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Athabasca University

Emergency Management Response Protocol

1.0 Purpose

To outline an emergency management response protocol to be enacted at Athabasca University in the event of an emergency arising at the University.

This protocol is to be used while work is underway in the development of a comprehensive Emergency Management Framework for AU. The following directions are intended to serve as interim protocol for first response to any incident / occurrence that can meet the threshold of an emergency.

2.0 Definitions

Director of Emergency Operations (DEO) – during an emergency response the person assigned to manage and direct the Emergency Operations Centre Group and upon consultation with the Emergency Management Coordinator recommends the declaration of level of emergency.

Emergency – an event/threat or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could affect the health, safety and wellbeing of individuals; cause damage to infrastructure and/or could impact teaching, research or administrative activities, and / or the reputation of the university.

Emergency Management Coordinator – A dedicated position who provides co-ordination and facilitation on emergency management related matters at the University.

Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) – the physical location for the Emergency Operations Centre Group outside of the scene of the incident which will have the capability for 24 hr./7 day operation if necessary.

Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG) – the operational group assigned responsibility for the overall management of any Level 2 or 3 emergency at the University.

Incident Commander – an individual with appropriate skill sets, appointed by and reporting to the Director of Emergency Operations, who is responsible for and has the authority to direct and co-ordinate the actions of all university personnel on-scene.

Level 1 – A threat that minimally affects areas of life and safety, university infrastructure, academic programs, research, administrative operations, environment and/or reputation. Such threats would not require the establishment of an EOC nor the activation of EOCG. These threats are handled by academic and administrative offices as part of normal day-to-day operations. The threat could involve the following localized threats:

• minor injury

• small chemical spill

• minor computer virus

• winter storm

• minor damage to infrastructure

These threats could result in the need for a first response from local fire departments, police departments, or ambulance services.

Level 2 - A threat that substantially affects life and safety, university infrastructure, information technology systems, academic programs, research, administrative operations, environment and/or reputation. Such a threat will require partial or full activation of the Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG), and could involve the establishment of an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The threat could involve the following:

• moderate - major injuries to one or more people

• moderate health issues (e.g. epidemic)

• threats that are localized to the university property

• minor power outage

• computer virus that impacts critical University system

• information system security breach

• moderate damage to infrastructure

These threats could result in a partial closure of the campus and attract localized media and political interest.

Level 3 – A threat that critically affects life and safety, university infrastructure, information technology systems, academic programs, research, administrative operations, environment and/or reputation. Such a threat will require full activation of Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG), and the establishment of an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The threat could involve one or more of the following:

• fatality

• serious injury

• serious acts of violence

• serious threats which could impact university property and the surrounding area

• serious health issues (e.g. pandemic)

• major power outage

• major computer virus that impacts critical University system(s)

• major infrastructure damage (e.g. an entire building or buildings)

These threats could result in the closure of the full campus or specific areas of the campus, or the entire University and attract significant media and political interest.

3.0 Authority

Director of Emergency Operations (DEO) – The President will serve as the Director of Emergency Operations (DEO). The Vice President, Academic will serve as the Director of Emergency Operations (DEO) in the absence of the President.

Emergency Management Coordinator – The Director, Strategic Initiatives will serve as the Emergency Management Coordinator.

Incident Commander:

• The Director, Facilities and Services (Acting) will serve as the Incident Commander in cases where the emergency is not primarily IT related.

• The Vice President, Information Technology will serve as the Incident Commander in cases where the emergency is primarily IT related.

Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG):

• President – Chair (serves as the Director of Emergency Operations)

• Vice President, Academic

• Vice President, Finance and Administration

• Vice President, Information Technology

• Vice President, Advancement

• Director, Facilities and Services (Acting)

• Director, Human Resources (Interim)

• Director, Communications

• Director, IT Operations

• Director, Strategic Initiatives

• Coordinator, Employee Health

• Executive Professional Officer, Office of Vice President, Finance and Administration - Secretary

4. 0 Emergency Response Protocol Statements

1) Upon first noticing an emergency or potential emergency, (and based on their own judgement), the person made aware the situation, should call first responders (fire, police, and ambulance) at 911, to ensure that professional response and services are on their way in the quickest time possible.

