Emergency Planning & Preparedness

Emergency Events

Bombs/Bomb Threat

By phone

1. Remain as calm as possible. 

2. If the telephone has a caller identification, note the phone number.

3. Ask the caller the following questions.

-Where is the bomb located?
-When will the bomb explode? 

4. If at any time during the call you perceive you are in immediate danger leave the building at once pulling the fire alarm as you leave. Call 911 when you have reached a safe area.

5. If you feel you are not in danger, continue to ask the caller:

-What does it look like?
-What kind of bomb is it?
-What will cause it to explode?
-Why did you place the bomb? 

6. As you are talking to the caller try to answer the following questions:

-Gender of caller
-Age of caller
-Caller’s voice description:

__well spoken      __disguised
__irrational           __soft          
__incoherent        __excited    
__calm                  __loud        
__laughing           __slow       
__foul                   __slurred   

Background sounds:

__street noises   __motor noises
__house noises   __ PA system
__voices              __ office noises

(Bomb Threat checklist is also in the back portion of the University Phone book)

By mail

7. Handle the object as little as possible.
8. Contact Police and Parking Services at 627-4811 or 865-8517. Give them your name, location, nature of the emergency and other information requested 

9. If you should see a suspicious object or package, call Police and Parking Services. Do not touch, tamper, or move the object or package.

10. If instructed, evacuate the building. Do not re-enter until an All-clear is issued.

If you see a suspicious object, package, etc. call Police & Parking Services. Under no circumstances should you touch it, tamper with it, or move it in any way.

If instructed, evacuate the building and DO NOT re-enter until instructed that it is safe to do so.

Chemical Spill Response and Clean-up Procedures

In the event of a chemical spill, prompt and proper clean-up is essential. The following are general guidelines to be followed for a chemical spill.

  1. Immediately alert area occupants and supervisor, and evacuate the area, if necessary.
  2. If there is a fire or medical attention is needed, contact Public Safety and/or call 911.
  3. Attend to any people who may be contaminated if your level of training allows. Contaminated clothing must be removed immediately and the skin flushed with water for no less than fifteen minutes. Clothing must be laundered before reuse.
  4. If a volatile, flammable material is spilled, immediately warn everyone, control sources of ignition and ventilate the area.
  5. Don personal protective equipment, as appropriate to the hazards.
  6. Consider the need for respiratory protection. The use of a respirator or self-contained breathing apparatus requires specialized training and medical surveillance. Never enter a contaminated atmosphere without protection or use a respirator without training.
  7. Using the chart below, determine the extent and type of spill. If the spill is large, if there has been a release to the environment or if there is no one knowledgeable about spill clean-up available, call Public Safety or call 911.
  1. Category Size Response Treatment Materials
    Small up to 300cc chemical treatment or absorption neutralization or absorption spill kit
    Medium 300 cc - 5 liters absorption absorption spill kit
    Large more than 5 liters call public safety outside help
  1. Protect floor drains or other means for environmental release. Spill socks and absorbents may be placed around drains, as needed.
  2. Contain and clean-up the spill according to the table above.
    Loose spill control materials should be distributed over the entire spill area, working from the outside, circling to the inside. This reduces the chance of splash or spread of the spilled chemical. Bulk absorbents and many spill pillows do not work with hydrofluoric acid. POWERSORB (by 3M) products and their equivalent will handle hydrofluoric acid. Specialized hydrofluoric acid kits also are available. Many neutralizers for acids or bases have a color change indicator to show when neutralization is complete.
  3. When spilled materials have been absorbed, use brush and scoop to place materials in an appropriate container. Polyethylene bags may be used for small spills. Five gallon pails or 20 gallon drums with polyethylene liners may be appropriate for larger quantities.
  4. Complete a hazardous waste sticker, identifying the material as Spill Debris involving XYZ Chemical, and affix onto the container. Spill control materials will probably need to be disposed of as hazardous waste.
  5. Decontaminate the surface where the spill occurred using a mild detergent and water, when appropriate.
  6. Report all spills to your supervisor or the Principal Investigator.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • 2 pairs chemical splash goggles
  • 2 pairs of gloves (recommend Silver Shield or 4H)
  • 2 pairs of shoe covers
  • 2 plastic or Tyvek aprons and/or Tyvek suits

Absorption Materials

  • 4 3M POWERSORB spill pillows (or equivalent)
  • 1 3M POWERSORB spill sock
  • 2 DOT pails (5 gallon) with polyethylene liners
    • 1 filled with loose absorbent, such as vermiculite or clay
    • 1 with minimum amount of loose absorbent in the bottom

Neutralizing Materials

  • Acid Neutralizer
  • Caustic Neutralizer
    • commercial neutralizers, such as Neutrasorb (for acids) and Neutracit-2 (for bases) have built in color change to indicate complete neutralization
  • Solvent Neutralizer
    • commercial solvent neutralizers, such as Solusorb, act to reduce vapors and raise the flashpoint of the mixture

Mercury Spills

  • Small mercury vacuum to pick up large drops (optional)
  • Hg Absorb Sponges - amalgamate mercury residue
  • Hg Absorb Powder - amalgamates mercury
  • Hg Vapor Absorbent - reduces concentration of vapor in hard to reach areas
  • Mercury Indicator - powder identifies presence of mercury

Clean-up Tools

  • Polypropylene scoop or dust pan
  • Broom or brush with polypropylene bristles
  • 2 polypropylene bags
  • sealing tape
  • pH test papers
  • waste stickers
  • floor sign - DANGER Chemical Spill - Keep Away

Severe Weather/School Closing

In the event of severe weather, the Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance will contact the director of Police and Parking Services and Facilities Management & Planning Director to determine conditions and weather information. The information is reviewed and a decision is made by the Chancellor. That decision will be relayed to the news media, placed on the University web site, and sent to Faculty, staff, and students by e-mail, phone, and text messaging through the UNKAlert! system. Every attempt will be made to disseminate information by 6:30am for day class cancellation and 3pm for on-campus night and all off campus classes.

  • If the University is closed during normal operating hours, the Police and Parking Services Department will notify the campus via e-mail and by using the Emergency Notification System .

If classes are NOT canceled, but an individual travels from outside the Kearney community:

 The individual must assess the road conditions which they will need to navigate in order to travel to campus (reference the NE DOR), and calculate the safety risk. Upon decision to travel, proceed with caution, or follow these steps if travel is not taken:

Contact the professor as soon as possible in regards to your absence
  • Be aware of the professor's preferred method of contact (phone, email, etc.)
  • Contact the professor sooner rather than later. Do so as early before the class as possible.

Dormitory Safety

  • Lock the door when you leave your room or sleep
  • Do not prop the exterior doors
  • Immediately report lost or stolen keys
  • Do not leave messages on your door about how long you will be gone
  • Tell a roommate or friend when you will be gone overnight or for a few days
  • Report suspicious people/activity
  • Do not leave valuables, keys, etc. in open view
  • Get to know your RA, dormitory staff, and neighbors


  • At the sound of the emergency alarm or when notified by university officials it is the responsibility of all building occupants to evacuate immediately and proceed to the predetermined assembly points. Each building has established assembly points and alternative assembly points to evacuate to during an emergency. Building occupants will be directed to these sites by university emergency evacuation personnel. Building occupants are also responsible for ensuring that their visitors/customers follow the evacuation procedure described herein, and leave the building. Faculty are responsible for dismissing their classes and directing students to leave the building by the nearest exit. Emergency exit signs will be posted by classroom doors to show where the nearest exit is located. Employees and students should report the location, if known, of any occupants that remain in the building. Missing persons should be reported to University emergency evacuation personnel or on scene emergency personnel. See attachment 1b for the full plan.
  • Emergency Procedure for Persons Needing Assistance to Evacuate Supervisory personnel and course instructors are responsible for identifying and escorting individuals with disabilities located in their offices/classrooms to safety if possible. If they are not able to evacuate the individual they need to at a minimum get them to a stairwell and then notify rescue personnel.
a. Any person unable or who needs assistance to evacuate should proceed to the nearest stairwell immediately.
b. If it is unsafe to do so remain in your office/classroom/ residence.
c. Inform or ask someone, a building occupant or University emergency evacuation personnel in particular, to alert the first arriving emergency responders of your presence and location.
d. Emergency evacuation personnel will check stairwells and ensure emergency response and rescue personnel are notified if someone has taken refuge there.
e. Call 911 to ensure rescue personnel are notified of your location and your need for assistance to evacuate.
f. Provide operator with your exact location, building name, floor and room numbers;
g. Give phone number you are calling from;
h. If possible remain by phone, police have radio contact with officers at scene and will keep you informed of the situation.


