Skip to Main Content

On-Campus Emergencies: Quick Reference Guide

For all emergencies or crisis situations occurring on campus, call 9-911 then Public Safety Department at 775-445-3308 or 775-230-1952 or on-campus extension 3308.


This page is a quick reference for dealing with the more common emergency procedures. Each of the listed emergency categories consists of a two parts:

  1. General information concerning the type of emergency
  2. Simplified, quick-action steps to be followed during the emergency

Emergency Situations Covered

Disruptive Persons:

Besides complying with local, state and federal laws, WNC adheres to a code of conduct that is printed in the college catalog. The code establishes behavior standards for the entire campus community (students, staff, and visitors). When followed, the code allows the teaching and learning process to move forward without people disruption.

The underlying reason causing a disruption can usually be dealt with after the incident. What matters most during an incident are the victims of the disruption, the other students. Therefore, it is important to deal with the disrupter’s actions in a formal manner by first addressing the problem through verbal direction, then documenting the incident on a “Student Conduct/Discipline Report.”

Whenever disruptive individuals fail to comply with staff direction, the Public Safety Department should be immediately notified.

What to Do:

Whenever you observe or are the subject to unruly or disruptive acts by an individual, do the following:

  • If the disruption is occurring outside the classroom setting, notify Public Safety Department and wait for an officer to respond to the scene.
  • If the disruption occurs in a classroom, the instructor should try to deal with the situation by requesting the individual to stop his/her conduct. Immediately notify the Public Safety Department if the individual continues to disrupt.
  • For either of the above situations, prepare and forward a “Student Conduct Disruption/Discipline Report” to the Dean of Student Services through the Division Chair.

NOTE: Knowing that something will be done about a disruptive or unruly act tends to dissuade similar actions from occurring in the future.


Campus community members will be advised to evacuate a college building during an emergency or for other safety reasons. The signal to evacuate will normally be given through the use of fire alarm bells/horn system or verbally during a gas leak emergency.

Since gas is lighter than air, it will rise to the ceiling level of a room and work its way down to the floor. An explosion can be caused if the fire alarm bells/horns, telephone, or appliances in the effected area are used.

What to Do:

When the fire alarm bells/horns sound or you are verbally advised to evacuate a building or area:

  1. Remain calm, and leave the building and/or area in a safe and orderly manner.
  2. As you are leaving the building:
    1. Assist disabled persons or others requiring assistance.
    2. Hold on to handrails while on the stairway.
    3. Do not use elevators, matches or lighters.
  3. Proceed to a safe location away from the danger after leaving the building or area.


What to Do:

Explosions can occur from many sources. Some of these sources are electrical problems, chemical or natural gas release, bombs, or aircraft accidents.

After an explosion, the main focus of everyone on campus should be toward assisting the injured and safeguarding against fires and gas leaks. The immediate response of outside resources such as the Fire Department, Police Department, and utilities companies will be needed to effectively deal with the situation.

What to Do:

If this type of emergency ever occurs:

  1. Try to remain calm and prepare yourself for further explosions by crawling under a table or a desk.
  2. Stay away from windows, mirrors, overhead fixtures, filing cabinets, bookcases and electrical equipment.
  3. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of being killed by a subsequent fire, building collapse, or other occurrence.
  4. Open doors carefully and watch for falling objects. Do not use elevators.
  5. Do not use open flames such as matches or lighters. Avoid smoking in the vicinity.
  6. Call the appropriate emergency responders. Call 9-1-1; then notify the Public Safety Department. (telephone electronics may spark, do not use within 50 feet of the explosion or inside a building)


When there is a need for medical assistance or fire equipment, the Fire Department will respond within two to three minutes of being notified.

Campus community members may deal with small, extinguishable fires as long as personal safety is not compromised and he/she is trained in the use of fire extinguishers. The fire extinguishers located in the hallways and laboratories may be used for this purpose. However, always remember that personal safety should be your first concern. Never place yourself in a position where the fire is between you and the exit.

No matter how small the fire, always notify the Public Safety Department. The notification will result in the dispatch of an officer to the scene and the notification of the Environmental Health & Safety Department.

Fire Extinguisher Instructions

  1. Pull safety pin from handle.
  2. Aim at the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze the trigger handle.
  4. Sweep from side to side at base of fire.

