International Student Services

Emergency Resources

Call 9-1-1 for Ambulance, Police, or Firefighter Help

The 911 emergency number is answered by an operator who will ask about your emergency. The operator will send the appropriate assistance to you–an ambulance, police, firefighters, etc.–as fast as possible. This number should not be used for situations that are not emergencies. If you are unsure whether your situation is an emergency, it is better to call. The operator will transfer you to the appropriate resource for non-emergencies.


Property theft is an occasional and unfortunate fact of life anywhere. There are steps you can take to prevent theft and also to help get your things back if they are stolen. The University of Washington Police Department has tips for both situations.

If your passport, I-94 card or immigration documents are stolen, report the theft to the police and contact your ISS adviser.

Large-Scale Emergencies and Disasters

For suggestions on how to prepare for and respond to large-scale emergencies, like earthquakes, severe storms, fires, etc., visit the University of Washington’s Office of Emergency Management. Their website provides extensive information, including preparing for the following:

Call Your Consulate

If there is ever a large-scale emergency in the region where you are, call your home-country’s local consulate to check in. They will be happy to hear that you’re safe, and they may be able to pass that knowledge along to friends and family back home, even when you cannot because of the emergency. Your consulate may also have specific information for you regarding your home country’s response to the emergency or specific services that they can provide you. The most accurate list of foreign consulates in the U.S. is at the Department of State.

The UW Counseling Center has provided a useful guide for when there is a natural disaster in your home country while you are studying at UW.

Other Useful Emergency Sites

These are some sites with further suggestions on how to prepare for large-scale emergencies. These sites are maintained by the federal or county government and non-profit preparedness agencies. The University of Washington is not responsible for their contents.

  •, a federal website about emergency preparedness, is maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. The site’s motto is "Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed."
  • Regional Public Information Network (RPIN) is a one-stop resource for news alerts from government, transportation, utility, health, and emergency response agencies in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. With the motto "Be in touch. Stay in touch," RPIN keeps the public informed about street and highway closures, weather, major transit disruptions, and provides updates on what agencies are doing to respond to emergencies and incidents. The public also can sign up to receive e-mail alerts and pager headlines from RPIN partners and get helpful tips to prepare for emergencies.
  • King County’s Office of Emergency Management also maintains thorough information about preparing for disasters and emergencies.