Emergency Terminology

Emergency Terminology

Protect Your Own Safety and Others

Emergency Terminology

Understanding some basic terms can help you respond and react to an on-campus emergency in a way that protects your own safety and that of others around you.

It is essential that all campus community members have their information updated for the CobrAlert system, as this is how we will communicate with the campus during any emergency situation.

ALL-CLEAR: A distinct message provided by school officials that indicates the threat or dangerous situation has ended. This message will be provided through the CobrAlert system and may also be provided by Campus Safety or Emergency Service Responders.

ARMED/HOSTILE INTRUDER : An individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people with the use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon.

ACTIVE THREAT: An incident that is dynamic and quickly evolving, which involves an individual(s) who presents a potential imminent danger to people by making threats, and/or shows intent to cause harm or perform violence, and/or displays a weapon or uses deadly physical force, including but not limited to firearms, bladed weapons or a vehicle.

BARRICADE: Use of an object or objects to:

  • Prevent the advance of an offender
  • Deny access to an offender (e.g. reinforcing a door)
  • Implement distance between you and an offender
  • Divert the direction of travel of an offender

COBRALERT SYSTEM: The name for the mass notification system that is used to send emergency notifications to the campus community. The CobrAlert system is capable of sending text, voice and email messages to registered users.

            Instructions to make sure your CobrAlert system is up to date:


  • Vonage extension will receive a phone call and a text message.
  • Remaining alerts are based on information from iSolved
  • To update this information, Log into your iSolved account
    • Scroll down to Update Information and select Name and Contact Information
    • Mobile number will receive a text message
    • Home number will receive a phone call
    • Coker email will receive an email message
    • Personal email will receive an email


  • Alerts are based on information found in your User Profile within CobraStop
  • To update this information, Log into CobraStop
    • Click on User Options, User Profile
    • Home number as displayed in Cobra Stop will receive a phone call
    • Cell number as displayed in Cobra Stop will receive both a phone call and a text message
    • Alternate number as displayed in Cobra Stop will receive a text message
    • Coker email will receive an email message
    • Personal email, as displayed in Cobra Stop, will receive an email

CRIME NOTICE: Notice issued for Clery Act reportable crimes (or other significant incidents) occurring on Campus property or within the community when it is determined there could be a serious or continuing threat to the safety of the campus community

EMERGENCY RESPONDER: An individual or organization who performs an operational role in responding to an incident. These are the only individuals who can lift a lockdown or grant or obtain access during a lockdown. Examples include Coker Campus Safety and Security, Hartsville Police Department, Hartsville Fire Department, and Darlington County Sheriff’s Department. Certain members of Coker University staff and administration have also been identified as on-campus emergency responders. These individuals can be identified by their yellow Coker IDs.

EVACUATION: All occupants of university buildings are required to evacuate a building when a fire alarm and/or an official announcement is made indicating a potentially dangerous situation within the building.

Classroom Evacuation for STUDENTS

  • All occupants of university buildings are required to evacuate a building when a fire alarm and/or an official announcement indicates a potentially dangerous situation within the building.
  •  Familiarize yourself with all exit doors of each classroom and building you may occupy. Remember that the nearest exit door may not be the one you used when entering the building.
  • If you require assistance in evacuation, inform your instructor in writing during the first week of class.
    • For evacuation in your classroom or building:
      1. Follow the instructions of faculty and teaching staff
      2. Exit in an orderly fashion and assemble outside
      3. Do not re-enter a building unless given instructions by emergency personnel

Classroom Evacuation for FACULTY AND TEACHING STAFF

  • University faculty and teaching staff are responsible for implementing university emergency policies and procedures and for informing students of their classrooms’ building emergency evacuation routes, exit doors, and emergency procedures at the beginning of each semester.
  • Each university faculty and teaching staff member should educate their students on the proper evacuation procedure and the location of their respective classrooms/buildings
  • Students requiring assistance in evacuation should inform their instructors in writing during the first week of class.
    • For evacuation in your classroom or building:
      1. In the event of a fire or other emergency, it may be necessary to evacuate a building rapidly. Upon the activation of a fire alarm or the announcement of an emergency in a university building, all occupants must evacuate and assemble outside.
      2. If a “Lockdown” is announced, implement lockdown procedures as listed
      3. Once evacuated, no one may re-enter the building without instruction to do so from the Hartsville Fire Department, Hartsville Police Department or Campus Safety.
      4. Ensure other occupants of university buildings are aware of emergencies and help anyone requiring assistance in evacuation as long as it is safe to do so.

            Building Evacuation

  • Evacuate the facility upon hearing the alarm or official announcement.

1. Close office doors and turn off lights.
2. Use designated corridors and fire exit stairs that lead to ground level. Leave the building in an orderly manner. Do not use elevators.
3. Assemble in designated areas per the Emergency Evacuation Site Plan. Upon reaching the ground level, stay at least 300 feet (1 block) from the building.
4. Follow instructions of emergency personnel. Report any individuals left in the building to them.
5. Do not leave the evacuation site zone, unless instructed to do so by emergency personnel.  6. Do not re-enter the building until an “All Clear” announcement is given by emergency personnel.

LOCKDOWN: The act of securing buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an immediate threat of violence in and around the school or campus. All buildings and rooms will be secured, and entry will not be provided. University IDs will be deactivated. Access will only be provided to campus and law enforcement emergency responders.

