People examining an emergency evacuation map

Emergencies and personal safety

What to do in an emergency
We're committed to keeping our students, staff and visitors safe. Familiarise yourself with our emergency procedures, so that you are prepared in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Emergencies can occur at any time for a variety of reasons. Be prepared to respond independently, particularly if working after hours. 

In an emergency


Call triple zero

If your life is being threatened, or if someone is seriously ill or injured, or if you just witnessed a serious incident dial triple zero (000) for emergency services (fire/ambulance/police).

  1. Warn anyone in immediate danger
  2. Contain or manage the situation, if safe to do so
  3. Raise the alarm by activating an 'emergency call point' (break glass alarm)
  4. Evacuate via your closest safe exit
  5. Call emergency services on triple zero (000)

Call Protective Services on 02 9351 3333

We're available 24 hours a day to assist in an emergency or if you're feeling unsafe on campus.

Our Protective Services officers are certified to perform first aid and their vehicles are equipped with automated external defibrillators (AED).

A number of emergency help points are located across the Camperdown/Darlington campus and can be found on our maps under 'Amenities'. These help points provide a direct link to Protective Services.

You can also reach Protective Services on 1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457).

Other emergency procedures

In some situations, you may be required to evacuate. All University staff, students and visitors are required to respond to emergency alarms and follow instructions.

  1. Check for any sign of immediate danger
  2. Shut down equipment/processes that cannot be left unattended
  3. Locate your closest exit
  4. Follow exit signs to find your way out of the building (do not use lifts)
  5. Proceed to the assembly area

Where possible and safe to do so, you will be notified of an emergency lockdown via building announcements or other mechanisms including verbally by Protective Services.

A lockdown controls the movement and access, both entry and exit, of people (staff, students and visitors) around a site or other specific building/area in response to an identified significant risk, threat or hazard that might impact upon the security and safety of staff, students or visitors.

​It is achieved through a combination of physical security measures, the deployment of security personnel and individuals taking defensive actions.​

It is important that you follow directions from a warden, Protective Services and/or Emergency Services, remain calm and say inside the building.

Dependent on the circumstances you may be asked to stay away from exposed windows, move to a secured area inside the building or follow other specific instructions.

Note: Secure mode is not a lockdown. Secure more removes the ability for people to enter certain buildings without the use of their security passes.

Emergency lockdown - Active shooter/armed attacker

In the event of a threat or attack with a weapon:


Leave the immediate area, if safe to do so.


If it is not safe to leave, hide and silence your phone and other devices

If you need to hide, consider locking or barricading yourself and others in a secure area and constantly re-assess your options to escape or hide in a better location. As a last resort, consider options to defend yourself if you are located by the offender.


When safe, advise the police of your situation by dialing triple zero (000).

For more detailed information refer to the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee - Active Armed Offender Guidelines for Crowded Places.

If a person is seriously ill or injured don't hesitate to call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

  1. Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance
  2. If the person is unconscious, send for the closest automated external defibrillators (AED) - select the relevant campus and 'defibrillators' under 'Amenities' on the campus map.
  3. Call Protective Services (02 9351 3333)
  4. Send people to flag and direct the ambulance on arrival

How to use an AED

AEDs are easy to use. They guide users with step-by-step instructions using visual and voice prompts. Our AEDs will verbally request the responder to press the flashing shock button. AEDs won’t deliver a shock unless a shockable heart rhythm is detected.

An AED should be applied as soon as possible. CPR should be administered while the AED is being retrieved.

AEDs are safe to use – just don't touch the patient during shock delivery, as instructed by the voice prompt.

To find your closest AED, select the relevant campus and 'defibrillators' under 'Amenities' on the campus map.

Hazardous materials include chemicals, biological materials and radioactive substances in all forms. Staff and students working with hazardous materials are required to plan for emergencies including the need to stop work quickly and respond to spills or an uncontrolled release. Refer to the relevant Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for specific hazard information.

General spill procedures

  1. If safe to do so, control the source of release or contain the spill
  2. Evacuate and secure the immediate area
  3. Determine if local and/or emergency services assistance is required

If the incident can be managed locally

  1. Ensure that two trained staff are allocated to clean-up the spill
  2. Use appropriate personal protective equipment
  3. Absorb any free liquids, collect any solids and/or ventilate the area
  4. Collect, label and dispose of spill residue as hazardous waste
  5. Decontaminate the affected area and equipment

If emergency services assistance is required

  1. Call triple zero (000) and Protective Services (02 9351 3333)
  2. Ensure staff/students involved in the incident are available to assist the Emergency Services
  3. Contact Safety Health and Wellbeing (02 9351 5555).