What to Do:

If a fire occurs in your area:

  1. Put it out if it is a small, extinguishable fire and you are trained in the use of fire extinguishers. Otherwise, alert all occupants in your area.
  2. Never allow the fire to come between you and the exit.
  3. Notify the Public Safety Department at ext 3308 or 775- 230-1952) if time allows. If not, evacuate promptly and pull the fire alarm as you exit the building. Watch for the responding officer and provide information.
  4. Don’t panic if trapped. Use the telephone to notify the Public Safety Department ext 3308 or 775- 230-1952 of your location.


  • use the elevator or break windows.
  • return for personal belongings. You may not get a second chance to leave.

Gas Leaks:

Natural gas for heating: Natural gas has a characteristic aroma of rotten eggs.

Compressed gas in cylinders: Gas cylinders may contain gasses that are toxic, explosive, or asphyxiants. Whenever gas is detected in a building or other enclosed area, it should be treated as an emergency and immediately reported to the Public Safety Department. Gas leaks, when left unreported, can result in an explosion with subsequent injuries or death to campus community members.

To limit the possibility of an explosion, avoid using light switches, fire bells/horns, telephones, cell phones, and appliances when gas is detected.

What to Do:

If you smell gas (characterized by a rotten egg smell):

  1. Remain calm. Shut it off if the source of the leak is immediately apparent and can be easily corrected (e.g., Bunsen Burner, kitchen appliance, etc.).
  2. Evacuate the building/area when the source of the leak is not apparent.
  3. When evacuating: Do not activate the fire alarm or use the phone or turn on lights in the effected area. Verbally notify everyone in the effected area and proceed to the closest exit and evacuate the building.
  4. Notify the Public Safety Department from an unaffected area.

Hazardous Material:

The college complies with OSHA regulations pertaining to Hazardous Chemical / Material handling and the blood borne Pathogens Standards.

Incidents involving human blood will normally require the use of universal precautions and engineering implements (e.g., latex gloves, goggles, CPR mask, face protection, dust pan, etc.). Such use will protect the victim, the first aid provider, and the employee cleaning the contaminated surface. In the case of hazardous chemicals / materials, special protective equipment may be required.

Hazardous material accidents may occur in the science laboratories, central receiving, or the Technology Center buildings where chemicals are stored and used. Compressed gas cylinders may contain gasses that are toxic, explosive, or ashpyxiant.

What to Do:

When you have an incident that involves human blood or the release/spillage of a hazardous chemical/material, please remain calm and:

  1. Immediately notify Environmental Health and Safety Office at 3327 or 775-530-7475 or the Public Safety Office at 3308 or 775-445-3308 or 775-230-1952. Provide the type of emergency, i.e., blood, chemical, hazardous material.
  2. If a hazardous chemical/material is involved, evacuate the effected area. If a toxic or flammable gas is involved, do not pull the fire alarm. Verbally request people to evacuate the building as quickly as possible.
  3. Avoid coming in contact with human blood without proper protection. If you do come in contact, immediately wash your hands and advise the responding Environmental Health and Safety or Campus Safety officer.

In the event of a tank regulator breakage, the compressed gas cylinder may become a deadly missile. Clear the area immediately. In the event of a leak from a compressed gas cylinder, extinguish all smoking and clear a 50 foot radius around the leaking cylinder. Classroom chemical releases will be handled by lab instructors and teaching assistants. Chemical spills in the Central Receiving Office will be handled by Central Receiving staff.

If a spill is so large that it cannot be contained or chemicals are released into the sewer, notify the Environmental Health and Safety Office at 3327 or 775-530-7475 or the Public Safety Office at 3308 or 775-230-1952.

Treat all chemical releases as potentially serious. DO NOT STAY IN THE AREA!

Medical Emergencies:

Injuries and illness can occur at the College. They can range from minor incidents to life-threatening.

What to Do:

Whenever you observe or are informed of a medical emergency:

  1. Immediately call 911, notify WNC emergency medical responders at 775-230-1952 or 775-721-3132 or the Environmental Health and Safety Office at 775-445-3327 or 775-530-7475 or Public Safety Department at 775-445-3308. In life-threatening situations, notify 9-1-1. Report that you have a medical emergency at 2201 West College Parkway. Send someone to meet the responders and direct them to your location. Then notify the Public Safety Department. If the incident involves blood or other body fluids, ensure that responders are aware of the fact.
  2. Keep the ill or injured person as comfortable as possible while waiting for the officer or medical assistance to respond. Do not move an injured person unless not doing so may cause serious injuries or death.
  3. Administer first aid to the level of your training. Use personal protective barrier devices when rendering first aid where there is a chance of an exposure to bodily fluids (blood, vomit, saliva, etc…)
  4. Provide the responding officer and Supervisor with your version of what happened after the ill or injured person’s needs are taken care of and the incident has concluded.

