Emergency Response Plan

August 2018

1. Purpose and Scope

The purpose of the Emergency Response Plan is to establish standard operating procedures in order to mobilize Boston University resources and communicate with the University community in the most efficient and orderly manner possible, while promoting effective triage of University resources with minimal disruption to normal University operations. Within the Emergency Response Plan the operational levels of emergency situations are defined as well as the conditions that dictate the declaration of these levels. The roles and responsibilities of responding departments are also detailed.


  • Boston University (BU): The Charles River (CRC) and Medical (BUMC) Campuses
  • Branches: A sub-division of groups and divisions. Depending on the incident conditions, branches may be formed that are either functional, geographic, or both. In most cases, branches are formed when the number of divisions or groups surpasses a manageable span of control.
  • Command Center: A specified location on campus that serves as a focal point for emergency communications, information, and decision-making.
  • Crisis Action Teams (CATS): The Crisis Action Team acts as a college, school or department liaison team at the local level during a large-scale emergency. The CAT will communicate their situation and needs to the Incident Command staff. The CAT is comprised of the leadership of a college, school or department. These teams will have specific job action sheets and responsibilities that will be reviewed during initial training and annual refresher training.
  • Dispatch/Deployment: Personnel should respond only when requested and personnel and other resources should only be dispatched when deployment has been approved by a proper authority.
  • Divisions and Groups: Depending on the circumstances of the incident, divisions or groups may be formed if the number of resources surpasses a manageable span-of-control for Incident Command and the Operations Chief.
    • Divisions: Separation of an incident into areas of operation and geographic or physical areas.
    • Groups: Separation of an incident into functional areas of operation.
  • Emergency: An event that disrupts normal university operations and can potentially put students, patients, visitors, faculty, staff, or property at risk. Large-scale emergency events include, but are not limited to: hurricanes, blizzards, floods, biological or chemical threats or releases and oil or chemical spills. Three levels or phases of emergency situations have been established in order to identify the degree of impact and necessary response:
    • Phase A: An Advisory Alert
    • Phase B: An Emergency Situation
    • Phase C: A Major Emergency and is the most serious
  • Establishment and Transfer of Command: The command function needs to be clearly defined from the outset of incident operations. The organization that maintains principal jurisdictional authority appoints one person at the incident who is responsible for forming command. Transfer of command requires appraisal of fundamental information for conducting efficacious and safe operations.
  • General Staff: University personnel, typically comprised of the Operation, Logistics, Finance/Administration, and Planning section chiefs, responsible for the operative components of the Incident Command structure.
  • Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP): An annual comprehensive training and exercise program based on the HSEEP model has been instituted for BU. This exercise program will consist of drills (plans and procedures), exercises (tabletop and full-scale), and the development and execution of an after-action report and corrective improvement plan(s).
  • Incident Action Planning (IAP): A written or verbal plan designed to provide a terse and comprehensible method of capturing and disseminating the comprehensive incident: objectives, strategies, priorities, and tactics.
  • Incident Command and Command Staff: Incident Command is responsible for the overarching administration of an incident and the delegation of duties to the Command Staff in accordance with Section 4 (Roles and Responsibilities)
    • Command Staff: Generally, the incident Command Staff will consist of the Safety,, Security, Information, Legal and Liaison Officers and the Provost under the direction of the Incident Commander
    • Additional Command Staff: Depending on the nature and location(s) of an incident(s), additional Command Staff (e.g. technical specialists, consultants, etc.) may be deployed at the discretion of Incident Command.
  • Incident Commander (IC): The most senior, qualified Boston University manager, responsible for the overall command of the emergency response. The Incident Commander is determined based on the nature of the incident and may reside in the Command Center or may function from the location of the incident depending on the level of emergency response required.
  • Incident Command System (ICS): A management system for response to and recovery from large-scale emergencies. It has considerable internal flexibility and can grow or shrink to meet differing needs, which makes it a cost-effective and efficient management system.
  • Joint Information Center (JIC): A principal locale that assists with the functionality of the JIS. An incident-specific JIC is usually created at one location on-site. However, the establishment of a JIC is dependent upon the requisites of the incident at hand and is coordinated with state, local, federal, and national organizations The Incident Commander/Unified Command and/or other command officials must approve the message to ensure consistency and avoid confusion.
  • National Incident Management System: This system provides a flexible national framework within which government and private entities at all levels can work together to manage domestic incidents, regardless of their cause, size, location, or complexity. This flexibility applies across all phases of incident management: prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.
  • SITREP: A situation report for key Boston University personnel that provides information during the early stages of an incident. The SITREP will inform the recipient of the nature and location of the incident. Public Safety (PS) dispatch and Facilities Management & Planning (FMP) control technicians are responsible for sending out the initial notifications and updates.
  • Unified Command (UC): Affords agencies participating in the UC the ability to collaboratively coordinate, plan, and interact effectively without interfering with the responsibility, accountability, or authority of other involved agencies. A Unified Command is generally formed when an incident involves various jurisdictions, one jurisdiction that has multiagency involvement, and various jurisdictions have multiagency involvement The UC is tasked with identifying, establishing, and ranking incident-related priorities and objectives.

