Campus News

Do you know what to do during a campus emergency?

students learning in a classroom
Arden Barnes | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON Ky. (Sept. 25, 2023) — September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month. It is important for every member of our campus community to know what action to take in an emergency.

The University of Kentucky Police Department’s Crisis Management and Preparedness team will be conducting their annual test of the UK Alert system, UK’s emergency notification system, at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26. During this time, all alert methods, including text, email, phone calls, digital signage, indoor speakers, outdoor speakers, the UK website and the university's social media accounts will be activated. Once the drill has concluded, a message will be disseminated through the same methods.

In the event of a real campus emergency, here is what you need to know:

How do I report an emergency on campus?

  • If there is an emergency, dial 911.
  • If an emergency occurs in a classroom with a red emergency button, press to quickly notify UKPD. Emergency responders will immediately be dispatched to your location.
  • You can also report tips to UKPD via two-way text messaging by using the LiveSafe App.

What do I do if I need to shelter in place?

If there is a severe storm or tornado warning:

  • Instructors should immediately halt their teaching.
  • Report to the recommended shelter locations.
    • Recommended shelter locations are marked on the emergency floor plans posted throughout the building.
  • If you cannot get to a shelter location, protect yourself from lightning and flying debris by moving to an interior room or hallway on the building's lowest level. Avoid outside doors and windows and get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.

If a UK Alert orders a shelter-in-place:

  • If a shelter-in-place order is issued when you are inside, stay where you are unless the building you are in is affected. If you are outdoors, proceed into the closest UK building or follow instructions from emergency personnel.

What if I need to evacuate?

If there is a need to evacuate, do not use elevators. Evacuation routes are marked in the Building Emergency Action Plan for each campus building, which can be found posted in your classroom. If you have questions about your specific Building Emergency Action Plan, visit this link or email

What do I do during an active aggressor situation?

In a situation where an aggressor is trying to attack you or others, follow three steps:

  1. Run: Attempt to get away from the attacker.
  2. Hide: If you cannot run, barricade yourself in a safe place. Turn your phone to silent and dim your brightness.
    • If possible, use the LiveSafe App to message UK Police and alert them to your location. If you don’t have the app, dial 911. If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.
  3. Fight: If you cannot run or hide, do whatever you need to do to stop the attacker.

UK Police will communicate additional information through the UK Alert system during an active aggressor situation and other emergencies.

How will I know if there’s an emergency?

UK Alert

  • The university provides emergency notifications through UK Alert, which sends messages via email, SMS text message, phone calls, building alarm systems, digital signage, social media and outdoor sirens. You can update your alert preferences in myUK. If students receive a UK Alert message during class, they should notify their instructor and classmates immediately.

Blue Emergency Towers

  • Blue Emergency Notification Towers are strategically placed at more than 50 locations across campus to provide outdoor alert tones and broadcast emergency messages with loudspeakers.

What else do I need to know about the red emergency buttons?

  • Red emergency buttons are in many classrooms. Once pressed, UKPD will be immediately notified of your emergency status. This will trigger your classroom doors to lock from the outside only, so an aggressor cannot enter. However, should you need to leave, you have the ability to do so.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.