Cuttington, Suakoko Campus
Preparation to respond to possible emergencies is one way in which CU offers to support the safety of its community. The plan includes the best and most practices.
The Emergency Response Plan is designed to maximize human survival and preservation of property, minimize danger, restore normal operations of the College, and assure responsive communications with the community, surrounding villages and authorities. This plan is to respond when an emergency reaches a point which cannot be handled by established measures. By nature, a crisis will be sudden and unforeseen. This plan by necessity is flexible to accommodate contingencies of any nature.
The plan provides for aiding the local community when appropriate, though the prime responsibility of the plan is to the University. Common sense should always prevail. This plan is a tool to avoid confusion and wasted effort.
This Emergency Response Plan is in case of an emergency. An emergency is an unplanned event that can cause death or significant injuries to faculty, staff, students, or the public, or that can shut down business, disrupt operations, cause physical or environmental damage, or can threaten Cuttington's financial standing or public image. With support of public authorities, this Plan will take effect when such an emergency is first noticed.
All emergency police, fire, medical calls, etc. -- 06620278
All non-emergency police, fire, medical calls, etc. -- 06733028
Levels of Emergency
Emergencies can generally be classified into three levels:
Level I (Disaster)
A community-wide emergency that seriously impairs or halts the operation of the University. Outside emergency services would be needed. Major policy considerations and decisions would always be required.
Examples of a level I disaster include, but are not limited to:
- Mass casualties.
- Natural disaster such as earthquake or tornado.
- Large-scale hazardous material spill.
- Major Health epidemics.
- Major weather emergency.
Level II (Major Emergency -- Depending on Circumstances)
A serious emergency that completely disrupts one or more operations, and may affect mission-critical functions or life safety. Outside emergency services, as well as major efforts from campus support services, would be required. Major policy considerations and decisions would usually be required.
Examples of a level II major emergency include, but are not limited to:
- Hostage situation
- Major fire
- Civil disturbance
- Widespread power outage
- Bomb threat
- Laboratory explosion
- Death of a student, faculty, or staff member (depending on circumstances)
- Rape (depending on circumstances)
- Shooting or stabbing
- National terrorist incident
Level III (Minor Emergency)
A localized, contained incident that is quickly resolved with internal resources or limited help and does not affect the overall functioning capacity of Cuttington University.
Examples of a level III minor emergency include, but are not limited to:
- Small fire.
- Small hazardous material incident.
- Limited power outage.
The authority to declare a campus state of emergency lies with the President or Vice President for Administration or their designee(s) in consultation with the President (if available). In the absence of the Vice President for Administration, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will have the authority.
The Director of Security is responsible for establishing the basic policies and procedures that govern the emergency response plan, and is the highest level of authority during an emergency
Emergency Response Team
The Emergency Response Team is responsible for coordinating the Emergency Response Plan. Members' duties and responsibilities relate closely to their normal responsibilities. In the event of a crisis, however, coordination and organization of all operations at the University will be directed by the Emergency Response Team which will coordinate the response, communicate with personnel, issue instructions to particular units, and monitor progress in carrying out the instructions.
The responsibilities of Emergency Response Team include, but are not limited to:
- Identify the emergency and determine its impact.
- Decide the necessary level of response required to manage the emergency.
- Exercise control over emergency operations and provide guidance on matters of policy and decision-making authority.
- Authorize the evacuation and/or closing of facilities, as required.
- Coordinate the release of all official information and instructions to the public.
In addition to their responsibilities in an emergency, the Emergency Response Team is responsible for insuring that the University is prepared and in the best possible position to respond to an emergency when it occurs. Additional duties may include:
1. Insuring that staff are familiar with the overall emergency response plan and the specific requirements of departmental plans.
2. Maintaining adequate emergency resources and equipment particular to departmental plan requirements.
3. Maintaining a call list of departmental employees designated as "essential personnel." This call list will be updated as needed.
