Emergency Response Plan

 Policy Statement and Objectives of the Plan - The purpose of the Pace University Emergency Response plan is to establish policies, procedures and an organizational structure for response to emergencies. The plan contains clear strategies and the roles played by various departments (Safety and Security, Buildings and Grounds, Health Care Unit, Residential Life, SARS, Laboratories, etc.) during the initial response and throughout the emergency. Nothing in this plan shall be construed in a manner that limits the use of good judgment and common sense in matters not foreseen or covered by the elements of the plan. The plan and organization shall be subordinate to State and Federal plans during a disaster declaration by those authorities.

Organizational Statement. The Emergency Response Plan is a campus-level plan that guides the emergency response personnel and resources during a major emergency. The Emergency Response Leader during the initial stages of the emergency will be the senior member of the Pace security staff who is on duty. His or her responsibilities would include:

  • Responding to the scene of the emergency to stabilize and direct the initial response
  • Insuring that the President and the members of the Crisis Management Team (senior administrators designated by the President) are notified
  • Coordinating with responding emergency services personnel
  • Insuring that the campus Emergency Communication Centers are set up and operational
  • Receiving and following instructions from the President and members of the Crisis Management Team.

Notifications. Different Responses to Different Crises (Emergency Protocols) list individuals that must be notified for specific emergencies. A master list of University officials’ home telephone numbers and cell numbers is kept in a binder in each Emergency Communication Center. The binder also lists emergency service units (fire, police and EMS) as well as government agencies (OEM, EPA, etc.). Medical facilities, utility companies (electricity, water, gas, steam, telephone) and contractors (elevator, plumbing, sprinkler, hazardous material cleanup, smoke/fire restoration, electrical) are also listed in these binders. Departmental emergency plans call for phone trees to be established to facilitate notifications within departments.

Emergency Equipment. Is available through the campus security office, including:

  • Barricades, barrier tape, signs for the scene
  • Portable hand-held radios
  • Flashlights
  • Portable public address equipment
  • First Aid kits
  • Dust masks and protective gloves

Crisis Management Team. Once the Crisis Management Team assembles at the appropriate campus Emergency Communication Center, its members will be responsible for the management of all emergency activities, including: development, implementation and review of strategic decisions, and post-event assessments. Established emergency protocols will be used by this team. The President or his designee will take charge of the emergency and will declare a state of emergency throughout the whole campus or a portion of the campus as necessary. The team will include:

  • The President and the President’s Executive Council
  • The Offices of University Relations and Public Information will act as the liaison to the news media and will provide news releases and other information as approved by the President. This will insure that only those administrators authorized to issue those statements will issue official statements. These offices will also provide a response to inquiries from the public relative to the emergency.
  • The Director of Safety and Security will establish and maintain liaison with officials from the responding emergency services (fire, police and EMS departments). Previously established liaisons with these agencies will facilitate coordination during an emergency.
  • The Office of Government Relations will establish and maintain liaison with assisting public or private agencies (American Red Cross, FEMA, Office of Emergency Management) to help coordinate mutual aid support and assistance.

The emergency support team will include:

  • The Campus Safety and Security staff will be the actual on-scene emergency responders. They will be responsible for assessment and implementation of emergency procedures (evacuations, crowd control, access controls and coordination with responding emergency services, and safe refuge where rescued animals from the Environmental Center in Pleasantville can be brought).
  • The Buildings and Grounds Department will be in charge of damage control, HVAC and equipment shutdown, fire alarm response, emergency power hook-ups and structural and utility systems assessments.
  • The Department of Information Technology (DoIT) will maintain communication systems.
  • The Office of Student Life will deal with student and housing issues.
  • The Office of Human Resources will deal with employee issues.
  • Counseling will provide counseling during and after the emergency.
  • Health Care Units will establish campus first aid stations and respond to medical emergencies. HCU will have in place clear emergency procedures for the response to an emergency and for the use of CPR and AEDs.
  • The Office of Finance and Administration will take responsibility for cost accountability and risk assessment. They will document expenditures, purchase orders, damage to property and will provide emergency funds.

Department heads are required to establish emergency plans for their respective departments and will maintain emergency contact numbers for all members of their departments. Phone trees will be established.

Note: Student Accounts and Registrar Services and the laboratories will establish shut-down procedures.

Building Evacuation Information. Evacuation is not recommended for all emergencies. For use when appropriate, evacuation information has been distributed to students and drills are conducted periodically. Training employees in emergency techniques such as fire extinguisher usage and building evacuation procedures is ongoing. Designated Emergency Assembly Areas (EAA) are being identified. Fire Wardens, Deputy Fire Wardens and Searchers have been identified at the downtown New York City campus and Fire Safety Team training has been held. Plans are being made to identify these individuals at other campus locations. Additional training is being conducted for response to non-fire emergencies. Information on these procedures is available at all campus Safety and Security offices.

Active Shooter on Campus. An active shooter incident occurs when one or more armed persons are present on campus with the intent to cause serious injury or death to as many persons as possible. Generally, victims are selected at random and the violence escalates very quickly and will require the immediate response from armed law enforcement officers who are trained to deal with such incidents.

Safety Guidelines in case of an Active Shooter on Campus:

  • If outdoors seek cover until it is safe to escape or enter a building
  • If indoors, stay and shelter in place in rooms that can be locked or barricaded, reinforce the door with furniture, desks, file cabinets or any other material available
  • Turn off lights and computer monitors, close blinds and cover door windows  
  • Keep as quiet as possible, stay low and away from doors and windows
  • Place all cellular phones on silent or vibrate mode
  • If possible, call or email your location to Security or 911
  • Do not open the door to any voice command even if you recognize the voice
  • Wait until you are sure that the police/security is present before opening the door, verify with 911

Different Responses to Different Crises (Emergency Protocols).

