Chapter 16 – Critical Incident Management Plan
Faculty, staff, and students report emergencies by dialing 911.
Critical incident management at the University of Iowa occurs in accordance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Following the formal adoption of NIMS and the subsequent implementation of the Incident Command System (ICS) on March 14, 2019, V-16.6 below is under revision to reflect alignment with NIMS principles and other federal emergency management and homeland security guidance and directives.
If you have questions, please contact the Director of Emergency Management, 808 University Capitol Centre, 319-384-2784.
This manual establishes the Critical Incident Management and Continuity of Operations Plans (see V-16.13 Additional Resources below) for The University of Iowa and assigns responsibilities for the development, implementation, and maintenance of the plan.
The Critical Incident Management Plan applies to all units of The University of Iowa and, as applicable, to the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. This plan is the basic framework for critical incident preparedness. It is not intended to cover every unit's individual needs. Therefore, we encourage any unit to supplement this plan to suit its own needs while remaining in compliance with this plan.
All requests for procedural changes, suggestions, or recommendations should be submitted in writing to the Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety; the Vice President for Student Life; or the President.
- The University of Iowa shall conduct continuous planning to minimize the risk of personal injury and property loss from critical incidents; shall cooperate with public bodies and agencies charged with disaster control; and shall take necessary and prudent steps to assure continuity of operations and restoration of normal activities as quickly as possible following an emergency or a disaster. Questions or comments about this plan shall be directed to the Department of Emergency Management, 319-335-5022 or https://safety.uiowa.edu/emergency-management.
- The University of Iowa is committed to supporting the welfare of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Preparing a campus critical incident management plan and allocating resources to respond to possible emergencies is one way in which the University offers this support. The plan is fashioned in accordance with appropriate laws, regulations, and policies that govern crisis/emergency preparedness, and reflects the best and most current thinking in this area.
- The Critical Incident Management Plan is designed to maximize human survival and preservation of property; minimize danger; restore normal operations of the University; and assure responsive communications with the University, surrounding neighborhoods, and cities. This plan is set in operation whenever a natural or induced crisis affecting the University reaches proportions that cannot be handled by established measures. A crisis may be sudden and unforeseen, or there may be varying periods of warning. This plan is intended to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate contingencies of all types, magnitudes, and duration.
- The plan provides for aiding the local communities when appropriate, though the prime responsibility of the plan is to the University community for which it is designed. The intent is for the plan to be viewed as a tool to accomplish the above-stated purpose with a minimum of confusion and wasted effort.
- Additionally, it is believed that a coordinated response to campus critical incidents will provide the following outcomes:
- A more rapid response to critical incidents,
- A more systematic and routine approach to critical incidents,
- A venue for promptly identifying and supporting University decision makers,
- A system for evaluating all critical incidents with the goal of providing improved plans to protect lives and property as well as reduce exposure to vicarious liability, and
- Improved management of public information.
- This plan also establishes response strategies for the following critical incidents:
- Bomb threat
- Civil protest
- Hazardous materials incident
- Infrastructure failure
- Medical emergency
- Severe winter weather
- Violent incident
- Active shooter
- Water damage
- "Emergency incident": Any situation to which the emergency services organization responds to deliver emergency services, including rescue, fire suppression, emergency medical care, special operations, law enforcement, and other forms of hazard control and mitigation.
- "Emergency responders": A group of individuals who are properly trained and equipped to handle the emergency for which they are called. Emergency responders provide, on a 24-hour basis, immediate response in order to bring the emergency situation under control. Emergency responders are identified as, but not limited to:
- University of Iowa Police Department
- Coralville Police Department
- Coralville Fire Department
- Iowa City Police Department
- Iowa City Fire Department
- Johnson County Ambulance
- Johnson County Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Team
- Johnson County Sheriff's Department
- "Resource unit": A unit which provides assistance to emergency units in the form of information, expertise, and/or procurement of materials and services. The unit may or may not respond immediately to an emergency site. Examples of resource units are:
- Business Services
- Facilities Management
- Environmental Health and Safety Office
- Information Technology Services
- Office of Strategic Communication
- Johnson County Emergency Management Agency
- Iowa Department of Public Safety
- Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management
- "State of emergency": This situation exists when a critical incident has resulted in substantial disruption of University functions and is likely to be long term, and it becomes necessary, for continuity of normal operations and/or the well-being of the University community, to modify/alter normal functions, established procedures, and/or policies without submitting to a formal process.
