Emergency Procedures


Emergency Telephone Numbers

Life Threatening:              9 - 911  then  416-978-2222 (Campus Police)

Non-Life Threatening:     416-978-2222 (Campus Police)


Business Hours:   Ikee Gibson, Operations & Building Services Officer, 416-576-4904

After Hours:                      

  • Robarts: 416-978-8450
  • Gerstein: 416-978-2280
  • Other UTLibraries: 416-978-3000

Personal injury

Life Threatening Injuries / Illness

  1. Call 9 - 911 then Campus Police at 416-978-2222.
  2. If available, call for the local first aider or if on duty, the Building Patrol and render first aid.
    • Keep victim still and comfortable.
    • Assure victim that help is on its way.
    • If unconscious, check for breathing and pulse.
    • Control bleeding by direct pressure to the wound.
    • Assist victim until help arrives.
    • Get as much information about the victim and the injury while waiting and provide the information to the responding emergency team.
  3. Report the incident to your supervisor/designate.
  4. Inform Circulation Desk / Information Desk of the incident.
  5. Complete an online Accident/Incident form.

Non - Life Threatening Medical Condition

  1. Provide necessary first aid.
  2. If medical assistance is required, call Campus Police at 416-978-2222.
  3. Do not administer food or drink to an injured or ill person.
  4. Report the incident to your supervisor/designate and complete an online Accident/Incident form

Indoor air quality

Air quality is controlled and maintained by Facilities & Services. Any adjustments to these controls must be authorized and performed only by their staff.

Noxious Fumes

  1. If you suspect the presence of noxious fumes, immediately report the finding to your supervisor or designate. If a supervisor is unavailable, call 416-978-3000.
  2. Should a person be ill or overcome by fumes, remove the victim from the vicinity of the fumes. WARNING: If someone has been overcome by fumes, you could be too. Call Campus Police at 416-978-2222 (if the situation is life threatening, call 9 - 911 then Campus Police at 416-978-2222).
  3. Report the incident to the Circulation / Information Desk.
  4. If necessary, the supervisor will evacuate the immediate area.

Temperature and Humidity
If you experience discomfort due to temperature and / or humidity, report your finding to your supervisor or designate.

Unacceptable behaviour: harassing, threatening, alcohol or drug-related, or suspicious behaviour

If you are subjected to harassment or other behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable, or if you observe behaviour that you feel is unacceptable or suspicious, do the following:

  1. Report the incident or person to your supervisor or designate immediately.
  2. The supervisor or designate will determine whether to involve Campus Police or Library Patrol.
  3. If Campus Police are called, wait with your supervisor for police to arrive.
  4. Complete an Incident Report form with your supervisor.


  • If you are uncertain but "feel" that there may be a problem, report the situation to your supervisor. Rely on your instinct; do not ignore it.
  • Do not try to apprehend any suspicious person(s).
  • Leave the area to a safe location and report.
  • When reporting an incident, note details and describe the person as accurately as possible.

Bomb threat

If you receive a call regarding a bomb threat:

1. Get information.

Keep the caller on the telephone if possible without endangering yourself and occupants of the building. Always write down the following information:

  • the time the bomb is set to go off
  • the locations of the bomb, (building, floor, room),
  • the kind of bomb,
  • what it looks like,
  • the reason for placing the bomb
  • time of call
  • any information that may identify the caller, such as:
    • age of caller
    • gender of caller
    • speech pattern, accent, possible nationality
    • emotional state of the caller
    • background noise

2. Immediately call Campus Police at 416-978-2222.

3. Report to your supervisor or designate.

Campus police will conduct a search with the assistance of employee volunteers who are familiar with the area. If a suspicious object or potential bomb is located, the area will be immediately evacuated.

Suspicious Package

If a suspicious package is received:

1. Do not handle the package. Immediately call Campus Police at 416-978-2222 and provide the following information:

  • your name and location
  • description of the object
  • location of the object

2. Report the incident to your supervisor or designate.

Campus Police and the Toronto Police Service will immediately go to the location of the object.

3. While waiting for the police, do the following:

  • evacuate the immediate area
  • make sure no one goes near or attempts to move the object
  • have someone meet the police and direct them to the object

The police will advise if further evacuation is necessary.

University closure

In accordance with University policy, campus closure due to inclement weather resides with the VP & Provost and the Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity.

The Chief Librarian or designate will be informed of any decision to close the University. This information will then be disseminated to all the department heads, managers and supervisors who will announce the same to their staff.

Until the decision to "close" all operations is announced, the University is to be considered open and normal non-teaching operations should continue even when classes have been canceled.

