Practicalities for the USI community

Crisis communication

USI Security number:

  • LUGANO CAMPUS: tel. 058 666 4730 (dial 4730 from campus phones)
  • MENDRISIO CAMPUS: tel. 058 666 5820 (dial 5820 from campus phones)

For major emergencies: tel. 112


A fast, open and clear communication is of utmost importance in case of emergency. It is quite a challenge because all of the elements that define a crisis make it very difficult to handle it. There is the surprise element, lack of available information and a rapid pace of the events.

In case of potential emergency, we encourage to summon promptly the emergency services by phone, which is the quickest mean of communication.


Emergency contact numbers

In case of small emergencies on Lugano campus the number 058 666 4730 is active 24/7 (from Campus phones dial 4730).

On Mendrisio campus the number to call is 058 666 5820 (extention 5820 from campus phones).

For major emergencies, we ask you to contact the following numbers:

  • Police 117
  • Ambulance 144
  • Fire Department 118
  • or the general emergency number 112


USI’s crisis communication channels

As soon as the emergency is identified, all USI's students, professors and staff will receive an e-mail from [email protected]. Please pay the greatest attention to all messages from this address. The mail subject will always be EMERGENCY, for example:

Incendio nel Palazzo rosso. Abbandonate senza indugio e in maniera ordinata l'edificio e l'area circostante. Non usate gli ascensori. Numero di telefono dei pompieri: 118. Contatto all'USI [email protected] o 058.666.47.30
Fire in the Red Building. Immediately evacuate the building and surrounding area in an orderly manner. Do not use elevators. Fire department telephone number: 118. USI contact [email protected] or 058.666.47.30

We want to point out that all emergencies must be reported by phone at the emergency numbers active 24/7 and not by e-mail.

The news boxes on USI's homepage and on the faculties' web pages will be promptly updated together with our Twitter and Facebook profiles.

Types of emergency

An emergency is a situation such as a fire, an accident, weather alert, health emergency, violence on campus or anything that requires campus evacuation or an immediate widespread communication. Here are some guidelines for specific cases.

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  • Fire

    All USI's buildings are equipped with a fire alarm system that will activate an acoustic signal and notify the fire department. In case of fire:

    1. In case of flames or smoke, quickly walk away from the room closing the door behind you and immediately send a warning (by hitting the dedicated buttons or by phone: Fire Department 118, Lugano Campus Security Service 058 666 47 30, Mendrisio Campus 058 666 58 20).

    2. Do not use elevators and follow emergency exit signs.

    3. The fire alarm will automatically close all fire doors on campus. Please follow directions to the nearest emergency exit in case you find yourself in front of a locked fire door.

    4. If the presence of smoke makes it hard to breathe on your way out, bend low and breath through a wet handkerchief or a piece of cloth.

    5. If flames, smoke or heat trap you, remain in the room, close the entrance door and if possible seal any cracks with wet pieces of cloth whenever possible.

    6. Several fire extinguishers are available throughout campus (in classrooms, computer labs, equipment rooms as well as hallways). Some can be found directly on the walls, others are placed in closets or small rooms marked with a red sticker. Only trained staff should use extinguishers. Untrained people are allowed to use them only in case of a contained fired, and if they feel that the act will not jeopardize their safety. After calling for help and locating an accessible escape route, grab a fire extinguisher and read the instructions quickly. First, pull the security pin. Squeeze the lever slowly before aiming to the flames to check if the extinguisher is working properly. Aim at the base of the fire and fully press the lever. Spread the fire from right to left, about 15cm from where it originates until extinguished. Keep in mind that a typical fire extinguisher contains about 10 seconds of extinguishing power. If the rooms fills with smoke move to a safe area.

  • Illness or Injury

    Evaluate the problem seriousness and if necessary call an ambulance (144) and follow the rescue team directions.

    A defibrillator is available in the main building entrance of Lugano campus and it can be used in case of cardiac arrest while waiting for the rescue team.

    To reach the USI Staff members that received CPR and defibrillation training call campus security at 058 666 47 30 (Lugano) and 058 666 58 20 (Mendrisio). Taken that timing is crucial in case of such emergencies we invite anyone willing to take control of the situation to step up if the trained staff cannot be reach: once it becomes active, the defibrillator will give precise vocal instructions on how to proceed. We would like to advise that the Fondazione Ticino Cuore offers local CPR training.

    An emergency kit is available for minor injuries at the information window in the main building entrance.

  • Health emergency

    In case of health emergency USI follows the regulations issued by the Federal Office of Public Health and the Cantonal medical office. Any arrangements will be notified via e-mail from [email protected].

  • Violence outbreaks

    In a large and open community such as ours, it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of violence. In case of verbal or physical aggression it is important to seek for help among the people around you or to look for an open dialogue to avoid making the situation worse. Alert Campus Security at 058 666 47 30 (Lugano) and 058 666 58 20 (Mendrisio).

    In case of more serious violence outbreaks notify the police right away (117) and follow these directions in case of danger:

    • Outdoors
    1. Keep your distance from the eventual threat. Consider taking a safe escape route the best option.
    2. If you cannot get away safely, hide: find an appropriate hideout behind a wall, trees, parked vehicles or other objects.
    3. Try to notify everyone around you of the danger.
    4. Wait for the police or until you are certain that you can safely leave the area.
    • Indoors
    1. Keep your distance from the eventual threat.
    2. If you cannot get away safely, barricade yourself in the room, lock all doors, turn off the lights and cell phone ringers and hide behind desks. The measure that has proven to be more effective is to pretend that the room is empty.
    3. Call the Police (117) and fill them in with as many information as possible on what is happening: where you are, the number of people with you in the room, etc.
    4. If you are unable to communicate in any other way, post a note on the window with a phone number at which the police can reach you.


    Special information for Lugano Campus: electronic locks for all classrooms and offices in Lugano's buildings can only be locked from the outside and only with an authorized badge (professors and assistants). A campus phone is located in each classroom, usually next to the professor's desk. The number can be found on the phone.




Updated on: 26 September 2023