarm signals and announcements. People who are blind or who have a visual impairment may have difficulty in finding and negotiating the emergency exit routes. Nevertheless, some people who do have a disability may not require assistance.

If you expect to have difficulties during an emergency or evacuation please discuss this with your manager/supervisor and the chief wardens of the buildings you regularly use. They will modify these (if necessary) to accommodate your needs.

Hazardous materials incidents

Hazardous materials include chemicals, biological and radioactive substances in solid, liquid or gaseous form. Due to the wide range of materials used at the University, the staff and students working with hazardous materials are required to plan for plausible emergencies including the need to stop a process quickly (emergency shutdown) or respond to an uncontrolled release or spill of the materials being used. Here are some general guidelines to follow in response to the release or spill of a hazardous material:

  1. control the source of release or contain the spill - if safe and if trained to do so
  2. evacuate and secure the immediate area
  3. identify the people involved in the incident and notify the relevant manager/supervisor
  4. assess whether the incident can be managed internally or whether external assistance is required.

If the incident can be managed internally:

  • ensure that two trained staff are allocated to manage the cleanup
  • use appropriate personal protective equipment
  • control the source of the release
  • absorb any free liquids, collect any solids, and/or ventilate the area
  • package and dispose of spill residues as hazardous waste
  • decontaminate the affected area and equipment using an appropriate material
  • report the incident using RiskWare.

If external assistance is required:

  • report the incident to the NSW Fire Brigade 0-000 and your local security service
  • ensure that those involved in the incident and the relevant supervisor/manager are available to assist the external emergency services staff
  • contact Work Health & Safety Services.

Gas leaks

Many of the University's buildings are serviced by natural gas. A significant gas leak associated with an equipment failure or damage to a high pressure gas line may have impact on the safety of the University community. Natural gas is odourless in its pure form, but an odorant is added to facilitate the detection of gas leaks.

Natural gas will quickly dissipate in naturally ventilated external areas and pose a limited risk of fire or explosion. Despite this, whenever you can smell gas in an external area:

  • do NOT smoke
  • do NOT introduce any other ignition sources (eg. naked flame, sparking devices, electrical equipment)
  • do NOT use a mobile phone in the immediate area
  • report the incident to your local security service (see also the emergency contact numbers, top right hand of this web page).

If gas is detected inside a building or other sheltered and poorly ventilated space:

  1. turn off gas supply - if safe to do so
  2. evacuate to a well ventilated area
  3. Ii evacuation of the whole building is considered necessary, activate a 'Break Glass' Alarm
  4. report the incident to your local security service (see also the emergency contact numbers, top right hand of this web page).

Phone threats

Bomb threats are usually received as a telephone call. The person who receives the threat should:

  1. remain calm
  2. do not disconnect the call
  3. use the Bomb Threat Checklist to record as much information as possible
  4. notify your local security service (see the emergency contact numbers listed on the top right hand of this page) or the police without delay
  5. notify your supervisor.

The threat will be assessed by Security and the police.

Unattended bags and other suspicious items

If you see an unattended bag or other item that looks unusual or suspicious:

  • do not disturb the item.
  • move away.
  • report it to Security.

Emergency lockdown

Building emergency procedures are traditionally focused on the safe evacuation of staff, students and visitors. This is an appropriate response to most emergency situations (eg. fire, gas leak, internal release of hazardous materials), but in some situations it may actually be safer to stay inside the building.

An emergency lockdown will be implemented when necessary to ensure that the occupants of University buildings are protected from an external threat, including but not limited to, violent incidents, civil disturbance or severe storms. An emergency lockdown may also be implemented in situations when additional pedestrian traffic on campus may hinder the work of the attending emergency services.

You will be notified of an emergency lockdown by the attending Emergency Services personnel, Security Patrol or your chief warden, via the building’s emergency warning PA system or another mechanism. In the event of an emergency lockdown:

  • follow the instruction from the emergency services personnel, Security patrol or Emergency wardens
  • stay away from exposed windows
  • if possible, maintain phone and email access
  • if possible, maintain contact with your colleagues and/or fellow students.

Personal safety

The incidence of violence on the University's campuses is generally lower than that experienced in the general community. However, if you feel threatened or afraid for any reason:

  1. Go to a busy place or attract the attention of other people in the area.
  2. Contact your local security service or the police (0-000).

Tips to keep you safe on campus

  • Be alert and walk purposefully. Confidence deters attackers.
  • Avoid poorly lit or isolated areas.
  • Use preferred pedestrian routes through campus - see maps for Camperdwon and Darlington.
  • Where possible walk with a friend, form a group or stay with a crowd.
  • Report any suspicious behaviour to your local security service or the Police.
  • Be aware of the Emergency Help Points on the Camperdown/Darlington and Cumberland Campuses.

Emergency Help Points
Emergency Help Points are flat surfaced phones with press button action. They are positioned at prominent locations on the Camperdown/Darlington and Cumberland campuses, commonly on electronic information signs and gatehouses. Each phone dials directly to the local security service.

For more information, please refer to the UniSafe Program.

Personal threats

Personal threats can include verbal abuse over the phone, confrontations with a person, armed hold-up or even assault. An incident can vary greatly depending on the circumstances. Below is some general guidance:

Abusive phone call

  1. Hang up
  2. Report the incident to your manager/supervisor and your local security service.

Aggressive or potentially violent person

  1. Try to remain calm
  2. Alert your supervisor or someone nearby
  3. Be assertive, but polite
  4. Attempt to de-escalate the situation
  5. Report to your local security service - if safe to do so

If you witness a confrontation like this involving other staff or students and believe that intervention is required report the incident to Security immediately.

Armed hold-up or intruder/s

  1. Try to remain calm
  2. Cooperate with the intruder/s
  3. Observe as much as possible, but do NOT stare at the intruder/s
  4. Report the incident to your local security service - as soon as it is safe to do so

Suspicious behaviour

Normal behaviour will vary dependant on the individual and the situation. Therefore, all staff and students are encouraged to:

  • Become familiar with your work/study environment, colleagues and fellow students.
  • Politely challenge strangers by asking “can I help you?”
  • Report any suspicious behaviour or circumstances to Security without delay.

Tips to keep you safe

  • Do not challenge any person acting aggressively.
  • Avoid confrontations with strangers (eg. if you receive an aggressive response to the standard challenge, withdraw from the situation and report it to Security without delay).
  • Avoid situations where you may be isolated from assistance.

More tips on personal safety.