Emergency Response Plans

Residence Hall Plan: Crisis Communication

Annex: Crisis Communication Plan

Department: Residence Life

The scope of the incident determines the communication approach for Residence Life Staff. For incidents originating in and affecting a building, such as a fire alarm activation or medical emergency, the Building Crisis Communication Plan will be used. Larger-scale incidents impacting the entire campus, such as a tornado warning or nuclear accident, will use the Campus Crisis Communication Plan.

Building Crisis Communication Plan

For incidents that are initiated and contained to only one building (ex: fire alarm or medical emergency), the response will be communicated as follows:

  • Contact the Winthrop University Police Department via phone (x3333) to explain emergency.
    • During a bomb threat DO NOT use the Residence Life radio. Use a land line, not a cell phone to decrease the likelihood of activating a bomb.
    • Provide dispatcher with information on the incident, including your name, title, location, and nature of the emergency.
  • Carry a Residence Life radio to the scene of the emergency and be available for contact by the Winthrop University Police Department or other responding persons.
  • Contact Residence Life professional staff via phone:
    • Residence Life Office (business hours)
    • Professional staff on-call (after hours)
  • Hall Office hosts are responsible for monitoring the ALERTUS station and reporting information to the Residence Life staff.
  • If needed, inform other halls via radio of your situation and how you could use help in response efforts.
  • Use desk & Resident Assistant radios to coordinate any building response efforts.
    • Emergency communications supersede any other radio uses.
    • Avoid sharing any personal information on the radio.
    • Utilize radio or other communication methods to keep all Residence Life responders informed of pertinent status updates.
  • When given an all-clear by the Winthrop University Police Department, inform other staff via radio.
  • File an incident or judicial report.

Campus Crisis Communication Plan

When an emergency situation exists on campus, the Winthrop University Police Department and the Critical Incident Management Team coordinate and control the response. Within Residence Life, the responses are communicated as follows:

Information Flow

All information given to staff will be passed down from the Winthrop University Police Department or the Critical Incident Management Team.


Critical Incident Management Team
Winthrop University Police Department

Director or Professional Staff On-Call

Professional Staff

Hall Staff

Business Hours:
Director of Residence Life or Designee

After Hours:
Professional Staff On-Call or Designee

Official Information Sources

Winthrop University may communicate with the campus community by any of the following means:

  1. ALERTUS Notification System — Beacons within campus buildings, also includes instant messaging system for the campus' networked computers
  2. WU Alert  Blackboard Connect text/SMS and voice messages for all subscribers
  3. E-mail — Messages to faculty/staff/student distribution lists
  4. Web — Updates on www.winthrop.edu and detailed information on www.winthrop.edu/emergency
  5. Campus Alert Line — Recorded message on 803/323-2222 with detailed information, primarily for individuals without access to a mobile device, computer, etc.
  6. Face to Face — Direct contact by emergency responders
  7. Runner — Group contact by individuals moving from area to area
  8. Media  Communication via local radio and television stations
Distribution of Information

The director, professional staff on-call, or a designee will work with the Winthrop University Police Department to disseminate any information to the halls. This person will contact staff first via radio, seeking confirmation that the information was received, and the building staff are listening. Any hall office not responding via radio will be contacted via phone and asked to begin monitoring the radio system. At the end of an emergency situation, the director, professional staff on-call, or designee will give the all-clear under the direction of the Winthrop University Police Department.


Staff Procedures

Professional Staff

The director of Residence Life, professional staff on-call, or designee will serve as the liaison between the Department of Residence Life and the Winthrop University Police Department.

  • Upon notification from the Winthrop University Police Department or a hall staff member via phone, begin monitoring the Residence Life radio system.
  • Contact staff of impacted halls via radio, except a residence hall experiencing a bomb threat.
    • If hall does not answer on radio, call the front desk via phone.
    • Ask office and Resident Assistant on-call to actively monitor the radio system.
  • Provide timely updates and direction to Residence Life staff based upon information provided by the university's official information sources.
  • Oversee and assist hall staff response:
    • Relay emergency information from hall staff to the proper authorities.
    • Answer response questions for hall staff (evacuation locations, safe shelter areas, estimated time, etc.).
  • When the situation has ended, provide an all-clear message to staff under the direction of the Winthrop University Police Department.
Hall Staff

If hall staff is first to respond to a critical incident: contact the Winthrop University Police Department. Then contact the Residence Life Office (business hours) at x2223 or the professional staff on-call (after hours) via phone. 

Hall staff works with the professional staff to tend to the safety of residents and distribute pertinent information.

  • Actively monitor the Residence Life radio system until an all-clear is given. Do not use the Residence Life radio system if your building is experiencing a bomb threat.
  • Listen to and carry out directions from professional staff and official university information sources.
  • Relay any building emergency information to professional staff.
    • Life-threatening information also should be called in to the Winthrop University Police Department.
    • Other emergency information should be routed through the professional staff to avoid overloading the Winthrop University Police Department phone lines.
  • When given an all-clear from professional staff, follow directions given.