- "Incident Command Center (ICC)": The Incident Command Center will be a location where the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) members or their designees will develop response(s) and manage the recovery process related to the incident or crisis situation. Campus Safety's training room, 880 University Capitol Centre, will serve as the University's ICC. The CIMT will determine the hours of operation of the ICC and how it will be staffed.
- "Incident commander": The individual in overall command of an emergency incident. Different individuals will take on the role of incident commander depending on the type of crisis and level of severity.
- "National Incident Management System (NIMS)": The President of the United States, under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5, directed the Department of Homeland Security to develop and administer a National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS provides a consistent nationwide approach for federal, state, and local governments; the private sector; and nongovernmental organizations to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of the cause, size, or complexity. To provide for interoperability and compatibility among federal, state, and local capabilities, NIMS includes a core set of concepts, principles, and terminology. The Critical Incident Management Plan (CIMP) incorporates NIMS components, principles, and policies, including: planning, training, response, exercises, equipment, evaluation, and corrective actions into the plan where applicable.
A component of NIMS is the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS is a standardized on-scene emergency management construct specifically designed to provide for the adoption of an integrated organization structure that reflects the complexity and demands of a single or multiple incidents, without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries. ICS is the combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure, designed to aid in the management of resources during incidents. It is used for all emergencies and is applicable to small as well as large and complex incidents. ICS is used by various jurisdictions and functional agencies, both public and private, to organize field-level incident management operations.
Members of the Critical Incident Management Team as well as appropriate members of the University of Iowa's Campus Safety Organization shall be trained and/or familiar with concepts of NIMS and ICS.
This Critical Incident Management Plan is designed to provide direction for The University of Iowa during an emergency situation. The plan provides basic procedural guidelines necessary to cope with most emergencies. Emergency response operations will be conducted within the framework of these guidelines.
With any crisis situation it is understood that a state of emergency may need to be declared. The authority to declare a campus state of emergency rests with the University President or designee.
If a state of emergency is declared, it may become necessary to restrict access to specific areas on campus to authorized individuals. Only those authorized individuals who have been assigned emergency or resource duties will be allowed to enter the area or building affected by the incident.
- Faculty, staff, and students shall report emergencies by dialing 911. (When using 911, the telephone number you are calling from will also appear on a computer screen in the UI Police Division or 911 dispatch center.)
- In the event of an emergency or a disaster, the Campus Safety has primary responsibility for immediate response, and shall cooperate and coordinate with official emergency response authorities and University administration, in accordance with established policies and procedures.
- The Campus Safety facility will serve as the Incident Command Center (ICC) for the University during the critical incident. All outside information flows into this area and out to incident. The Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety or designee will contact University administration as to the extent of damage or seriousness of the incident and recommends whether the ICC should be placed into operation.
- The Incident Commander is in charge at the scene of the incident unless such responsibility is transferred to another unit; for example, the fire department in the event of a fire or Johnson County HAZMAT in the event of a chemical incident. When the situation is brought under control, responsibility is transferred back to the University.
- Decisions to close and evacuate a building or to isolate an area immediately after an incident may be made by the Iowa City Fire Department, Johnson County HAZMAT Team, or Campus Safety, who may consult with University Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Management, and/or others as needed.
- Decisions to reoccupy a building will be made by the agencies identified in paragraph (3) above or by the Critical Incident Management Team. The primary consideration for reoccupying, after consulting with additional resources, will be the safety of the occupants.
Following the formal adoption of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the subsequent implementation of the Incident Command System (ICS) on March 14, 2019, this policy is under revision to reflect alignment with NIMS principles and other federal emergency management and homeland security guidance and directives.
