Basic Emergency Responses


If you teach, research, or learn at any of Appalachian's distance education instructional delivery locations, these guidelines work for you too. Rather than call University Police for a law enforcement emergency, just call the jurisdiction responsible for your off-campus location. All locations in North Carolina can always dial 911 for emergency assistance. If you would like more information about your delivery location's emergency protocols, please speak to the director or email us and request the information.


How can we contact you during an emergency? Click here to register for the AppState-ALERT notification system.

AppState-ALERT is the University's voice and text 24/7 emergency messaging system. Register for AppState Alert.

Medical Emergency / Personal Injury

All medical emergencies occurring on campus should be reported immediately by calling 911 (9-911 from a campus phone). Medical emergencies include:

  • Any life-threatening situation.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Chest pain.
  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Seizures.
  • Head injury.
  • Compound fractures.
  • Allergic reactions with shortness of breath, excessive swelling.
  • Ingestion or inhalation of a toxic substance.
  • Lacerations of the eyeball.

Quick Response

  • Dial 911 (9-911 from a campus phone).
  • Do not move victim unless safety dictates.
  • If trained, use pressure to stop bleeding.
  • Use CPR if no pulse and not breathing.

State that medical aid is needed and provide the following information:

  • Location of injured person (eg. which building, room, number, etc.).
  • Type of injury or problem.
  • The individual's present condition.
  • The sequence of events leading to the emergency.
  • Medical history and name of injured person's doctor, if known.
  • The phone number where you are.
  • Stay on the phone with the dispatcher.
Illness or Injury to Students

During the regular academic sessions, students with illness or injury should be referred to the Student Health Service, Miles Annas Student Support Building, (828) 262-3100. Students at distance education sites should be referred to their own physician or to the nearest local medical facility. Call 911 (9-911 from a campus phone) for serious illness or injury which requires immediate medical attention.

Illness or Injury to Faculty / Staff

Emergency treatment for job-related work injuries or medical illness is provided by the urgent care clinic on the Highway 105 Extension in Boone during hours of operation. When the urgent care clinic  is closed, referral is made to the Watauga Medical Center Emergency Room. Faculty and staff at distance education sites should be referred to their own physician or to the nearest local medical facility.

A report must be completed for all incidents of work-related illness or injury. Contact Human Resource Services to begin the reporting process.

Illness or Injury to Visitors or Guests

Request emergency medical assistance by calling 911 (9-911 from a campus phone).

Personal Injury Procedures
  • Clothing on Fire:
    • Roll around on floor to smother flame or drench with water.
    • Obtain medical attention; if necessary, call 911 (9-911 from a campus phone).
    • Report incident to supervisor and/or the University Police, (828) 262-8000.
  • Hazardous Material Splashed in Eye:
    • Immediately rinse eyeball and inner surface of eyelid with water continuously for 15 minutes.
    • Forcibly hold eye open to ensure wash behind eyelids.
    • Obtain medical attention. Make sure to take Material Safety Data Sheets of the chemical with you.
    • Report incident to supervisor and/or the University Police, (828) 262-8000.
  • Minor Cuts and Puncture Wounds:
    • Vigorously wash injury with soap and water for several minutes.
    • Obtain medical attention.
    • Report incident to supervisor and/or the University Police, (828) 262-8000.
  • Radiation Spill on Body:
    • Remove contaminated clothing.
    • Rinse exposed area thoroughly with water.
    • Obtain medical attention.
    • Report incident to supervisor and/or the University Police, (828) 262-8000.
  • Biological Spill on Body:
    • Remove contaminated clothing.
    • Vigorously wash exposed area with soap and water for one minute.
    • Obtain medical attention.
    • Report incident to supervisor and/or the University Police, (828) 262-8000.
Bomb Threats

All bomb threats will be treated as a serious matter. Statistics show most bomb threats are meant to disrupt normal activities. However, this does not mean a bomb threat should not be considered " real ". The decision to evacuate a building will be made by the proper authorities after evaluating the situation.

