What To Do In An Emergency

Personal Safety: Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence, Situational Awareness, Live Safe, DukeALERT, Mental Health and Safety
  • Threats or acts of violence by or against members of the Duke Community are not tolerated. For immediate threats or acts, call 911.
  • Resources for faculty and staff are available through Personal Assistance Services (PAS). PAS provides services to help employees resolve problems related to domestic violenceviolence in the workplacetrauma and mental health concerns.
  • Employees with concerns or questions about harassment or retaliation are encouraged to address them as soon as possible by speaking with their manager, supervisor, department chair or dean. Duke policies prohibit retaliation against anyone for coming forward with a concern or submitting a complaint.
  • Under the Harassment Policy and Procedures, employees can file a complaint or report of discrimination or harassment with the Office for Institutional Equity.
  • Subscribe to the DukeALERT Emergency Notification System to receive DukeALERT text messages in the event of an emergency by visiting the Duke@Work self-service website and adding your work cell phone number.

Crime Prevention
  • Don’t walk alone at night and avoid unfamiliar, dimly lit areas.
  • If you are being followed, go to the nearest populated, well-lit location and call 911. If you are walking, cross the street away from the person and go somewhere else, such as a convenience store. If you are driving, you can go to the Duke Hospital emergency room or Duke Police headquarters at 502 Oregon St.
  • If a person confronts you and demands money or possessions, law enforcement officials suggest giving what is demanded and creating a safe distance.
  • Lock your office when away and secure your belongings.
  • Don’t prop open doors, especially doors accessed with a DukeCard.
  • Alert police to strangers or suspicious activity in your area.
  • Don’t leave valuables unattended.
  • When you park, do not leave personal property and valuables (i.e. laptops, purses, GPS systems) in plain view.

  • Stay inside until danger has passed.
  • Seek shelter on the lowest building level, interior rooms or hallways with interior walls. Use interior spaces with short spans. Stairwells, bathrooms and closets are good spots.
  • Put as many walls as possible between you and the exterior of building.
  • Avoid windows and doors with glass panels.
  • Avoid interior and exterior doors.
  • Avoid areas where chemicals are stored.
  • Stay away from entrances. All doors around a shelter area should be closed and secured during a tornado warning.
  • Monitor emergency.duke.edu or call 684-INFO for updates.
  • Wait for “all clear” by police or university officials.

Armed Intruders

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends that you quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Students, patients and visitors are likely to follow the lead of employees during an active shooter situation.

Run: If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises.
  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Keep your hands visible.
  • Call 911 when you are safe.
Hide: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.
  • Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view.
  • Lock the doors and block entry to your hiding place, for example, with heavy furniture.
  • Don’t trap or restrict your options for movement.
  • Remain quiet and silence your cell phone or any other source of noise.
Fight: Take action against the active shooter. As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger.
  • Attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter.
  • Act as aggressively as possible against him/her.
  • Throw items and improvise weapons.
  • Yell.
  • Commit to your actions.
Call 911 when it is safe to do so.
DUSON Classroom & Meeting Spaces

There are red buttons in many of our classrooms and meeting spaces. These are in place to allow occupants to quickly lock down the room in an armed intruder situation. Remember, when an armed intruder is present in a building you need to make the personal decision to Run, Hide or Fight. These buttons are designed to help if you decide to Hide.

Pushing the red button

  • Locks all door to the room so they cannot be opened from the outside without a key form law enforcement or by a limited few others with master keys. You can always exit the room using the door handle, even after the red button is pushed.
  • Automatically informs Duke Police the room is locked down, resulting in Duke Police officers being deployed.

To lock the room, life the plastic cover and push the red button. That's it. After locking down the room, turn off the lights, silence cell phones, be very quiet and hide away from doors and windows and behind furniture or equipment when possible. Use the Live Safe app to communicate with Duke Police.

Inclement Weather

DUSON Faculty and Staff are considered to be in “delayed service” positions and do not report to or remain at work when the university is closed for a winter weather event.

  • In preparation for a winter storm, be sure to have a flashlight and extra batteries, a portable radio to receive emergency information, extra food and water, extra prescription medicine and first-aid supplies.
  • Those traveling should only use priority roads, sidewalks and walkways during periods of severe weather.
  • Make sure your vehicle is completely clear of ice or snow before starting the trip. Flying snow and ice from cars cause accidents.
  • Let someone know where you are going and what route you will take. If something happens, the person will know where to begin the search.
  • Do not leave your house without a fully charged mobile phone and emergency supplies.
  • If you have trouble seeing while driving, pull over to the side of the road until visibility improves. Turn off your lights so another car will not follow you and accidentally hit you.
  • If your car gets stuck during a storm, stay in the vehicle.
  • Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat, but open the window a little to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to avoid gas poisoning.
  • Use caution while traveling around campus as surfaces may be icy or slick. Sloped surfaces, stairs, ramps or paths not identified as the preferred route of travel should be avoided.

For all weather related updates, monitor your Duke email account, the DUSON website, emergency.duke.edu or call 684-INFO for updates.


