Reporting and Responding to Incidents

This section includes recommended steps to take in the event of a potential or actual emergency situation on campus. The emergencies listed here are a few examples of hazards that may affect Toronto and/or Mississauga. The University of Toronto is prepared to take an all-hazards approach to ensuring the safety of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus.

What is an active attacker?

An active attacker may display a weapon or engage in threatening behaviour towards others. Though an active attacker situation is highly unlikely, students, faculty, staff, and visitors should be aware of what to do if it occurs.

Be aware of your surroundings

  • Consider all potential exits to the room and building you are in
  • Consider items that can be used as a door-stopper, such as a chair wedged under a doorknob, or a heavy piece of furniture that can block a door from opening
  • Consider any items that could be used as makeshift weapons in the event that you need to defend yourself, such as scissors or a fire extinguisher

If an active attacker situation occurs, consider three possible options: Run, Hide, or Defend.

Run Exit the area as quickly and as safely as possible, and think about where you are going to go next. Do not focus on bringing belongings – just evacuate. Assist others if it is safe to do so. Call 911 once you are safe.

Hide If you are unable to leave, move to a room that can be secured. Lock all doors and windows. If there is no lock, try to secure entry points with a door stop, or block them with heavy furniture. Turn off all lights, silence mobile phones, and remain quiet until the police clear the scene. Try to place yourself out of sight – under a desk, in a closet, in a corner, or on the floor.

Defend Defend yourself as an absolute last resort. Attack with others if possible. Use makeshift weapons such as scissors, chairs, and fire extinguishers in an attempt to distract or disarm the attacker.

Do not move from your hiding space unless you are directed to do so by emergency response personnel, or if the area becomes unsafe. Keep your hands visible and empty. Provide first aid to those who may need it, if you are trained to do so.

If someone requires medical attention, be prepared to provide the following information when you call 911: 

  • Your location: An address, major intersection, and/or building name  
  • The phone number you are calling from 
  • A description of what happened  
  • Be prepared to remain on scene and to stay on the line with the EMS Operator, they can provide you with direction on how to assist the individual 

It is important to note that Campus Police vehicles are equipped with first aid kits and Automated External Defibrillators. In the event of a medical emergency, contact them after you have called 911, or direct another person to call them while you call 911. 

Medical emergencies require immediate interventions from professionals. Getting the right type of help promptly can save someone’s life.  

What is a medical emergency?

Here are a few examples of medical emergencies:

  • An altered level of consciousness (unconscious, drowsy, confused, lethargic, etc.)  
  • Breathing problems  
  • Burns or inhalation injuries  
  • Chest pain  
  • Choking  
  • Convulsions or seizures  
  • Diabetic issues  
  • Injuries to the neck or spine  
  • Overdoses  
  • Severe allergic reactions  
  • Uncontrolled bleeding  
  • Only approach a patient if you feel comfortable doing so  
  • Be aware of what environmental conditions may have caused the person to become ill – don’t become the second patient  
  • Look for Medical Alert bracelets on the patient’s wrist  
  • If there is someone else on scene with you, send them to meet the emergency responders in the lobby or main entrance of the building, or at a predetermined landmark nearby  

Power outages usually occur for short periods of time but have the potential to go on for several days and weeks.

For status updates about outages in Toronto, visit the Toronto Hydro website.

For status updates about outages in Mississauga, visit the Alectra Utilities website.

If you live on campus, consider: 

  • Alternative energy sources, such as power banks, that can help charge cell phones. 
  • Ensure that you have important phone numbers saved in case wireless networks are down, and internet access is unavailable.  
  • Keep a crank radio available in order to obtain news if other wireless devices have lost power.  
  • Use surge-protecting power bars to prevent damage to electronic appliances.  

If you live on campus and a power outage occurs: 

  • Turn off all tools, appliances, and electronic equipment. Turn down your thermostat to avoid damage when power is restored.  
  • Keep your fridge closed. A freezer can hold food for 24 to 36 hours if undisturbed.  
  • Never leave lit candles unattended. Use proper candle holders.

If you live on campus: .  

  • Check food supplies in the fridge and freezer.  
  • Restock any supplies you have may have used during the outage.  

Know places where you can go to cool down. Many buildings on campus have air conditioning. Locally – libraries, community centers, and shopping malls can also serve as cooling sites if necessary.  

Learn the signs of heat-related illness.  

  • Heat cramps can cause muscle pains and spasms in the abdomen, arms, or legs.  
  • Heat exhaustion can cause heavy sweating, pale skin, weakness, fainting, nausea and vomiting.  
  • Heat stroke can cause hot, red skin without sweating, a fast heart rate, and a loss of consciousness. 

If heat-related illnesses occur, go to a cooler location, remove excess clothing, and take sips of cool water and/or sports drinks. Do not try to provide food or fluids to someone who has lost consciousness or is near fainting. If there is any altered level of consciousness, call 911 immediately.  

During an extreme heat event:  

  • Seek out an air-conditioned place to stay  
  • Never leave a child or animal alone in a vehicle  
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured clothing
  • Drink fluids and stay hydrated
  • Avoid engaging in high-energy activities 

Check weather forecasts regularly. Keep an emergency kit readily available if you live on campus, and ensure you have an adequate supply of food, candles, and clean drinking water.  