2) Once first responders have been alerted (if need be) the person first becoming aware of the emergency or potential emergency is to contact the Director, Facilities and Services (Acting), and relay information about the nature of the emergency. (780) 519-1410 or dhead@athabascau.ca).

3) The Director, Facilities and Services (Acting) will appraise the information provided, and initially assess as to whether the incident constitutes a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 emergency. The Director, Facilities and Services (Acting) will advise the Coordinator, Employee Health.

4) If the Director, Facilities and Services (Acting) assesses that it is a Level 2 or Level 3 emergency, he/she will alert the AU President and the Director, Strategic Initiatives. If it is an IT-related situation, the Vice-President, Information Technology will also be notified.

5) If it is an IT-related situation and the Vice-President, Information Technology becomes aware of the emergency prior to the Director, Facilities and Services (Acting) becoming aware, it is the responsibility of the Vice-President, Information Technology to assess the incident to determine whether it is a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3. If it is determined that it is a Level 2 or Level 3 emergency then the Vice-President, Information Technology will notify the AU President, the Director, Facilities and Services (Acting), and the Director, Strategic Initiatives.

6) The President (or alternate), in his/her role as Director of Emergency Operations, will assign the Incident Commander.

7) The Incident Commander is responsible to:

• Direct, control and co-ordinate the on-site emergency response.

• Report directly to and consult with the Director of Emergency Operations on response tactics and the status of the response.

• Act as university support to external on-scene emergency response personnel once they assume responsibility for the event.

• Determine location and supervise the inner and outer perimeters of areas impacted by the emergency.

• Ensure security, access and egress to site if necessary.

8) Based on the situation presented, the Director, Facilities and Services (Acting) and / or the Vice-President, Information Technology will gather an ad-hoc response team from within their staff to provide an immediate response, as required.

9) The Director, Strategic Initiatives will notify the Vice-President, Finance and Administration, the Director of Human Resources (Interim), and the Director of Communications.

10) The Vice-President, Finance and Administration will notify the remaining members of the AU Executive.

11) The President will confer with the Director, Strategic Initiatives and the Incident Commander to further assess whether the emergency is a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3.

12) If the President determines that the situation meets the threshold of a Level 2 Emergency, the President will advise the Director, Strategic Initiatives, whether to partially or fully activate the Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG), and establish an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

13) If the President determines that the situation meets the threshold of a Level 3 Emergency, the Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG) will be fully activated and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will be established.

14) The Director, Strategic Initiatives will be responsible for notifying members of the Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG) of the partial or full activation and establishment of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

15) The Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG), if activated, will meet, in order to further assess information available, decide on secondary response plan, communications plan, and for emergency management decision making.

16) Each Executive Member is responsible for notifying those individuals within their portfolio that are required in order address matters within their portfolio that require immediate attention.

17) Such notifications should be made via cell phone, via SMS, and/or via Email. It is important that Executive Members maintain contact lists for the individuals who may be required to respond in the event of an emergency. This list must be up to date and accessible at all times.

18) Any communication to students, faculty, staff, the media or general public requires the approval of the Director of Communications.

5.0 Emergency Response Organizational Structure

The overall strategic management of Level 1 emergencies will be handled by the deans, directors, managers, and/or supervisory personnel, etc. of our academic/administrative offices. They will effectivelyrespond to any Level 1 emergency in conjunction with their current day-to-day responsibilities and mandates.

Athabasca University will approach its emergency management response to Level 2 and 3 emergencies underthe Incident Command System utilizing two teams - a command team and a general team.

The command team is comprised of the Director of Emergency Operations (i.e. the President), the members of the Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG), the Incident Commander, and the Coordinator, Employee Health.

The General team is comprised of all other Athabasca University employees who are engaged as part of the response to the emergency.

5.1 Incident Command System (ICS)

The EOCG will establish, if required, an on-scene response model known as the Incident CommandSystem (ICS). This system will be used to command, control and co-ordinate the efforts ofindividual internal resources and external agencies, if required, to help respond to the emergency. This model has been adopted by some Canadian municipalities, fire, police, health officials and many North American post-secondary institutions. Athabasca University has received direction from the Executive Group to implement this model in response to emergencies which may occur across the University.

