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Emergency Response Guidelines

Guidelines for responding to specific types of emergencies that could potentially occur may be found below. Please take time to review the information, but keep in mind that these situations are incident specific. Each individual will have to make decisions based on the available information that they have access at that time.
  • Active Shooter

    If you are made aware that there are reports of an active shooter on campus, but the shooter is not inside your building and a lockdown has not been officially announced:

    If it is possible to escape the building safely and avoid danger, do so by the nearest exit. Please remember that these situations are incident specific. Each individual will have to make a decision based on the available information

    that he or she has access to at the time. If at all possible, call 911 (9-911 from a campus phone) from a safe location to notify emergency officials of the event.

    If you hear shots fired:

    Get Out - Move quickly: don’t wait for others to validate your decision. Leave your belongings behind. Survival chances increase if you are not where the shooter is or if you go where the shooter can’t see you.

    Call Out - Once you are in a safe location, call the police by dialing 911 (9-911 from a campus phone). Advise others in the immediate area to stay away from the shooter’s location.

    Hide Out - If you can’t get out because the shooter is between you and the only exit, then hide out, move out of the hallway, and look for a well hidden and well protected room. Avoid places that might trap or restrict your movement.

    Keep Out - Try to find a room that can be locked. If the room cannot be locked, try to barricade or block the door with heavy furniture or other heavy objects. Turn out the lights and other noise producing devices. Try to stay silent. Call 911 (9-911 from a campus phone) if you can do so without alerting the shooter.

    Spread Out - If there are two or more of you, do not huddle together. Spreading out gives you more options and makes it harder for the shooter. Quietly develop a plan of action in the event the shooter enters your room.

    Remain calm -  This can have a contagious effect on others. Stay focused on survival. Keep others focused.

    Take Out - Assume the shooter’s intentions are lethal. Develop a survival mindset that you have what it takes to survive when your life is on the line.

    You must be prepared to do whatever it takes to neutralize the threat. Throw things, yell, and use improvised weapons. If there are two or more of you, make a plan to overcome the shooter.

    Do the best you can - Choose to survive.

  • Bomb & Bomb Threat
    • If anyone receives information about a bomb or bomb threat immediately call 911 and 828-289-5850 to immediately notify Campus Enforcement Officers.
    • If an evacuation of the building is ordered, take the information recorded with you and give it to law enforcement.

     If You Find a Suspicious Device

    • Do not touch, move or disturb any suspicious object you feel might be a bomb.
    • Keep people away from the area where the suspicious object is and call Campus Enforcement Officers at (828) 289-5850.
    • Be sure to include the location and description of the device.
  • Explosion
    • Take cover under sturdy furniture.
    • Evacuate if safe and you are directed to do so by emergency responders.
    • Stay away from windows.
    • Do not utilize lighters or matches or create any spark or open flame.
    • Move away from the hazard site to a safe location.
    • If instructed to evacuate, use the stairs. Do not use the elevators.
  • Fire
    • In case of a fire, sound the alarm by using the nearest red fire box and leave the building quickly but in an orderly way notifying others in the building as you exit. Use the exit route posted in the hallway of each building.
    • Immediately notify the fire department by calling 911 (9-911 from a campus phone) from a safe location to provide details of the situation. Then, notify Campus Enforcement at (828) 289-5850.
    • 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 area, 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 911 (9-911 from a campus phone) or hang an article of clothing out the window to help signal for help.
    • If you or your friend inadvertently set clothing on fire, remember to stop, drop, and roll to extinguish the flames.

    Note: Sounding the alarm when there is no fire is against the state law of North Carolina.

  • Hazardous Materials
    • Call 911 (9-911 from a campus phone) immediately.
    • Move away from the release area, informing others as you go.
    • If spilled material is combustible or flammable, turn off ignition sources as you leave.
    • Close doors to the affected area(s).
    • Provide information to emergency personnel.
    • Leave the area and warn others.
  • High Winds and Earthquake

    In case of high winds or an earthquake warning, you will be instructed to take cover in the designated areas of each building. Most high wind and earthquake  related deaths are caused by head injuries from flying debris. So, if you are outside during threatening weather, immediately enter the nearest building to shelter in place safely.

