Must Know Emergency Info


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AppState-ALERT is the University's voice and text 24/7 emergency messaging system. Click here to register.

Everyone in the Appalachian community should take the time to prepare for emergencies. The definitions below are "must know emergency info."

Campus Emergency Condition

This is the condition that the campus is currently operating under. The condition may change as information is received.

Recognized conditions are:

  • Normal: The University is operating under normal conditions. There is no emergency information.
  • Guarded: There is some credible general threat information that may affect the University. (Examples include an FBI alert of a threat directed at a college campus in North Carolina, or a hurricane warning for western North Carolina.)
  • Elevated: There is credible information about a specific threat directed towards the University. (May involve a man-made threat or tornado watch.)
  • High Risk (Emergency): There is information of an immediate threat on campus or directly involving the University. (Examples may include an active shooter, hazardous materials leak on campus, or a tornado warning.)
  • Special: The special condition is a non-emergency condition that indicates the University is not operating regularly . An example of a special condition is when the University closes or opens late due to adverse winter weather.

Basic Campus Protective Measures

Lockdown - Seek Safe Shelter - Shelter in Place - All Clear - Evacuation

  • A lockdown is designed to prevent people from entering or leaving a building. Additionally, movement inside the building is to be restricted. If the term lockdown is used, University Police will limit it to specific buildings that are in immediate danger. The term lockdown will only be used when there is information indicating an imminent threat of danger from an armed or dangerous person(s) on campus. Whenever possible, the specific building(s) affected should be identified in the declaration of a lockdown.
  • When a lockdown is declared the doors leading outside of the building should be locked (when possible) and people should not exit or enter the building. People should stay where they are and should not exit or enter a classroom, office or building. If people are in a hallway they should go to the nearest classroom or office.
    • Classroom and office doors should be locked or barricaded.
    • Turn off lights, radios, TVs, close blinds, and silence cell phones.
    • Keep occupants calm, quiet and out of sight.
    • If gunshots are heard, lay on the floor and try to use desks, file cabinets or concrete walls for additional protection.
  • If you are outside when a lockdown is declared, seek safe shelter (eg. unlocked building, large trees, walls, cars in a parking lot) away from the danger area if known.
  • If a fire alarm is activated during a lockdown, proceed with extreme caution.
  • Wait for the "all clear" to be given before leaving safe shelter.


Seek safe shelter
  • During an elevated or high risk condition, students, staff and faculty may be directed to seek safe shelter. This is a precautionary measure aimed at keeping you safe while indoors. When possible, exterior doors to buildings should be locked but movement inside the building is not necessarily restricted. During this time people who you know or do not fit the description of the suspect(s) may be let into your building.
    • If you are outside trying to enter a locked building show your ID card.
    • Leave all parcels, briefcases, backpacks and gym bags outside away from the building entrance.
    • Open all outer garments for a visual inspection showing that you have no weapons.
  • Consider what actions you may need to take should the situation escalate to a lockdown of the building you are in.
  • If you feel comfortable and can do so without traveling through a danger area, leaving campus may be an option. There are risks and benefits to trying to leave campus during an emergency situation and your decision will need to be based on your individual situation.


Shelter in place
  • This is a term that may be used in an emergency where hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere.
  • This means go indoors and find an interior room or hallway with no or few windows and take refuge there until an evacuation can be safely initiated or an all clear is given.
  • This does not mean leaving your building to go to a storm shelter, nor does it mean locking and sealing off your office or room.


All clear
  • This means the immediate danger is over and that most functions may resume normal operations, occupants may re-enter buildings and/or move about campus without restriction unless specifically directed otherwise. Specific guidance regarding University events will be posted to the emergency webpage.


  • This is the movement of persons from a dangerous or potentially dangerous place to a safe place. Examples are the evacuation of a building due to a bomb threat or fire. In an extreme situation, (eg. flood) large portions of and perhaps the entire campus may be required to evacuate.
  • When a fire alarm is activated, evacuation is mandatory.
  • Don't use elevators, take the stairs.
  • Take personal belongings with you.
  • Help people with disabilities if possible.

Click on the logo above for a list of basic personal emergency responses.