3. References

The Emergency Response Plan was created in an effort to ensure that BU and the NEIDL have emergency response procedures in place that are in compliance with regulations, standards, and best practices, including, but not limited to, those listed below.

3.1. Boston University Emergency Response Plans

  • Earthquake
  • Hurricane
  • Severe Weather
  • Bomb Threat
  • Code Green – Workplace Violence
  • Medflight Crash
  • Infectious Disease
  • Active Shooter
  • Lightning Strike
  • Protest and Civil Disobedience
  • Campus Evacuation
  • Closed Point of Distribution
  • Family and Community Assistance Center
  • Nickerson Field Evacuation

3.2. Other Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

  • Boston University Charles River Campus Integrated Contingency Plan
  • Boston University Medical Campus Integrated Contingency Plan
  • National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan

3.3. Supplementary Documents

  • Incident Command Response Team Roster
  • Procedure for Establishing the Emergency Command Center

4. Roles & Responsibilities

There are many offices and departments within the university that play important roles in large-scale emergencies on campus. This section describes the roles and responsibilities of key members of the Incident Command System and the offices and departments involved.

The Incident Command System (ICS) provides a commonly accepted management structure that results in better decisions and more effective use of available resources. Both government and private organizations are moving toward this management system with common terminology and a standard module structure. Boston University follows the structure identified by the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which can be adapted to its environment, or as necessary, when coordinating with external agencies. The Boston University Incident Command System organization chart is shown below.



Office of the President:

The President is responsible for the overall preparedness and response of the University in any situation, and defers operational control of emergency incidents to the Incident Commander

Incident Commander:

The most senior qualified Boston University official will serve as the on-scene Incident Commander (IC). In cases in which an incident rises to a Phase B or C, and the need for an extended response and coordination effort is required, the Incident Commander will assemble the Incident Command Response Team.

Most incidents do not rise to the level of Emergency Phases B or C and are coordinated and handled at the scene. In these incidents, the initial on-scene Incident Commander will be as follows:

BU Public Safety

  • Building Evacuation
  • Confirmed Fire/Explosion
  • Fatality
  • Serious Accidents or Injuries
  • Assault
  • Bio Threat
  • Bomb Threat
  • Breaking and Entering
  • Campus Violence (Large Scale/Riot)
  • Demonstration, Occupation or Unlawful Assembly
  • Domestic Violence w/Injuries
  • Hate Crime
  • Homicide
  • Media Attention Incidents
  • Missing Person
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Sexual Assault
  • Stalking
  • Suicide or Attempted Suicide
  • Suspicious Packages or Letters
  • Vehicle Accident

Environmental Health and Safety

  • Carbon Monoxide Incident
  • Fuel or Oil Spill
  • Hydrogen/Compressed Gas Alarm
  • Biological, Chemical or Radiation Spill, Release or Incident
  • Significant Blood Spills/Exposures
  • Suspicious Odors
  • Medical Incident

Facilities Management and Planning

  • Building Structural Damage
  • Weather Related Damage
  • Elevator Problem
  • Gas Leak
  • HVAC Problem
  • Power Outage
  • Sewage Outage
  • Water Leak/Flood

Information Services and Technology

  • Information Systems Outage
  • Telephone Outage

In the event that the emergency requires activation of the BU Command Center the Incident Commander role will be filled in accordance with the ICS Roster. The Command Staff will consist of the Safety, Security, Information, Legal and Liaison Officers and the Provost. The General Staff will consist of the Planning, Logistics, Administration/Finance and Operations Chiefs. The Operations Chief will be designated based on the type of incident and the operational expertise needed.

The Incident Command Response Team consists of representatives listed above as well as others with the authority to allocate resources in order to appropriately respond to an emergency. The Team is responsible for the development of this Emergency Response Plan and its implementation. Members of the Team are listed on the ICS Roster.

Academic Affairs Officer (Provost):

A representative from the Office of the Provost will serve as a member of the Command Center as the primary liaison between the Command Center and the Deans and Faculty. The Office of the Provost will also work with the Incident Commander and Public Relations to craft messages that will be recommended to the President. These messages will be relayed to faculty, staff, students, and the public regarding the event.

Safety Officer (Environmental Health & Safety)

The Safety Officer is the university official that is the advisor to the Incident Commander regarding all matters concerning operational safety. The Safety Officer is responsible for monitoring incident operations and can halt and/or preclude unsafe incident operation occurrences. Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) is responsible for incidents that involve fire, oil, chemical, biological, radiation or other hazardous releases. EHS personnel are on-call at all times and will respond to incidents, assume command as necessary, and provide guidance and expertise to ensure appropriate response and proper cleanup and disposal. EHS is responsible for general safety in all emergency situations and will coordinate with and/or notify regulatory agencies as necessary. EHS coordinates the emergency response planning process and maintains the most up-to-date Emergency Response Plan.

