Emergency Response Plans

Level 3: Hurricane

Annex: Hurricane Response Plan

Department: All Campus Departments

Departmental Emergency Contact: Winthrop University Police Department

A. Purpose:

The purpose of this policy is to establish the procedures to be followed by the student body, faculty, and staff in the event of a hurricane. Implementation of these procedures whenever necessary should minimize loss of life, injury, and disruption of scheduled activities.

B. Priorities:

In the event conditions exist to activate the hurricane response policy, the Winthrop University Police Department will work with the York County Emergency Operation Center to obtain frequent weather updates. Faculty and staff will be required to assist in assuring student safety.

C. Expectations for Employees and Students:

In the event of a hurricane, the Winthrop University Police Department will be notified by the Emergency Operations Center on the extent of the emergency. Following this notification, the campus community will be notified in time to activate the Hurricane Response Plan and render the campus safe.

D. Communications:

Since a hurricane is a weather condition that can be tracked, communication to the campus community will be in advance of the hurricane entering York County.

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

When the area is given the "all clear" signal from the York County Emergency Operations Center and confirmed by the Winthrop University Police Department, this information will then be disseminated via the listed means throughout the Winthrop campus community.

E. Responsibility and Control:

Emergency responders will have total control of the scene. If the situation dictates, the Incident Command System will be used as directed by the National Incident Management System.

The university also will assemble the Critical Incident Management Team to make university-related decisions.

The Winthrop University Police Department will operate an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) located in the Facilities Management Operations Center. If the incident requires York County to open the Emergency Operations Center, the Vice President of Student Affairs or a designee will be represented in the York County EOC and/or will be in continuous communications with the Winthrop EOC.

F. Emergency and Training Plans:


If it is apparent that a hurricane could impact the Rock Hill area, the York County Emergency Management Office will begin tracking the hurricane approximately 72 hours before it enters the Rock Hill area. If it is apparent conditions indicate the hurricane could enter Rock Hill and York County, the York County Emergency Management Office will notify all county jurisdictions and begin meeting and planning for the hurricane's arrival. The Winthrop University Police Department will represent Winthrop University at the planning meetings and provide situational reports to the Vice President of Student Affairs. Procedural decisions will be made and communicated to the campus community.

Specific Notification Actions

If a hurricane situation occurs, the following specific actions will be taken to insure the safety of Winthrop University student body and staff.


  • Move all furniture, including beds, away from windows. Electrical appliances should be off the floor, preferably in a closet.
  • Objects should be cleared from the floor and from tops of desks and dressers.
  • Faculty and staff members are encouraged to go home if circumstances allow.
  • Residents should place all valuables in a lockable closet or drawer, which should remain locked when the residents are not in the room.
  • Those students who reside in facilities that have bathtubs are requested to clean the tub and fill it half full with water. In a hurricane, there is the risk of loss of water supply. If this should happen, the water in the tubs will be needed for washing and flushing toilets. Fill smaller containers with water for drinking purposes. If additional drinking water is needed, it will be made available as soon as possible.
  • Close all windows tightly. Venetian blinds should be raised all the way to the top. Curtains or drapes should be closed.
  • Each student should provide his/her own flashlight in case of power failures. Do not use candles or other flame-type lighting under any circumstances. Only use battery powered lights.
  • If you are instructed to evacuate the campus, follow the "Campus Evacuation" plan.

During a Hurricane

  • It is essential that everyone stay indoors throughout the entire hurricane. Do not leave your area until directed to do so by the Winthrop University Police Department or Residence Life. During the peak of the storm, for maximum protection, you should close all doors and remain in hallways.
  • Stay away from dangers such as glass windows and doors.
  • Power failure is likely to occur during a hurricane; therefore, do not use elevators.
  • Do not attempt to travel between floors, but if you must, use the stairs.
  • Do not attempt to open windows or doors to see what is happening outside.
  • Telephone calls should be made only in case of emergency so that telephone lines will be clear when needed.
  • Hurricanes could spawn tornados. If this occurs, the Tornado Response plan should be followed.

After a Hurricane

  • Check for injuries. Do not move a seriously injured person unless he or she is in immediate danger of further injuries. If you need emergency assistance, call the Winthrop University Police Department at 323-3333.
  • Be aware of any structural damage around you, and if necessary and safe to do, carefully leave the building per the "General Building Evacuation" guidelines.
  • Always check for hazards.
    • Fire or potential fire hazards
    • Damaged electrical wiring
    • Downed or damaged utility lines: stay away from downed lines, even if power appears to be off
    • Fallen objects in closets and cabinets
    • Displaced objects may fall when you open the door
    • Make sure each phone is on its receiver. Telephones off the hook can tie up the telephone network.
  • Clean up potentially harmful materials and/or medicines that may have spilled per the chemical spill protocols.
  • If you are instructed to evacuate the campus, follow the "Campus Evacuation" plan.