Emergency Response, Notification, and Evacuation Procedures

Updated January 2024


The safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and visitors is a high priority for the University. Should a significant emergency or dangerous situation develop that presents an immediate threat to the health or safety to persons on campus, University personnel will immediately respond, evaluate, and confront the threat. Upon confirmation that a threat exists, the University will provide an emergency notification and updates as appropriate to the University community. A public version of the University’s Emergency Operation Plan can be found on the Emergency Plans webpage.


The University of Alabama’s Emergency Operation Plan directs the University Police (UAPD) to respond and manage campus emergencies with oversight by the Emergency Management Policy Group (EMPG). The EMPG is made up of key University officials representing senior leadership positions.

The Public Information Officer in the Department of Public Safety is responsible for emergency notification and crisis communication; for redundancy, Strategic Communications, UAPD and the Office of Emergency Management will serve as a backup to the Public Information Officer.

Emergency Notification

An emergency notification is an urgent official notification regarding a significant emergency or dangerous situation that may compromise the health and safety of members of the campus community. Typically an emergency notification is provided without delay upon confirmation of an immediate or impending threat and empowers the recipient to take appropriate action to minimize injury or loss of life.

In the event of a campus emergency, UAPD along with other appropriate response agencies (e.g. fire department, gas company, etc.) will immediately respond and investigate the threat. If a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health and safety of students or employees is confirmed, UAPD will notify the Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer (PIO) (24/7), who will initiate an emergency notification to the campus community using some or all of the following systems depending on the circumstance: UA Alerts (email, phone calls, and text messages using an external system); Campus PA system (internal and/or external); University of Alabama website; Print/Broadcast Media; Social Media (Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter, @UA_Safety); Digital Signage; VoIP telephones; Desktop Alerts; UA Safety App; and 92.5 FM UA Info Radio.

An exception to this policy may occur in those instances where the notification will, in the professional judgment of the EMPG, UAPD, or Incident Command, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency. Once the incident has concluded, Strategic Communications will use the same systems to broadcast an “All Clear” notification or information regarding the resolution of the emergency.

In special circumstances, UAPD or the Office of Emergency Management may trigger an emergency notification to the campus community via UA Alerts or the Campus PA System. In the event an alert is triggered, UAPD will notify the PIO. The PIO will then assume responsibility for further communications.

Emergency Response and Notification Process

  1. UAPD and other appropriate agencies respond to a reported emergency, evaluate the situation, and confirm there is a campus immediate threat;
  2. UAPD and other appropriate response agencies assess whether the threat is area-specific or campus wide;
  3. UAPD notifies the PIO;
  4. The PIO drafts or selects pre-scripted message;
  5. The PIO activates emergency notification systems;
  6. UAPD coordinates with the PIO and provides updated information when available;
  7. The PIO posts updates or communicates “All Clear” as appropriate.

Crisis Communication

Crisis communication is the continued or ongoing update of information regarding a significant emergency or dangerous situation.

After the initial emergency notification, continued or updated crisis communications will take place on the University’s website, social media, and through the local media (radio, television).

Students, faculty, and staff are directed to monitor the website and local media for updated crisis information. This will also enable the larger community to receive emergency information.

Determining Appropriate Segment of Community

In many instances, an emergency notification will include the entire campus population (students, faculty, and staff). However, during holidays, weekends or other periods outside of normal business hours, or under circumstances where the nature of the emergency supports an area-specific notification, the notification may go to only those persons who are believed to be affected. In this situation, UA Alerts could be utilized to notify a particular segment of the community (e.g. students only) and the Campus PA system could be utilized to notify occupants of a particular building or buildings where the system is deployed.

Content and Timing of Notification

The PIO is responsible for drafting and approving emergency messages and crisis communication; The PIO will determine, without delay, the content of the notification and initiate the notification system. To expedite the notification process, the PIO has drafted pre-scripted emergency messages for possible campus emergencies. These messages are posted within UA Alerts and the Campus PA system so that they can be immediately accessed and dispatched.

Should an unexpected emergency occur, the PIO quickly draft and disseminate an appropriate emergency message.

In special circumstances, UAPD or the Office of Emergency Management may draft and disseminate an appropriate emergency message.


Evacuation Procedures

In the event a building evacuation is required, the fire alarm, campus PA system, or emergency personnel will notify occupants to leave the building. A yearly fire drill with a required building evacuation is conducted by the Office of Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) for campus buildings. The drill is documented by EHS and includes the date, time, and description of the drill.

Should a campus evacuation be required, UAPD will notify the EMPG under normal circumstances. Depending on the scope of the incident, the EMPG will order a partial or full campus evacuation as necessary.

In special circumstances, UAPD may order a building, area, or campus evacuation directly.

When an evacuation is ordered, affected students, faculty, and staff will be required to leave the evacuated area. In the event of a full campus evacuation, UAPD will work with UA Parking and Transportation to assist motorists leaving campus. If a prolonged evacuation is required, the Red Cross may be requested to shelter those students who are unable to return home and need assistance.



The Public Safety PIO will test the UA Alerts system annually by sending a test message to the entire campus community. The test will be documented and include the date, time, and notification results. In conjunction with this test, the PIO will work with Strategic Communications to publicize the web addresses of the Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report and the Office of Emergency Management. Both websites contain the University’s emergency response, notification, and evacuation procedures. The PIO will also test the Campus PA system monthly, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as severe weather in the area, or examinations that could be interrupted.



This policy will be published in the Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report (pdf).