Security Officer (Public Safety):

The Security Officer is the university official that is the advisor to the Incident Commander regarding all matters concerning public safety. The Security Officer is responsible for monitoring incident operations and can halt and/or preclude unsafe incident operation occurrences. Public Safety is first responder, thus it responds to all calls for service and addresses any situation it encounters. In the event of an emergency, Public Safety will respond to the incident, assume command, declare a Phase A Emergency, assist and protect life and property, secure the area, and make necessary notifications as required by the situation at hand. PS communicates through a 24-hour dispatch center to activate the Boston University Emergency Response Plan. Public Safety coordinates responses by the Boston and Brookline Police Departments, the Boston and Brookline Fire Departments, the Massachusetts State Police, and any other law enforcement or fire protection agency required by the situation.

Public Information Officer: (Public Relations)

The Public Information Officer (PIO) is the university official responsible for interacting with the university community, incident personnel, the public, the media, and/or with other agencies and organizations, as appropriate, regarding incident-related information. The PIO is responsible for compiling, examining, appraising, coordinating, and sharing accurate information which should be accessible and distributed in a timely fashion to both internal and external audiences.

Public Relations (PR), under the direction of the PIO, serves as the primary source of information to the news media in the event of an incident that attracts inquiries or the presence of reporters and/or camera crews on campus. Since outside agencies such as the Fire Department usually provide information to the media directly, PR will identify outside agency spokespersons and coordinate information dissemination with them. PR will also, via the social media team, provide relevant, timely updates to the general public on the University’s main social media networks. This information is often picked up and shared directly on media channels as well.

Liaison Officer: (Assigned by Incident Commander)

The Liaison Officer is the university official that acts as Incident Command’s liaison for representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), the private sector, and governmental agencies that have no jurisdiction or authority over the incident, but may have resources or information that may assist with incident-related issues.

Legal Officer (Office of the General Counsel / OGC):

The Legal Officer is responsible for providing legal advice and representation to appropriate university officials. In the event of an emergency, OGC will advise the Incident Commander and other university officials on compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. OGC, in concert with EHS, also represents Boston University with regulatory agencies and other governmental entities.

Operations Chief: (Incident dependent)

The Operations Chief is tasked with the direct management of all incident-related tactical activities for an assigned operational period. The Operations Section under this position is charged with implementing strategic activities in order to lessen the immediate hazard, save lives and property, maintaining control of the situation, and restoration of normal organizational operations.

Planning Chief: (Emergency Management)

The Planning Chief is tasked with creating an action plan to achieve objectives such as gathering and analyzing information and managing the status of resources. The Planning Section under this position is responsible for compiling, examining, and circulating incident situation information and intelligence to the Incident Commander as well as incident management personnel.

Emergency Management (EMD) will provide recommendations related to emergency management planning, training, and response coordination. These recommendations may be to EHS, FMP, PS and/or members of the Incident Command Response Team. EMD, as part of EHS, may assume command during incidents and will participate in the development and implementation of emergency response plans, risk reduction initiatives, and risk prevention measures and serves as liaison to local, state, and federal emergency management agencies.

Logistics Chief: (Facilities Management & Planning/FMP)

The Logistics Chief provides support, resources, and all other services needed to mitigate the incident. The Logistics Section under this position is tasked with attaining, administering, dispensing, mobilizing, and demobilizing items such as supplies, equipment, transportation, security, food, communications and information technology support, emergency responder medical services, etc. FMP is responsible for the management of all university properties, provides routine maintenance, custodial services, construction management and 24-hours a day response for emergency service. Staff is trained to provide mechanical, electrical, and plumbing
solutions to failures of university systems as well as well as those from utility companies. FMP communicates through a 24-hour Control Center/Desk that has access to and control over emergency communication systems used to activate the university’s Emergency Response Plan.

Information Services & Technology Chief: (Information Services and Technology)

The Information Services and Technology Chief is responsible for monitoring and managing all University information systems to support the tactical operations during an incident. Information Services acts as a clearinghouse for computer security information and coordinator for computer security incidents. A Security Team made up of IS&T programming, support, and network staff work on security related issues at the campus-level. In the event of an emergency situation, the team works with the local system administrator to identify the problem and assess the risks and impact on the user community. The team determines the scope of isolation necessary to contain and repair the damage, installs preventive measures, and brings the system back online and reconnects it to the network. IS&T is also responsible for the creation of announcements regarding university policies and special procedures on the Internet.

Finance/Administration Chief: (Financial Affairs)

The Finance/Administration Chief is responsible for overseeing incident-related expenditures and providing accounting, procurement, time-recording and cost analysis services. This position is required to record utilizations and costs and report it to Incident Command. Incident management may require additional incident-specific or on-scene administrative assistance and may involve vendor contracts, cost analysis, recordation of personal time, and administration of compensation claims.

