Emergency Management Plan

I. Introduction, Overview and Mission
II. Summary of the Crisis Management Plan
III. Crisis Response Protocols

II. Summary of the Crisis Management Plan

A. Guiding Principles

  • Fort Hays State University’s Crisis Management Team, as a standing committee of the University, assists the University President in dealing with crises. The Team will keep the President or designee apprised of all situations that have the potential to rise to the level of a crisis and throughout all events that have been designated as a crisis. As chief executive officer of the University, the President may exercise authority to intercede at any stage and in any manner during a crisis or potential crisis.
  • Fort Hays State University’s Crisis Management Team will coordinate the efforts of appropriate campus resources, including University Relations, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, the University Police Department, General Counsel, and Counseling and Health Services.
  • FHSU’s Crisis Management Team is committed to effective collaboration with local, county, state and national officials whenever a crisis situation involves such agencies. To the extent possible, the Crisis Management Team will act in concert with local, state and federal emergency management responders and agencies and conduct its emergency management activities consistent with the National Incident Management System.
  • FHSU’s Crisis Management Team is committed to open and honest communication with the campus community and the community at large in the event of a crisis. The University will provide timely information to the media and other interested constituents to the best of its ability in any crisis situation.
  • The Crisis Management Team will conduct a full debriefing, analyzing the outcome of the crisis and the prevailing public opinion of the University’s response thereto. The Team will study its Crisis Management Plan in light of these of considerations and revise the Plan as needed.
  • The Crisis Management Team will recommend and/or coordinate informational or training sessions for the University community to assist in crisis response preparedness.
  • The Crisis Management Team will at all times be guided by the primary focus of preserving and protecting human life in its response to any given emergency. Considerations of maintaining the normal operations of the University, preserving and protecting facilities and property of the University, securing information and data of the University, preserving financial assets, and maintaining or repairing the image and goodwill of the University within the local community and beyond will also be taken into account in developing responses to crisis events.

 

B. Definition of Crisis

A crisis is any event that involves death, serious injury, property damage or destruction, disruption of normal operations, compromise of data or information, harm to financial assets, damage to the image or goodwill of the University, or any other event which is deemed to be a crisis by the University, or the imminent threat, fear or possibility of any such results.

C. Examples of Crises

While there is no way to anticipate all possible emergency situations or types of crises, the following examples represent categories of crises that would likely necessitate the deployment of the Crisis Management Team:

  • casualties involving University employees and/or students, whether occurring on or off campus
  • Disruptive or threatening behavior, including but not limited to, threats of widespread violence, riot, hostage situations, bomb threats, or injuries inflicted by guns, knives or other weapons
  • Natural or manmade environmental disasters including tornado, flood, fire or chemical or biological event or threat
  • Information or data compromise
  • Events occurring either on or off campus that have the potential to create public relations and image problems for the University

D. Protocol for Activating the Crisis Management Team

The Crisis Management Team may be convened at any time at the discretion of the Team Coordinator or upon direction of the President of the University or designee. Should the nature of the crisis prevent the Team from convening or communicating effectively with one another, all members of the Team are authorized and directed to fulfill his/her role on the Team.

E. Crisis Management Team Initial Activities

Once convened, the Crisis Management Team will generally take the following actions:

  • Share information with all members of the Team and attempt to assess the nature of the event and the probable harm that may result.
  • Brief and advise the President and other members of University administration.
  • Identify other individuals outside of the Team who may be needed to assist with the University’s response to the event.
  • Determine initial actions of the Team and by whom these actions will be taken.
  • Formulate a public message to be distributed to the University community and the community at large.
  • Outline long term or continued responses of the University to the event.
  • Arrange for communications with off-campus officials if necessary.

F. Crisis Management Guidelines

The University Police Department (785-628-5304, or 911) should be notified immediately in the case of an actual or threatened crisis or emergent event. When in doubt as to whether a situation rises to the level of a crisis or emergency, University Police should be notified. With regard to any crisis event involving criminal activity or campus security, the University Police Department will generally provide the first response to the event, independent of any actions of the Crisis Management Team. The role of the University Police Department is to ensure the safety of the community, to preserve the peace, and to investigate crime. The Director of University Police or designee will respond to the scene of the event, deploy on-duty personnel, secure the scene, and coordinate any necessary investigation. As a member of the Crisis Management Team, the Director or designee will be responsible for notifying the Team Coordinator of the crisis.

Following appropriate first-response activities, the Crisis Management Team will develop an action plan based on knowledge of the event that will be guided by any established procedures or protocols developed in this plan or traditionally utilized by the University in the event of such a crisis. All members of the Team or their designee will be available to respond to the crisis situation at all times for the duration thereof.

If deployed, the Crisis Management Team will normally assemble in the Conference Room, Center of Public Safety, Custer Hall. In the event that the room is unavailable or inaccessible, an alternate location will be used as determined by the Team Coordinator. Should circumstances warrant, an area on campus to be accessed by media will be designated.

G. Crisis Notification System

Fort Hays State University utilizes a crisis notification system which is hosted by a vendor under contract with the University. The University has attempted to collect emergency contact information for students, faculty and staff. The University will attempt to remind the campus community of the need to keep this contact information updated. It should be noted, however, that if members of the University community do not provide the University with emergency contact information (i.e. where you want to be contacted in case of an emergency) it is likely that you will not be notified in the case of an emergency. Any person who questions whether or not the University has their updated contact information may contact the office of the Director of University Relations at 785-628-4206.

If possible, the Crisis Management Team will decide when to utilize the crisis notification system, and will determine the content of the message. However, if the circumstances of the event necessitate such action, either the Director of University Relations, the Director of the University Police Department, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, the Vice President for Student Affairs, or the General Counsel may draft and send the message, upon the approval of one of the other three.