Staff may also call a Library’s First Stop phone line (416-978-8450) for additional information on Library closure due to inclement weather.

All normal operations that have been discontinued will be automatically re-opened on the day following the closure. Should it be necessary to continue closure beyond the first day, the aforementioned procedure would again be followed in its entirety. Individual employees should not make telephone calls to departments to inquire on this matter, as this may disrupt telephone lines to those receiving or sending essential calls.

Civil disturbance, demonstration

It is not your responsibility to act as a police officer. Your safety and the safety of your co-workers and library users come first.

Whenever a large crowd gathers and causes disturbance, please follow these steps:

1. Call Campus Police at 978-2222.  Provide the following information:

  • your location
  • the location of the crowd
  • the size of the crowd
  • the crowd's behaviour and direction
  • description of the group
  • weapon(s), if present or suspected
  • your name and a telephone number you can be reached.

2. If circumstances permit, report the incident to your supervisor and call the circulation/information desk.

3. Warn other staff and library patrons and move to a safe place, if necessary.

Elevator failure

Elevators are equipped with telephones to enable passengers to request assistance should they become trapped in the event of an elevator failure.

If you receive a request for assistance or you hear people trapped in an elevator:

  1. Immediately call Campus Police at 416-978-2222. Identify the exact location of the elevator and if possible the condition of the passenger(s).
  2. Report the same to:  
  • Robarts Library Information Desk: 416-978-5093  or
  • Gerstein Library Circulation Desk: 416-978-2280
  1. Keep reassuring the passengers that help is on its way.

If you discover or receive a report of an elevator malfunction where no passengers are involved, immediately report your findings to 416-978-3000.

Damage to or malfunction of library property

Should you discover any damage to a library building (windows, walls, doors, etc.) or malfunction to physical services (lights, toilets, water taps or fountains, etc.) report this finding to your supervisor or designate and during normal business hours call Ikee Gibson, Operations & Building Services Officer, at 416-576-4904.


For any finding that is considered URGENT outside of normal business hours, call 416-978-3000 and report to your supervisor or designate.

Note: "Hate" Graffiti is considered to be a serious offense. Should you discover such writing, call Campus Police, report to your supervisor and complete an Incident Report form. Your supervisor will submit the completed form to the Manager of Security, Health & Safety.

Fire plan

Follow these Fire Emergency Procedures or Fire Emergency Procedures for Mobility-Impaired Persons

See also Fire safety for those who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

Immediately report to a Fire or Police Officer if:

  • anyone is suspected of being in the building after general evacuation
  • you know the location of the fire

Ensure fire doors are kept closed at all times.

Do not block entrance into or out of the building.

In Robarts Library, use only the emergency stairwells.  These exit directly outside the building.

Please read these important Fire Prevention FAQs


If during the evacuation, you are trapped in an area where there is smoke, follow these recommendations:

  • If smoke is heavy in the corridor, it may be safer to stay in your room or office. Close the door and place wet material(s) at the base of the door.
  • If possible, call 416-978-2222 and inform them of your situation, giving your exact location.
  • If you have to exit the building and you encounter smoke, stay low to the floor and crawl if necessary.

Duties of Supervisors

Library supervisors and designates will assist staff and patrons to evacuate the building safely and in an orderly fashion. They are not expected to take action that may endanger themselves or others. Their responsibility includes ensuring that people are aware that evacuation procedures are in effect. Should people refuse to leave, they will report the number of persons and their location to the fire or police officials as they exit the building. During a fire emergency, supervisors and their designates will:

  • Attempt to fight the fire with one fire extinguisher and only if it can be done safely.
  • Advise persons in their assigned areas to proceed to the nearest exit and supervise their departure.
  • Assist persons with mobility impairment to evacuate or call Campus Police at 416-978-2222 and advise the police of the person's exact location and telephone number. If safety permits, stay with the person and assure that assistance is on the way.
  • If safety permits, check for stragglers in offices, reading rooms and washrooms in their areas.
  • Assist in keeping entrance doors to the building clear for the emergency response team's access.
  • If safety permits, pre-designated staff member should lock cash boxes / confidential files. Offices should not be locked.

Fire Prevention Measures

For the safety of building occupants, follow these provisions concerning corridors, exits, stairs and doors.

Flooding or water leaks

  1. Do not immediately enter a flooded area; there may be danger of electrical shock.
  2. During regular business hours, call Ikee Gibson, Operations & Building Services Officer, 416-576-4904. 
  3. After hours, report your finding to your supervisor or designate, who will call the building Caretaker or call 416-978-3000. 
  4. Inform the Circulation / Information Desk.
  5. If the flooding would affect any part of the collection, the incident must also be immediately reported to the Preservation Department at 416-978-2276. For details, please see the Disaster Plan 2022.