Extended Power Outages

In the case of an extended power outage, DUSON has a generator system to provide very limited power for the Pearson and IPE buildings in the event of electrical failure. If classes need to be relocated or canceled, or if the outage will be extensive, the Director of Facility Operations and Vice Dean for Finance and Administration will work with those faculty whose classes will be impacted, the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, and the Academic Program Assistant Deans to relocate classes and notify the School of such plans.


  • Listen to a weather radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • Ensure all windows and exterior doors are closed prior to the storm.
  • Avoid windows and doors with glass panels.
  • Put as many walls as possible between you and the exterior of the building. Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull — it could be the eye of the storm, and the winds will pick up again.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Avoid areas where chemicals are stored.
  • Avoid elevators.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
  • Any flooding or property damage should be reported to the DUSON Director of Facilities Tina Leiter at tina.leiter@duke.edu or (919) 698-7056 so crews can respond quickly. Unless a situation is life-threatening, crews may wait until after dangerous winds have subsided before responding.
  • Any potential safety-related issues, such as downed trees or power lines, should be reported immediately to Duke Police at (919) 684-2444 or the DUSON Director of Facilities Tina Leiter at tina.leiter@duke.edu or (919) 698-7056.
  • Monitor emergency.duke.edu or call 684-INFO for updates.


Extreme Heat
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water regularly throughout the day.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Limit outdoor activity to morning or evening hours.
  • If outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Keep track of outdoor temperatures and personal comfort levels to know what temperatures feel too hot.
  • Dress in lightweight, light-colored cotton clothing.
  • If you start feeling significantly weakened, take a break.
  • Avoid foods that increase metabolic heat production and increase water loss, such as proteins.
  • In the event that demand for cooling via Duke’s chilled water system begins to exceed capacity, Duke may implement its emergency response plan, which could lead to groups of buildings being taken off the system for a limited amount of time.


  • In the event of a fire, use the RACE acronym to remember how to proceed:
    • R-emove persons in danger. Exit through stairwell; do not use elevator.
    • A-ctivate alarm (Code Red) and dial 911.
    • C-lose doors and windows.
    • E-xtinguish fire. Have person knowledgeable of incident and area assist emergency personnel.
  • In the event of a small fire that requires the use of a fire extinguisher, use the PASS acronym to remember how to safely and effectively put out the fire:
    • P-ull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you.
    • A-im low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • S-queeze the lever slowly and evenly.
    • S-weep the nozzle from side to side.


Accidental Injury

DUSON manages accidental injury of students, staff, faculty and visitors on a case-by-case basis. If the injury requires immediate medical treatment or is life threatening, the Duke Police Department should be contacted first. After the acute needs of the injured person have been addressed, contact the applicable Vice, Associate or Assistant Dean who will inform the Vice Dean for Finance and Administration. If you are unsure which administrator to contact after the acute injury has been addressed, contact the Vice Dean for Finance and Administration first.


Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Alcoholism and drug addiction in the workplace have a significant impact in four major areas:

  1. Premature death/fatal accidents
  2. Injuries/accident rates
  3. Absenteeism/extra sick leave
  4. Loss of production

While different drugs have different effects on people, there are some common signs that indicate someone may be abusing drugs or alcohol:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Glassy eyes
  • Noticeable exhaustion
  • Frequent absenteeism
  • Frequent accidents
  • Erratic behavior

If you or someone else in your workplace is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, contact Duke University Personal Assistance Service (PAS) at 919-416-1PAS (919-416-1727).


Emergencies or Crisis in a Health Care Facility

Students, instructors or other DUSON faculty and staff engaged in activities (including student clinical rotations or those conducting research) in a health care facility should follow the emergency and patient care procedures in place for the applicable facility. Students located in a facility for a clinical rotation should also seek direction from the assigned clinical instructor or preceptor.


Holiday Safety

Here are some tips to keep in mind throughout the holiday season:

  • Make sure candles are put on stable surfaces, and never leave burning candles unattended or near trees, curtains or other flammable items.
  • Use a proper step ladder when hanging decorations in high places. Do not stand on chairs or other furniture.
  • When decorating with lights, ensure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets.
  • Turn off all lights and electrical decorations when not in use.
  • Holiday leftovers are safe for four days in the refrigerator, but be sure to reheat leftovers to at least 165° F and bring sauces, soups and gravies to a rolling boil.

Not Sure What to Do or Who to Call?

Attend to the acute and immediate personal health and safety issue first, including calling Duke Police at (919) 684-2444 from a Duke phone or the local emergency response agency at 911 if not on campus. When support or help is needed from DUSON administration, contact Vice Dean for Finance and Administration David Bowersox at david.bowersox@duke.edu, (919) 684-9326 or (919) 306-5128, who will help coordinate next steps.

Duke Police is also able to triage calls and help coordinate support of enrolled DUSON students who reside outside of the Durham area, including students who live in another state and are in need of assistance.

If you are in need of assistance in a crisis or emergency while traveling abroad for Duke, call the International SOS program for help. The SOS program has well established protocols and resources to assist, including informing the appropriate Duke personnel. Students traveling abroad for a cultural immersion experience with Duke should also contact their assigned clinical instructor or local host point of contact.

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