Parents & Families

The University of Washington Police Department and SafeCampus work together with faculty, staff and students on crime prevention and law enforcement programs, and regularly team up with partners such as Seattle Police Department, Washington State Patrol and the King County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that the environment where UW students live, learn, work and play is safe, secure and conducive to a rewarding Husky Experience for all.

In addition to the crime prevention, awareness programs and advocacy services UWPD provides, students can participate in free self-defense classes, join the Student Safety Advisory Board or cadet internship program, or simply enjoy greater peace of mind by taking advantage of free and easy-to-use services such as NightWalk or NightRide. Check out these quick links to key safety resources:

How will you know if there is an emergency on campus?

From text alerts to outdoor speakers, the UW has a number of ways (detailed below) to notify the campus community about incidents when they occur.

In the event of an emergency, a team that has been involved in crisis communications planning for the past 10 years convenes quickly to determine the type of message that should be sent. The team includes representatives from the UW Police Department, Emergency Management, Media Relations, Housing & Food Services and UW-IT, and collectively arrives at this decision within minutes of an incident occurring.

Emergencies on or near campus can be communicated in a number of ways, including:

  • UW Alert text and email messages: UW Alert quickly informs the campus community about an emergency situation that poses a potential threat to people’s health and safety. Here are some important things to know about UW Alert:
    • UW Alert is a mostly opt-in system.
    • Students’ UW email addresses are automatically registered, and cell phone numbers for students living in the residence halls are set to receive messages, as well.
    • Nearly all students (99 percent) are enrolled in UW Alert via either text messages or email. Encourage your student to check their text and email alert enrollment status and update it if needed at
  • UW Outdoor Alert: The blue towers you see on the Seattle and Tacoma campuses can be used to communicate spoken messages to most areas on campus.
  • UW Indoor Alert: Nearly all buildings on the Seattle campus are equipped to convey messages through indoor speakers. Some buildings relay alert messages on digital reader boards instead.
  • UW Alert Blog: During an incident, the emergency blog ( is updated regularly with information about the status of the event. A banner linking to these posts appears on the UW home page and many UW-affiliated websites.
  • UW Alert Facebook and Twitter: UW Alert messages and occasional updates during emergency incidents are posted on the UW Alert Facebook and Twitter.

In the event of a significant emergency or disaster, The American Red Cross’ Safe and Well website,, may be used to keep you and your student’s other families and friends aware of their status.

UW Bothell and UW Tacoma are part of the UW Alert system with communications specific to each campus. For the latest information about each, go to or

The University’s Crisis Communications Plan is available online with more detailed information. While we hope these emergency communications tools are rarely needed, they are there to help protect your student’s safety and well-being.