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Wake Ready

Emergency preparedness for Wake Forest University

Frequently Asked Questions

How the University Announces Emergencies

How to Report an Emergency

A Word About Weather


How the University Announces Emergencies

How will the University inform me if there is an emergency on campus?

The University will use multiple methods, including outdoor loudspeakers, text messages, e-mails and the Wake Alert website, if possible. The URL is http://wakealert.wfu.edu. Announcements, updates and instructions will be posted as soon as possible. Student life representatives, such as professional staff, graduate assistants or resident advisors, will also be available to assist in communicating to students in the event of an emergency.

Where will I find updates on the Wake Alert site after an emergency is announced?

In normal conditions, the main message area on the site will display, “Operating conditions are normal at Wake Forest University.” Alerts, warnings and instructions will appear there during an emergency.

What kind of situations would prompt the University to alert the campus?

The University would alert the campus when the University administration believes there is a substantial risk to campus safety affecting the entire campus community.

If an emergency happened on campus, would the University close the campus?

If a substantial threat to campus safety affecting the entire community exists, the President or his designee have the authority to restrict access to campus.


How to Report an Emergency

How do I report suspicious activity or a suspicious person?

  • You can call 911 from a campus phone or call 336.758.5911 from a mobile phone to reach University Police.
  • Emergency call boxes [Map / PDF] are also located throughout the campus. Push the button once to speak with a dispatcher. Telephone boxes are also located near some building entrances. Pick up the receiver and dial 911. Tell the dispatcher about the suspicious activity or person, giving details about what you saw, the exact location and why it is suspicious.
  • You can also talk directly to a police officer at the police communications center in Davis Residence Hall.

If I see a crime in progress, what do I do?

  • Call 911 from a campus phone or call 336.758.5911 from a mobile phone to reach University Police. Tell the dispatcher that a crime is occurring. Describe what is happening in detail, including the exact location, descriptions of suspects, their last location and whether anyone is injured. Do not put yourself in jeopardy.
  • If you do not have a phone, emergency call boxes [Map / PDF] are located throughout the campus, including on walking trails. Push the button once to speak with a dispatcher. Telephone boxes are also located near some building entrances. Pick up the receiver and dial 911.

Whom should I call first if a fire or other emergency occurs on campus?

The first point of contact for on-campus emergencies is University Police, which can send police, firefighters and emergency medical help. University Police needs to know about any emergency on campus to coordinate the response. And remember, calling 911 on a mobile phone while on campus will connect you with dispatchers for the city of Winston-Salem. Ask to be transferred to Wake Forest University Police.

What are the various roles of University Police, Winston-Salem Police and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department?

University Police is the lead agency to respond and coordinate all emergency situations on campus. It is a full-service agency that employs full- and part-time police officers and staff. The Winston-Salem Police Department works cooperatively with campus police, sharing information and responding to situations as needed. The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for covering areas outside city limits, but deputies also enforce laws — including traffic laws — within city limits. The sheriff’s office also operates the county jail and houses anyone arrested in the county.

Whom should I call if I observe behavior by someone on campus that appears unusually hostile and threatening, but perhaps no apparent crime is being committed?

Your first response should be to call University Police. Dial 911 from a campus phone or call 336.758.5911 from a mobile phone. Police need to know about suspicious activity and potential problems.

What can I do if I’m concerned about a student or staff/faculty member’s emotional state or notice unusual behavior?

  • First, if you feel like someone is in danger or that the situation is an emergency, call University Police by dialing 911 from a campus phone or 336.758.5911 from a mobile phone.
  • If this is not an emergency, but you have concerns, there are many resources available to you. The University Counseling Center is located in Room118 in Reynolda Hall. The phone number is 336.758.5273. The mental health professionals at the University Counseling Center see all currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students on the Reynolda Campus, and are available for crisis intervention to students, faculty and staff. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the after-hours, on-call counselor can be contacted during the academic year by calling the Student Health Service when class is in session. The number is 336.758.5218.
  • Faculty and staff can also call for help through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which offers crisis intervention, referrals and brief counseling. Call 336.716.5493. More detailed information is available from the University Counseling Center.

Is there some way to report a tip about a crime without having to give my name?

Yes, there are two methods. University Police operates a Silent Witness online program where anyone can submit an anonymous tip. The site requires users to fill out a form asking for details about a crime, but it does not require anyone to submit their name or e-mail address. Anyone with information about a crime can also call University Police Crime Stoppers at 336.758.4477. Callers who leave contact information on the Crime Stoppers voice mail may be eligible for a reward.


A Word about Weather

What types of severe weather threats affect Winston-Salem?

  • Tornadoes, hurricanes and winter storms are all threats in Piedmont North Carolina.
  • The remains of hurricanes that come ashore off the Atlantic Ocean have hit major metropolitan areas of North Carolina, causing flooding and downed trees. Tornadoes and other powerful windstorms are not unusual in the Piedmont, either. Winter storms can cause significant snowfalls and ice storms can make any type of travel dangerous and cause lengthy power outages. The State Climate Office of North Carolina offers background information about the state’s weather.

What is the difference between a watch and a warning?

  • The U.S. National Weather Service issues watches and warnings about specific types of threatening weather. A watch means that severe weather could develop. A warning means that severe weather is imminent.

Where can I find specific forecast information?

What news media outlets have local weather information?

Several television stations and news sites in the Triad post weather alerts online. They include: