Blue Light Emergency Phones

A firefighter tests the blue light emergency phone outside the campus fire station

In the event of an emergency, students, faculty and staff can reach the campus Public Safety Dispatch Center either by calling 9-1-1 from any landline or cell phone or by using one of the blue light emergency phones which are installed in high traffic areas of campus. These emergency phones connect callers directly to the Dispatch Center, which will notify police or fire personnel to respond as appropriate to the situation. There are three different types of such phones currently in use, however, all can be identified by the blue light located on or near each unit. These lights are automatically lit after dark and, on the new tower-style units, flash when in use.


As of August 2021, there are 42 blue light emergency phones on campus. There are three emergency phones located in each large parking lot (North Remote, East Remote, West Remote and Hahn Student Services) as well as three on each floor of the Core West Parking Structure. Emergency phones are also located at most bus stops, along various walking paths and in common areas such as McHenry Library, Bay Tree Plaza and OPERS.

Using an emergency phone is the same as calling 911. When a call is made from an emergency phone, the Dispatch Center is automatically notified which phone is in use and can thus dispatch fire or police personnel to the appropriate location even when a caller cannot speak. All emergency phone activations are investigated for this reason, just as all 911 calls are investigated.

In addition to the blue light emergency phones, there is also an emergency phone located in each elevator on campus. These elevator emergency phones also connect directly to the Dispatch Center.

Below is a constantly-updated map of all of the blue light phones around campus.  


Tower-Style Emergency Phones

Photo of tower-style emergency phone  Photo of tower-style emergency phone panel

Tower-Style Emergency Phone
Hahn Student Center Parking Lot

New tower-style emergency phones began being installed on campus during Summer 2007 as part of an on-going effort to improve the safety and security of students, faculty, and staff.

The phones are activated by pressing the large red button, which will automatically connect the caller to the Dispatch Center. At the same time, a high-intensity strobe light at the top of the phone will activate, providing a beacon for police officers or firefighters to locate the person in distress.

Box-Style Emergency Phones

In addition to the tower-style phones, there are also older box-style emergency phones on campus. These older phones vary between two different, but similar designs and are all identified by a blue light on or near the unit.

Type 1 (Push Button)

Photo of post-mounted emergency phone  Photo of post-mounted emergency phone panel

Post-Mounted Emergency Phone
Crown-Merrill Apartments East Parking Lot

This type of emergency phone features a red-painted metal box with a blue light on top and a speaker phone panel inside that is similar to the newer units. Most of these phones are mounted on wooden posts in exterior locations, except for the wall mounted units inside the Core West Parking Structure (at the front, middle and back of each floor).

These phones are used by opening the box and pressing the red button inside, which will connect the phone to the Dispatch Center.

Type 2 (Telephone Handset)

Photo of handset-style emergency phone box  Photo of emergency phone handset

Wall-Mounted Emergency Phone
Fire Station

This type of emergency phone features a slightly different red-painted metal box and are all wall-mounted with the blue light also wall-mounted near the box. These units have a traditional telephone handset inside.

These phones are used by picking up the handset, which automatically connects the phone to the Dispatch Center. Even though there is a rotary dial, it is not necessary to dial any number.