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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


How do I report an emergency?

To report an emergency, call 911 and tell the dispatcher your location and your emergency.

You can also report an emergency by using one of nearly 300 Emergency Telephone Systems (ETS), strategically located throughout campus. Simply push the button to contact the Purdue Dispatch Center.

What should I do if I see suspicious activities or behaviors?

Please be alert and report any criminal incident, suspicious behavior or suspicious activity to the Purdue Police Department by calling 911.

Emergency Preparedness

What can I do to prepare for an emergency or disaster?

The safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors is our number one priority. You must take personal responsibility for your own safety. Here are some things you can do to be prepared in the event of an emergency or disaster:

Does Purdue University have an emergency management plan?

The University has an Integrated Emergency Management Plan (IEMP). The plan contains policies, guidelines and procedures to follow before, during and after an emergency.

How often is the emergency plan updated?

The emergency plan is reviewed and updated annually and as needed.

During an Emergency

What should I do in the event of an emergency or disaster?

  • You should:
    • Follow your personal emergency plan.
    • Follow the advice of University public safety personnel and local emergency officials.
    • Closely monitor news reports and PurdueALERT warning notifications.
    • Keep ready access to your medicines and family phone numbers.
    • Avoid crowded public areas.
    • If a natural disaster or human-caused incident occurs, stay away from the area.
    • Know where emergency devices are located and the location of at least two emergency exits close to your living/working area.
  • You should not
    • Jeopardize your life or the lives of others by attempting to save personal or University property.

How will I know when to evacuate my building?

You must evacuate your building if the building fire alarm is activated or if directed by University public safety personnel. You should immediately proceed to an emergency assembly area as specified in your Building Emergency Plan.

What should I do if I am unable to evacuate my building?

  • Shelter in place in an area with no immediate hazards and telephone 911. Advise the police dispatcher of your location. The use of 911 routinely identifies the location of the caller if you are calling from a Purdue University landline phone. Even if the caller is unable to speak, the dispatcher will then automatically surmise that the caller may be in trouble and will send emergency responders accordingly.
  • If you are unable to call 911, advise others around you of your location and have them inform emergency personnel of your location.
  • If you are in no immediate danger, remain where you are and wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
  • If you are in immediate danger, move to an area where you can shelter in place.
  • You are also encouraged to carry a sounding device like a small whistle, flashlight and cell phone to alert emergency personnel of your location.
  • It is best to have arrangements pre-planned for evacuation assistance. Arrangements can be made to reasonably assure that assistance is provided to anyone who requires it. Contact the Purdue Fire Department for arrangements or questions at 765- 494-6919.

How will I know when to shelter in place in the nearest building?

You must immediately seek shelter in the nearest facility or building (preferably in a room with no windows) when:

Outdoor sirens will sound for a period of in excess of three minutes. If the sirens are activated, you should immediately seek safety in the nearest building and seek more clarifying information by all possible means. PurdueALERT communication layers will send out additional information. Your place of refuge will be determined by the type of emergency. Reference your Building Emergency Plan for specific locations, or use the below table as a guide:

All-Hazards Siren Guidelines



Weather-Related—Tornado Warning:

Basement corridors, basement offices, basement restrooms or the lowest level of the building (stay away from windows and doors).

Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Release:

Remain or find an unaffected office or work area and close windows and doors.

Active Threat:

Seek a safe location, preferable to a room without windows that can be locked or secured by barriers.

If I hear the All Hazards Outdoor Warning Sirens, what does it mean?  What should I do?

On-campus sirens are part of the Tippecanoe County warning notification system. Tippecanoe County Emergency Management Agency personnel may activate the sirens for countywide alerts. Moreover, University Public Safety personnel may activate the University’s sirens, independent of the county actions, to alert anyone outdoors in the Purdue University area of an emergency.

You may be required to have shelter in place for events such as:

  • Tornado warning or other severe weather events
  • Hazardous materials release
  • Active threat, building intruder, or civil disturbance
  • As directed by police personnel for any other situation that requires you to find protection within a building

Will classes be canceled in anticipation of an emergency?

While weather-related events, such as winter weather, may cause a class cancellation, it is highly unusual for classes to be canceled. The campus will continue to operate as usual unless specific, credible information is obtained indicating an increased risk to the Purdue community. This information will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by campus officials and relevant government agencies to determine the most appropriate course of action. Students, faculty, and staff should go about their normal activities unless directed otherwise.

You should always check the Purdue University Homepage or the Campus Emergency Status webpage for the latest information.

PurdueALERT System

Does the University have an emergency warning notification system?

Yes, Purdue’s emergency warning notification system is called PurdueALERT. It is designed as a multi-layered system that will help spread the word quickly and accurately. It is comprised of multiple layers (some or all may be activated depending on the emergency).

How do I sign up to receive text messages via the PurdueALERT system?

To receive a text message, one must opt into the system by:

  • Go to
  • Click on sign up for PurdueAlert
  • Enter your Purdue career account info (Boiler Key)
  • Click on change your cell phone number
  • Enter your phone number

How do I unsubscribe from the PurdueALERT text messaging system?

To unsubscribe:

  • Go to
  • Click on sign up for PurdueAlert
  • Enter your Purdue career account info (Boiler Key)
  • Click on change your cell phone number
  • Enter your phone number

Who can sign up to receive PurdueALERT text messages?

To ensure the prompt delivery of messages to the people directly affected by an incident on campus, the service is limited to students, faculty and staff with a email.

Can parents sign up to receive PurdueALERT text messages?

Yes, by following @purdueemergency via Twitter.

Does the PurdueALERT text message service cost anything to use?

Subscribing to emergency text messages is free. However, your cell phone carrier may charge you to receive text messages. Please check with your phone company for details.

What should I do when I receive a PurdueALERT text message?

PurdueALERT text messages provide you with quick but very basic information due to text limitations (160 character messages). Text messages are designed to provide you with a quick message that an incident has occurred on campus. You should avoid the area, stay vigilant to your surroundings and seek a safe place of refuge. You should also seek additional information possible to help you determine your course of action.

Where can I get help with the PurdueALERT text message system?

Send an email to then the Emergency Preparedness and Planning will contact you.

When is the All Hazards Outdoor Warning Sirens tested?

Tippecanoe County Emergency Management Agency performs a test of the county sirens (to include the sirens at Purdue) at 11:00 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month except during periods of adverse weather conditions.

In addition, the seven University sirens are tested at the beginning of each fall and spring academic semester.

How can I learn more about Purdue University's safety and preparedness programs?

Depending on your specific question, you should be able to find additional information on the Environmental Health and Public Safety websites.

Additionally, you should review the University’s Annual Security Reports.

You can also email