Student Affairs Branch (Dean of Students):

The Student Affairs Branch is a branch within the Logistics Section responsible for providing personnel, equipment, and supplies to support student life and includes Student Health, Enrollment and Admissions services. The Student Affairs Branch Director will be alerted to any event that requires the Command Center to be activated and will coordinate all activities relating to student life, including preparing a script based on information obtained through the Command Center to relay to concerned students and parents.

Support Branch (Facilities Management and Planning):

The Support Branch is a branch within the Logistics Section responsible for providing personnel, equipment, and supplies to support incident operations and includes, as needed, Supply, Facilities, and Ground Support Units.

Service Branch (Assigned by Logistics Chief):

The Service Branch is a branch within the Logistics Section responsible for service activities at the incident and includes, as needed, Communications, Medical, and Food Units.

Residence Life (RL):

The Residence Life staff is responsible for conducting orderly and efficient evacuations of the Boston University residence halls. Each residence hall has a written emergency evacuation plan and Resident Assistant staff is trained to implement this plan. As part of this training, RL conducts evacuation drills each fall in all large residence halls. Additionally, Residence Life will ensure that evacuated students (and their parents) receive information concerning the cause and duration of the evacuation, and that they receive appropriate and necessary resources during the crisis, such as alternate accommodations and counseling services, if necessary. RL has access to a Crisis Intervention Counselor and other mental health professionals to assist students.


Housing is responsible for providing alternate accommodations during incidents that require the evacuation and relocation of students residing in university housing. Housing staff work in concert with the staff of Residence Life, Facilities Management & Planning, and Dining Services in meeting the needs of all of our residence students during disasters and interruptions of services
and utilities (e.g. water, electricity, etc). Residential Safety staff will assist all departments in access control of the larger residences during an emergency.

Risk Management (RM):

Risk Management is immediately notified of any incident involving heavy property damage, an environmental spill, or in the case of serious bodily injury to employees, students, or outside parties. RM is responsible for notification to the applicable insurance carrier or Third Party Administrator. Additionally, Risk Management coordinates the investigation between the university and the claim adjuster, ensures that important evidence is preserved in its early stages in order to maximize the amount of the university’s insurance recovery, and sees that injured parties are properly contacted.

Student and Occupational Health Services:

In the event of an emergency situation, the following areas could be used as triage / treatment areas. Sick or injured patients could be evaluated, managed, and/or transferred. Health Services medical personnel may be directed to go to the disaster site and help take care of injured or sick patients.

Charles River Campus
  • Student Health Services clinic areas at 881 Commonwealth Avenue
  • Occupational Health Center at 930 Commonwealth Avenue West
Medical Campus
  • Research Occupational Health Center at 72 East Concord Street, Evans 825
  • Occupational and Environmental Medicine at 850 Harrison Avenue, Yawkey 1
  • Boston Medical Center Emergency Department at 751 Albany Street


Telecommunications (Telecom) responsible for the provision of telephone and related communications services, support systems, and facilities. This includes the campus telephone system, access to 911, voice mail services, operator/directory assistance services, cellular and paging services, Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) services, and cable plant and wire facilities and management of Verizon Communications support staff.

Telecom is also responsible for the readiness of the primary disaster recovery Command Center. Telecom provides 24/7 telephone repair services and, in an emergency, is manage and coordinate maintenance and restoration of telecommunications systems and services in conjunction with internal engineering teams, Verizon Communications, wireless carriers, the Network Systems Group, FMP and PS. Telecom is also responsible for the promulgation of announcements to the university community via the voicemail system.

Note: Telecom services are provided through Boston Medical Center Information Technology Operations for the Medical Campus community. Telecom services for the CRC community are provided through IST. Telecom is a unit of IST.

Human Resources:

Human Resources are responsible for notifying university departments and employees of a decision to: close the university, delay the opening of, or close, the university early, consistent with the Boston University Emergency Closing Procedures. Human Resources advise departments as to pay procedures resulting from the decision.

Research Compliance:

The Associate Vice President for Research Compliance is the institutional official responsible for notifying regulatory officials when appropriate and/or required.

Boston Medical Center Emergency Preparedness:

BU’s Emergency Management (EM) works closely with Boston Medical Center’s Director of Emergency Management in emergency response planning, systems development, training and exercise design and provides support as requested in joint exercises and drills involving the research environment.

5. Emergency Phases

The three emergency phases are as follows:

5.1. Phase A Advisory
A Phase A Advisory is the initial response of the University to the report of a potential emergency situation or an actual event when the impact on the university is uncertain. For example, a Phase A Advisory might involve a large fire, an approaching blizzard or hurricane, or building system failures that may extend for more than a few hours or involve multiple buildings. A Phase A Advisory allows the university to notify and, if appropriate, assemble the Emergency Response Team at the Command Center or
another location.

Public Safety or Facilities Management & Planning, upon receiving a reliable report of an actual or impending emergency situation or on direction from a University Incident Commander, will declare a Phase A Advisory and make appropriate notifications. Departments identified in this plan are responsible for contacting those employees within their department who have specific duties to perform during an emergency incident. The Incident Commander may decide to activate the Command Center or may manage the incident from the location where it occurs, depending on the situation.

The Incident Commander may terminate a Phase A Advisory if the situation is under control and the response can be handled by routine operations. The Incident Commander determines the need to advance to Phase B.

5.2. Phase B Emergency Situation
A Phase B Emergency requires the university’s response to an actual incident in which the impact to the university may exceed the capability of on-site personnel and may require the reassignment and/or recall of personnel and/or contractors. For example, a Phase B Emergency might involve a blizzard or hurricane, a fire in multiple buildings, extended or wide-spread power failures, or a significant chemical, biological, or radiation release on campus. The purpose of Phase B response is to quickly mobilize personnel and resources necessary to deal effectively with the incident at hand.

The decision to declare a Phase B Emergency will be made by the Incident Commander. Other key department personnel will report immediately to their assigned areas or to their supervisor for instruction.

5.3. Phase C Emergency
A Phase C Emergency constitutes the university’s response to a large-scale event in which on-site personnel require additional resources to respond to the incident (s). The primary distinction between Phase B and Phase C is that limited personnel handle Phase B, while Phase C requires the reassignment of staff and/or recall of off-duty personnel or contractors. At this level, all Incident Command Response Team members will report to the Command Center and key personnel will immediately report to their assigned areas. Outside agencies such as the Boston Police or Fire Departments may be heavily involved in a Phase C Emergency. A Phase C Emergency dictates the transfer of overall university response coordination to the Command Center. The temporary acquisition of buildings, departments, and/or supplies for the purpose of relocating students, visitors, faculty, or staff may be necessary to compensate for disruptions to normal operations.

Declaration of a Phase C Emergency requires specific administrative concurrence. The Incident Commander will make the declaration only after consultation with the President, Provost or Senior Vice President. If none of the above persons can be contacted in a reasonable period of time, and the delay involved in obtaining joint concurrence jeopardizes operations, a mobilization may be authorized by the two most senior managers involved in the Phase B response.

Upon notification of a Phase C Emergency, all personnel will report immediately to their assigned areas or to their supervisor.

Phase C may be terminated or downgraded by the Incident Commander when it becomes apparent that the levels of resources being utilized are no longer required.

6. Procedures

The Emergency Response Procedures for Boston University are as follows:

6.1. Notification of an Emergency Situation and Declaration of Emergency Phases
Large incidents usually start small and Boston University utilizes the BU Incident Notification System to alert key personnel of a situation that may warrant their attention. Public Safety and FMP control technicians are responsible for sending out the initial notifications and updates.

Upon receipt of reliable information about a large-scale emergency or potential emergency, the recipient will immediately contact Public Safety for determination of the proper notifications and emergency phase-level for the Incident Command Response Team. The notification will include a short description of the situation, the level of emergency (or anticipated level), and the reporting location, e.g. Incident Command Post or Command Center.

If the situation warrants immediate action, Public Safety will initiate the appropriate steps to protect the lives and property of Boston University students, patients, visitors, faculty, staff and the community. These actions may include the declaration of an emergency phase-level, the response to meet that level of emergency, and utilization of the Boston University Emergency Alert Service. Public Safety will convey those actions at the earliest time to the Incident Commander.
6.2. Command Center
When Incident Command Response Team members are instructed to report to the Command Center, they should report as soon as possible or send their alternate. Incident Command Response Team members should bring a copy of the Emergency Response Plan and contact information for their staff.

The Command Center Set-Up Team will establish the Command Center as soon as possible. This will require the installation of telephones, radio consoles, scanners, and other communications equipment and the activation of the Command Center telephone. Public Safety will secure the Command Center. Procedures for the establishing the Command Center includes:

  • Activation of phones
  • Updates to emergency lines and sites
  • Coordination of staffing
  • Command Center Access Management
  • Security

The Command Center Set-Up Team is composed of available EHS and IST staff. They will set-up the Command Center in accordance with procedures for establishing a Command Center. Phones will be made operational by IST / Telecom.

Locations for the Command Center include the following:

Charles River and Fenway Campuses:
  • Primary Command Center: The first floor conference room of 25 Buick Street
  • Alternate Command Center: Kenmore Conference Room, 9th Floor of One Silber Way
Medical Campus:
  • Primary Command Center: The first floor of the Moakley Building.
  • Alternate Command Center: School of Public Health Auditorium in the Evans Building basement

If necessary, other locations may be designated, including relocating from the Charles River Campus to the Medical Campus or vice versa and off-campus locations.

6.3. Command Center Operations
The Command Center will be managed by the Incident Commander, or the next senior member of the Command Center.