Power Outage:

The college does not maintain auxiliary power units to provide emergency power. During a power outage, please remain in the rooms until advised to leave the building. Generally, the power will come back on after a few minutes.

What to Do:

If the building your in has a power outage:

  1. Remain calm.
  2. If you are teaching a class, have the students remain seated and stand by for instructions from a Public Safety Department staff member or a Buildings and Grounds employee. Public Safety Department personnel will move through the hallways to provide information and assistance.
  3. Provide assistance to visitors, students and other staff in your immediate vicinity. Give special attention to persons who may require an elevator to exit the building.
  4. If you are stuck in an elevator, use the Elevator emergency button to notify the Public Safety Department of your presence therein.
  5. Leave the building in an orderly manner when requested to do so by a Public Safety Department or a Buildings and Grounds employee.
  6. Leave the building if the fire bells/horns are activated.

Suspicious Pakages:

There is always the possibility that a staff Member may receive a written Bomb Threat or a suspicious letter/parcel in the mail, or find a suspicious package on campus grounds. In such situations, the safety of persons is of paramount importance. Of secondary importance is the preservation of evidence and property.

A note/letter containing a written Bomb Threat should not be handled after the discovery is made. The item should be properly collected as evidence and sent for fingerprint and other laboratory analysis. Suspicious letter/packages should not be moved after discovery. In such situation, the Carson City Sheriff should be notified.

Be cautious of:

  • Foreign mail, air mail, and special deliveries
  • Restrictive markings such as “Confidential” or “Personal”
  • Poorly typed or handwritten and/or misspelling of common words.
  • Postmark that is different from the return address.
  • Excessive postage.
  • Unusual shape or weight or visual distractions.
  • Excessive tape, string, or unusual sealing material.
  • Odors, stains, or oily residues or discoloration’s on packages.
  • Rigid, lopsided, or uneven envelopes
  • Protruding wires or tin foil
  • Any powdery substance
  • No or unfamiliar return address

What to Do:

  1. Remain calm. DO NOT allow anyone to handle the item or go near it.
    Bomb-like packages: Evacuate the building.
    Letters: with odors, stains, oily residue, or powdery substance, contain the item in a larger envelope or a sealable plastic bag.
  2. Notify the Public Safety Department at 775-445-3308 or 775-230-1952.
  3. Write down everything you can remember about receiving or finding the letter or parcel/package. Provide the information to the Public Safety Department.
  4. Assist officers in the evacuation of the threatened area when requested. DO NOT shut off lights, close doors or windows as while evacuating the area.

Severe Weather:

Most of Nevada’s severe weather occurs from in the winter months.

Most of the danger from a severe storm comes from snow and severe winds. The winds may be strong enough to move objects, knock down telephone/electric poles, and damage structures such as buildings. At the inception and during a severe storm, it is best to be inside a shelter such as a permanent structure or a motor vehicle for protection against flying objects. After the storm, it is important to check for down power lines, slippery surfaces, and/or other dangers that may be present.

What to Do:

In case of severe weather, do the following:

  1. Remain calm and seek shelter.
  2. Move to a hallway or basement, if possible. Stay away from windows and glass doors.
  3. Watch for downed power lines and other dangerous conditions after the storm has subsided.
  4. Move to higher ground or evacuate the building when major flooding occurs. Follow the directions of Public Safety Department staff and/or the responding emergency services provider, Carson City Fire and Sheriff Departments.
  5. Immediately notify Public Safety Department at ext 3308 or 775-230-1952 concerning unsafe conditions.


The possession of a firearm or other instruments commonly used to inflict bodily harm is prohibited at Western Nevada Community College and all other NSHE institutions. All persons who attend classes, are employed by the college, are visiting the college or who otherwise have business within NSHE, are prohibited from carrying weapons, concealed or otherwise (with or without a permit), on their person or in their vehicles or anywhere on college property. Nevada Certified Peace Officers, who currently work with a law enforcement agency, or persons who obtain written permission from the WNC President or his/her designee, are excluded from the NO Weapons policy.

The NSHE Board of Regents’ NO Weapons policy is enforceable under the Nevada Revised Statutes, 202.265 and 202.3673.

What to Do:

Whenever a staff member observes or becomes aware that a person on the college campus is in possession of a firearm or other instrument commonly used to inflict bodily injury, he/she should:

  1. Notify his/her supervisor.
  2. Call 911.
  3. Notify the Public Safety Department at 3308 or 775-230-1952.

Note: Public Safety staff can only observe and report to law enforcement.