Illini Center

Downtown Chicago skyline featuring the Hancock Tower.

When a serious incident occurs that causes an immediate threat to campus, the first responders to the scene are usually members of the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, and/or ambulance service and they typically respond and work together to manage the incident. Depending on the size, scale and seriousness of the incident, other university departments and other local or state or federal agencies could also be involved in responding to the incident. In addition, Office of the Building officials work in cooperation and communicate with Illini Center staff when situations reported to them may warrant an emergency response from the university.

Upon learning of a situation that poses a verified, imminent, or ongoing potential threat to the safety, security, or health of students or employees, an emergency notification will be issued to expedite emergency response and/or evacuation procedures. The goal of an emergency notification is to notify as many people as possible, as rapidly as possible, with adequate follow-up information as needed. Follow-up information will be available via use of the Illini-Alert emergency notification system (use of text, email, web alert, Twitter and Facebook) on a case-by-case basis. If follow-up information is critical to members of the larger community, it may be disseminated using additional mechanisms at the discretion of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Executive Director of Public Safety or designee. Additional mechanisms may include public media outlets, #265-UIPD and/or the telephone alert directory. Emergency Notifications are issued for incidents such as an active threat, major hazardous materials release, major fire, infectious disease outbreak, or a tornado that would directly impact the Illini Center campus.

The university has implemented a formal process that gives the on-duty University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Police shift commander, Executive Director of Public Safety, and/or designee the authority to do the following:

  • Confirm a significant emergency or dangerous situation;
  • Develop the content and determine the appropriate segment(s) of the campus community to receive the notification, and;
  • Initiate some or all of the emergency notification systems to send an emergency message to the campus community.

The process also stipulates that an immediate emergency message will not be sent if, in the professional judgment of authorities, the message would compromise efforts to assist a victim, or to contain, respond to or otherwise mitigate the emergency. It also authorizes the on-duty University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Police shift commander, Executive Director of Public Safety, and/or designee to create and initiate the emergency notification. The Executive Director of Public Safety and/or designee may also consult directly with Public Affairs to ensure an immediate, timely notification to the campus via the emergency notification mechanisms described here.

Emergency response and evacuation procedures

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a comprehensive emergency operation plan that details immediate response and evacuation procedures, including the use of electronic and cellular communication. The university’s Campus Emergency Operations Plan includes information about Incident Management Teams, university operating status parameters; incident priorities; shelter-in-place and evacuation guidelines and overall command and control procedures. University departments are responsible for developing their own building emergency action plans and continuity of operations plans for their staff and areas of responsibility.

As a part of the comprehensive emergency operation plan for the university, the Illini Center has developed an Emergency Procedure Manual and Building Emergency Safety Procedures that will be used by Illini Center personnel in the event of an emergency or for emergency training purposes. In the event of an evacuation of the building, occupants will be directed where to go by emergency personnel or Office of the Building officials. Building users should go where directed and wait for an all clear, which will be given by emergency personnel. If an evacuation is ordered, but a direct location is not given by Building or Emergency personnel, occupants should go to the Illini Center designated meeting location. Updates on the building’s status can also be obtained by calling the Emergency Voice Mail at 312-656-4110.

Regularly scheduled drills, exercises, and follow-through activities are conducted annually. All tests are documented with description of exercise, date, time, whether announced or unannounced and appropriate after-action-reports are completed and submitted to the State of Illinois for review pursuant to the Illinois Campus Security Enhancement Act. After-action reports detail lessons learned, and follow-up items are identified with responsibilities assigned to appropriate campus entities. The university’s Basic Emergency Operation Plan, which is compliant with the Illinois Campus Security Enhancement Act, is posted on the Division of Public Safety website to be used in conjunction with campus exercises. The university conducts an annual test, which may be announced or unannounced, centering on procedures to test the university’s emergency response and evacuation procedures. A follow-up communication to the campus community will publicize the results of this test.

Shelter-in-place procedures

There may be emergencies that arise that do not afford individuals the opportunity to evacuate. During these types of emergency situations, sheltering-in-place may be necessary. Sheltering-in-place means to stay inside a known, safe area to avoid adverse conditions in an exterior environment. Examples of emergencies where the shelter-in-place option may be necessary and/or preferred include severe weather (tornado) or an active threat situation. This may also include a fire emergency for persons with disabilities that are not able to leave the building on their own or if the elevator is recalled during a fire.

Basic shelter-in-place guidance

If an incident occurs that does not present a safe opportunity to evacuate, find an immediate place of safety and stay there until it is safe to come out. This may include locking the door(s) or barricading the ingress/egress point(s) of the area you are occupying. It may also include covering the windows to decrease visibility of the occupied area.
If an incident occurs where a shelter-in-place option is not possible, leave the area immediately following the evacuation procedures for your building. Follow the directions of police and/or fire personnel if they are on scene of the incident.

How you will know to shelter in place

A shelter-in-place notification may come from several sources, including the University of Illinois Police Department (via the Illini-Alert emergency notification system), the Office of Public Affairs, other university employees, or other authorities utilizing the university’s emergency communications tools.

How to shelter in place

If an incident occurs where sheltering-in-place is the best option, follow these steps, unless instructed otherwise by emergency personnel:
These steps should only be followed if safe to do so:

  • Once aware of the emergency, seek or remain in a location deemed safe from the affected area.
  • Once within a safe area, attempt to secure the space in whatever reasonable manner is applicable.
  • Stay in the area of safety and remain quiet, unless making noise would be beneficial to your safety (i.e. rescue or recovery).
  • Stay away from objects which may lead to an injury.
  • Do not leave the area of safety until you are notified that the emergency is no longer a threat to personal safety.