If you have questions, please contact the Director of Emergency Management, 808 University Capitol Centre, 319-384-2784.
- In the event of a crisis incident, the Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety or designee will notify the Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations, who will convene the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT). The CIMT is comprised of members from University administration and selected department heads. The CIMT will be assembled to address the immediate crisis and will disband when the crisis has ended and normal operating systems are in place.
- The Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) consists of:
- Vice President for Student Life: Provides liaison with the President and vice presidents for reporting the status of the recovery operation and on student matters.
- Senior Advisors to the President: Provide assistance to the President.
- Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety: Provides the initial response to the majority of campus emergencies. Acts as liaison with the Vice President for Student Life.
- Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel: Provides input to the CIMT on legal matters.
- Executive Vice President and Provost: Provides liaison with the President and vice presidents for consultation on institutional instruction and faculty matters.
- Vice President for External Relations: Communicates with the news media, public, staff, faculty, and students.
- Chief Human Resources Officer: Provides support for human resources elements of recovery and staff notification through the Office of Strategic Communication.
- Associate Vice President and Director of Purchasing and Business Services: Provides input to the CIMT on University business matters related to the incident.
- Chief Risk Officer: Acts as liaison with insurance carriers and claims adjusters. Coordinates insurance program with continuity planning programs.
- Vice President for Research: Provides liaison to affected research areas.
- Associate Vice President and Director of Facilities Management: Provides for the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of University buildings, most campus grounds, and all utility systems.
- Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations: Communicates with the Board of Regents on response and recovery operations.
- Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer: Advises on issues related to ITS.
- Vice President for Medical Affairs: Provides liaison to affected medical areas.
- The CIMT may be expanded to include the following or others as needed:
- Director of University Counseling Service,
- Assistant Vice President, Total Rewards,
- Director of Environmental Health and Safety,
- Associate Vice President and CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics,
- Director of University Housing and Dining,
- Director of Animal Resources and University Veterinarian,
- Administrative Director of Student Health and Wellness, and
- Director of Employee Assistance Program.
- The CIMT's role is to support the emergency field operations from the Incident Command Center. The CIMT will not respond to the scene nor will they manage the initial response to an incident. It is the responsibility of emergency responders at the scene to isolate, contain, and neutralize the incident.
- In accordance with National Incident Management System (NIMS), the CIMT will be responsible for managing and directing the activities of the various departments that will be involved in crisis response and recovery. During the initial stages of the crisis, the CIMT will be responsible for providing resources for field operations when requested. It is the responsibility of the person(s) in charge of the scene to communicate with the CIMT to provide status reports and to inform the team as to what resources are needed. The CIMT will be responsible for managing and directing the activities of the various departments that will be involved in crisis response and recovery.
- Critical incidents are defined as those situations which have the potential to cause injury or loss of life, major campus disruptions, and property damage or loss. The following are examples of events which may be designated as a critical incident which would activate the CIMT. These are merely examples and do not constitute a comprehensive list of possible crisis events.
- Fire, explosion, hazardous substance spill, or other damage to campus property which may require closing the site temporarily or permanently.
- Failure of utility systems to the extent that one or more buildings are without service.
- An incident resulting in or with the potential for fatality or major injuries.
- Critical incident planning prioritization criteria:
- Protect human life; prevent/minimize personal injury.
- Prevent/minimize damage to physical assets, including structures, animals, and research data.
- Protect the environment.
- Restore normal operations.
- Location. The location for the ICC will be University of Iowa Campus Safety facility, located in the University Capitol Centre (UCC).
As needed, the University of Iowa will coordinate with Iowa City, Coralville, and Johnson County agencies through the county's Emergency Operations Center for emergencies involving the city and other areas of the county.
- Purpose and role. The purpose of those staffing the ICC is to coordinate response to major emergencies at the University of Iowa and to assist and facilitate the Incident Commander in providing resolution to the incident. The ICC provides information for the support functions of the Critical Incident Management Team to facilitate crisis response and recovery.
