Chapter 4 – Safety in the residence halls

Earthquake procedures

The University of Nevada, Reno is located in a region of strong geological activity. Residents of the halls should familiarize themselves with these general procedures to follow in the event of an earthquake.

During an earthquake:

  • If you are inside a building during an earthquake, stay inside.
  • Drop, cover and hold under a table, desk, bed or against an inside wall or corner.
  • If you can't get under anything or get low against a wall, stand in a doorway, brace yourself against the frame but watch out for a swinging door that could slam and hurt you.
  • Stay clear of bookcases, shelves, file cabinets and other furniture that may slide or topple.
  • Stay away from all glass areas such as windows and mirrors.
  • After the Shaking Stops:
    • Check yourself and others for injuries; seek first aid, if needed.
    • DO NOT operate electrical switches or appliances or use matches, candles, or open flames because there may be gas leaks.
    • Be prepared for aftershocks.
    • Do not use phones. Keep the circuits open for emergency use.
    • Follow the instructions given by staff.

If evacuation is ordered:

  • Exit via the stairway. Do not use elevators.
  • Wear shoes and beware of falling debris, broken glass, or electrical wires as you exit.
  • Go to an open area away from buildings, overhangs, trees, power lines, and roadways.
  • Stay outside and wait for instructions from emergency personnel.
  • Do not leave the area/campus without reporting your status to staff.

Fire alarm procedures

Before an emergency happens, take the time to familiarize yourself with the fire exits in your hallway. If an alarm sounds and remains on, you are to assume there is an emergency and evacuate the building immediately. Failure to evacuate a building during an alarm will result in disciplinary action and possible criminal charges.


  • Feel the door for temperature. If it is hot, do not open it.
  • Close the windows.
  • If you cannot leave your room, stay calm.
  • Call 911 to notify authorities of your location.
    • Dial 9 first if using a line in the residence hall
  • Stuff wet sheets or clothing in cracks under doors.
  • Hang a sheet out the window or shout for help to attract attention.
  • If you leave the room, take your keys, close and lock the door behind you.
  • Stay low to the ground if smoke is present.
  • Move quickly; do not run.
  • Take a towel to avoid smoke inhalation.
  • Wear a coat and shoes.
  • Do not use elevators. Use fire exits and stairs.
  • Go to your hall's specified evacuation location, Do not leave the area/campus without reporting your status to staff.
  • Do not re-enter the building until permitted to do so by emergency response personnel or residence hall staff.

Fire drills

To ensure residents are prepared to react properly in an actual fire, fire drills may be conducted periodically. You must respond to any alarm as an actual emergency. In the event of an alarm, you are required to evacuate the building immediately. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.

Fire safety

Tampering with or disabling any part of the fire alarm system, discharging an extinguisher, registering a false alarm, or setting a fire can endanger life and property, and may result in cancellation of your License Agreement, restitution, disciplinary action, and/or criminal prosecution. Items may not be attached to or hung from any smoke detector or any part of the sprinkler system. Rewards may be offered for information leading to the identification of those responsible for safety-related violations.

Fire safety - smoke and heat detectors

Smoke and heat detectors, installed in each room, must be kept in working order. It is essential to report any malfunctions to the front desk immediately. Damage to any safety equipment or intentional activation of fire alarms may also result in a policy violation, criminal charges, and payment of restitution or applicable fines and charges.

Building security

Residential Life strives to find a balance between convenience to residents and their security needs. As a result, any schedule for securing exterior and interior doors can change as the security needs of the facility may require. The department has an electronic access control system as well as a series of key-controlled hardware to help secure the residence halls. Residents need to remember that regardless of the quality and level of safety the devices provide, it is their own actions that will support or undermine the security procedures in place. Residents should be aware that changes to security or life safety-related systems or procedures may occur when determined to be appropriate by the department.

Police presence in the residence halls

At times, the University of Nevada, Reno Police Department (UNRPD) and/or local law enforcement agencies may be present in the residence halls whenever incidents involving local, state or federal law are potentially occurring, safety concerns have been reported and/or when resident follow up is necessary. When UNRPD and/or local law enforcement agencies are in the residence halls, they typically are escorted by a Residential Life, Housing and Food Services staff member.

Personal safety

While we are concerned for your safety, and we provide information, facility enhancements, and staff to assist in providing a safe environment for our residents, the ultimate responsibility for your safety rests with you. Dangerous behavior or poor choices can place your personal safety at risk. To help protect yourself, please take advantage of the services and programs we offer. Some other personal safety tips:

  • Evening Travel – Never walk alone on campus after dark. Walk in groups or utilize the Pack Rides service. The Pack Rides phone number is 742-6808.
  • Suspicious Persons – Report suspicious persons or activities to campus police immediately. Police dispatch: 334-COPS (334-2677)
  • Do not allow unescorted individuals to enter or remain in the residence halls.
  • Lock your door! Don't loan your keys to anyone.
  • Please do not circumvent the safety procedures and mechanisms designed and put in place to enhance your safety and the safety of the facilities.

Emergency kit

A disaster of some kind can occur at any moment, often with no notice. Therefore, we recommend that students and faculty develop an emergency plan, which includes the use of a disaster tool kit. For college students and faculty, consider creating and having on hand an emergency preparedness kit that includes the following items:

  • Sturdy, weather-resistant backpack with multiple pockets to carry items.
  • Hygiene kit including a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant and other toiletries.
  • First aid kit, including bandages, antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, gauze, latex gloves, scissors, antibiotic cream and pain relievers.
  • First aid reference book for guidance on how to deal with incident-specific situations.
  • Emergency contact list
  • List of prescribed medications; and if possible, a three-to-four-day supply of medications taken regularly.
  • Emergency blanket
  • Rain poncho/ jacket
  • Three to four days of food totaling a preferred 2,400 calories per day. Include items such as instant noodle packs, protein bars, canned food (include can opener if/when appropriate), dried fruit, nuts, etc.
  • Water; a gallon per day for three days. If three gallons cannot be kept on hand be sure to have on hand and make use of water bottles and other pouches/containers that can be refilled if necessary.
  • Large flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Phone charger
  • Hard copies of important legal documents such as health insurance card, home/ car insurance verification, ID card/driver's license and passport, if applicable.
  • A set of clean underwear, socks, gloves and a hat.
  • A clean change of clothes including pants, shirt and jacket.
  • Comfortable shoes; ideally weather/situation appropriate.
  • Garbage bags
  • Roll of duct tape
  • Whistle
  • Red article of clothing or flag to show distress and to be visible to emergency personnel.
  • Glow sticks
  • Sunscreen and bug-repellant
  • Comfort items such as a deck of cards, a book, or other such non-electric amusements.
  • When appropriate, in your vehicle keep jumper cables, a toolbox, a container of car oil and extra coolant/anti-freeze.

Chapter 5: Residence Hall Standards of Conduct