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Emergency Guide



Following is a guideline for specific emergency situations. This resource provides valuable information in the event of a crisis or an emergency on campus. Information on any active situations will be updated on the Campus Emergency page.

When receiving a bomb threat over the telephone:

  • Keep the caller on the line and talking as long as possible (pretend to have difficulty in hearing - ask the caller to repeat what he/she said).
  • Try to get as much information as possible about the location of the bomb and a description of the bomb and the caller.
  • Stay on the line as long as the caller continues to provide useful information. If possible, have someone else use another line to call University Police.
  • After the caller hangs up, immediately call 828-227-8911 (x8911 from a campus phone) and notify the University Police.

When a suspicious object or potential bomb is discovered:

  • Keep people away from the area where the suspicious object is and call the University Police at 828-227-8911 (x8911 from a campus phone).
  • Do not touch, move or disturb any suspicious object you feel might be a bomb.
  • Be sure to include a description of the object and its location when reporting. 
  • DO NOT Confront the Individuals
  • Get to a Safe Place to Call Campus Police (828) 227-8911
  • Do as instructed by Public Safety officials

Quickly and clearly answer the dispatcher’s questions:

  • Where are you?
  • What occurred?
  • Where did the crime occur?
  • When did the crime occur? Is it still happening?
  • Describe the person.
  • Do they have a weapon?
  • Do not hang up! The dispatcher will want to keep you on the line until help arrives.
  • Remain calm and provide assistance to others as necessary
  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting.  Candles can cause fires.
  • Turn off electrical devices to prevent power surges when power is restored.
  • If possible, move cautiously to a lighted area.
  • If it is cold outside, put on layers of warm clothing.
  • Only evacuate the building if instructed by campus officials.
  • When exiting, do so calmly and carefully.
  • DO NOT re-enter the building unless instructed to do so by public safety officials.

Before the fire:

  • Plan and practice escape routes.
  • Know the location of your Building’s Evacuation Assembly Areas
  • Post emergency numbers near telephones.
  • Do not store combustible materials near a heat source, in hallways, stairwells or exit paths.
  • Extension cords are for temporary needs only. Never run them under carpets or anywhere they can be pinched or crushed.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets by using plug extenders or multiple power strips.
  • Keep all electrical appliances away from anything that can catch fire. Remember always to turn them off at the end of the day.
  • Pay attention to housekeeping issues. Keep your work area neat and tidy and keep combustible such as paper and trash to a minimum.

During the fire:


  • Immediately notify the fire department and your co-workers by pulling the fire alarm pull station. Call Campus Emergency Services at 8911 from a campus phone, 828-227-8911 from a cell, or 911 to reach Jackson County Emergency Services from a safe location to provide details of the situation.


  • If you have been trained, and it would not place you in any immediate danger, use a fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire.
  • Evacuate as quickly and as safely as possible. On your way out, warn others.
  • Close doors and windows if time permits, to delay the spread of the smoke and fire. Feel closed doors for heat before opening. Do not open them if they are hot.
  • Use the stairs to evacuate. Do not use elevators.
  • If you encounter smoke, stay low to the ground. If possible, cover mouth with a cloth to avoid inhaling smoke and gases.

Once outside, go to your building’s Evacuation Assembly Area (EAA), tell those in charge there that you are out of the building, and report injured or trapped persons and any signs of building damage you observed.

    • Wait for instructions from emergency responders. Do not re-enter the building until the all clear is given by emergency responders.
    • If unable to leave the building, find a location away from the smoke and heat where you can signal for firefighter assistance.
    • Seal the room. Use wet cloth to stuff around cracks in doors and seal up vents to protect against smoke.
    • Do not break windows. Flames and smoke can come back in from the outside. If you need air, slightly open the window.
    • Stay low under smoke. The freshest air is near the floor. Keep a wet cloth over your nose and mouth, breathe through your nose only.
    • Signal for help. Call 828-227-8911 or 911 (8911 from a campus phone) or hang an article of clothing out the window to help signal for help. 

DO NOT try to take pictures of severe storms or tornadoes.

If asked to Shelter in Place, please follow the Shelter in Place guidelines below and follow instructions from staff or emergency responders.


  • Stay indoors.
  • Crawl under a table or desk or brace yourself by standing in an interior doorway.
  • Do not use elevators, electrical equipment or telephone.
  • Do not use open flame.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks.