  • Automotive Assistance
  • Blood & Body Fluid Exposure
  • Bomb Threat Checklist
  • Bomb Threats
  • Catastrophic Emergency
  • Crisis Communication Protocol
  • Demonstrations & Rallies
  • Drought Emergency
  • Emotional Distress
  • Fire Emergencies - Non-Residential Facilities
  • Fire Emergencies - Residential Facilities
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Lock Emergency
  • Major System Failure
  • Network or System Outage for DoIT
  • Nuclear Emergency in Westchester County
  • Psychological Emergency (NONRESIDENTIAL)
  • Psychological Emergency (RESIDENTIAL)
  • Security Transportation for Medical Emergencies
  • Sexual Assault
  • Violence or Criminal Behavior on Campus

New procedures are developed and will be reviewed by the Risk Management and Safety Committee. These include but are not limited to:

  • Acts of Terrorism
  • Adjacent Facility Incident
  • Flooding
  • Medical Incidents Requiring use of CPR or AEDs
  • Unannounced Access Request from Government Agencies
  • Utility Loss

The procedures will also include “sources of assistance during emergencies on campus” detailing the resources and skills available from internal departments as well as external agencies.

Emergency Communication Centers (ECC). Five Emergency Communication Centers are in place and operational throughout the University. These ECCs will be continuously maintained in a state of readiness for conversion and activation.

The ECCs are centralized, well-supported locations where designated Crisis Management Team members will assemble to assume their role during emergencies. Response activities and work assignments will be planned, coordinated, and delegated from the ECC. During the course of an emergency, designated personnel should report directly to the appropriate ECC. In the event that the campus ECC cannot be used an alternate ECC can be used as all storage cabinets contain the same equipment, material and data.

The recommendation to activate the ECC will be made by the President or the President’s designee. Security personnel have been trained on how to set up the centers and an instructional guide has been placed in each cabinet (rooms are designated, not dedicated, areas).

Communication. The most critical aspect of an Emergency Response Plan is communication. Accurate reports from the scene of an incident are essential to providing adequate services. The campus community must receive up-to-date instructions concerning emergency response procedures and news of evolving incidents. The ECC staffed by the Crisis Management Team will provide instruction to emergency responders and information to the community. The ECC will also provide a contact point for arriving personnel and resources.

Communication with the Campus Community. The ECC has several redundant methods of communication with the campus community and general public after an emergency. Depending on the type of emergency and the type of information to be disseminated, the ECC can use one or a combination of the following methods to provide information: electronic mail, Web site, voice mail phone tree implementation, and media announcements. On the New York campus and in some Westchester buildings, the public address system can also be used. Portable public address equipment (bullhorns) will be used in other areas as a means of communication.

Community Roles. Each community member has a role to play during an emergency.

  • Students. Every student should familiarize him or herself with the emergency procedures and evacuation routes in buildings students live in or use frequently. Students must be prepared to assess situations quickly but thoroughly, and use common sense in determining a course of action. They should evacuate buildings (except when otherwise instructed) in an orderly manner when an alarm sounds or when directed to do so by emergency personnel. They should evacuate the building to a pre-designated Emergency Assembly Area (EAA). The Safety and Security Department also provides training to help students know what to do in emergencies and how they can prepare ahead of time.
  • Faculty and Staff. Every member of the faculty and staff should familiarize themselves with emergency procedures and evacuation routes. Employees must be prepared to assess situations quickly but thoroughly, and use common sense in determining a course of action. They should follow Emergency Plan procedures to report fire or other emergencies that require immediate attention and evacuate the building (except when otherwise instructed) to a pre-designated Emergency Assembly Area (EAA) in an orderly manner. Faculty members should be prepared to direct their students to Emergency Assembly Areas in an emergency.

Department heads are responsible for implementation of Department Emergency Plans.

Fire Wardens and or designated “Roll Takers” are responsible for the accounting of occupants at the pre-designated Emergency Assembly Area, and report any injuries or damage to the Department head and/or Building and Grounds Director.

Emergency Evacuation Guidelines.  In non-fire emergencies, a decision to evacuate should be based on the worst-case scenario.  Consideration will be given to the specific threat (bomb threat, explosion, hazardous material incident etc.), its context (time of day, its likelihood etc.) and the recommendation of public safety officials.  When the order is given to evacuate a building for any reason the procedure is basically the same.  Occupants are instructed to follow life safety survival skills, not to use elevators and to evacuate by way of the nearest safe stairway.  They are instructed to exit the building and proceed to a pre-designated Emergency Assembly Area (EAA).  Fire Wardens, Assistant Fire Wardens, Resident Directors, Resident Assistants and Safety and Security Staff all have responsibilities during the evacuation including assisting the handicapped.

In high-rise buildings it is not always practical to evacuate the entire building immediately upon discovery of a fire or other emergency.  Immediate full evacuation may cause “stacking” which can lead to panic.  It may also impede fire departments’ efforts to control the fire.  Whenever possible and if conditions allow, the public address system will be used to facilitate a systematic and orderly evacuation.

If one of the Westchester campuses is to be evacuated, security personnel will “stagger” the egress from the parking lots to prevent our auto-dependent community from congesting the roadways and causing “gridlock.”