The Kearney area is prone to flash-floods during times of excessive rain or large amounts of ice/snow melt. Kearney roads are also prone to small amounts of flooding during heavy rains. Check weather forecasts, local radar, etc. for details on weather that may lead to flooding of any degree.

  • If driving when heavy rain occurs in the Kearney area, remain aware of the water on the road - drainage within city limits is slow and can cause a backup of water - leading to hydroplaning if driving is not cautious and careful
  • If a flash-flood warning or watch is issued, try to avoid driving as this can lead to potentially hazardous conditions
  • If flooding is occurring or has occurred, do not travel anywhere. Amounts of water in flood pools can be deceiving and have undertows that may be dangerous.
    • retreat to and stay in the highest place possible.

UNK Policy on Flooding: 

1. The Police and Parking Services Department will activate the Emergency Notification System and send a campus wide e-mail.

2. Listen to local radio and television stations or weather alert for updates.

3. During non-business hours, the Police and Parking Services Officer on duty will activate the after hours Emergency Notification System, send a campus wide e-mail and proceed to as many buildings and classrooms as possible to make notifications.  Police and Parking Services will also contact the Hall Director on duty who will leave a message on every residence hall student’s voicemail

4. Do not travel during a flood and stay in the highest place possible.

flooding image


ice tree     ice cars

Ice storms have been known to plague the Kearney area periodically. These consist of mainly freezing rain/drizzle that turns into sheets of ice on the roads and that clings to power wires, etc. increasing the possibility of power outages.Also, snow melt will often turn into ice when temperature drop below the freezing point or overnight.

  • When freezing rain is in the forecast, be aware and cautious of potential driving conditions
  • When snow begins melting, be aware of spots where the melt may have been frozen into ice
  • Do not travel excessively, so as to avoid accidents and potentially dangerous situations
  • Make sure adequate preparation is taken beforehand - such as having an emergency kit on hand, stocking up on items you may need, and being informed

Intense Heat

In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity. Generally temperatures are 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region during summer months, last for a long period of time and occur with high humidity as well.

Are you Red Cross Ready for a heat wave? Find out

Know the Difference:

Excessive Heat Watch—Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.

Excessive Heat Warning—Heat Index values are forecast to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs=105-110° Fahrenheit).

Heat Advisory—Heat Index values are forecast to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs=100-105° Fahrenheit).

Prepare for a Heave Wave...

  • Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.
  • The heat index is the temperature the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. Exposure to direct sunlight can increase the heat index by as much as 15° F.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, choose places you could go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls)

During a Heat Wave...

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, lightcolored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.

After a Heat Wave...

  • Move to a cooler place. Remove of loosen tight clothing and appy cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Drink small emounts of water slowly.
  • If water is refused, vomiting occurs, or consciousness is lost, call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Reference this flyer for recognition of heat-related emergencies.

Medical & H1N1

One of the most important steps in medical emergencies is to prepare in advance. The most basic step is to have an emergency first aid kit available. These come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of contents. Read the first aid manuals that are often included so you know beforehand how to use the contents so you're not trying to find information in a state of emergency.

  • The first step in a medical emergency is to contact emergency personnel. Call 911 for further instructions as well as to receive aid - and also to be instructed on how to continue in regards to the present situation.
  • Be cautious not to deliver first aid beyond the level you are trained for. If you do not know for sure what the next step is, do not proceed with it. You may cause more hurt than help.