4. Ensuring the preservation of essential records, or other materials deemed essential.
In the event of a crisis, the President or Administrative Vice President or his/her designee will declare the need for the members of the team to convene, and will contact all members of Emergency Response Team.
Emergency Response Team Membership
Staff Member (Backup)
- Dean of Students
- Executive Assistant to the President
- Vice President of Administration
- Depending on the Emergency: Director of Human Resources; Director, Physical Plant; Director, Office of Information Technology
- Vice President for Academic Affairs
- Office of the President
In the event of an emergency situation, The Emergency Response Team will be notified by the Office of the President, who will convene the group to assess the situation.
An emergency operations center will be equipped with telephones, printer, fax machine, flip chart and/or a white board, markers, pens, pencils, radio or walkie talkies, and extra batteries. Supplies (as listed above) will be transported to the designated location by the appropriate resource person if needed. In the event that security is required for the command center, Security will provide this service.
On-Site Command Post
In an emergency, University personnel, and local agency representatives (i.e. fire department), will be called to the site of the emergency to respond accordingly. In these situations, an "on-site Command Post" will be established by the authorities. On-site personnel should provide regular updates and coordinate the University's on-site response.
Below are listed five general categories of emergency incidents and some sources of information for each. The department that would take the lead in the investigation/information gathering is also shown. The Director of the given area that has the lead for the incident would be added to the Emergency Response Team. In addition, that Director will designate a representative to serve as the on-site manager (should the Director choose to manage the situation on-site, he/she will assign someone else to be the area's representative on the Team).
Criminal Incidents - Public Safety (e.g. suicides, assaults, shootings, fires, etc.)
- Sources of information would be the results of evidence collection, interviews, background checks, information obtained from other investigative techniques, and recommendations from on-campus professionals.
- Investigations could be coordinated with the appropriate local police agencies.
Environmental Incidents - Environmental Health and Safety (e.g. HazMat spills, air quality problem, fires, petroleum spills, etc.)
- Sources of information would be the results of evidence collection, interviews, blueprint review, information obtained from other investigative techniques, and recommendations from on-campus professionals.
- Investigations could be coordinated with the Fire Department HazMat team, and various county and local agencies.
Health Related Incidents - Health/Counseling Centers (e.g. communicable diseases, etc.)
- Sources of information would be the results of medical testing, interviews, review of medical records, information obtained from other investigative techniques, and recommendations from on-campus professionals.
- Coordinate investigation with various health agencies.
Infrastructure Incidents - Physical Plant (e.g. sub-station fire, unplanned electrical shutdown, roof collapse, water leak, etc.)
- Sources of information would be the results of testing, interviews, review of records and blueprints, information obtained from other investigative techniques, and recommendations on-campus professionals.
- Coordinate investigation with various agencies where necessary.
Miscellaneous Incidents - Multi-departmental Response; the lead department to be determined depending upon the circumstances of the incident.
Sources of information would be the results of weather forecasts, interviews, review of records, information obtained from other investigative techniques, or recommendations on-campus professionals.
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible for all academic issues that surface during an emergency; arrange for temporary classrooms or workspace; coordinate with Registrar's Office and Buildings and Grounds.
Manager of Physical Plant
Perform damage estimation; maintain and provide access to blueprints and building plans; execute design work and recommendation of contractors to correct necessary repairs that are beyond the capability or resources of the campus work force; make assessment of any campus area susceptible to damage. Power will be secured if an unsafe condition exists, restoration will be made when appropriate. Assess/direct efforts to control hazardous materials in conjunction with authorities. Coordinate the assessment of the condition of the water and sewage system. Maintain and provide access to blueprints. Make emergency repairs, and remove debris. Provide necessary support to other departments (heavy equipment, barricades, etc.)
Manager of Information Technology Services
Re-establish affected networks. Relocate affected offices if necessary. Implement Information Technology Services emergency procedures and disaster recovery plan as needed. Maintain network and computing operations. Secure critical data and information resources. Repair and restore network and computing facilities.