    Tornado / High Winds / Hurricane

    • Stay indoors.
    • If possible, move to the lowest level of the building.
    • Move away from windows and open doors (preferably into an interior hallway).
    • Do not use elevators, electrical equipment or telephone.
    • Sit on the floor and cover your head with your arms to protect from flying debris.


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

    Dial 911 (9-911 from a campus phone) and tell the dispatcher that you require medical assistance. Be prepared to provide the following information:

    1. Location of injured person (e.g. which room, number, etc.)
    2. Type of injury or problem
    3. The individual's present condition
    4. The sequence of events leading to the emergency
    5. Medical history and name of injured person's doctor, if known
    6. The phone number where you are


    1. Do not move victim unless it is necessary to remove them from a dangerous location or situation.
    2. If trained, use pressure to stop bleeding.
    3. If trained, use CPR if there is no pulse and the victim is not breathing. Call for an AED and begin following the device’s instructions.
      Currently, AEDs are located in the Student Center Building and The Foundation, and Performing Arts Center. Campus Enforcement Officers carry portable AEDs in their vehicles as well.
    4. If possible, send someone to the closest entrance to advise emergency responders to enter there.

    For minor medical needs, first aid supplies are available in each building, the Physical Education Office, and the shop classrooms. The college has no facilities for medical treatment other than for minor first aid and can assume no responsibility for treatment of injuries or illness of students.

  • Psychological Crisis

    A psychological crisis may occur as a result of emergencies, disasters, or other critical incidents such as suicide, sexual assault, violence, deaths, serious accidents, fires, explosions, bomb threats, threats to the public welfare, or other traumatic or tragic events affecting the campus community.

    For an unusual or potentially dangerous situation:

    • Never try to handle a dangerous situation by yourself.
    • Call Campus Enforcement at (828) 289-5850, and they will notify a counselor.
    • Clearly state that you need immediate assistance. Give your name, your location, and state the nature of the problem.
    • All suicide attempts should be reported to Campus Enforcement so that proper procedures might be followed to ensure the safety of those involved.
  • Assisting Persons with Disabilities in an Emergency

    Persons Using Wheelchairs

    When assisting a person in a wheelchair:

    • Always ask what assistance is needed first.
    • Individuals at ground floor locations may exit without help.
    • In multi-level buildings, move the person to the nearest fire safe exit stairwell or elevator. Contact Campus Assistance at 828-289-1393 immediately to give the location of the person needing assistance.
    • Security or Emergency responders will determine if the elevator can safely be used.
    • Never try to move a person in a wheelchair down a stairway in his or her wheelchair. Evacuation chairs are available in the LLC, Rutherfordton Learning Center, and Administration Buildings. Employees of the College are familiar with the location and proper usage of these chairs.
    • If a wheelchair is left behind, DO NOT leave it in the exit path or doorway. This may block other people exiting the area and increase the chance of accidents.

    Persons with Mobility Impairments

    These individuals may use crutches, canes or walkers. Ask the individual if they need assistance and if they are able to use the stairs. If the person is unable to use stairs, follow the procedure for persons using wheelchairs (see above).

    Persons Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

    Most buildings are equipped with both audio and visual fire alarm systems. In locations where no visual alarms are present, or notification has been given to evacuate or move to a safe location in the building, two methods of alerting hearing impaired individuals are:

    • Turn room lights on and off to gain the persons attention. Follow with hand gestures to show the person the direction to evacuate.
    • Write a note and hand it the hearing impaired person or write a message on the white board, i.e. “Fire Alarm, Please Go!”

    Persons Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

    Most persons who are blind or visually impaired will be familiar with their surrounding area and routes during normal activities on campus.

    In an emergency:

    • Announce the type of emergency to the visually impaired person.
    • Offer to guide the person by letting him or her take your arm.
    • Tell the person where you are and any obstacles you encounter as you walk.
    • When you reach the designated area, let the person know and ask if further assistance is needed.
    • If the individual has a guide dog, let him or her direct you on how to assist them.
  • Evacuation Map