The Incident Commander will temporarily assign a member of the Command Center to answer and manage the telephones until permanent support can be summoned. The Incident Commander will create a schedule for managing the telephones with the available support staff. Every effort will be made to acquire telephone support, so Incident Command Response Team members are not answering telephones.

Information will be reviewed quickly so it may be disseminated, as deemed appropriate, to those calling the Command Center. This information will be updated as new information is received, with a minimum time-frame of 30-minutes.

Security for the Boston University Command Center will be provided and maintained by Public Safety. All members of the Boston University Command Center will prominently display their Boston University-issued Identification Cards while in the Command Center. Additionally, they will be issued a daily BU Command Center ID card to verify they have been cleared for the day. Upon entering the BU Command Center, all personnel and visitors will sign-in and will sign-out and return their daily BU Command Center ID upon exiting the Command Center.

6.4. Communication During An Emergency
Communications during an emergency are managed by Public Safety or Facilities Management & Planning personnel until the Command Center is established. As soon as the Command Center is established, notice will be made to Public Safety Dispatch and the FMP’s Control Center/Desk. If appropriate, the Command Center phone number will be provided to outside agencies such as the Boston Fire Department or Boston Emergency Operations Center.

Communications between the Command Center and staff in the field will be accomplished with the university’s WebEOC system as well as via radio, Nextel, and cellular telephone systems. As necessary, the Command Center will utilize e-mail communications. If phone, radio, and electronic communications are not adequate, messages may be delivered around campus by runners, who will be coordinated by Residence Life, if at Charles River Campus and by Public Safety, if at the Medical Campus.

Informational updates will be periodically provided to IST for posting on the Boston University homepage (www.bu.edu). Pre-scripted emergency announcements include:

  • Initial Emergency Notification
  • Phase A, B, and C Emergencies
  • Building Closings
  • University Closing
  • Shelter–in-Place
  • Building Evacuation
  • Emergency Assembly
  • Active Shooter on Campus
  • All Clear

6.5. Informational Updates to the University Community
Boston University has established the BU Alert notification system for the purpose of communicating with the campus community upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus.

For more information about BU Alert, visit BU Alert FAQs.

Boston University strongly recommends that all students, faculty and staff sign up for BU Alert notifications.

Students are required to enroll in BU Alert as a prerequisite for enrollment. They may update their BU Alert contact information by visiting the Student Link (www.bu.edu/studentlink) and clicking the “Personal” tab to update “Address and Phone.” Questions concerning enrollment in the BU Alert program may be addressed to the Admissions Office (617-353-2300).

Faculty and staff are automatically enrolled in BU Alert and may elect to unroll from the program. They may update their BU Alert contact information by visiting the BU works Central Portal (www.bu.edu/buworkscentral) and clicking on the “Employee Self-Service” tab, and then selecting “Personal Information” to update “BU Alert Information.”

BU Public Safety supervisory personnel, in consultation with University administrators, as appropriate, determine whether there is a significant emergency that requires notification through the BU Alert system.

The Vice President for Administrative Services is the Incident Commander for all confirmed emergency situations and will determine the content of the message and identify the segment(s) of the community to be notified. If the situation warrants immediate action and the Vice President for Administrative Services is not available, the Chief of the Boston University Police or her designee will assume this role. In all cases, Boston University Police Operations is responsible for initiating the BU Alert system and sending the message. As appropriate, emergency notifications may be targeted at only a segment or segments of the campus community that is at risk.

For incidents that affect only Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC), the Executive Director of Support Services or designee will determine whether there is a significant emergency that requires notification to BUMC, the content of the message and the segment(s) of the BUMC community to be notified.

In the interest of safety for the members of our community, the University will initiate the BU Alert system without delay unless the notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist victims or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency.

The Public Relations office shall be responsible for dissemination of information to the larger community, including via the University’s main social media channels, website (www.bu.edu) and BU Today (www.bu.edu/today).

For more information about BU Alert, visit BU Alert FAQs.

Periodic updates on the status of an emergency especially in the early hours will be provided to the university community primarily through the Boston University Emergency Alert Service, the Boston University homepage (www.bu.edu), which is under the direction of Information Systems and Technology, the Emergency Management website, BU Today’s webpage http://www.bu.edu/today and the BU Emergency Alert System on cable television.

The Boston University emergency information lines and websites will have updated information regarding the status of the emergency for faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni:

  • BU Today
  • BU Emergency Closing Line: 353-SNOW (7669)
  • BU Medical Campus Emergency Information Line: (638-6886)

Pertinent information will also be posted in the university’s homepage, and if possible, broadcast on WBZ 1030 AM, WRKO 680 AM, WBMX 98.5 FM, or WBUR 90.9 FM. Pre-scripted announcements are presented, in Appendix J, to facilitate the development
of specific update language.

6.6. Public Information Officer and Public Relations (PR)
Depending on the circumstances, MR will assign a staff member to be present at the scene of an emergency, and another to be based the Command Center.