Many of the University's buildings are serviced by natural gas. This natural gas can be detected by odour.

Natural gas will quickly dissipate in naturally ventilated areas and poses a limited risk of fire or explosion. Despite this, avoid the use of mobile phones (which can be a potential ignition source) in the immediate area.

Outside a building

  1. Move away
  2. Call Protective Services (02 9351 3333)

Inside a building

  1. Warn anyone in immediate danger
  2. Notify local emergency responders
  3. Evacuate to a well-ventilated external area
  4. Call Protective Services (02 9351 3333)

Bomb threats are usually received via a telephone call. If you receive a bomb threat:

  1. Remain calm
  2. Do not disconnect the call
  3. Record as much information as possible
  4. Call Campus Protective Services (02 9351 3333)
  5. Notify your supervisor and head of area

The incidence of violence on the University's campuses is generally lower than that experienced in the general community.

Feel threatened or afraid

  1. Go to a busy place
  2. Attract the attention of other people in the area
  3. Call Protective Services (02 9351 3333)

Abusive phone call

  1. Hang up
  2. Report the incident to your supervisor and Protective Services (02 9351 3333)

Aggressive or potentially violent person

  1. Try to remain calm
  2. Alert someone nearby
  3. Be assertive, but polite
  4. Attempt to de-escalate the situation
  5. Activate a duress device or call Protective Services (02 9351 3333), only if safe to do so

Watch a video on responding to personal threats.

  1. Politely challenge strangers by asking: "Can I help you?"
  2. Report suspicious behaviour to Protective Services (02 9351 3333)

Do not challenge anyone acting aggressively and avoid situations where you may be isolated from assistance.

If someone responds aggressively to the standard challenge, withdraw from the situation and call Protective Services(02 9351 3333).

University staff in charge of classes are required to help facilitate a safe and efficient response to emergency situations.

Familiarise yourself with the University’s standard emergency response procedures and the emergency exits, safe exit paths and assembly areas for various teaching spaces. In the event of an alarm activation:

  1. Encourage your students to remain calm
  2. Ask the students to pack up their personal belongings and prepare to evacuate
  3. Check that the available exits are clear and free of danger
  4. Direct students to evacuate
  5. Report any problems to the chief warden, Protective Services or the attending emergency services

Until further notice due to COVID-19, encourage students to maintain physical distancing while assembling. If you need to spread out, stay nearby (within eyesight of the building). The local emergency warden, a protective services officer or the emergency services will indicate when it is safe to re-enter the building.

University of Sydney emergency procedures

Familiarise yourself with the University's basic emergency procedures to stay safe on campus.

Counselling, support and reporting services

We have a number of counselling services available, if you have witnessed or been involved in a critical incident on or off-campus:

If you need to report an incident of sexual harassment or assault, or make a complaint about misconduct, call our confidential helpline, 1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457).

We also have other support and reporting mechanisms available for victims of sexual assault.

Stay safe on campus

  • Watch this short video about getting around campus safely.
  • Download the Sydney Uni app for access to maps, locations and amenities.
  • If you're feeling unsafe on campus or you're concerned for the safety of others, call Protective Services on 02 9351 3333 24 hours a day. Security patrol officers can assist by escorting you from a building to your vehicle, to the local bus stop or to the local railway station.
  • Keep your contact details up to date in Sydney Student or Workday so alerts can be sent to your mobile in the event of an on-campus emergency.
  • Avoid isolated areas, particularly after hours. Free shuttle buses operate to help you get around quickly and safely in the evenings.
  • When walking around the University, watch out for traffic and use designated road crossings. Never cross a road while using headphones or a mobile phone.
  • Some areas of the University pose specific risks to health and safety, such as laboratories and workshops. Access to these areas is restricted. Find out more information about restricted areas
  • If you have a medical condition or disability that could impact on your health or safety on campus, please disclose this confidentially to relevant staff.
  • If you notice a safety hazard, contact Campus Assist on 1300 CAMPUS (1300 226 787)