It is important that we take time to prepare for a situation in which our safety could depend on our ability to react quickly.

How to respond to an emergency

When we’re faced with any kind of emergency – like fire, severe weather or if someone is trying to hurt you – we have three options: run, hide or fight.


Leaving the area quickly is the best option if it is safe to do so.

  • Take time now to learn the different ways to leave your building.
  • Leave personal items behind.
  • Assist those who need help, but consider whether doing so puts yourself at risk.
  • Alert authorities of the emergency when it is safe to do so.

Please be aware of persons with disabilities who may need additional assistance in emergency situations.


When you can’t or don’t want to run, take shelter indoors.

  • Take time now to learn the different ways to seek shelter in your building.
  • If severe weather is imminent, proceed to the nearest indoor storm refuge area.
  • If someone is trying to hurt you and you can’t evacuate, get to a place where you can’t be seen, lock or barricade your area, silence your phone, don’t make any noise and don’t come out until you receive an Illini-Alert indicating it is safe to do so.


You may need to fight to increase your chances of survival.

  • Think about what kind of common items are in your area which you can use to defend yourself.
  • Team up with others to fight if the situation allows.
  • Mentally prepare yourself – you may be in a fight for your life.

Additional resources

Taking a minute to review exits, storm refuge areas, areas of rescue assistance and evacuation assembly areas in building that you use often could save your life in an emergency. For course instructors, check out the materials we’ve made available to help you keep your students safe in class.