Flooding (flash floods and rising water)

  • Stay indoors.
  • Never attempt to walk or drive through flood waters.
  • Avoid areas where electricity is exposed or near water.

Tornado / high winds / hurricane

  • Stay indoors.
  • Move away from windows and open doors (preferably into an interior hallway).
  • If possible, move to the lowest level of the building.
  • Do not use elevators, electrical equipment or telephone.
  • Sit on the floor and cover your head with your arms to protect from flying debris. 
  • In case of fire, pull the fire alarm when exiting the building.
  • Dial 828-227-8911 (8911 from a campus phone) and give details about the hazard to emergency personnel.
  • Evacuate immediately. Close doors behind you and do not stop for belongings.
  • Use stairways, not elevators.
  • Evacuate to at least 50 feet from building and remain there until accounted for.
  • Do not re-enter the building until fire department officials, University Police, or other designated safety personnel communicate that it is safe to return.
  • Occupants should congregate in evacuation assembly areas outside the building.  Many buildings have pre-designated assembly areas.  As instructed, please assemble in these areas once evacuated. 

If You Hear Shots Fired:  Choose to Survive!


  • Regardless of whether you evacuate or shelter-in-place, call for help.
  • Call the University's emergency number at 828.227.8911 or the Jackson County 911.
  • Be prepared to stay on the telephone line and give your location, a description of the events and their location, and what you see or hear. Also, give your name and telephone number.



  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • If you can safely do so, evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Prevent individuals from entering the area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officer
  • Generally, do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe
  • Go to a predetermined assembly point when you evacuate. This allows for the accountability for all individuals in classrooms or offices.
  • Do not re-enter a facility until allowed by a law enforcement officer or University official.


If you can’t escape, find a place to hide where the shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the shooter’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e. an office with a closed and locked door)
  • Do not trap yourself or restrict your options for movement

To prevent a shooter from entering your hiding place

  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture.  If necessary, two or more people can hold a table or desk against a door to prevent entry.

If a shooter is nearby

  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  • Turn off any sources of noise (i.e. radio, televisions)
  • Hide behind large items (i.e. cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet

If escaping and hiding are not possible

  • Remain calm
  • If possible dial 911 to alert police to the shooter’s location
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen

As a Last Resort - Fight!

As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons i.e.: fire extinguisher, chair, trash can
  • Yelling and committing to your actions
  • Do not accept that you are a victim. Do something to facilitate your survival.
  • Work with others in the room to "gang tackle" a shooter and hold him or her until help arrives.

Other Considerations:

  • Listen to the radio (WWCU-FM), check for text messages, or monitor WCU ALERTS.
  • If you are outside, take cover until it is safe to enter a facility.
  • During an emergency, access to certain areas of campus may be restricted. Do not intentionally go to a part of campus where an emergency is occurring. Be aware that some roads may be closed. Wait until you are notified that it is clear to enter the affected area.
  • Unless you are calling for help, do not use your cellular telephone. Responding public safety officials may need to use the cellular telephone for emergency communications. Too many callers can overwhelm the cellular telephone tower and prevent emergency communications.

Immediately report the medical emergency including:

  • Location of injured person (e.g. which room, number, etc.).
  • Type of injury or problem.
  • The individual's present condition.
  • The sequence of events leading to the emergency.
  • Medical history and name of injured person's doctor, if known.
  • The phone number where you are.
  • Do not move the victim unless it is necessary to remove him or her from a dangerous location or situation. 
  • If trained, use pressure to stop bleeding.
  • If trained, use CPR if there is no pulse and the victim is not breathing. 
  • When you receive an alert that requires you to shelter-in-place, proceed to shelter locations as instructed.  If an active shooter situation, please follow Active Shoot tab of this guide.   
  • Avoid windows. If possible.  Stay low to the floor. If possible, seek cover.   
  • Listen to the radio (WWCU-FM), check for text messages, or monitor WCU Alerts
  • Stay where you are until the police arrive to evacuate you or you are told it is safe to leave the room, or you are otherwise given the “all clear” from public safety officials.
  • If you are outside, take cover until it is safe to enter a facility.
  • During an emergency, access to certain areas of campus may be restricted. Do not intentionally go to a part of campus where an emergency is occurring. Be aware that some roads may be closed. Wait until you are notified that it is clear to enter the affected area.
  • The University Police Department and other law enforcement agencies will respond to an emergency. Follow any commands that law enforcement officers or university officials may issue.
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