PR staff on-scene will:

  • Gather current information and convey it to PR staff at the office or the Command Center
  • Coordinate on-scene information flow to reporters
  • Communicate key authorized messaging points for real-time social media posting.
  • Serve as liaison with the On-Scene Commander and outside agency spokespersons
  • PR staff may designate other staff, based on expertise and command of current information to speak to reporters

The senior PR staff member at the office or the PIO at the Command Center will work with the Command Center staff and on-scene staff to develop and maintain summary information about the emergency appropriate for release. Key points in determining appropriateness of information for release include: accuracy of information, protection of individual privacy, especially for students, and security of police investigations. PR staff will: log media inquiries, coordinate individual and group responses, monitor media coverage for accuracy in reporting, take corrective steps when necessary, and refer personal inquiries to the Dean of Students or other offices as appropriate.

6.7. Staff Recall Plan
Each member of the Command Center will be responsible for calling and notifying his or her staff, as necessary, to respond to an event. Each department will maintain a current list of staff, including, home phone numbers, page numbers, and cellular phone numbers if applicable, as well as estimated travel time. Each department will be responsible for ensuring this list is updated when there are personnel changes or when personnel information changes. This list will be made available to Command Center staff.

6.8. Overnight Accommodations and Transportation
In the event that individuals are stranded due to an emergency, Residence Life will coordinate overnight accommodations as necessary. Transportation of employees around campus will be coordinated through the Command Center where requests will be prioritized. Essential personnel required to be onsite who are stranded in their homes must call their department or the Command Center to make arrangements for transportation.

6.9. Coordination with Outside Agencies
The following university departments will take the lead in working with outside agencies unless determined otherwise by the Incident Commander:

  • Environmental Health & Safety:
    • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Department of Environmental Protection
    • Occupational Health and Safety Administration
    • Centers for Disease Control
    • Department of Public Health
    • Boston Public Health Commission
    • Fire Department Hazmat Teams
  • Emergency Management:
    • Boston Medical Center Emergency Management
    • Boston Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management
    • Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
    • Federal Emergency Management Agency
    • Boston Consortium for Higher Education
  • Facilities Management & Planning:
    • Inspectional Services
    • Eversource
    • Boston Water and Sewer Commission
    • National Grid
  • Public Safety:
    • Boston/Brookline/Cambridge/State Police
    • Boston /Brookline/Cambridge Fire Departments
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation

6.10. Evacuation
In certain emergencies buildings may have to be evacuated.

Every employee must be familiar with the evacuation routes and fire protection equipment of the building(s) in which they work. Evacuation maps are posted in every building showing the exit routes and location of emergency equipment. Handicapped personnel should be assisted to a stairwell away from the scene and the location of that individual should be reported to Public Safety for a Boston Fire Department assisted evacuation. All stairwells serve as an “area of refuge” and are protected by two-hour fire rated walls and fire rated doors, providing doors are kept closed.

Each residence hall will have a written emergency evacuation plan and Resident Assistant staff will be trained to implement this plan. As part of this training, RL conducts evacuation drills each fall in all large residence halls. Additionally, RL will insure that evacuated students (and their parents) receive information concerning the cause and duration of the evacuation, and that they receive appropriate and necessary resources during the crisis, such as alternate accommodations and counseling services if necessary. Also, if the evacuation duration is significant, RL will contact the appropriate Boston University school or college that day or the next business day to notify the academic deans of the crisis.

Many teaching, office, and research buildings on campus have a written building-specific evacuation plan. Evacuation procedures are set out in these plans including the designation of rally points outside the building. General emergency evacuation procedures are provided in the posted Emergency Flip-Charts for smaller buildings and evacuation maps are posted in each building. Deans or Directors, as the senior university official in a non-student building, should not hesitate to call for assistance in evacuating the building in situations, which put the occupants in danger. When in doubt, questions should be referred to EHS, FMP, or Public Safety, as appropriate.

6.11. Shelter-In-Place
In certain emergencies, building occupants and the university community as a whole may be asked to stay inside (shelter-in-place). If there is a release or a potential release of hazardous material (chemical, biological, or radioactive), remaining inside may be the best approach. To “shelter in place,” or stay in a safe place protected from outside hazards, close the doors and windows and shut-down building air intake systems. In the event of an active shooter or workplace violence you should also turn cell phone and office phone ringers off. See reference material from the American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/preparedness/cdc_english/Sheltering.asp).

It may take time for local authorities or university officials to notify you that it is safe to leave. Building occupants must be patient and monitor local TV and radio news and/or web news sites.