Quick Response

Emergency Actions - when a bomb threat is received by phone:

  • Keep the caller on the line and talking as long as possible (pretend to have difficulty in hearing - ask the caller to repeat what he/she said).
  • Try to get as much information as possible about the location of the bomb and a description of the bomb and the caller. Use the Bomb Threat Checklist to record all information.
  • Stay on the line as long as the caller continues to provide useful information. If possible, have someone else use another line to call University Police.
  • After the caller hangs up, immediately call 8000 and notify the University Police.
  • If an evacuation of the building is ordered, take the Bomb Threat Checklist with you and give it to the Police.

Emergency Actions - when a suspicious object or potential bomb is discovered:

  • 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 the University Police at 8000.
  • Be sure to include a description of the object and its location when reporting.

Emergency Actions - when an evacuation is ordered:

  • Collect your personal belongings (ie. purse, briefcase, etc.) and take them with you as you exit the building.
  • Look around your desk and/or office for any suspicious items. Do not touch anything suspicious, instead report it to the Police after you exit the building.
  • After evacuation, report to an Emergency Assembly Area.
  • Do not reenter the building until instructed to do so by appropriate personnel (University Police, Boone Police Department or Boone Fire Department).
Psychological Crisis

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

During the regular academic sessions, students wishing to speak to a counselor should be referred to the Student Counseling Center, Miles Annas Student Support Building, 3180.

Quick Response

A university campus is a community of many diverse people who come from a variety of places to live, work, and attend school. A crisis or disaster can have direct and indirect traumatizing effects on a wide range of campus community members.

For an unusual or potentially dangerous situation:

  • Never try to handle a dangerous situation by yourself.
  • Call University Police at 8000, and they will notify the on-call 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 the University Police.
Violent Criminal Behavior / Active Shooter Response

If there are reports of an active shooter on campus (not inside your building):

  • If it is possible to escape the building and campus safely and avoid danger, do so by the nearest exit.
  • These situations are incident specific. Each individual and department will have to make a decision based on the available information (your location, location of the incident, etc.).

If you hear shots fired:

Get Out!

  • Move quickly - do not 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 University Police by dialing 262-8000 or 911, or, use one of the emergency blue lights on campus.
  • 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 can't be locked try to barricade or block the door with heavy furniture or other heavy objects.
  • Turn out the lights and all noise-producing devices.
  • Try to stay silent.
  • Call the police 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 fro 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 - actively choose the position 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, use improvised weapons.
  • If there are two or more of you, make a plan to overcome the shooter.

Do the best that you can - choose to survive.

Fire and Explosion

Quick Response: Protect Yourself

  • Fire: Everyone should evacuate to assembly area (See posted Evacuation Plan)
  • Explosion:
    1. Take cover.
    2. Assist the injured.
    3. Everyone should evacuate to assembly area (See posted Evacuation Plan)
  • Know the location of fire extinguishers, fire exits, and alarm systems in your area and know how to use them.
  • Small Fire Procedures:
    • Avoid personal injuries and excessive risks.
    • Alert people in the immediate area and activate the alarm.
    • Call 8000: Give details of the fire location.
    • Smother fire or use the nearest fire extinguisher.
    • Always maintain a way to exit the room.
    • Avoid smoke and fumes. Stay low.
    • University Police will respond to the scene to assist in building evacuation and to meet and assist Boone Fire Department.
    • Once Boone Fire Department has arrived, the responding incident commander will take charge of all rescue and suppression activities.
    • Do not re-enter the building until advised by the Fire Department or the University Police Department.
  • Operating a Fire Extinguisher:
    • Pull the pin.
    • Aim extinguisher hose at the base of fire.
    • Squeeze the lever.
    • Sweep from side to side.
  • If You Are Trapped In A Building
    • If a window is available, place an article of clothing (shirt, coat, etc.) outside a window as a marker for rescue crews.
    • If there is no window, stay near the floor where the air will be less toxic. Shout at regular intervals to alert emergency crews of your location. Do not panic.
    • If the door is warm, do not open it. If smoke is entering through the cracks around the door, stuff something in the cracks to slow the flow.

