Clery Report

Fire Safety Report

The Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know Act is an amendment to the Higher Education Opportunity Act. This amendment is intended to increase campus fire safety awareness across the nation by providing students, families, and other interested persons with the fire safety records of colleges/universities. This amendment requires post-secondary institutions to publicly display fire safety information and statistics, much as they do with other safety statistics. The information provides students and other members of the University community of the policies, concerns, and fire safety conditions that are present at Gardner-Webb University.

Fire and Fire Alarms

If there is a fire or a fire alarm sounding, the most important thing is for everyone to evacuate the building safely. Each student and employee should familiarize themselves with the evacuation routes for the buildings they frequent. Never assume that a fire alarm is a drill or a false alarm. Always remain calm and evacuate the building. Evacuation is mandatory; anyone who fails to evacuate may face disciplinary action. Follow instructions given by emergency responders and do not re-enter the building until authorized. If someone has information regarding the alarm, provide that information immediate to the responding emergency personnel.

Report all fires or the presence of smoke by calling 911 immediately and alerting University Police at (704) 406-4444 Be sure to identify the building, floor, and location. Even if a fire has been extinguished, notification should be made to assure that the fire is completely out, there are no other fires, the facility is safe, and so that an investigation can be made.

Evacuation Procedures

In the event of a fire, it is the policy of Gardner-Webb University that all occupants (faculty, staff, students, visitors, etc.) will evaluate by the nearest exit, closing doors and activating the fire alarm, if it has not already sounded. Once safely outside, it is appropriate to contact 911 and University Police. No training is provided to students or employees in fire-fighting or suppression because that activity is inherently dangerous, and each person’s only duty is to exit safely and quickly, shutting doors along the exit path as they go to contain the spread of flames and smoke, and to activate the alarm as they leave, if needed. No activity should be permitted to delay exit from the building.

Evacuation plans are posted in each building that show the floor plan, exits, and suggested evacuation routes. Evacuation procedures are as follows:

  • If an alarm sounds, assume it is a real alarm, remain calm, and evacuate the facility.
  • Close all windows and leave the overhead light on.
  • Before opening any door, feel the door; it if is hot, do not open it. If it is not hot, brace yourself against the door, open it slightly, and if heat or heavy smoke are present, close the door and stay where you are.
  • If you cannot leave the room, open the window, hang a sheet or other light-colored object out of the window to attract the attention of emergency personnel and then close the window. Limit movement and talking.
  • If you have access to a phone, call 911 and report that you are trapped. Remain calm and give the room number and building location. Stuff towels, sheets, or similar materials under all doors leading into corridors and stay close to the floor if smoke enters the room.
  • If conditions allow you to leave the room, close, but do not lock, the door and walk directly to the nearest exit and leave the building.
  • If you are away from your dorm room or office when the alarm sounds, do not return to your room, but leave the building via the nearest exit.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Once you have exited the building, stand clear of it and report to a designated check-in area.
  • Follow the directions of fire and police personnel and do not re-enter he building until they give permission to do so.

Some types of chemical accidents or attacks may make going outdoors dangerous. Leaving the area might take too long or put you in harm’s way. In these cases, it may be safer to stay indoors than to go outside. In case of a chemical accident or attack, please:

  • Close doors and windows.
  • Do not exit the building.
  • If possible move to an interior, windowless room on an upper floor.
  • Close all doors to the outside and lock all windows.
  • Wet towels or other fabric items and jam them in the crack around the door. Use plastic (trash bags work well) to cover all windows and doors. Use tape to seal the edges of the plastic.
  • Turn off fume hoods, range hoods, air handlers, and all air conditioners. Switch inlets to the “closed” position.
  • Seal off all vents, grills, or other openings to the outside to the extent possible.
  • Minimize the use of the elevators in the building – they tend to ‘pump’ outdoor air in and out of a building as they travel up and down.
  • If you become bothered by the gaseous release, hold a wet cloth or handkerchief over your nose and mouth.
  • If you experience breathing difficulties, contact University Police at (704) 406-4444 and request immediate medical assistance.
  • Monitor local media for further information and guidance.
  • Do not evacuate the building unless told to do so by University Police or local law enforcement or fire department.

Fire Safety in Student Housing

Because safety is the paramount concern for students living in University housing, there are a number of requirements and restrictions that must be followed.