The key features of the Incident Command System include the use of common terminology and titles, a standardized planning process, common communications and a unified approach toemergencies that require inter- agency involvement in Level 2 and 3 responses. ICS supports aspan of control model which utilizes a reporting structure of 1:3 (minimum), 1:5 (optimal) and 1:7(maximum). ICS uses unity of command with individuals reporting to only one supervisor. This eliminates the potential for conflicting orders thus increasing accountability, improving the flow of information, helping with the co-ordination of operational efforts and enhancing operational safety. ICS provides organizations with the ability to adapt the components to fit its response requirements.

An Incident Commander will be appointed by the President, in his role as Director of Emergency Operations. The Director of Emergency Operations, the members of the Emergency Operations Centre Group, Incident Commander, and Coordinator, Employee Health will be known as command team under this model and will be supported by general teams who will perform the responsibilities assigned under a modified ICS model.

These teams will be activated in part or in full depending on the assessment by the firstresponders.

5.2 Responsibilities of the President

The president will serve as the Director of Emergency Operations (DEO) and have theresponsibility to:

• Assign the Incident Commander;

• Confer with the Director, Strategic Initiatives and the Incident Commander to further assess whether the emergency is a Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3;

• If a Level 2 or Level 3, make a determination whether to partially or fully activate the Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG);

• Co-ordinate with the Director, Strategic Initiatives for the establishment of the EOC if required in Level 2 and Level 3 emergencies;

• Provide direction and leadership to ensure the Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG) is implementing the Emergency Response Plan;

• Update the Board of Governors and the provincial government;

• On the basis of the recommendation from the EOCG, make formal declarations related to the emergency;

• On the advice of the Director, Communications, address media issues related to the university’s response;

• Direct emergency management activities in consultation with the EOCG members;

• Determine level of staffing/expertise needed in the EOC;

• Appoint, as required, individuals to take the leadership role with respect to the functions of planning and analysis, operations, logistics and finance and administration depending on the nature and scope of the emergency and the skill sets required;

• Provide direction to the Incident Commander, leaders of planning and analysis, operations, logistics and finance and administration;

• Seek advice and recommendations from the first responders, Incident Commander, EOCG and leaders of planning and analysis, operations, logistics and finance and administration when required;

• Ensure the incorporation of lessons learned into the Emergency Response Plan.

5.3 Responsibilities for the Incident Commander

Incident Commander will be appointed by the Director of Emergency Operations (i.e. President) based on the nature of the emergency and the skill set and knowledge required. The Incident Commander in most emergency situations will be the Director, Facilities and Services (Acting). The Vice President, Information Technology will serve as the Incident Commander in cases where the emergency is primary IT related.

The Incident Commander responsibilities are:

• Direct, control and co-ordinate the on-site emergency response in relation to matters within the responsibility of the University;

• Act as the primary contact between the University and the first responders (i.e. fire, police, ambulance);

• Report directly to the Director of Emergency Operations on response tactics being undertaken by first responders and the status of the response;

• Report directly to and consult with the Director of Emergency, Operations on the on-site response tactics to be undertaken by University resources and the status of the response;

• Act as university support to external on-scene emergency response personnel once they assume responsibility for the event.

• Determine location and supervise the inner and outer perimeters of areas impacted by the emergency;

• Ensure security, access and egress to site if necessary;

• Maintain a written log of all decisions and actions taken;

• Perform other duties as required.

5.4 Responsibilities, Composition and Mandate of the Emergency Operations Centre Group

Decisions made by this group are in response to information provided by the Incident Commander to the Director of Emergency Operations (DEO). The DEO remains in the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) with key university and communications personnel who have the necessary authority toengage other internal/external stakeholders. These groups will have the authority to make tacticaland administrative decisions during a response. Students, employees and infrastructure issues will be an integral oversight responsibility of this group.

Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG):

• President – Chair (serves as the Director of Emergency Operations)

• Vice President, Academic

• Vice President, Finance and Administration

• Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer

• Vice President, Advancement

• Director, Facilities and Services

• Director, Human Resources

• Director, Communications

• Director, IT Operations

• Director, Strategic Initiatives

• Coordinator, Employee Health

• Executive Professional Officer, Office of Vice President, Finance and Administration - Secretary

The EOCG mandate:

• Take precautionary measures as required to ensure the safety and security of people and resources of the university;

• Accept the advice/assessment from the first responders;

• Determine the short- mid and long-term impact of the emergency in consultation with members of EOCG;

• Recommend to the President a formal declaration of Level 2 or 3 emergency if required;

• Maintain a contact list of employees and resources that may be required to assist in the emergency response;

• Contact and mobilize employees and internal/external resources within their respective portfolios that are required in order to address matters requiring attention in relation to the emergency response and recovery;

• Provide liaison to all AU partners and stakeholders as required;

• Converse with members of the AU community engaged in various aspects of the emergency response as required;

• Interface directly with outside community agencies;

• Invite representatives from key external stakeholders to the EOC who may be critical to the decision making process (e.g. fire and police);

• Authorize all media releases relating to the emergency; and

• Implement post-incident recovery strategies expediently.

5.5 Responsibilities for the Director, Communications

• Activate the response section of the Emergency Communications Plan including deploying the communications response team;

• Provide leadership, supervision and direction of all Communications activities during an emergency;

• Approve messages and materials upon consultation with the Director of Emergency Operations;

• Determine who should be the spokesperson to deliver these messages to the internal and external audiences;

• Communicate decisions from the EOCG directly to the members of the communications response team;

• Provide communications counsel to senior administrators;

• Delegate the establishment of communications/media centres if necessary;

• Other duties as outlined in the Emergency Communications Plan.

5.6 Responsibilities for the Director, Strategic Initiatives

• Upon notification of an initial assessment of a Level 2 or Level 3 emergency from the Director, Facilities and Services, the Director, Strategic Initiatives will notify the Vice-President, Finance and Administration, the Director, Human Resources (Interim) and the Director, Communications;

• Confer with the Director, Emergency Operations (i.e. President) and the Incident Commander to further assess the emergency as a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3;

• If confirmed as a Level 2 or Level 3, upon direction from the Director, Emergency Operations (i.e. President) partially or fully activation of the Emergency Operations Centre Group (EOCG) and the establishment of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC);

• Notify members of the Emergency Operations Centre Group of the partial or full activation;

• Upon notification of the EOCG convening, set up the EOC;

• Ensure all necessary equipment and resources are available in the emergency operations centre, engaging other employees and as required;

• Assist with the dissemination of all information originating from the EOCG;

• Assist the Director, Emergency Operations (i.e. President) with follow up action items.

• Perform other emergency response duties as required.

5.7 Responsibilities for the Coordinator, Employee Health

• Provide safety oversight for the Incident Commander on-scene, if required;

• Analyze any potential impact with regards to the health and safety mandate;

• Identify hazardous situations associated with the incident;

• Exercise emergency authority to stop and prevent unsafe activity on-scene;

• Investigate the accidents that may have occurred within the incident area;

• Engage additional health and safety resources as needed;

• Ensure expert advice is obtained for Incident Commander, the Director of Emergency Operations and the Emergency Operations Centre Group regarding protective actions/personal protective equipment, exposure risks (physical, chemical, biological, electrical, radioactive) and recommend protective strategies;

• Make recommendations on areas requiring evacuations;

• Maintain a written log of all decisions and actions taken.

5.8 Responsibilities for Secretary:

• Provide administrative support to the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC);

• Maintain a written log of all decisions and action taken by the Emergency Centre Operations Group;

• Ensure these records are filed with the Director, Strategic Initiatives upon closure of the EOCG.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Occupational Health and Safety Code 2009

Related References, Policies, Procedures and Forms

AU Enterprise Risk Management Framework 2014

Ranking of AU’s Primary Risk Exposures – 2015

Emergency Contact List – June 4, 2015

Updated May 04 2016 by amandap@athabascau.ca

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