For information concerning evacuation drills, fire alarms, and other emergency systems, please contact the Safety and Workers' Compensation Office at (828) 262-4007.

Hazardous Materials

Quick Response

The range and quantity of hazardous substances used in laboratories require proper pre-planning in order to respond to chemical spills.

  • Chemical Spills Procedures:
    • For Major Spills:
      • Dial 8000
      • Do not enter the contaminated area.
      • Alert people in the area to evacuate.
      • If spilled material is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources.
      • Close doors to affected area.
      • Locate appropriate material safety data sheets.
      • Have persons knowledgeable of area assist emergency personnel.
      • Make sure to provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to emergency personnel.
    • For Minor Spills:
      • Alert people in the immediate area of the spill, and avoid breathing vapors from the spill.
      • Begin clean up immediately.
      • If further assistance is needed, call University Police at 8000.
      • Make sure to provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to emergency personnel.
  • Biological (Blood) Spills Procedures:
    • Health care or housekeeping personnel trained in spill cleanup should follow established protocols. For blood or body fluid spills in residence halls, academic buildings, administrative buildings, or on outside surfaces, contact housekeeping in area. If unavailable contact University Police at 8000.
    • Procedures:
      • Wear disposable gloves and absorb fluids with disposable towels.
      • Clean area of all visible fluids with detergent (soap/water).
      • Decontaminate area with an appropriate disinfectant.
      • Place all disposable materials into plastic leak-proof bag. DO NOT throw bag in trash.
      • Call Jim Rice at (828) 262-3190, ext. 108, to arrange to have leak-proof bag picked up.
      • If further assistance is needed, call Building Services at (828) 262-4048.
  • Radiological Spills Procedures:
    • A major radiological spill is one which the laboratory staff is not capable of handling safely without assistance of safety and emergency personnel.
    • Procedures:
      • Protect yourself first and call 8000 as soon as possible.
      • Attend to injured or contaminated persons and remove them from the spill area.
      • Alert people in the area to evacuate.
      • Have potentially contaminated personnel stay in one area until they have been monitored and are free of contamination.
      • Close doors and prevent entrance into affected area.
      • Have a person knowledgeable of the incident and area assist emergency personnel.
      • Document names of persons potentially contaminated.

For information concerning evacuation drills, fire alarms, and other emergency systems, please contact the Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Emergency Management at 4008.

Severe Weather / Natural Disasters

Violent weather is very unpredictable, but with the aid of modern technology the approach of such weather is often known in advance. Every reasonable effort will be made to warn the Appalachian State University community when severe weather is eminent (via e-mail, voice mail, building announcements, etc.)

  • Tornado / Hurricane / High Winds
    • Stay indoors.
    • Move away from windows and open doors (preferably into an interior hallway).
    • If possible, move to the lowest level of the building.
    • Do not use elevators, electrical equipment or telephone.
    • Sit on the floor and cover your head with your arms to protect from flying debris.
    • Await instructions from emergency management officials.
  • Earthquake
    • Stay indoors.
    • Crawl under a table or desk or brace yourself by standing in an interior doorway.
    • Do not use elevators, electrical equipment or telephone.
    • Do not use open flame.
    • Be prepared for aftershocks.
    • Await instruction from emergency management officials.
  • Floods
    • Stay indoors.
    • Never attempt to walk or drive through flood waters.
    • Await instructions from emergency management officials.
  • Winter Storms
    • Stay indoors.
    • Do not walk or drive during the storm and risk becoming stranded.
    • Await instructions from emergency management officials.
University Closings and Cancellations

The University will provide timely updates on any campus closings or delays due to inclement weather through the following outlets, among others:

  • Radio - WATA (1450 AM), WZJS (100.7 FM), WECR (102.3)
  • Television - WBTV (Charlotte) and MTN (Mountain Television Network)
  • Telephone - University Winter Weather Line (828) 262-SNOW
  • Homepage -

Employees and students are urged NOT to call University Police for weather related updates.

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