It is illegal to tamper with or damage the fire or safety equipment (including extinguishers, fire doors, smoke detectors, alarm bells, exit signs, or emergency call devices). If tampering or damage is found, an automatic fine will be assessed against the student or students responsible along with possible dismissal from the University. If equipment is tampered with or damaged and the responsible person cannot be identified, the cost of repair will be assessed equally among each resident student of the residence hall area or apartment involved. Tampering with or damage done to smoke detectors or emergency call devise in individual rooms or apartments will result in an automatic fine for a first offense and a larger fine for each additional offense. Tampering includes removing the smoke detector battery or false activation of an emergency call button.

If a student experiences a problem with a smoke detector contact University Police immediately at (704) 406-4444.

Fire Escapes

Use of fire escapes for any purpose other than to escape a fire is prohibited. As is the case for all fire safety regulations, violators will be subject to disciplinary action and may be subject to criminal prosecution.

Open Flames

It is a violation of University fire safety rules to light any material on fire on campus. Candles, other open flame devices, grills, incense, or other flame/heat producing items are strictly forbidden for use inside University facilities except during official religious ceremonies or events as authorized by the President or designee. Students will be held financially accountable for all damage they or their open flame device causes as a result of violating this policy as well as be subject to the disciplinary process.

Electrical Wiring and Appliances

Tampering with electrical wiring is prohibited. Such prohibited actions include, but are not limited to, installing direct-wired fans or lights and unauthorized entry into electrical panel boxes. Residents are responsible for all damage caused by electrical tampering or use of electrical appliances not owned by Gardner-Webb University.

Electrical appliances must by UL approved and maintained in good condition. Numerous electrical devices plugged into one outlet through an outlet cube or extension cord can cause a circuit overload and may lead to overheating of the electrical appliances, resulting in a fire. Therefore, use of outlet cubes or extension cords is prohibited. Use of a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker is acceptable.

Heat producing appliances (such as hair dryers, coffee posts, irons, etc.) should never be plugged into multi- plug adaptors, extension cords, or power strips and should never be left unattended. Always be sure to turn appliances off when not in use.

For safety reasons, Gardner-Webb University has specific restrictions that limit what appliances may be used in residential facilities. The possession or use of large appliances or any of the following small appliances or electrical equipment is prohibited in University residential facilities; and violators will be required to remove them or they will be confiscated. Disciplinary action and fines may result. Prohibited items include:

  • Halogen lights
  • Toaster ovens or hot plates
  • Fragrance plug-ins
  • Appliances with exposed heating elements
  • Electric fry pans
  • Refrigerators larger than 3.2 cubic feet
  • Space heaters not issued by the University
  • Grills of any type
  • Other appliances identified by the University as a hazard

Popcorn poppers, thermostatically controlled heating elements, and electric percolators are allowed in residence halls and apartments. Contact Housing and Residence Education with questions about the use or permissibility of other appliances or equipment.


Gardner-Webb University seeks to preserve a living and working environment supportive of behaviors that contribute to the physical health, safety, and well-being of all community members. Smoking any substance, the use of electronic cigarettes, and the possession of hookah pipes are not permitted in any campus facility, specifically including (but not limited to) residential facilities, apartment balconies, academic buildings, the Student Center, and athletic facilities. Failure to follow this policy may result in disciplinary action and fines to cover the cost of cleaning, repairing, or replacing damaged University Property.

Fire Drill Training

Gardner-Webb University conducts at least two student housing fire drills per year (one each semester). The drills are supervised through observation, evaluation, and documentation. The standard procedure entails activating the fire alarm system. All students, employees, and visitors must exit and assemble away from the building. Participants are briefed on their performance of evacuating the building, ways to improve evacuation, and what to do in the event of a real fire.

Number of Fire Drills in 2020: 53, in 2021: 38, 2022: 52

Student Housing Fire Safety Equipment

Each student housing area is equipped with fire extinguishers in the corridors, kitchens, and laundry rooms. The fire alarm pull stations are located by each required exit and stairwell door. All corridors are protected by automatic smoke detectors tied directly into the building fire alarm system. An activation of the fire alarm system will annunciate the notification devices (alarms, strobes) and automatically notify University Police.

In addition to the corridor smoke detectors, residents’ rooms and apartments are equipped with smoke detectors. Some areas are also protected by an automatic sprinkler system.