Procedures for specific scenarios

McLaughlin Hall Emergency Plan

Medical emergency

  • Contact 911 (or 510-642-3333 via a cell near campus) for any life threatening injuries.
  • If you witness an injury or medical emergency in the workplace, immediately assist the injured if it is safe for you to do so. Call 911 as soon as possible from a safe location.


Building Fire

A building occupant is required by law to evacuate the building when the fire alarm sounds. Evacuate, then report.

  • If you become aware of a fire or hear a fire alarm:
  • Use the closest exit or stairway, and, if safe, help family members or co-workers in distress
  • Never use elevators
  • Feel door handles with the back of your hand; if they are warm, find a different exit
  • If there are no other exits, use clothing to prevent smoke from entering through the bottom of the door
  • Stay low if you see smoke
  • If you are properly trained and your exit is safe and clear, use a portable fire extinguisher
  • Don't re-enter until allowed by emergency personnel
  • If you can't exit the building, call 911 (510-642-3333 via cell near campus) for assistance
  • Seek shelter in your building’s Designated Waiting Area
  • Pull the fire alarm as you exit the building


If there is a wildfire near campus, be prepared to leave at a moment notice. Monitor air quality updates via and KALX 90.7 FM. If sheltering in place, close all doors and windows.


During an Earthquake

The Hayward Fault runs directly under the east side of our campus. Earthquake preparedness is a necessity of being part of the Cal community.

If You Are Indoors:

  • DROP to the floor immediately
  • Take COVER under sturdy furniture, or near an interior wall, and protect your head
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops

If You Are Outdoors:

  • Move away from buildings, power lines, and trees
  • Use arms to cover head from falling debris
  • If driving, pull over in a clear area

Other Tips:

  • Stay away from windows
  • Stay away from things that can fall on you
  • Don't run outside, or to another location to get under a table
  • Don't stand in a doorway (it's not safe for shelter)
  • Don't use elevators

After the Earthquake

  • When the shaking stops, exit the building and go to an EAA or open space
  • If safe, before evacuating, stabilize any laboratory procedure that could lead to further danger. (Example: turn off Bunsen burners or electrical equipment.)
  • Check for injuries
  • Account for friends and colleagues
  • Avoid tying up phones lines for non life-threatening emergencies
  • Visit, listen to KALX 90.7 FM, or call (800) 705-9998 for updates
  • Be prepared for aftershocks and falling debris
  • Do not re-enter buildings until allowed by emergency personnel
  • Stay calm and reassure others

If Trapped Under Debris

  • Signal for help; do not yell because you may inhale dust
  • Tap on a metal object, use a whistle or other noise maker to get attention
  • Do not light a match due to potential gas leaks; use a cell phone's flashlight if available


  • Most demonstrations are peaceful. If one is conducted near or in your building, carry on business as usual. Avoid provoking or obstructing demonstrators. Should a disturbance occur, call UCPD for assistance.
  • If protestors enter your building, let them. Try to carry on business as usual. If the noise becomes too great, or the crowd too large, close and lock your office doors and/or windows.
  • Do not close your buildings unless the UCPD advises you to do so. If it becomes necessary to evacuate, follow instructions and report to the building’s EAA for further instructions.

Criminal or violent behavior

UC Berkeley is committed to promoting and maintaining a safe environment for its employees. Threatening, intimidating, or violent behavior will not be tolerated in the UC Berkeley workplace.

Assist in making the work place a safe place by being alert to suspicious situations or persons and reporting them to UCPD.

If you are the victim of, are involved in, or a witness to any violation of the law such as assault, robbery, theft, overt sexual behavior, etc. call UCPD as soon as possible.

Recognizing & Reporting Workplace Violence

  • Workplace violence can start as small incidents like negative remarks and inappropriate behavior, but can then escalate to physical or psychological violence.
  • Violence includes any form of intimidation, bullying, stalking, threats, physical attacks, domestic violence, and property damage.
  • Support UC Berkeley's zero-tolerance policy towards workplace violence by immediately reporting concerning behavior to your supervisor, preferably in writing, and also to UCPD and CSS- Human Resources. Remember to report all instances of violence, no matter how minor.

Confronting a Potentially Violent Person

  • Be composed, don’t hurry, and don’t raise your voice
  • Be empathetic and show your concern, and do not joke or be sarcastic
  • Ask the person to sit down (sitting is a less aggressive position)
  • Offer positive outcome statements, such as “We’ll work on getting this resolved”
  • Offer positive feedback for continuing discussions, “I’m glad you’re telling me how you feel”
  • Remain out of arm's reach and do not touch the person
  • Limit eye contact

Bomb threat

If you receive a bomb threat (via the telephone):

  • Signal for someone to call 911 while you continue speaking with the caller.
  • Keep the caller on the phone as long as possible. Ask questions
  • Do not pull the fire alarm or use cell phones as they may detonate the bomb.
  • Stay calm and keep your voice calm.
  • Take notes. Pay attention to details. Note the date and time.

Listen to the caller’s voice and note:

  • Speech patterns (accent, tone)
  • Emotional state (angry, agitated, calm, etc.)
  • Background noise (traffic, people talking and accents, music and type, etc.)
  • Age and gender

Relay the information to the Police. Follow the Police’s instructions.

If you are told by emergency responders to evacuate the building, evacuate immediately. Do not handle any suspicious items found.

Suspicious package

A suspicious-looking box, package, object, or container in or near a work area may be a bomb or explosive material. When identifying a suspicious package look for odd marking, too much postage, no return address, heaviness, excessive tape or string, visible wires, oily or discolored wrappings, strange odors and powdery substances.

Never Handle a Suspicious Package

  • Don't interact with the package in any way
  • Leave the area, close doors, and warn others to avoid the area
  • Call 911 (510-642-3333 via cell near campus)
  • Wash exposed skin with soap and water

If evacuated due to a bomb threat remain calm, leave doors open and lights on. Do not activate building’s fire alarm.


If there is an explosion:

  • Take cover under sturdy furniture to protect against falling glass and debris.
  • Call 911 (510-642-3333 via a cell phone near campus).
  • In injured, seek medical care immediately
  • Move away from the hazard site to a safe location. Never use elevators.
  • Do not re-enter until allowed by emergency personnel

Hazardous material release

If a life-threatening hazard is released, evacuate the area and call 911.

To report a non life-threatening hazardous release on campus:

  • During business hours contact the Office of Environment, Health & Safety (510-642-3073)
  • After hours: 911 (510-642-3333 via cell)

Do not attempt to clean up or identify the substances unless:

  • You have documented training on spill clean-up procedures
  • Familiar with the hazards of the substance.

Sheltering from Hazardous Material Spill:

If there are hazardous materials in the air or a chemical spill has occurred outdoors shelter-in-place to avoid being exposed.

  • Go inside a safe building
  • Seek shelter on higher floors
  • Close all doors and windows and go to an interior room
  • Don't inhale fumes; cover mouth with mask or cloth
  • Block vents and openings with tape, plastic bags, and clothing
  • Visit, listen to KALX 90.7 FM, or call (800) 705-9998 for updates
  • Call 911 (510-642-3333 via cell) if you become ill from exposure

If exposed:

  • Remove any clothes exposed to the chemical
  • Immediately wash exposed skin for 15 minutes with cool water; use a safety shower or eyewash station if available
  • If you feel sick, seek medical care immediately

Utility failure

  • Notify Facilities Service 24 hour line (510-642-1032) if necessary. If in a leased space, contact the building owner.
  • Evacuate the building if the fire alarm sounds and/or upon instruction by response personnel. Proceed to the EAA.
  • If you are evacuated from a campus building, do not re-enter until allowed by emergency personnel

Stopping Activities During a Campus Outage

During an outage on campus, your building may become unsafe, so be prepared to stop what you're doing until utilities are back on. Many life safety systems such as alarms, sprinklers, emergency lighting, and fume hoods may not work, particularly during a prolonged outage. Cease using electrical equipment, evacuate the building if necessary, and proceed to the EAA and report to your departmental roll taker or Building Coordinator.

Power Outage

  • Fume hoods do not operate during a power outage and many laboratories should not be used until ventilation is properly restored. For more information, refer to the EH&S Fact Sheet #16, "Be Prepared for Power Failures."
  • Unplug and turn all electronics to avoid damage if the power surges when it returns.
  • Avoid downed power lines
  • If dependent on electric life-sustaining equipment, switch to an alternate power source or relocate.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning; do not use a grill, camp stove, or generator indoors.

Elevator failure

If you are trapped in an elevator, use the emergency telephone inside the elevator to call for assistance or press the elevator alarm inside the elevator to signal for help. You may also call 911 (510-642-3333 from a cell phone). Do not use elevators during emergency evacuations or utility outages.

Flood or plumbing failure

  • Cease using electrical equipment.
  • Avoid contact with the water.

Steam line failure

  • Cease using electrical equipment.
  • Avoid live steam. Serious burns can result.
  • Consider evacuating the area or building.

Gas smell

  • If you smell natural gas:
  • Cease all operations immediately.
  • Do not operate light switches.
  • Evacuate as soon as possible.
  • Call 911

Ventilation problem

  • If you smell odors coming from the ventilation system:
  • Immediately notify Facilities Services and EH&S. If in leased space, notify the building owner or contact person.
  • If necessary, cease all operations immediately.
  • If necessary, evacuate the building and proceed to the EAA.
  • If smoke is present, pull the fire alarm. Call 911 from a safe location.