Manager of Cafeteria
Direct/arrange for emergency meals. Request necessary food supplies. Coordinate efforts with other agencies. Coordinate with Director of Student Services regarding meal procedures.
Manager of Agape Clinic
Provide medical assistance in collaboration and coordination with local and health providers and public health officials. Coordinate the identification of sources of contamination that would present a public health threat. Coordinate efforts for the prevention and management of infectious diseases that pose a public health threat. Maintain records on assistance provided. Advise residents on water and food safety precautions.
Manager of Student Services
Responsible for the operation and maintenance of University housing facilities and emergency shelters, as well as assisting in providing housing services. Coordinate with authorities if necessary.
Office of the President
Coordinate information to be disseminated during and after a crisis. Maintain communications with media and others affected by the incident. Provide input into all decisions related to communications and public relations. Make appropriate plans for media. Organize press conferences and releases. Coordinate with other departments for cost recording. In collaboration with the President, serve as official spokesperson to media.
Organize and implement appropriate mental health interventions in crisis situations. Facilitate mental health debriefings with crisis team after crisis response. Review departmental crisis plans to ensure adequate attention is given to mental health issues. Advise Emergency Response Team regarding the mental health referral list to secure appropriate community support in crisis situations.
Manager of Human Resources
Arrange for expedited services of temporary employees when required. Coordinate mental health assistance to faculty and staff in coordination with counseling services. Coordinate with other departments for cost recording. Assist faculty/staff where needed. Coordinate any employee relations matters arising from an emergency.
President or Executive Assistant to the President
Approve all official communiqués. Serve as official University spokesperson when appropriate. Serve as contact with government officials and work on public communication. Inform Board of Trustees
Vice President for Administration
Coordinate the distribution of supplies. Arrange for contract services and locate required equipment and supplies. Arrange for a photo/video team to document damage. Initiate/process insurance claims. Coordinate emergency purchasing (in emergencies will be decentralized). Coordinate with other departments for cost recording.
Director of Finance
Initiate/process emergency purchases. Initiate a records-keeping system for all expenditures associated with emergency operations. Coordinate security of on campus funds. Initiate record-keeping system and coordinate with Purchasing regarding cost recording. Coordinates emergency purchasing (in emergencies will be decentralized). Coordinate with other departments for cost recording. Provide budget accounts for emergency spending. Identify funds available to meet emergency needs.
Director of Security
Secure the area around the emergency. Coordinate with off-campus emergency response resources. Monitor and assess the safety hazards and unsafe situations to develop measures for ensuring personnel safety. Point of contact for assisting or coordinating agencies. Consult with leader of the Emergency Response Team about the development of overall incident plan. Develop plans for effective use of communications among various off-campus agencies and the Emergency Response Team (pre-emergency). Determine evacuation routes and implement evacuation plans. Direct access and security control.
Manager of Student Affairs
Assess the impact of the situation on students and student life. Supervise student affairs response. Coordinate mental health assistance to students in coordination with counseling services. Identify individuals with special needs and implement plans for assistance.
Communications and Media Relations Principles
In a crisis, Cuttington must respond immediately and be open and candid in disseminating accurate and complete information to the public. The communications portion of the emergency response plan presumes that it is in the University’s interest to take a pre-emptive approach to public relations in a crisis and that our preferred strategy will be one of forthcoming disclosure of as much confirmed information as possible. The goal is to minimize speculation, inaccurate reporting, and negative publicity. By acting in this manner, the institution has more influence on what the media reports and acts to end the public relations aspect of a crisis as quickly as possible.
Communication with the Campus Community
When a crisis initially occurs, basic information will be provided by Administration to key staff so that we can most effectively respond to calls and inquiries.
The following strategies can/will be utilized in a crisis to communicate with the campus community:
- For faculty and staff, voice mail can be utilized to send out basic information regarding a crisis.
- If the campus network is available for use, an emergency alert message could be sent to all faculty, staff, and students via e-mail.
