Emergency Response Plans

Level 3: Terrorist

Annex: Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction Response Plan

Department: All Campus Departments

Departmental Emergency Contact: Winthrop University Police Department

A. Purpose:

The purpose of this plan is to establish the procedures to be followed by the student body, faculty, and staff in the event of a terrorist attack using a weapon of mass destruction. Implementation of these procedures whenever necessary should minimize loss of life, injury, and disruption of scheduled activities.

B. Priorities:

A terrorist attack will likely come without warning. The best way to prepare for a terrorist attack or any emergency is to have an emergency plan in place. The Winthrop University Police Department recognizes the terrorist threat and believes all members of the campus community must work in partnership to ensure everyone's safety.

C. Expectations for Employees and Students:

Working in partnership to protect students, faculty, staff, and the learning environment on our campus requires vigilance and the sharing of information. All members of the campus community must constantly remain vigilant. If you see something suspicious or out of place, call the Winthrop University Police Department at 323-3333.

D. Communications:

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

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 will also 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:

Specific Actions

A terrorist attack will likely come without any warning. The following specific actions will be taken to ensure the safety of Winthrop University student body and staff.

  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Report anything suspicious.
  • Be familiar with Winthrop's emergency response plans.
  • Know the emergency exits of the buildings and the residence halls.
  • Do not open mail which looks suspicious (e.g., excessive postage, unknown origin, overseas return address).
During the Incident:
  • Never rush into a suspected terrorist event. You probably will not know what agent has been released. Do not become a victim!
  • Decrease your time, increase distance, and shielding from the suspected incident.
  • If you are exposed to an agent, do not flee the scene, you may expose others.
  • If an emergency responder directs you to do something, do it immediately.
After the Incident:
  • If you are a victim of a terrorist incident, expect to undergo decontamination on scene. This will probably involve the fire department using water to wash you down.
  • Do not try to enter the scene from a safe location to help affected individuals. You may become a victim yourself. Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.
  • Remember, some of the victims may actually be suspects.
  • It may be necessary to "Shelter in Place" if a weapon of mass destruction incident occurs. Please follow the Shelter in Place plan.


Information and Description of Terrorists Threats

Chemical Threats:
  • A chemical attack is the deliberate release of a toxic gas, liquid, or solid that can poison people and the environment.
  • Quickly try to define the area which was affected and seek "clean air."
  • Stay upwind, uphill, and upstream from any suspected contaminated areas.
  • Signs and symptoms of individuals who have been affected by chemical agents include convulsions, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, and severe coughing.
  • Certain chemical agents like mustard gas will redden the skin and cause severe skin and eye irritation.
  • Remove all clothing and other items in contact with the body. Cut off contaminated clothing to avoid contact with eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Decontaminate exposed skin with soap and water.
  • Flush eyes with lots of water.
  • Seek immediate medical assistance.
Biological Threats:
  • Biological attacks are the deliberate release of germs or other biological substances that can make you sick.
  • Biological agents are dangerous because they can be spread by natural convection or air currents. Ventilation systems in buildings or transportation facilities may actually become part of the dissemination system.
  • Signs and symptoms of individuals who have been exposed to biological agents vary depending on the organism. Most signs and symptoms include flu-like symptoms (i.e. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe fever).
  • These signs will probably be reported by health care officials at local hospitals.
  • If you suspect your skin or clothing has come into contact with a potentially infectious substance, remove and bag your clothing. Wash yourself with soapy water immediately. Put on clean clothes and seek medical assistance.
Radiological Threats:
  • Radiological attacks, commonly referred to as "dirty bombs" are the use of conventional explosives to spread radioactive materials over a targeted area.
  • While the explosion will be obvious, the presence of radiation will not.
  • If you hear an explosion and/or you are warned of a radiation release, cover your nose and mouth and go inside to a place of shelter that has not been damaged.
  • Close windows and doors; turn off air conditioners, heaters, or other ventilation systems.
  • If you think you have been exposed to radiation, take off your clothes and wash your body as soon as possible.
  • Stay where you are and check official news as it becomes available.
Nuclear Threats:
  • A nuclear blast is an explosion which creates intense heat, a pressure wave, and widespread radioactive material which can poison the air, water, and ground surfaces.
  • Take cover immediately to limit the amount of radioactivity absorbed.
  • If you take shelter, go as far underground as possible.
  • Decrease your time of exposure; increase your distance and shielding to reduce your risks.
  • Use available information to assess the threat of radioactive exposure. If you think you have been exposed to radiation, health care authorities may advise you to take potassium iodide. Potassium iodide is the same stuff added to your table salt to make it iodized, and it protects your thyroid gland which is particularly vulnerable to radioactive poisoning.
Explosive Threats:
  • If there is an explosion, take shelter against anything sturdy.
  • If the explosion is in the building you are in, exit immediately without using the elevators.
  • If you see smoke, crawl on the floor.
  • Use a wet cloth or anything available to cover your mouth and nose.
  • Never go back into a burning building.
  • If you are trapped in debris from a collapsed building, avoid unnecessary movement so you don't kick up dust. Breathing in dust can be dangerous.
  • If possible, use a flashlight or whistle to signal rescuers.
  • Always assume that an explosion is releasing some dangerous material.
  • Decrease your time of exposure; increase your distance and shielding to avoid any potential contamination.

Suspicious Packages and Envelopes

  • Appearance
  • Ticking sound
  • Excessive weight
  • Excessive postage
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Inappropriate or unusual labeling
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil
  • Oily stains, discoloration, or odor
  • Not addressed to a specific person
  • Incorrect titles or title without a name
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Marked with any threatening language
  • Strange return addresses or no return addresses
  • Excessive packaging material such as masking tape, string, etc.
  • Postmarked from a city or state that does not match the return address
  • Marked with restrictions, such as Personal, Confidential, or Do Not X-ray
  • Powdery substance felt through or appearing on the package or envelope
  • Other suspicious signs
  • If the package or envelope appears suspicious, do not touch it. Leave it alone.
  • Do not sniff, touch, taste, or look closely at it or any contents which may have spilled.
  • Alert others in the area about the suspicious package or envelope. Leave the area, close any doors, and take actions to prevent others from entering the area. If possible, shut off the ventilation system.
  • Wash hands with soap and water to prevent spreading potentially infectious material to face or skin. Seek additional instructions for exposed or potentially exposed persons.
  • If at work, call the Winthrop University Police Department at 323-3333. If at home, contact local law enforcement agency.
  • If possible, create a list of persons who where in the room or area when this suspicious letter or package was recognized and a list of persons who also may have handled this package or letter. Give this list to both the health authorities and law enforcement officials.