6.12. Emergency Assembly Areas
In certain emergencies, students, faculty, and staff may need to be temporarily relocated or provided with an assembly area. The following areas should be considered as possible emergency assembly areas:

Charles River Campus:
  • George Sherman Union
  • Track & Tennis Center, 100 Ashford St.
  • Case Center Gyms
  • Agganis Arena
Fenway Campus
  • Wheelock Family Theatre
Medical Campus:
  • Keefer Auditorium
  • 670 Albany Auditorium
  • Hiebert Lounge
  • Bakst Auditorium
  • School of Public Health Auditorium in the Evans basement

6.13. National Terrorism Advisory System
The National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS, replaces the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS). This new system will more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.

It recognizes that Americans all share responsibility for the nation’s security and should always be aware of the risk of, and what they should do if, a terrorist attack occurs in the United States.

After reviewing the available information, the Secretary of Homeland Security will decide, in coordination with other federal entities, whether an NTAS Alert should be issued.

NTAS Alerts will only be issued when credible information is available.

These alerts will include a clear statement that there is an imminent threat or elevated threat. Using available information, the alerts will provide a concise summary of the potential threat, information about actions being taken to ensure public safety, and recommended steps that individuals, communities, businesses, and governments can take to help prevent, mitigate, and/or respond to the threat.

The NTAS Alerts will be based on the nature of the threat, In some cases, alerts will be sent directly to law enforcement or affected areas of the private sector, while in other, alerts will be issued more broadly to the American people through official and media channels.

An Imminent Threat Alert warns of a credible, specific, and impending terrorist threat against the United States.

An Elevated Threat Alert warns of a credible terrorist threat against the United States.

6.14. Emergency Critiques and Plan Updates
Following every declared emergency, regardless of the level or following a campus-wide drill, a written critique will be prepared by Emergency Response Planning personnel based upon the comments and suggestions of the Incident Command Response Team. As necessary, this plan will be modified to incorporate lessons learned from emergencies and drills. Boston University follows the HSEEP model in the evaluation of exercises.

7. Applicability

All BU affiliated locations.

8. Forms

Forms exist for incident command and management operations, including but not limited to the standard Incident Command System.

9. Records Management

Emergency Management records are maintained by EM in their original paper form and are also stored electronically in the EM archives or in the Research Information Management System (RIMS).

10. SOP Revision History

V.9Section 4Clarifies role of BMC EMD in exercises and drills involving the research environment.6/2017

Version Section / Paragraph Changed Changes Made Effective Date
V.1 N/A None, Original Version 2-12-2010
V.2 Section 4 Deletion of Executive Vice President and replacement with Incident Commanders 11-22-2011
V.3 Throughout Edited, formatted, content added 4-03-12
V.4 Section 2 Addition of Crisis Action Team to the definitions and changed Phase A Emergency to Phase A Advisory 7-1-2013
V.4 Section 5 Change verbiage from Phase A Emergency to Phase A Advisory 7-1-2013
V.5 Throughout Changed Emergency Planning to Emergency Management 5/2015
V.5 Section 6 Added wording on shelter in place during active shooter or workplace violence 5/2015
V.5 Section 6 Replaced EHS “safe” line with BU Today for emergency updates 5/2015
V.6 Section 4 Deleted “and infirmary” from the Student Health Services section 4/2016
V.7 Section 2 Created the new General Staff position of Information Services Chief. The BU ICS Organization chart reflects this addition. 2/2017
V.8 Section 2 Better defined the authority for dispatching and deployment of resources. 5/2017
V.8 Section 2 Defined JIS as Joint Information System and provided detail on the public information message. 4/2016
V.8 Section 3 Acknowledge the voluntary commitment to use HSPD 5 and 8 as a good business practice in developing this CEMP. 5/2017
V.8 Section 3 Listed the BU Emergency Response Plans 5/2017
V.8 Section 4 Redefined the role of the President in Emergency Management Operations. 5/2017
V.8 Section 4 Defined the On-scene Incident Commander by Incident Type 5/2017
V.8 Section 4 Renamed the Provost as the Academic Affairs Officer within ICS and better defined the role. 5/2017
V.8 Section 4 Updated the location of Occupational and Environmental Health on the Medical Campus. 5/2017
V.8 Section 6 Added more information to section 6.5 to address bring the Emergency Response Plan into agreement with the Annual Security Report. 5/2017
V.8 Section 6.3 Updated locations of Command Centers 5/2017
V.8 Section 6.13 Added Bakst Auditorium and the SPH Auditorium in Evans basement as Emergency Assembly Areas on the Medical Campus. 5/2017
V.9 Section 4 Clarifies role of Research Compliance. 6/2017
V.9 Section 4 Expanded the role of the Information Officer to include the social media team. 6/2017
V.9 Section 6.5 Added the “main social media channels” to how the University disseminates information. 6/2017
V.9 Section 6.6 Expanded duties of On-scene Public relations personnel to include “Communicate key authorized messaging points for real-time social media posting. 6/2017
V.9 Throughout Changed Emergency Management Division to Emergency Management Department 6/2017
V.10 Section 4 Changed the Information Services Chief to Information Services and Technology Chief and likewise for the Section. 6/2017