H1N1/Influenza Links

Information from UNK on Influenza 

For up-to-date H1N1 information, visit the U.S. Government's page for the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

Medical Emergency Procedure from UNK:

Medical Emergencies: (Life threatening or serious injuries)

1. Call 911. Police and Parking Services will be dispatched along with other emergency personnel.
2. Return to the victim and make them as comfortable as possible. Never move a seriously injured person unless it is a life threatening situation.
3. Render first aid up to your trained ability
4. If possible, have someone meet emergency personnel at the building entrance.

Pandemic Procedure from UNK: 

1.  A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza A virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population, and the virus begins to cause serious illness, then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide.

2. If a pandemic occurs, it is expected that it will have world-wide impact with an unpredictable timeline, comprising multiple fast spreading events or waves.  Major disruptions are likely for health care, transportation, infrastructure, education, suppliers and other public services.  Although physical facilities will not be damaged, human resources will be affected, with high levels of absences from the work site.  An informed and prepared public can take appropriate actions to decrease their risk during a pandemic. To be prepared for such an emergency;

  • a. Create a home emergency plan.
    b. Have necessary preparedness items on stock at home (food, water, medicines)  A preparedness list can be found at http://www.tworiverspublichealth.com/documents/Preparednessbrochure.pdf
    c. Talk with your local public health officials and health care providers, who can supply information about the signs and symptoms of a specific disease outbreak and recommend prevention and control actions.
    d. Adopt business/school practices that encourage sick employees/students to stay home.
    e. Prioritize job duties to anticipate how to function with a significant decrease in your workforce. 
    f. Develop guidelines to modify face-to-face contacts.
    g. Limit / discontinue travel for university business.
    h. Discontinue extracurricular events and large gatherings.
    i. Practice good health habits, including eating a balanced diet, exercising daily, and getting sufficient rest. In addition, take common-sense steps to stop the spread of germs, including frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes and staying away from others as much as possible when you are sick.

Power Outages

  • Summer power outages can be associated with excessively strong winds, tree/debris interference, or other storm damage.
  • Winter power outages can be associated with excessively heavy snowfall or with ice storms.

Tips for safety during outages:

Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.

Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.

Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.

Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.

To learn more about how to prepare for a power outage, what you should do during a power outage and what you should do when the power comes back on go to the Red Cross website, click here!

For on-campus power outages, contact the Facilities department...

Facilities Service Desk
(308) 865-1800

After hours, contact Police and Parking Services at (308) 627-4811

For off-campus outages, Nebraska Public Power District asks...

If you are without electricity in normal weather, check your circuit breakers or fuses. During a storm, several people in your area also may be without power. When you call NPPD to report an outage, give your name, address and nature of the problem. It helps us to know if the power is just off in your house or whether the entire neighborhood is without power. NPPD provides 24-hour support for our customers. If you have an outage and get your electric bill from NPPD, call us at (toll free): 1-877-ASK-NPPD (275-6773).

If your power supplier is other than NPPD, check with your local power provider. To find out who your local power provider is, view the Nebraska Town Index.

Downed Power Line
If you are outside your home or in an automobile and you happen to encounter a downed power line, STAY AWAY. All downed power lines should be treated as if they were still carrying power. If in your car and a power line has fallen on it, STAY IN THE CAR until power company personnel arrive on the scene. If remaining in the car is not an option (fire or other unsafe conditions), JUMP clear of the vehicle and SHUFFLE away keeping your feet together.

flashlight pic     broken power line pic


Kearney is in a location that is apt to have large amounts of snow and/or ice. It is important to stay updated with weather updates to be prepared for possible winter weather emergencies.
Be aware of snow routes - do not park in these areas when there is a chance of excessive snowfall or snow emergency.

  • Check Kearney snow routes here 

Quick tips for snowy weather:

  • make sure you have a shovel and/or ice pick if you need to clear sidewalks, driveways, etc.
  • ensure there is a snow brush and ice scraper in your vehicle
  • shop ahead - if you know there will be a storm stock up beforehand to avoid unnecessary travel
  • snow can quickly turn to slush on the roads that can be deceiving - and still slippery!
    • the same slush can freeze overnight or in cold temperatures, creating icy conditions
  • make sure you and your car care prepared properly 
  • if you must travel, give plows enough room to operate safely

UNK policy on snow removal lots and snow emergency regulations: 

 There will be NO PARKING allowed in Commuter (yellow) only lots from midnight to 6:00 a.m., November 1st to April 1st. 