Power failure

In case of a power failure, UTL has auxiliary power source which will provide adequate lighting for safe evacuation. For partial power failure, immediately notify Ikee Gibson, Operations & Building Services Officer, 416-576-4904 during normal business hours, or 416-978-3000 during evenings and weekends.

Instructions on the public address system at Robarts or Gerstein libraries will be issued for the appropriate action to be taken by staff.

For other libraries, the department head will consult with the Chief Librarian / designate and any decision will be disseminated to the supervisors and staff of that library.

In the case of a non-emergency evacuation:

  • Do not panic, stay calm.
  • All library staff, except those in public service areas and stack staff, will report to their supervisor where they work.
  • Staff who are in public service will remain at their post.
  • Wait and follow your supervisor’s or designate’s instructions.
  • Use regular stairwells. Do not use emergency exits unless instructed to do so. (In Robarts Library, use the central stairwell).
  • If a power failure occurs in Gerstein Library, staff will evacuate patrons and staff from areas where there is inadequate lighting and close areas off with caution tape. Staff may remain in the lobby for further instructions.

Harassing or obscene phone calls

Anyone threatening to cause injury or death to another person or cause damage to their property commits a serious offense.

This type of call should be reported immediately to Campus Police at 416-978-2222.  If a suspect is known, this information should be passed on to police.

Report the incident to your supervisor or designate and complete a UTL Incident Report Form.

Harassing, Annoying or Obscene Calls

  • Most often the caller is anticipating a reaction from you. Do not overreact. Remain calm.
  • Never blow a whistle or yell into the telephone. The caller will know you are angry and the frequency of the calls may increase.
  • Hang up the receiver promptly and gently. Your caller may wish to anger or frighten you and you should avoid providing the desired response.
  • Keep a record of the date, time of call and the telephone number the call was received on. This information may establish a pattern and assist in the investigation.
  • Immediately report the incident to the police.
  • Report the incident to your supervisor or designate and complete a UTL Incident Report Form.
  • Your supervisor will report the incident and submit the form to the Health & Safety, Fire and Security Manager or designate.

Robberies or hold-ups

It is not your responsibility to act as a police officer. Your safety and the safety of your co-workers and library users come first. Obstruction may only worsen the situation and bring about unnecessary harm to staff and patrons. Therefore, offer no resistance.

During a Robbery

  • Handle the situation calmly. Do not panic.
  • Follow the perpetrator's directions to the best of your ability without endangering your own safety or others'.
  • Do not argue or withhold cash from the robber(s).
  • Advise the robber(s) if other staff or patrons are in the work area to avoid startling the robber.
  • Observe carefully any personal characteristics so that you can describe and identify the person later to police.
  • Do not attempt to overpower the perpetrator.
  • Do not touch objects, surfaces or materials the perpetrators touch. If a note or other objects are given to you, hold it from the sides or edges only.
  • Remember any place or objects the person touches and inform the police so that they can attempt to fingerprint the surface.

After a Robbery or Hold-Up

  • Call police immediately at 9 - 911, and tell them your name and location, the description of the perpetrator(s), the direction of travel, whether armed or not.
  • DO NOT hang up until the police officer tells you.
  • Then (or using another telephone line) call Campus Police immediately at 416-978-2222 and provide the same information.
  • Report to your supervisor or designate and immediately complete the UTL Incident Report form.
  • If possible, lock all doors to the area(s) and prevent staff and patrons from walking, touching anything the robber(s) may have touched.
  • If safety permits, observe the escape route of the robber(s) and note carefully description of vehicle used, if any.
  • Do not discuss the robbery with others, only with the police. Request witnesses to wait for the police to arrive.
  • Write down your observations as soon as possible. Your supervisor may help you write while you narrate your observations.
  • Information should be factual with short phrases. Do not exaggerate. Do not estimate the value of the property or the amount of cash stolen.


Assistance from the University of Toronto, Campus Police, Fire Prevention Services, Personal Safety Awareness Office, Sexual Harassment Office, the Environmental Health and Safety Office, and the Library's Joint Health & Safety Committee in creating this handbook is acknowledged and appreciated.


Any comments regarding the content and/or format of the procedures of/in the Emergency Handbook, please contact:  Susan Gropp, Manager, Security, Health & Safety.

You may also direct any comments to any member of the University of Toronto Library Joint Health and Safety Committee