Winston-Salem State strives to maintain a safe and secure campus. However, there are several hazards which could affect campus and our community. Knowing what hazards could occur is one of the best steps to being prepared. Listed below are some hazards to prepare for at Winston-Salem State University.
New employees and students should be made aware of these procedures as part of the orientation process. Everyone should also familiarize themselves with the Winston-Salem State University Campus Map.
Active Shooter/Active Assailant
An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically though the use of firearms. This type of event is unpredictable and evolves quickly.
Recognizing signs of potential workplace violence:
An active shooter may be a former or current student or employee, or a visitor to campus. Indicators of potentially violent behavior may include one or more of the following:
- Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
- Unexplained increase in absenteeism
- Increased severe mood swings, noticeable unstable or highly emotional responses
- Increasing talks or unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons and violent crimes
Prepare for an active shooter situation by doing the following:
- Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
- Take note of the nearest exits in any facility or building you visit
- Make sure you know how to secure the closest door to your space
How to Respond to an Active Shooter/Active Assailant
- Run/Evacuate: Have an escape route and plan in mind. Leave your belongings behind and keep your hands visible.
- Hide: Hide in an area out of the shooters view, block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors. Silence your cell phone.
- Fight/Take Action: This should be used as a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger. Attempt to incapacitate the shooter and act with physical aggression.
When Law Enforcement Arrives:
- Remain calm and follow instructions from law enforcement
- Put down any items in your hands like bags or jackets, keep your hands visible
- Avoid quick movements toward officers, avoid pointing, screaming, or yellowing
- Do not stop evacuation to ask officers for help or direction
CALL 9-1-1 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO
Earthquakes in North Carolina are typically smaller in magnitude. The strongest earthquake in recorded state history was a 5.2-magnitude quake in 1916 near Asheville. Just like other disasters, it is important to be prepared and understand what you should do to stay safe during an earthquake.
In most situations, if you feel shaking or get an earthquake alert, immediately:
- DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees and hold onto something sturdy. This position protects you from being knocked down and reduces your changes of being hit by falling or flying objects.
- COVER your head and neck. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath for shelter.
- HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
After an earthquake, there can be serious hazards such as building damage, leaking gas and water lines, or downed power lines. Expect aftershocks to follow the main shock of an earthquake. If you are in a damaged building, go outside and quickly move away from the building. Do not enter damaged buildings, as they will be unsafe.
During some emergencies, it may be necessary to evacuate the campus or a building. Exact procedures, including where you will evacuate to, will be determined by the emergency. Evacuations are generally required when remaining in the current location is more dangerous than leaving.
- Remain calm.
- When an announcement is made to evacuate, immediately leave the area. Announcements may be in the form of a fire alarm, emergency alert, or verbal message from emergency responders.
- Do not risk your personal safety by trying to gather personal items.
- If you are inside of a building, use emergency exit stairs to leave. DO NOT use elevators. If you are outside, follow the directions of the evacuation message or emergency personnel to determine where to evacuate to or the area to avoid.
- Do not re-enter the area until instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
Remember: during some evacuations, you may not be allowed back into the building or campus for an extended period of time.
While fires are rare, prevention is the key to fire safety. Remember, it only takes a few minutes for a small flame to become an out-of-control fire that can consume an entire room, apartment, or classroom.
If a fire occurs:
- If you see smoke, flames, or smell a burning odor, evacuate the building immediately. On your way out, pull a manual fire alarm box to activate the fire alarm system
- If it is safe to do so, close doors as you leave the building to help contain the smoke and fire
- DO NOT use elevators
- If there is smoke, crawl on your hands and knees as you leave the building. If possible, keep your mouth covered as you go through the smoke
- Once you are in a safe location, contact WSSU Police by calling 336-750-2911, dialing 9-1-1, or through the Rave Guardian mobile application
- DO NOT re-enter the building for any reason. Emergency personnel will provide further instructions and inform you when it is safe to re-enter
Simple steps can help keep you and those around you safe by preventing a fire. While you are on campus, remember that items with an open flame (such as candles or camping stoves) or an open heat source (such as hot plates) are prohibited.
- Ensure that emergency exits are not blocked by boxes, bags, or other items.
- Never leave any food being cooked unattended. This includes food being prepared in microwave ovens (like popcorn!).
- Don’t hang things on or cover fire sprinklers or smoke alarms, which could affect their ability to work properly. DO NOT COVER fire sprinklers or smoke alarms.
- Keep lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn. Do not overload outlets or surge protectors.
- While off campus, many of the same rules used on campus apply in the same ways. While items such as candles may not be prohibited, they can still be dangerous if not used properly. Never leave open flames or heat sources unattended. Items such as household extension cords can pose a fire a hazard, and should be avoided. Remember to regularly check your smoke detectors, and replace the batteries.
Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Failing to evacuate flooded areas or entering flood waters can lead to injury or death.
- Result from rain, snow, coastal storms, storm surges and overflows of dams and other water systems.
- Develop slowly or quickly. Flash floods can come with no warning.
- Cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings and create landslides.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
- Remember, just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and only one foot of moving water can sweep a vehicle away. Never drive around barricades into flooded areas.
- Avoid wading or walking in floodwaters, which can be contaminated and contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water
Medical emergencies that require a priority response include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure
- Fainting/passing out
- Sudden dizziness, weakness, or sudden change in vision
- Change in mental state
- Sudden severe pain
- Bleeding that won’t stop
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Coughing up or vomiting blood
- Suicidal or homicidal feelings
- Broken bones and severed limbs
- Large burns
If you are in need of medical assistance for any of the above items, dial campus police at 336-750-2911 or 9-1-1 to receive emergency services.
Report job-related injuries to your supervisor immediately!
If a power outage occurs, remain calm. Wait a few minutes for emergency power to turn on – this provides emergency lighting. If evacuation of the building is necessary or required, use the stairs to exit. Do not use elevators.
Unplug nonessential electrical equipment, like televisions or power strips. Turn off light switches, as a power surge may blow out left-on lights and other items when power is restored. Leave any refrigerator, freezer, mini-fridge or micro-fridge doors closed, which helps items stay cooler for longer.
Follow any instructions you may receive from housing personnel, emergency personnel, or through RamAlert.
If you are trapped in an elevator during a power outage:
Elevators will not operate without power, even though the emergency lighting may be on. If you are trapped in an elevator, push the "Call for Help" button. Speak with the dispatcher and identify the building, elevator number, and floor. Do not attempt to force the door open or attempt to climb out of the elevator car.
Severe weather is possible throughout the year in North Carolina, and it is important to be prepared when it occurs. While the potential exists throughout the year, severe weather is most common during the spring.
Planning for Severe Weather
Severe weather can bring a variety of hazards including excessive heat, storms with deadly lightning, hail, heavy rain and damaging winds. Whether you are at home or work/school, you should have a plan in place outlining what you will do during severe weather, or any emergency.
Identify shelter areas in your home and office. During severe weather, especially during lightning storms, it is important to take shelter in safe, permanent structure.
Watches vs. Warnings
A WATCH means severe weather is possible, but not yet happening. Keep checking up on the weather throughout the day, have a plan ready in case warnings are issued for your area.
A WARNING means severe weather is happening in your area. Seek immediate shelter, and get to a safe place!
Through the summer, but typically in late summer and early fall, swirling circles of wind are spawned by the heat of the Atlantic Ocean. These storms start as tropical disturbances and as winds intensify, become tropical depressions, then tropical storms. A tropical storm is considered a hurricane when winds reach 74 miles an hour.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 - November 30. While devastating tropical weather systems can occur anytime during those months, peak tropical weather season is mid-August to late October.
Tropical systems often produce widespread heavy rain, which can result in deadly and destructive flash flooding and river flooding. Never drive on flooded roadways. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
Tropical storm force winds (39-73 mph) and hurricane force winds (>74 mph) are strong enough to inflict injury and damage or destroy property. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale classifies storms into five categories based on sustained wind speed. This scale does not account for the threat of storm surge, heavy rain and tornadoes.
In certain situations, it may be safer to remain at your current location rather than evacuate. This is known as shelter-in-place. Examples of this include hazardous material release outside in the air, severe weather like tornadoes, and active shooter or violent situations.
Sheltering in place is only for a short amount of time. Authorities will attempt to provide information on when to shelter-in-place or evacuate, and any other appropriate actions to follow. Authorities may not be able to immediately provide certain information so be personally alert to changing conditions.
In any event, always remember to follow the instructions of authorities as information becomes available. Remember to take all warnings and alerts seriously!
Tornadoes are possible throughout the year in North Carolina. Because of this, it is important to be prepared for severe weather and the possibility of a tornado. Knowing what to do when a tornado occurs could mean the difference between life and death. When a tornado is spotted or a warning is issued, you may only have a few critical moments to make crucial safety decision.
Do not wait until you see a tornado to react. Go to an interior room, away from windows, on the lowest level possible. Do not open or close windows. Crouch on the floor and cover your head as much as possible. Use blankets, jackets, or other items to help cover and protect your head.
Stay informed: make sure you know how and when you will be alerted to weather emergencies both on and off campus. Get a NOAA Weather Alert radio and make sure you have enabled local weather and emergency alerts on your cellular devices.
Our region can be impacted by the threat of winter storms. While some winters are worse than others, the impact of a significant winter weather event can be very serious. These winter weather events include ice storms, snow, mixes of snow and sleet and freezing rain. Many injuries and fatalities associated with winter weather are vehicle accidents, fires, and other related hazards.
Winter Weather Advisory: A winter weather advisory means that cold, ice, and/or snow are expected to impact the area and will require extra caution.
Winter Storm Watch: A winter storm watch means there is potential for significant winter weather within 48 hours.
Winter Storm Warning: A winter storm warning means significant weather is currently impacting the area or is expected to impact the area within 24 hours.
Common hazards associated with winter weather include loss of power and heat, loss of communication services, fires from unattended candles or heaters, dangerous roads, fallen trees, limbs, or power lines, and medical emergencies.