Areas of Study


A combination of circumstances resulting in a state that calls for immediate action. Such circumstances can cause death or significant injuries to people, disrupt operations, cause physical or environmental damage, or threaten the University’s reputation. Minor emergency or critical incident – Any incident, potential or actual, which will not seriously affect the overall functional capacity of the institution. Examples: a minor one-room fire contained immediately, a minor laboratory spill confined to a small area.

Major emergency or major crisis

Any incident, potential or actual, which affects members of the community and/or an entire building or buildings, and for which emergency relocation will probably be required, as well as major efforts from campus support services. Major policy considerations and decisions will usually be required from the University.


A sudden or great misfortune; an unforeseen event bringing with it destruction of property or loss of life. It is any event or occurrence, which has seriously impaired or halted the normal operations of the University. Major disasters are called catastrophes. A disaster may have its origin on campus and affect residents in the geographical location of Gallaudet, or may occur somewhere in the city affecting the University community. In those instances one should anticipate delays in off-campus emergency services and city/federal services.

Emergency Levels Defined

Level One Emergency – University Crisis

A Level One emergency is a major emergency, major crisis, or disaster that requires an extensive response and commitment of resources from many departments/units and usually requires outside assistance. It is also an event or activity with the potential to negatively affect the reputation or credibility of the University. This classification will be made by the President or his/her designee.

The Crisis Leadership Team is responsible for making decisions to resolve a Level One emergency. University personnel at the site of the emergency are responsible for those immediate emergency decisions necessary to protect life and property and to stabilize the situation until the Crisis Leadership Team has convened. Designated essential emergency personnel must remain or arrive on campus to respond to a Level One emergency.

Level Two Emergency – Situational Emergency

A Level Two emergency is one that requires a major response and the significant commitment of resources from several University departments or units, but will still be within the capabilities of the University to control (i.e. student with bacterial meningitis, bomb threat, utilities failure). Such emergencies may involve outside agencies responding to give specialized assistance. This classification will be made by the President or his/her designee.

The primary decision-making responsibility rests with the department that would normally handle the situation, but also requires a cooperative effort with other departments that are responding in support. The Crisis Leadership Team is notified in most instances, and will assume responsibility for primary decision-making if the situation warrants it. That decision will be made by the President and/or Chair of the Crisis Leadership Team.

Level Three Emergency – Critical Incident

A Level Three emergency is a minor emergency or critical incident that has the potential to require more resources than the responding department has available (e.g. single injury, small and easily contained fire.) This level will be declared only if the situation has the potential of escalating to a higher classification. This classification will be made by the Director of the Department of Public Safety, Director of Campus Life, Manager of Physical Plant, or their designee(s).

The primary decision-making responsibility rests with the department that would normally handle the situation. No university-wide action is required.

Contact Us

Public Safety

Carlin Hall Basement

(202) 651-5445

(202) 651-5555

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