If you have an outdoor event planned, consult with Campus Police about what steps you can take to respond proactively to inclement weather.

General instructions: 

  • Remain indoors and avoid unnecessary travel.  
  • If flooding occurs, stay out of building areas below ground level.   

During a flood, follow local news sources to determine which areas are safe. If there is a need to evacuate the area:   

  • If you live on campus, take your emergency kit with you. 
  • Follow routes specified by officials, and do not attempt to take shortcuts.  
  • Never walk across a flooded area – fast water can sweep you away.  
  • Do not drive through flood waters, as they may be deeper than they appear.  

After a flood has taken place:  

  • Appliances and electronics that have been flooded pose a shock or fire risk. Do not use any item that has electrical components until they are properly dried or checking by an electrician.  
  • Ensure the area you are entering is structurally safe. At the University, only enter if Campus Police, Environmental Health and Safety, or other appropriate officials have indicated that it’s safe to do so.
  • Flood water can be heavily contaminated with sewage and pollutants. Avoid consuming or coming into contact with it. 

Check weather forecasts regularly. Keep an emergency kit readily available if you live on campus, and ensure you have an adequate supply of food, candles, and clean drinking water.  

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.  

  • Frostbite often affects the face, fingers and toes. It can cause white, waxy skin and numbness to the affected area.  
  • Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature drops below 35°C. It may involve shivering, confusion, slurred speech, or drowsiness.  

For both scenarios, go to a warm place and use blankets to slowly rewarm. If there is any altered level of consciousness, call 911 immediately.  

General instructions: 

  • Remain indoors and avoid unnecessary travel.  
  • If you must go out, wear warm, tightly woven, water-repellent clothing.  
  • Follow local news sources for direction.  
  • Prepare for potential power outages if you live on campus.  

Check weather forecasts regularly. Keep an emergency kit readily available if you live on campus, and ensure you have an adequate supply of food, candles, and clean drinking water.  

General instructions: 

  • Remain indoors and avoid unnecessary travel.  
  • Go into a basement or cellar. If there is no basement, go to a small, interior ground floor room.  
  • Stay away from windows and doors. Do not use elevators.  
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.  
  • If you cannot get into a building safely, cover your head and neck with your arms.  

After a tornado has taken place:  

  • Stay clear of fallen power lines  
  • Do not enter damaged buildings 

This section includes definitions, recommended actions, and links to other University resources related to safety.

What is harassment?

Harassment occurs when a person intentionally and repeatedly directs intrusive and intimidating behaviours towards another person causing the other person to feel harassed, threatened, and fearful. This can includes unwanted verbal or physical behaviour that is offensive or humiliating. It can occur over time, or involve serious isolated incidents. Harassment can include unwelcome physical contact and/or unwelcome remarks about a person’s race, religion, sex, age, disability, or any other discriminatory comments.

Harassment, left unaddressed, can lead to violence. In order to foster a safe space to work and learn, understand your rights, and report harassment promptly. More information about harassment can be found here.

What can I do if I am experiencing harassment?

If you feel threatened or have immediate safety concerns please call 911 or contact Campus Police.


If you feel unsafe on or off campus due to someone’s behaviour, visit the Community Safety Office’s website to explore what options are available to you and to develop a safety plan.


If you have experienced homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination on the basis of sexual or gender identity or gender expression, visit the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office’s website for support.


If you have been harassed on the basis of your race or religion, visit the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office’s website for support.


If you have faced sexual harassment or sexual violence, you can contact the Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre’s website for support and to to explore what options are available to you.


Resources are also available through the Office of the Vice Provost, Students website and Campus Police website.


TravelSafer

If you are alone and traveling between buildings on campus, to parking lots, or to public transit stops – contact Campus Police, who can provide an escort. This service is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across all three campuses.

  • St. George Campus: 416-978-7233
  • Mississauga Campus: 905-607-7233
  • Scarborough Campus: 416-287-7022

Online threats are becoming increasingly prevalent, especially as more people transition to learning and working from home. 

The University of Toronto’s Security Matters website  contains information and links for students and staff, including: 

  • How to stay safe online 
  • Reporting cyber incidents and phishing emails  
  • The latest online scams  

Please visit the Community Safety Office’s website for more information and general e-safety tips. 

Suspicious packages are usually harmless, but may sometimes contain harmful substances or explosive devices. They can be found, unattended in open areas, or delivered to specific locations or people.  

If you find or receive a suspicious package:

  • Avoid all contact – do not open, sniff, shake, or move it  
  • Alert others in the area  
  • Leave the area, close doors behind you, and prevent others from entering  
  • If you have handled the package, wash your hands with soap and water  
  • Call 911 and alert Campus Police (416-978-2222) when you are safe  

If it has been mailed or delivered, look for:

  • Excessive postage  
  • Handwritten or poorly typed address  
  • Incorrect titles  
  • Misspellings of common words  
  • Oily stains or discolouration on packaging  
  • Strange odours or sounds  
  • Excessively heavily  
  • No return address