Emergency Procedures

Reporting an Emergency

Call the following numbers to report crimes in progress, life-threatening situations, personal injuries, traffic accidents, or suspicious activities:

NIH Bethesda (Main) Campus
From an office phone: 911
From a cell phone: 301-496-9911

Off Campus in Bethesda/Rockville Area
From an office phone: 911
From a cell phone: 911

Note: Be sure to alert the building security guards of all incidents.

Quick Reference Guide 

Evacuation Infrastructure Failure
  • Follow the instruction of authorities
  • Take personal belongings (purse, wallet, cell phone, etc.)
  • Use nearest exit or, if blocked, an alternative exit
  • Do not use elevator in case of fire
  • Assist people with injuries or disabilities
  • Account for other individuals
  • In case of water, power, heat, or cooling outages, call Facilities Management at 301-435-8000.
  • During telephone systems outages, use a cell phone to call CIT at 301-496-4357 (TTY 301-496-8294).
  • During a critical incident relating to computer systems, call the NIAID OCICB Help Desk at 301-402-2502 or 866-740-3642.
Shelter-in-Place Hazardous Materials

You may be safer where you are!

  • Stay quiet and calm
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Follow direction of authorities

For major spills

  • Call 911 
  • Evacuate, assemble at a safe distance from area, and designate someone to communicate with the fire department
  • Notify emergency personnel if you have been exposed or have information about the spill

For all spills: Call 301-496-2346 (or 911 during non-business hours).

Fire Suspicious Person
  • Activate the nearest alarm/pull station
  • Close doors to isolate the fire
  • Evacuate the building
  • Call 911 
  • Do not re-enter building until authorized by emergency personnel
  • Do not let anyone into a locked building/office or “tailgate” into the building behind you
  • Do not confront the person
  • Do not block the person's exit
  • Call 911 
  • Provide as much information as possible to authorities
Tornado Suspicious Object

WATCH means conditions are right for tornado.
WARNING means a tornado has been seen; warnings are typically available 3 to 15 minutes in advance of the tornado.

  • Go to an internal, low area: hallways or a basement away from windows and glass.
  • Do not use elevators during a tornado warning. People with mobility concerns should go to a safe place at the time of a tornado watch; do not wait for a tornado warning!
  • Close all doors, including main corridors.
  • Crouch near the floor or under heavy, well-supported objects and cover your head.
  • If outside, lie down in a low area such as a ditch and cover your head.
  • Be alert for fire and use the fire plan as needed.
  • Do not touch or disturb object
  • Call 911 
  • Be prepared to evacuate
Explosion Violent Incident
  • Evacuate the building as quickly and calmly as possible.
  • Call 911.
  • If items are falling, get under a sturdy table or desk.
  • In case of fire, stay low to the floor and exit the building as quickly as possible.
  • If trapped in debris, tap on a pipe or wall to alert rescuers.
  • Help others exit the building and move to designated evacuation areas.
  • Untrained personnel should not try to rescue people who are inside a collapsed building; wait for emergency personnel.
  • If you know the location of an assailant, consider escaping if a safe escape route is immediately available to you.
  • Call 911 when safe.
  • If it is unsafe to escape, immediately seek protection.
  • Secure area by locking or barricading doors using whatever means available.
  • Stay behind solid objects and away from door.
  • Minimize noise that may draw attention to your location: turn off lights, computers, and radios and put cell phones on vibrate.
  • Follow all directions of authorities; do not challenge law enforcement.
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