            Lockdown Instructions:

If YOU ARE OUTSIDE a building in lockdown:
            1. DO NOT ENTER THE BUILDING. Move as far away as possible from the building under lockdown.
            2. Await further instructions from law enforcement/Campus Safety.
            3. Monitor the CobrAlert system and check the university’s website and university social media sites
            for updates and further information as it becomes available.
            4. DO NOT CALL THE LOCATION THAT IS IN LOCKDOWN. Phone calls to anyone inside the building that
            is in lockdown may endanger them.
            5. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR SAFE AREA until law enforcement/Campus Safety has opened the door.

If the THREAT IS OUTSIDE your building:
1. If the exterior doors are not electronic and it is safe to reach them, lock them.
            2. Close interior doors. Lock doors, if possible. Barricade the doors.
            3. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR SAFE AREA until law enforcement/Campus Safety has opened the door.

If the THREAT IS INSIDE your building:
RUN: If you determine that you can reach an escape path to a safer area, then get out.
            1. Be aware of your surroundings
            2. Have an exit plan
            3. Move away from the threat as quickly as possible
            4. Create as much distance between you and the threat as possible
HIDE: If you can’t evacuate, find a secure place to hide out.
            1. Create distance between you and the threat
            2. Find barriers to prevent or slow down the shooter from getting to you
            3. Turn off the lights and silence your phones
            4. Remain out of sight by hiding behind large objects
            5. Be quiet

FIGHT: As a last resort, if you can’t hide out and if you have absolutely no other option, confront the

            1. Be aggressive, yell, and commit to your actions
            2. Do not fight fairly – throw items and use improvised weapons
            3. Survive by any means necessary

NEAR CAMPUS: An area, building or property adjacent to or within reasonable proximity to an “On Campus” location. These may include:

  • Sonoco campus
  • GSSM campus
  • Downtown area

ON CAMPUS: A building or property the University owns or controls that is a location considered and treated by students and employees as part of the campus. This determination is made on a case-by-case basis by taking into consideration the circumstances of the campus and the location. These may include:

  • University property (anywhere)
  • University-owned student housing
  • University-owned employee housing
  • Public property within campus boundaries
  • Public property immediately adjacent to the campus

PRECAUTIONARY SAFETY MEASURES: Strategies initiated and designed to reduce the risk of accidents, harm or injury
Examples include: avoiding walking or parking in poorly lit areas, being alert to what and who is around you

PROPER SHELTER: A physical structure that provides security, personal safety, and protection from the elements or an ongoing incident

RUN, HIDE, FIGHT: Three distinct tactics that Coker community members should consider to keep themselves and others safe during an active threat when instructed to do so by the University:


  • Take decisive action if you hear gunshots – don’t wait until others tell you to act
  • If you decide to run, run away from the shooter, or follow your route to safety
  • Know your surroundings – have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Run and all 911 from a cell or campus phone when it is safe to do so
  • Help others if you can, but keep moving
  • When calling 911, be sure to provide an exact location – don’t assume a dispatcher knows where you are located


  • If you can’t run, hide as a second option.
  • Do not huddle together, as it makes one easy target. Spread out.
  • Lock and/or use items to barricade doors, shut off lights
  • Put your cell phone on silent and call 911, but do not speak loudly to avoid being heard
  • Keep others calm around you


  • As a last resort, when running and hiding are not an option, fight when your life is in imminent danger
  • Assume a survival mindset and know that active violence situations are often over in a few minutes
  • Fine and object to use as a weapon – fire extinguisher, chair, book bag, stapler, pen/pencil, etc
  • Develop a plan with others to take out potential shooter – be decisive and commit to act

SHELTER in PLACE: The act of requiring staff, students and visitors to stay indoors because it is unsafe outside (such as a weather-related emergency). Buildings/rooms will not be locked to prevent entry. If outside, move to the closest building.

            Shelter-in-Place Instructions:
For weather:
1. Go to the lowest level of the building if possible.
            2. Stay away from the windows.
            3. Go to interior hallways and rooms.
            4. Use arms to protect head and neck in a “drop and tuck” position.
            5. Monitor emergency communications for specific instructions.
For environmental incidents (chemical, biological, or radiological releases):
            1. Go inside the nearest building.
            2. Close all doors, windows, and other inlets from the outside.
            3. Shut down the fresh air intake or HVAC system if possible.
            4. Monitor emergency communications for specific instruct

TORNADO WATCH: Indicates conditions are favorable for a tornado. Be prepared to shelter in place should a warning be issued.

TORNADO WARNING: Indicates a tornado has been spotted in the area. Shelter in place.


  • Don’t assume someone else is calling 911.
  • If you have specific information and have made it to safety, call 911
  • Calls from your cell phone will go to the Darlington County Dispatch. Be sure to tell them you are on the campus of Coker University
  • Be specific about the location of where the incident is occurring; for example, “there is an active shooter on the third floor of the Science building.”
  • Provide a specific description of those involved, including a number of subjects, clothing and weapons involved.


  • Remain calm and be prepared to show your hands to arriving police officers
  • Do not slow down responding officers.
  • Follow all instructions and keep moving.
  • Do advise them of where suspects may be in the building

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