- If voice and data capabilities are not available, the Administration Office will be used as a central on-campus location where offices and individuals could go to receive information about the emergency.
- Some public patrol vehicles have loudspeaker capability. Patrol vehicles can be used to announce messages on campus at various locations to alert the community to the emergency and what steps should be taken.
Strategies for Working with the Media
1. Working quickly and proactively is imperative. Journalists tend to report the first information they get. If information is slow in coming it invites speculative coverage.
2. The media should be given as much information as possible. When information is withheld, we run the risk of inaccurate reporting, negative editorials, and damaging future media relations.
3. While communication following an incident is reactive by nature, the goal of media relations officers is to turn the situation into a proactive communications opportunity. Typically positive messages can follow negative actions. For example, disruption of a lecture being given by a controversial speaker is an opportunity to discuss Cuttington's commitment to providing a forum for expression of all ideas.
President and Executive Assistant Responsibilities
1. The President will assist in developing strategy and appropriate messages, in preparing "talking points" and fact sheets, and in providing text for fliers/posters, e-mail distributions, and postings to the website, and will prepare and distribute all news releases to on-campus and off-campus media.
2. The President will serve by default as Cuttington’s official spokesperson to whom media questions will be referred. Where major incidents are concerned, or where especially sensitive issues are involved, an appropriate informed high-level administrator (vice president, associate/assistant vice president, dean, e.g.) will be designated as official spokesperson throughout the particular crisis-reporting period. This individual must be available and accessible to the media relations office and/or news media at all times during the crisis. Responsibilities to media may include participating in press conferences and being interviewed in person or by telephone.
Office of the President Responsibilities
1. Immediately respond to the emergency and the needs of the news media.
2. Consult with pertinent administrators and the Emergency Response Team to determine the level of response needed.
3. Work with law enforcement and emergency services (if involved) and University personnel to develop facts. Draft talking points, fact sheets, flier/poster text, e-mail, website posting, emergency closing hot line/information desk recordings, and news releases as appropriate.
4. Distribute news releases to media.
5. Be available to the media until the crisis is over and media interest abates.
6. Delegate information gathering and distribution responsibilities to other staff as appropriate.
The Office of the President will respond according to the level of crisis using the following rankings:
1. Crisis media response
2. Timely media response
3. Routine or non-media response
Response level 1 will always be in effect when emergency level 1 (disaster) or 2 (major emergency) are in effect. Response level 2 will be in effect in most cases for emergency level 3 (minor emergency). By definition, response level 3 would not be used in any case in which the Emergency Response Plan is activated.
- Crisis Media Response
These incidents are certain to have a high media interest and an expectation for immediate reporting, along with a concomitant impact on the University's public image. Immediate notification must be made to the Office of the President and immediate action taken by it, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Every reasonable effort should be made to release an alert to the news media within an hour, or less, giving bare minimum details of the time, place and nature of the event with an assurance that the alert will be followed as quickly as possible with a more detailed report. In the highest level of crisis operations, immediate communications may be limited to on-campus and local media, as well as to wire services, but will be expanded as quickly as possible. Follow-up news releases will be made as needed and as quickly as essential details can be compiled. Depending on the nature of the event and the media's interest, continued follow-up reporting will be done as information becomes available and as official statements can be prepared. Technical support may be requested from elsewhere on campus to prepare and process communications to the on-campus and off-campus communities.
- Timely Media Response
These incidents can generally be handled on a next-business-day basis. Good faith efforts will be made to meet media deadlines, if the media inquires, and to report in a timely manner as defined by journalistic standards. News releases will be processed and disseminated according to regular policy.
Follow-Up and Review
The Emergency Response Team will assemble following each crisis to evaluate how the situation was handled and make recommendations to better handle similar situations in the future. The Emergency Response Team will also assemble at least once per year to review the overall campus plan, individual department plans, and to evaluate training and emergency notification literature.
Cuttington University gratefully acknowledges the permission of Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, to reproduce parts of their more comprehensive Emergency Response Plan.