Types of Emergencies

Purdue University’s Integrated Emergency Management Plan is designed to react to natural, technological, and human-caused emergencies to include the following: 

Natural | Technological | Human-made


SEVERE WEATHER (Tornadoes, Thunderstorms/Hail):  West Lafayette is located at the edge of Tornado Alley.  Tornadoes are the most violent weather systems on earth.  The potential for large losses of life and property, coupled with extremely vulnerable populations at outdoor venues such as football and baseball games, leads to its placement as the number one hazard facing the University.  Severe thunderstorms in the West Lafayette area are also at the forefront of concerns and are the most probable natural cause of emergencies or disasters that could affect Purdue University.  Designated in-place building shelters have been identified to protect life.

Return to top.



Fire: Fire detection methods are excellent.  All buildings on the campus have detection systems, and most have fire suppression systems.  In the event of a fire, exit the building, and then call PUFD at 911. Learn more at the Fire Department site.

Hazardous Materials Accidents could impact the University.  Fuel and chemical spills are the most widespread materials likely to create problems.  Chemicals used in laboratories, water treatment, and the power plant are also sources of possible HAZMAT incidents along with the possibility of a criminal/terrorist utilizing various chemicals and/or substances to perpetrate a crime or attack.  There is a central hazardous materials waste facility for temporary storage of materials until transported off campus. Learn more at the REM website.

Chemical/Biological/Radiological (CBR) Emergencies are possible.  When properly stored and handled, CBR materials pose no extreme threat.  However, during times of natural or manmade disasters, these materials become a special hazard to the campus and to emergency personnel.  These types of materials are present in academic buildings housing scientific experiments and research.  Learn more at the REM website.

Aircraft Crashes can happen anywhere in the country.  Small private planes and charter aircraft are common in the air space over the West Lafayette/Lafayette area.

Return to top.



NATIONAL EMERGENCY (War or Terrorism):  National emergencies, including possible attacks by foreign interests are a possibility at Purdue University.  Since the destruction of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, the World Trade Center Towers in New York City, and other events around the world from various known and unknown terrorists, there remains some potential that Purdue would be affected either directly or indirectly by a major incident.  Any attack on Tippecanoe County or the region could over-task the local emergency response organizations on which the University relies.

CIVIL DISORDERPlanned or unplanned demonstrations may become large and uncontrollable.  In some cases, participants could become violent, causing the destruction of property and injury or even death to themselves or observers.  PUPD and PUFD are prepared for these emergencies.

Return to top.