In the event of snow during a time in which parking is allowed, a SNOW EMERGENCY will be declared, at which time there will be NO PARKING in Commuter (yellow), or Employee (blue). Signs may be posted and Residence Halls will be notified if possible. It will be the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle to watch weather conditions and take appropriate steps.

Snow Removal Lots will be enforced during all breaks. 

Nebraska Department of Roads 

Red Cross tips on how to prepare for snow


Know the Difference
Severe Thunderstorm Watch—Severe thunderstorms are possible in and
near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm
warning is issued.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning—Severe weather has been reported by
spotters or indicated by radar.Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and

Red Cross Thunderstorm Guidelines 


  • Know what type of warning system will be used
  • Know a safe area to gather away from windows or glass doors
  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit for thunderstorms (water, food, a flashlight, batteries, sanitation/hygiene items, etc.)

During a storm...

  • Listen to a forecasting radio program
  • Take shelter in a safe location
  • Try to avoid using electrical items, bathing, or showering
  • If thunder can be heard, head indoors

After the storm...

  • Do not drive on flooded roadways
  • No not put yourself at risk by entering storm-damaged areas
  • Listen to the radio/television for updated information
  • Stay away from downed power lines


Sirens within Kearney city limits will signify the event of a tornado or funnel cloud activity.

  •  these sirens are usually tested the first Thursday of every month at approximately 5:30pm)

 Radio, T.V., and some text message programs (such as those from the National Weather Service or UNKAlert!) will also notify you of severe weather alerts

Are you Red Cross Ready for a Tornado? 

What is the difference between a "watch" and a "warning"?

A Tornado Watch is issued to alert people to the possibility of tornado development in your area.   A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado or funnel cloud has been sighted or is indicated by radar.

Tornado Warning Procedure from UNK:

a. A warning means a tornado has been sighted in the general area.  If the warning sirens sound, immediately proceed to the designated shelter area. Advise others on your way. Do not use the elevators. Use the designated shelter location(s)  within your building.
b. If time does not permit, get into the safest area of your building, classroom or office.
c. Avoid windows, auditoriums, gymnasiums or other structures with free-span roofs, boiler room areas or electrical switchgear areas.
d. Shelter may be taken underneath your desk or any heavy furniture available.

Winter Weather

The Kearney Area can be prone to severe winter. Check the weather forecast and know what kind of weather you may encounter. Keep an emergency kit available for power outages and other weather-caused emergencies.

  • Try to avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain, heavy snow, or dense fog
  • Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting lightweight clothing in several layers.
  • Keep a disaster kit in your car as well as your home
    • In your car, make sure to include blankets, gloves, and other specialty items that relate to the cold that will help in the even of being stranded
  • Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain
  • Do not park in snow routes, or towing/ticketing may be enforced under emergency snow conditions
    • Check snow routes here 

Keep an emergency kit for your car...

An emergency car kit may include:

  • battery-powered radio and flashlight
    • extra batteries
  • blanket
  • booster/jumper cables
  • fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
  • first aid kit with manual
  • bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods
    • ie: granola bars, raisins, peanut butter
  • maps, shovel, flares
  • tire repair kit and pump

Know the Difference

Winter Storm Outlook
Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.

Winter Weather Advisory
Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.

Winter Storm Watch
Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.

Winter Storm Warning
Life-­threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

UNK policy on snow removal lots and snow emergency regulations:

 There will be NO PARKING allowed in Commuter (yellow) only lots from midnight to 6:00 a.m., November 1st to April 1st. 

In the event of snow during a time in which parking is allowed, a SNOW EMERGENCY will be declared, at which time there will be NO PARKING in Commuter (yellow), or Employee (blue). Signs may be posted and Residence Halls will be notified if possible. It will be the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle to watch weather conditions and take appropriate steps.

Snow Removal Lots will be enforced during all breaks.

Make sure you and your car care prepared properly  

Nebraska Department of Roads 

Red Cross tips on how to prepare for snow