Emergency Level Definitions

Purdue University's First Responders will react to all emergencies and decide the "emergency level" based on the following criteria:

Level 1 | Level 2 Level 3


LEVEL 1: A major disaster or imminent threat involving the entire campus and/or surrounding community.   Immediate notification mandatory.  Normal University operations are reduced or suspended.  The effects of the emergency are wide-ranging and complex.  A timely resolution of disaster conditions requires University-wide cooperation and extensive coordination with external agencies and jurisdictions. 

  • Level 1 incidents will normally require activation of the University Integrated Emergency Management Plan and the EOC.

  • Examples: Major tornado, multi-structure fire or major explosion, major hazardous materials release, major earthquake, or a terrorism incident.

Return to top.


LEVEL 2: A major incident or potential threat that disrupts sizable portions of the campus community.  Timeliness of notification determined by IC or designated official—immediate or as time permits.  Level 2 emergencies may require assistance from external organizations.  These events may escalate quickly and have serious consequences for mission-critical functions, or may threaten life safety. 

  • Level 2 incidents may require activation of the University Integrated Emergency Management Plan and the EOC
  • Examples:  Structure fire, structural collapse, significant hazardous materials release, extensive power or utility outage, severe flooding, multi-fatality incident, or an external emergency that may affect University personnel or operations.

Return to top.


LEVEL 3: A minor, localized department or building incident that is quickly resolved with existing University resources or limited outside help.  Warning notification as time permits—types determined by Incident Commander (IC) or designated official.  A Level 3 emergency has little or no impact on personnel or normal operations outside the locally affected area. 

  • Level 3 incidents do not require activation of the University Integrated Emergency Management Plan or the EOC.  Impacted personnel or departments coordinate directly with the departments of Environmental Health and Public Safety, or Physical Facilities to resolve Level 3 conditions. 
  • Examples:  Odor complaint, localized chemical spill, small fire, localized power failure, plumbing failure or water leak, normal fire and police calls.

Based on the emergency level, the University will move from its normal operating or organizational structure to the Incident Command System, including the Emergency Operations Center as needed and then back again to the normal organizational structure.

An emergency at any level will be debriefed at the conclusion of the incident for the purpose of review, training, and future enhancement of this plan.

Return to top.