When use of the crisis notification system is triggered, a message will be sent out via text message, voice message and email to all persons who provided the University with emergency contact information. The University will attempt to provide all pertinent information needed to allow the recipient to be informed of the event and take any reasonable and possible safety precautions. However, it should be understood that any situation calling for the use of the crisis notification system likely will require prompt action by the Crisis Management Team, so it should be expected that the message will be brief, and may not contain all details related to the event.

It is the intent of the University to utilize the crisis notification system in circumstances rising to the level of a crisis as defined in 2B above, and when circumstances suggest danger to the University community is imminent. University announcements and isolated and temporary school closings due to seasonal weather or other similar circumstances will not be distributed to the University community via the crisis notification system. While the University encourages University community members to report any event that may rise to the level of a crisis, the University, acting through and with the advice of the Crisis Management Team, will determine when and under which circumstances to utilize the crisis notification system. Therefore, requests by individual students, faculty, staff, or groups thereof, to use the system for reasons not related to a crisis will not be granted.


 H. Team Members and Responsibilities

FHSU’s Crisis Management Team has been designated as a standing University committee that ultimately reports to and acts under the direction of the University President. The team currently consists of 12 members as identified and described below, but the number and composition of team members may change at the President’s discretion.

Director of University Relations Team Coordinator

  • Convene the Crisis Management Team as needed;
  • Coordinate the response of the Team to the event;
  • Coordinate the information to be provided to the University community and community at large;
  • Serve as the primary media contact;
  • Convene and coordinate the debriefing and post-event evaluation sessions.

Vice President for Student Affairs

  • Coordinate and oversee communication with students;
  • Coordinate assistance that will be provided to students;
  • When appropriate, communicate with parents of students regarding the event;
  • Provide information to students and, if necessary, their parents regarding the future operations of the University in light of the crisis.

Director of University Police

  • Coordinate the response to the event of the University Police Department;
  • Secure and manage the scene of the event;
  • Serve as liaison to the Crisis Management Team and any local, county, state or federal emergency management and law enforcement officials as necessary;
  • Assist with training and educational sessions for students and other members of the University community.

General Counsel

  • Provide legal and/or risk management advice on issues involving the event to the Crisis Management Team;
  • Serve as primary liaison to University Administration;
  • Assist with the information that will be provided to the University community and the community at large;
  • Conduct an evaluation of the event and the response thereto following a crisis and make recommendations regarding changes needed to procedures, protocols, or responses.

Director of the Kelly Center

  • Coordinate the provision of support services to students and other members of the University community;
  • Assist with the information that will be provided to students about the event.

Physical Plant

  • Evaluate the condition of facilities and responses needed to preserve and protect facilities;
  • Coordinate repair operations for facilities;
  • Serve as liaison with any appropriate community entities including utility and construction companies.

Academic Affairs Representatives (2)

  • Serve as liaison to the Academic Affairs community including Provost, Deans, Chairs and Faculty;
  • Evaluate threats to the normal academic operations of the University and provide recommendations to the Crisis Management Team on how to manage those threats;
  • Assist with the information that will be provided to students, other members of the University community and the community at large regarding future plans for conducting the academic operations of the University;
  • Recommend any long-term change in the normal operations of the University that may be necessary as a result of the crisis.

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Registrar

  • Serve as the primary contact for students with regard to any changes that need to be made to course schedules or temporary academic operations;
  • Assist the Vice President for Student Affairs in coordinating student services;
  • Evaluate any long-term changes in course schedules or academic operations that may be required as a result of the event and provide information to students regarding these changes.

Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs

  • Assist the Vice President of Student Affairs, the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs/Registrar, and the Director of the Kelly Center in fulfilling their duties;
  • Coordinate training and educational sessions for students and other members of the University community;
  • Serve as the primary contact for any post-event questions students may have regarding the crisis, the University's response thereto, or policies and protocols to be followed in the future.

Vice President for Administration and Finance/Financial Affairs Representative

  • Evaluate any threats to the financial assets of the University and make recommendations as to how to manage those threats;
  • Determine and execute changes to financial and administrative operations in light of the event.

Director of Computing and Telecommunication Center

  • Evaluate any harm or threat to computing or telecommunications equipment, data or operations;
  • Oversee any necessary repair or replacement of any computer or telecommunications equipment, data or operations;
  • Coordinate as necessary and appropriate contact with off campus entities regarding repair, replacement, or long term changes of computing or telecommunications equipment, data or operations.

 I. Debriefing/Post-crisis Analysis

After a reasonable time following the event, the Crisis Management Team will convene to evaluate its response to the event and the outcome of the crisis. The Team will evaluate and respond to, if necessary, the prevailing public opinion of the University’s response to the event.

Representatives of the Team will seek input from members of the University community and the community at large and will provide this information to the other members of the Team. The Team will use this information and its own evaluation of the University’s response to the event to recommend and implement appropriate changes to the Crisis Management Plan.

 J. Training

To the extent possible without interfering with the normal operations of the University, the Crisis Management Team will attempt to provide information to members of the University community regarding the University’s Crisis Management Plan, procedures and protocols and to ensure interested persons have an understanding of the circumstances under which the Crisis Management Plan will be activated and the anticipated response to crises. Specific educational efforts to be undertaken by the Team may include hosting the Crisis Management Plan on the University’s Web site, disseminating general information to members of the University community regarding the existence of the plan, and conducting information/training sessions as necessary and appropriate with members of the University community regarding the Crisis Management Plan.

I. Introduction, Overview and Mission
II. Summary of the Crisis Management Plan
III. Crisis Response Protocols

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