- There are various methods by which the University may notify the University of Iowa community in the event of an emergency. Examples of emergency communication are:
- University of Iowa all-hazards outdoor warning system
- Hawk Alert
- Mass email
- Individual college and department emergency plans. (Note: Some colleges and departments have individual emergency plans.)
- University of Iowa all-hazards outdoor warning system
- Internal systems operations. The use of these systems will be authorized by the President's Office, or designee, when it is necessary to transmit brief urgent messages to large segments of the University community.
The information directory will be maintained by Information Technology Services (ITS), who will have the responsibility to receive and/or relay messages pursuant to these systems. Messages transmitted using these systems will typically include information concerning emergency weather and other critical incidents, as defined in this document, affecting the entire campus. These messages will be initiated from ITS and are usually worded as follows:
"The President's Office has authorized the following Hawk Alert message: __________. Please relay this information to affected individuals within your department or work area."
Each department is responsible for making certain that individuals under its supervision are aware of the Hawk Alert systems and how the messages received are to be transmitted to other offices under its jurisdiction.
In addition to the Hawk Alert systems, the Critical Incident Management Team may also employ other methods for notifying those within the University community, including the campus's all-hazard outdoor warning system, telephone calling lists, cell phones, two-way radios, University police officers and guards, as well as other University personnel.
- Public information. The Office of Strategic Communication serves as the authorized spokesperson for the University. All public information must be coordinated and disseminated by their staff with assistance from other University departments and/or personnel.
University policy requires that only certain administrators may speak on behalf of the University. These spokespersons are the President and the University Spokesperson in the Office of the Vice President for External Relations. Under certain circumstances, the previously named administrators may designate others as spokespersons.
In the event that regular telecommunications on campus are not available, the Office of Strategic Communication will center media relations at a designated location. Information will be available there for the news media and, where possible, for faculty, staff, and students. Official information will be made available as quickly as possible to the Iowa Memorial Union Welcome Center.
During critical incidents, the Office of Strategic Communication will work with each organizational unit to gather accurate and substantial information regarding the situation and details regarding the University response. The Office of Strategic Communication, working with other CIMT members, will provide notification to students, faculty, staff, and the general public on progress toward recovery.
- Transportation of persons shall be coordinated with appropriate Campus Safety and Parking and Transportation personnel for the purpose of evacuation and relocation of persons threatened by or displaced by the incident. A temporary shelter or facility such as Burge Hall, the Iowa Memorial Union, the Field House, or Carver Hawkeye Arena will be selected if needed. Coordination for assistance, equipment, and supplies will be determined at the relocation site as needed.
- The primary responsibility for the protection of property, assessment of damage, and restoration of normal operations shall be given to the appropriate University service unit. These University service units will include:
- Facilities Management: Coordinates all services for the restoration of electrical, plumbing, heating, and other support systems as well as environmental enclosure and structural integrity. Assesses damage and makes a prognosis for occupancy of the structure affected by the disaster.
- Information Technology Services: Coordinates support for data-processing resources at the main data center and the designated recovery sites; provides alternate voice and data communications capability in the event normal telecommunication lines and equipment are disrupted by the disaster. Evaluates the requirements and selects appropriate means of backing up the ITS telecommunications network.
- Campus Safety: Provides safety and security for people and facilities, as well as emergency support to affected areas, and notification mechanisms for problems that are or could be disasters. Extends a security perimeter around the functional area affected by the disaster.
- Evacuation/rescue plan for persons with disabilities. Even though emergency personnel usually are available to assist with evacuation, this may not always be the case. People with concerns that would make independent evacuation difficult are encouraged to make alternative plans and arrangements in advance which will increase the likelihood that individuals will be able to exit a building safely in the event of an emergency. Check to see if your building has a staff member serving in the role of Building Coordinator. Individuals are encouraged to discuss evacuation/rescue needs with the Building Coordinator if applicable.
Every individual must quickly become familiar with their area by locating exits, stairwells, elevators, fire-fighting equipment, fire alarms, and possible areas of rescue.
Note: Possible areas of rescue can be in a stairwell/fire escape, areas adjacent to a stairwell or fire escape, a window facing the outside, or a room within the structure; attempt to select a room with a phone. It is understood that older structures may not have adequate landings within the stairwells to accommodate wheelchairs. Individuals are encouraged to use protected stairwells for exiting if possible.
Those who have difficulty speaking or those with hearing impairments who have difficulty judging volume are encouraged to carry a whistle or a similar device for the purpose of announcing their location to emergency services personnel conducting rescue searches and to carry personal cell phones to contact emergency services personnel. If assistance is needed, call Campus Safety at 319-335-5022.
Note: When calling a University number from a cell phone, you must press all seven digits. Depending on your phone service, you may also have to include the area code. In case of an emergency, press 911. Be prepared to give your name, your building, floor and location, the reason why you are calling, and your particular needs.
Advise others (supervisors, administrators, instructors, colleagues, fellow students) about any concerns that you may have related to emergency exiting and how they can assist you in the event of an emergency. This can include assistance in exiting a building, assistance to areas of rescue, and alerting emergency services of your location. (For exiting concerns related specifically to tornadoes or bomb threats, please see Campus Safety's Emergency Response Guide.)
- Assisting people with disabilities: Evacuation guidelines. It is recommended that each department establish a "buddy" system in which volunteers and alternates are recruited and paired with persons who have known disabilities that would create special evacuation needs. Volunteers should become familiar with the special evacuation needs of their buddies and plan to alert and assist them if an evacuation is ordered. Volunteers should keep in mind that many people with disabilities can assist in their evacuation.
- People with visual disability. In the event of an emergency, tell the person the nature of the emergency and offer to serve as a guide. As you walk, tell the person where you are and advise of any obstacles. Do not grasp the person's arm. Extend and offer your arm for the individual to grasp.
- People with hearing disability. People with hearing impairments may not perceive audio emergency alarms, and an alternative warning technique is required. Two methods of warning are:
- Writing a note telling what the emergency is and the nearest evacuation route/safe staging area.
- Tapping the person on the shoulder or turning the light switch on and off to gain attention, then indicating through gestures, or in writing, what is happening and what to do.
Note: Most modern fire alarm systems are equipped with flashing lights to alert people with hearing impairments.
- People using crutches, canes, or walkers. When it is not possible for the person to exit quickly, various carrying options include: using a two-person lock-arm position, having the person sit in a sturdy chair — preferably with arms; some buildings have evacuation chairs specific for stairway travel (familiarization with these chairs is advised.) For level travel, an office chair with wheels could be utilized.
- People using motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs or other ambulation devices. The needs and preferences of people will vary. Most will be able to exit safely without assistance if on the ground floor. Two volunteers are needed in carrying a person and wheelchair. It is advisable to arrange a two-person, lock-arm carry or use an evacuation chair to manage stairways. Please keep in mind that some people have minimal ability to move, and lifting them may be painful and/or injurious. Additionally, some individuals may have respiratory complications and must be removed from smoke or fumes immediately.
Always consult the person as to their preference with regard to:
- Ways of being removed from the wheelchair.
- The number of people necessary for assistance.
- Whether to extend or move extremities when lifting because of pain, catheter bags, braces, etc.
- Whether a seat cushion or pad should be brought along if they are removed from the chair.
- Being carried forward or backward on a flight of stairs.
- After-care needs, if removed from a mobility device (wheelchair, scooter, etc.).
- Departmental notification. Campus Safety shall be responsible for securing the incident site and notifying the designated representative (or alternate in designee's absence) of the following departments:
- Department of Risk Management, Insurance, and Loss Prevention:
- Chief Risk Officer, 319-335-0010
- Alternate: Associate Vice President and Director of Purchasing and Business Services, 319-335-3815
- Facilities Management:
- Director, Building and Landscape Services, 319-335-5038
- Director, Utilities and Energy Management, 319-335-1884
- Director, Business and Financial Services, 319-335-5084
- Director, Planning, Design, and Construction, 319-335-1205
- Alternate: Associate Vice President and Director, Facilities Management, 319-335-1248
- University Housing and Dining:
- Director, 319-335-3000
- Alternate: Associate Director, Facilities and Operations, 319-335-9970
- Vice President for External Relations (or designee), 319-335-3714
- Office of General Counsel:
Director, Environmental Compliance and Senior Associate Counsel, 319-335-6190
To the extent that hazardous materials or chemicals are involved, Campus Safety shall notify Environmental Health and Safety. All emergency clean-up and recovery activities shall be subject to instructions of Environmental Health and Safety in accordance with the requirements of public authorities. (See also the Hazardous Materials Incident section in Campus Safety's Emergency Response Guide.)
- Department of Risk Management, Insurance, and Loss Prevention:
- Departmental responsibilities. To the extent that damage is minimal and relocation of activities is not required, Facilities Management shall be responsible for all site clean-up, debris removal, and emergency or minor repairs. In the event that major remodeling or rebuilding is necessary, Facilities Management shall be responsible for preparation of plans, specifications, or cost estimates for building remodeling, and equipment repair/replacement.
- Property loss reporting requirements. Preliminary reports regarding the cause of the loss, the extent of damage, and the plans for recovery and relocation shall be provided to the University Business Manager by the Chief Risk Officer within 24 hours, in accordance with V-15 Risk Management, Insurance, and Loss Prevention.
All losses shall be reported by the Department of Risk Management, Insurance, and Loss Prevention to the Office of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.
The University seeks to provide a work environment that supports people and the business of the University.
- In those situations that, due to equipment malfunction, weather, or other crisis situations, work space is uninhabitable because of heat, cold, water, smoke, or other conditions that make the work site unsafe or uninhabitable, supervisors will make a decision relative to continuation of services at that location. If the supervisor, based on consultation with appropriate University officials, their knowledge of the term and severity of the condition, and based on a reasonable-person standard, decides to vacate the work site, they shall use the following guidance.
- If possible, services to students, faculty, staff, and the public should be continued at an alternate work location within the college, vice presidential area, or hospital unit/clinic. Supervisors should identify these alternate work locations in advance and advise faculty and staff of the location and the situations which would require relocation to the alternate work site (i.e., lack of heat, fumes, threats to safety/security).
- If space is not available in locations noted above for all or a portion of the affected staff, they should meet at public facilities on campus, i.e., Iowa Memorial Union, University Libraries. To the extent possible, normal work flow should be maintained. If computers, phones, and other necessary equipment are not available, staff should engage in planning, evaluation, or training activities which require staff presence but not operational equipment.
- If the options listed above are not feasible, the supervisor can authorize staff to work at home (if appropriate), or they may approve an alternate work schedule to make up the time.
- If none of the above options is feasible, staff may be required to utilize paid leave (vacation) or unpaid leave during periods of disruption. It is the University's intent to avoid this option if possible.
- Determinations as regards classes will be made by the academic units in coordination with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.
- Representatives from Campus Safety, Risk Management, Environmental Health and Safety Office, Facilities Management, and University Housing and Dining will review the Critical Incident Management Plan on an annual basis and revise as needed. Before a date is set for review of the plan, notification will be sent to the Critical Incident Management Team.
- Additionally, the plan will be reviewed as appropriate following an event that requires the activation of the Critical Incident Management Team.
- Critical Incident Management Plan Flow Chart. See the Campus Safety website or https://uiowa.edu/critical-incident-plan/critical-incident-management-plan-flow-chart.
- Critical Incidents and Response Strategies. The University has developed response strategies for the following critical incidents: bomb threat, civil protest, earthquake, explosion, fire, hazardous materials incident, infrastructure failure, medical emergency, severe winter weather, tornado, violent incident, active shooter, water damage. Download the Emergency Response Guide.
- University of Iowa Continuity of Operations Plan. See Appendix A at https://uiowa.edu/critical-incident-plan/continuity-operations-plan.
- Employee's Guide to Proper Selection and Use of Portable Fire Extinguisher in a University Building. Download https://police.uiowa.edu/sites/police.uiowa.edu/files/fireextinguishers.pdf.
- University of Iowa Pandemic Flu Plan
- National Incident Management System (NIMS)