Critical Incident Safety Tips

For any medical, emotional, personal, or criminal emergency, please call the Winthrop University Police Department at 803/323-3333 for assistance.

To reach a 911 emergency operator, dial 911 from any landline or cell phone.

Important Numbers

Active Shooter

Read information on what to do in active shooter situations.

Building Evacuation

  1. Be aware of all marked exits from your building and know at least two exit routes from your room or work area to the outside of the building.
  2. Building evacuations should occur when a building alarm sounds continuously, Alertus beacons and computer monitor messages indicate evacuation is necessary, and/or the Winthrop University Police Department/your building critical incident monitor/building coordinator instruct you to evacuate.
  3. Walk quickly to the nearest exit and ask others to do the same.
  4. Be aware of any disabled individuals and assist them in exiting the building.
  5. In a fire emergency do not use elevators; use stairwells only. In a non-fire emergency, elevators are reserved for use by disabled persons.
  6. Once outside, move to a safe area away from the affected building. Students exiting their residence hall should meet their residence learning coordinator/apartment manager and/or resident assistant at the designated area.
  7. Keep streets and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel.
  8. Do not re-enter the evacuated building until you are told to do so by the Winthrop University Police Department, a building coordinator, Residence Life staff, or other authorized personnel.


In case of a fire:

  1. Be aware of all marked exits from your area and building as well as the location of nearby fire extinguishers and/or building fire hoses.
  2. Immediately sound a building alarm and/or alert others in your area.
  3. Call the Winthrop University Police Department at 803/323-3333, providing your name and the location of the fire. To reach a 911 emergency operator, dial 911 from any campus phone.
  4. If the fire is small and you have been trained in the use of fire fighting equipment, you may want to fight the fire with a fire extinguisher or building fire hose. Be sure you are using the proper extinguisher for the type of fire and direct the extinguisher charge toward the base of the flame. Remember: PASS — Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep.
  5. If the fire is large, very smoky, or rapidly spreading, evacuate the building per the "Building Evacuation" guidelines.
  6. Close all doors as you leave. However, do not lock the doors.
  7. Smoke is the greatest danger in a fire. Stay near the floor where the air will be more breathable.
  8. If you are unable to leave your area or room, follow these guidelines:
    • Keep the doors closed.
    • Seal cracks and vents if smoke comes in.
    • If there is no smoke outside, open the windows from the top to let out heat and smoke and from the bottom to let in fresh air.
    • Hang an object out the window to attract the fire department's attention.
    • If possible, call the Winthrop University Police Department at 803/323-3333 and report your location, indicating that you are trapped.

Bomb Threat

If you receive a bomb threat by phone:

  1. Remain calm and attempt to obtain as much information as possible from the caller. Note the sex, ethnic background, and age of caller, if possible.
    Be aware of the caller's voice and any background noises. Possible questions to ask the caller include:
    • When is the bomb going to explode?
    • Where is the bomb located?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • What does it look like?
    • Why was the bomb placed there?
    • After all possible information has been obtained, call the Winthrop University Police Department at 803/323-3333. Inform the dispatcher of the situation, including any information you may have obtained from the caller.
    • Follow the instructions given by the Winthrop University Police Department.

If you are informed of a bomb threat:

  1. Make a casual inspection of your area for suspicious objects. If you see a suspicious object, do not disturb it. Call the Winthrop University Police Department immediately at 803/323-3333.
  2. Evacuate the building per the "Building Evacuation" guidelines.

Nuclear Accident

Winthrop University is within the 10-mile emergency planning zone (EPZ) for state and local government response to an accident at the Catawba Nuclear Station. A radiological accident could require the university to take protective measures such as in-place sheltering of personnel and students or closing and evacuation of the campus.

Alert and notification: A nuclear accident siren will be a continuous three-minute tone from the York County outdoor warning system. The three-minute tone will cycle on and off for a total of 15 minutes. The Winthrop University Police Department will notify university administration and your building coordinator or residence learning coordinator/apartment manager, if special action is needed.

In-place sheltering: In the event that evacuation is not necessary or advised, in-place sheltering may be needed.

  1. Stay indoors until you are told it is safe.
  2. Close all windows and doors; turn off fans, air conditioners, heat pumps, and forced-air heat.
  3. Go to a basement or a low level room without windows or outside doors.
  4. Listen to local radio or television for emergency alert system messages.

University evacuation: Should an evacuation become necessary, the university will close and students, faculty, and staff will be asked to leave campus and return to their homes. When at home, follow local evacuation plans, as determined by your hometown. Should you be unable to return home, you may request the university help you with the evacuation process. Please meet in Dinkins Hall where you will be assigned a temporary shelter.

Evacuation route: Lewisville High School is the designated shelter for the Winthrop University area of the EPZ. The evacuation route from the university is to travel south on Cherry Road to Hwy. 901 (Heckle By-Pass). Turn left and continue on Hwy. 901 to I-77 South. Travel I-77 South to the exit 65 for Hwy. 9. Turn left at the top of the exit ramp and the high school will be on the left. 

Before evacuating, please do the following:

  • Turn off all appliances and faucets.
  • Lock all windows and doors.
  • Pack appropriately.

You may return to the area when the "All Clear" signal has been given. Please listen to local radio or television stations.