Safety and Emergency Procedures

Student Emergency and Safety Information


An emergency is an event that is not safe and that could end in harm to you or others. Examples of an emergency would be a fire, a tornado, or threat of a bomb.

IEOP follows Iowa State University’s emergency plan. It is called ISU Alert. You can be notified right away when there is an emergency on campus. Log in to AccessPlus. Look under the A+ tab. Click “ISU Alert.” You can choose to learn about an ISU emergency by text, email, or phone call. For more information, visit the ISU Alert page.

Call for Help in an Emergency

Call 911 on a phone if you see an emergency. This is a call for help. These are some examples of when to call 911:

  • Someone is hurt
  • Someone is very sick
  • You see a crime take place
  • You see a fire
  • You are in danger. For example, you are alone and someone is following you.

You can call 911 on your cell phone. If you are at ISU, you need to say that it is an ISU emergency. This will allow someone to know where you are located.

Call for Help but with no Emergency

Call 515-294-4428. This will call the Department of Public Safety at ISU. Someone will come to help you. Be prepared to tell them where you are and to describe your problem.

Staying Safe

IEOP classes could be cancelled due to bad weather. If classes are cancelled, you will be notified through your ISU email. Read below to learn what to do during bad weather or other difficult situations. Also, the ISU Police creates this Video Presentation to help you be safe on campus.


A thunderstorm is a storm that has thunder and lightening. Usually, it also has rain and fast wind. It is best to stay inside during a thunderstorm as much as possible. Lightening can be dangerous. It is good to avoid carrying metal objects during a thunderstorm. For example, many umbrellas include metal.

Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings

You can learn about what the weather may do online at Weather Central, on tv, or on the radio. A thunderstorm “watch” means that a thunderstorm may occur. It is good to prepare by bringing a raincoat. A thunderstorm “warning” means that a thunderstorm is happening or will happen soon.


A tornado is a very dangerous type of storm. It can occur during a bad thunderstorm. Outside, it is shaped like a funnel, and it sounds like a train. Tornados can damage trees, homes, and vehicles. You should not go outside during a tornado. You should find a safe place called a tornado shelter. Basements, bathrooms, and small rooms with no windows can also be a good place to wait for a tornado to pass.

Tornado Watches and Warnings

A tornado “watch” means that a tornado may occur. This means to be careful, but it does not mean a tornado will happen. A tornado “warning” means that a tornado is happening. In Ames, alarms will sound outside. (Note that the warning system is routinely tested at 10:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.) You may also hear about a tornado warning on the tv or the radio. You should take shelter until the tornado passes.

Cold Weather

Our winters can include snow, ice, and wind, and very cold temperatures. To keep yourself safe, follow these cold weather tips:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If you do go outside, try to make trips as brief as possible. One tip is to travel inside classroom buildings to stay warm.
  • Don’t drive if you can avoid it.
  • Walk carefully. Ice is also slick on sidewalks and in parking lots. Boots are better than tennis shoes to walk when it is slick outside.
  • Wear warm clothes. It is so cold you could get hypothermia or frostbite if you do not wear warm clothing. You should always wear:
  • A hat on your head.
  • Mittens or gloves on your hands.
  • A scarf or face mask to cover your mouth.
  • A thick, winter coat to cover your chest. A waterproof coat is nice when it is raining or snowing.
  • Boots for your feet. Waterproof, insulated boots will help keep your feet warm and dry and maintain your footing in ice and snow.


  • A flood happens when there is a lot of rain. The water does not go away fast enough. Large pools of water form where it is normally dry. Here are some tips to stay safe during a flood:
  • Avoid areas that have flooded. Never attempt to walk through floodwater. Flowing water six inches deep can knock you off your feet.
  • Do not drive through floodwater. Roads can be washed away by the water. This makes the water much deeper. Also, a car can also be swept off a road by flowing water.
  • Do not swim in floodwater!


If there is a fire in the building, you will hear a fire alarm. These are the steps to follow:

  1. Stop what you are doing and leave.
  2. Close and lock the door. Avoid breathing smoke (if there is smoke). Smoke rises. If you smell smoke, you may want to crawl or bend over as you walk.
  3. Use the stairs (not the elevator).
  4. Leave the building.
  5. Stay out of the building.

The fire department will let you know when you can go back inside.

Emergency Evacuation

Maps are posted in residence halls near elevators and entrances. These maps show stairs and exits. You should learn the exits and locations of stairs so you can leave quickly if needed.

Physical/verbal threat

Avoid danger with these tips:

  • Avoid walking alone at night. Call the Department of Public Safety at ISU (515-294-4428).
  • Stay alert. If you are alone, do not talk on your cell phone or send text messages, especially at night. Do not listen to music as you walk alone.
  • Keep residence doors locked.
  • Keep your car doors locked.

Here are some tips for what to do if someone attacks or threatens you:

  • Remain calm.
  • Cooperate. Do not fight for your money, wallet, or valuables. Do not fight for university equipment/valuables. You could get hurt. It is not worth it.
  • Try to get a good description of the person who attacked you. When the person leaves, write down his/her description.
  • Call 911.