Evacuation Procedures

1. Building Evacuation

  • All building evacuations will occur when an alarm is sounded and/or upon notification from Maintenance/Security/Building Captains or Administration. (Refer to exception for an Active Shooter).
  • When the building evacuation alarm is activated during an emergency, leave by the nearest marked exit and alert others to do the same.  If emergency personnel direct you to another exit based on the type of emergency, follow their directions.
  • Do not use elevators in case of fire, tornado, or earthquake.
  • Once outside, proceed to a clear area that is at least 500 feet away from the affected building(s). Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrants, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel.  Evacuate further if directed by emergency personnel.
  • Do not return to an evacuated building until an all clear is given by emergency personnel.

2. Shelter-in-Place

One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency where hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere is to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors.  (This is not the same as going to a shelter in the event of a storm or tornado). Shelter-in-Place means selecting a small, interior room with no or few windows, and taking refuge there.

Depending on the type of emergency and directives received from authorities and emergency personnel the following options are available depending upon the emergency and/or disaster.

  • Closing of the University and activation of the University’s Crisis Plan.
  • Follow reverse evacuation procedures and bring students, faculty, and staff inside.
  • Monitor television, radio, and other forms of communication for information regarding the threat/emergency and follow their directions.
  • Bring everyone in the building. Shut and lock the door.
  • Gather emergency supplies if possible.
  • Close windows, secure doors and duct tape if told to do so.

3. Evacuation for People with Disabilities

The most important factor in emergency planning for people with disabilities is advanced planning.

A. In all emergencies after an evacuation is ordered evacuate people with disabilities if possible.

  • Do not use elevators, unless directed to do so by police or fire personnel. Elevators can fail in certain situations.
  • If situation is life threatening call the police/fire departments immediately (911).
  • Check on people with special needs during an evacuation. A buddy system, where people with disabilities arrange for volunteers to alert them and assist them in an emergency, is a good method.
  • Always ask someone with a disability how you can help before attempting any rescue technique or providing assistance. Ask how he or she can best be assisted or moved and whether there are any special considerations or items that need to come with the person.
  • If you are unable to evacuate a disabled person contact law enforcement or fire personnel and be able to provide them with the person’s location that needs assistance in evacuating.  Students should inform faculty members of their special needs regarding evacuation, especially prior to an emergency or disaster.

B. Response to emergencies (blindness and visual impairment)

  • Offer to lead them out of the building to safety.
  • Give verbal instructions about the safest route or direction using compass directions, estimate distances, and directional terms.
  • Do not grasp a visually impaired person’s arm. Ask if he or she would like to hold onto your arm as you exit, especially if there is debris or a crowd.

C. Response to emergencies (deafness or hearing loss).

  • Get the attention of a person with a hearing disability by touch and eye contact. Clearly state the problem. Gestures and pointing are helpful, but be prepared to write a brief statement if the person does not seem to understand.
  • Offer visual instructions to advise of safest route or direction by pointing toward exits or evacuation maps.

D. Response to emergencies (mobility impairment).

  • It may be necessary to clear the exit route of debris (if possible) so that the person with a disability can move out or to a safer area.
  • If people with mobility impairments cannot exit, they should move to a safer area for example:
    • Most enclosed stairwells
    • An office with the door closed, which is a good distance from the hazard
  • Notify police or fire personnel immediately about any people remaining in the building and their locations.
  • Police or fire personnel will decide whether people are safe where they are and will evacuate them as necessary.
  • If people are in immediate danger and cannot be moved to a safer area to wait for assistance, it may be necessary to evacuate them using an evacuation chair or a carry technique.
  • Building Captains when possible will assist in the coordination of evacuations and/or shelter-in-place.


In the event a limited or mass evacuation of any part of Winona State University, officials will instruct members of the campus community where to evacuate to and/or what staging areas will be used to coordinate transportation to safe areas. There are a number of designated staging areas which are listed within this manual that members of the campus community are encouraged to become familiar with them. However, these areas may change depending on the nature and extent of the emergency and/or disaster.

The Incident Commander and/or emergency personnel will coordinate the evacuation of members of the campus community to designated safe areas

On limited evacuations faculty, staff and students may be directed to safe areas outside the affected building and/or area. Winona State University Security will allow those displaced members access to facilities when necessary based on inclement weather, special needs, etc.

Buildings (mentioned below) located next to the staging areas will become part of the staging areas if possible to provide shelter and comfort until individuals can be transported to safe areas.

Designated Staging Areas

A. Main Campus

  • Kryzsko Commons (west side)
  • Memorial Hall (Main Street)

B. East Lake Apartments

  • Building A (west side of building)

C. West Campus (Residential College)

  • Lourdes Hall (east side of building, Gould Street, main entrance)
  • Tau Hall and area to the east.

D. Wabasha Hall

  • North entrance, main level, Wabasha Street (7th Street).

Please note that the location of staging areas may change based on the extent and nature of the emergency/disaster.  Members of the campus community will be directed to the above and/or alternate staging areas by emergency personnel and/or University officials when appropriate.

Evacuation – Levels (I, II, & III)

Winona State University has several forms of transportation that will be provided to transport members of the campus community to safe areas in the event of a disaster and/or emergency. The method and source of the transportation will depend on the extent and nature of the emergency, specific needs and number of individuals to be transported.

  • Level I Evacuation
    • Level I involves a limited evacuation of a specific building and/or area with a population that is relatively small. Winona State University Security, Facilities Services and/or Winona State University Shuttle Services will be used to transport and/or direct members of the campus community to safe areas.
  • Level II Evacuation
    • Level II involves a larger scale evacuation of buildings and individuals to safe areas. Depending on the nature and extent of the emergency all resources used during a Level I evacuation will be used along with Transit Buses from the City of Winona and/or buses from Philip’s Bus Service.
  • Level III Evacuation
    • Level III evacuations is generally required when a large number of buildings are affected, entire campuses, and/or a large amount of people need to be moved. All resources available to the University may be used in the event of a Level III evacuation.

City of Winona Transit Buses - Evacuation

In the event additional assistance is needed in evacuating members of the campus community the following options are available to move students, faculty, staff and visitors to safe areas.

Winona State University in agreement with the City of Winona the University will use Transit Buses in the event their services are need to evacuate students, faculty and staff. If an evacuation is ordered and Transit Buses are needed the University will contact the Winona Police Department. The police shall be informed that Transit Buses are needed for an evacuation, the number of buses needed, the amount of individuals to be evacuated, and the location of the staging area.


A lockdown is an emergency course of action ordered by a person or persons in command, such as law enforcement, WSU administration, to contain a problem or incident within the area of origin by controlling the movement of people. When considering a lockdown of campus facilities, campus authorities will take into account the severity and urgency of the problem or threat and the imminent danger to persons on the campus.

When a lockdown is ordered members of the campus community are encouraged to take appropriate action immediately. The university may use a number of different options in making notification to the campus community.

For information concerning lockdowns refer to the “Violent Behavior” section of this plan.

Safe Areas:

  • West Campus (Residential College)
  • Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical (Winona Campus)
  • St. Mary’s University