Howard Payne University (HPU), like any other organization, is potentially subject to man-made or natural incidents that could threaten its community, core academic mission, and physical environment. Although there is no reason to believe that HPU is subject to any specific threat or danger, the University has developed this plan as a proactive means of emergency preparedness. The reality of events in the
world today mean that more than ever HPU must take safety and security seriously and must proactively address potential incidents as part of its overall efforts to advance the University’s mission.
The HPU Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) establishes the framework to ensure that the University is prepared to deal with critical incidents that would require extraordinary protection of life, property and/or continuity of operations. The EOP provides an integrated approach to respond to and recover from the impacts of a crisis on HPU’s campus in coordination with local, state, and federal agencies and authorities.
The EOP and Emergency Management Guide (Guide) provide a comprehensive emergency management concept of operations that ensures coordination and cooperation among multiple departments, organizations, and jurisdictions. They address the responsibilities of University departments throughout various phases of emergency response, management, recovery, and analysis. The Guide depicts in broad terms how the campus will prepare for and respond to man-made or natural incidents/emergencies.
PURPOSE AND SCOPE
The Guide covers students, faculty and staff at HPU’s campuses and its study abroad programs. HPU’s individual campuses will develop procedures specific to those entities but may utilize the concepts set forth in the Guide. This Guide prioritizes the safety of those who live, work and study at HPU and provides communications methods to inform internal and external stakeholders of incidents and/or emergency situations. In the event of any campus incident/emergency, the safety and security of HPU’s students, faculty, staff, and visitors are the highest priority.
The Guide outlines the emergency response concepts and procedures under which all elements of the
HPU campus will operate during incidents and/or emergency situations in order to fulfill its academic mission with minimal disruption.
I. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ROLES
The HPU Department of Public Safety (HPUDPS) is on duty 24/7 and should be notified at 325-649-8609 of all accident, incidents, and emergencies. The department is partially staffed with State of Texas certified police officers who are fully trained in responding to emergency scenarios and routinely conduct joint training exercises with local and regional first responders to ensure their readiness. HPUDPS officers serve as the first responder to all emergency incidents and will implement response protocols as the situation warrants.
The Incident Commander (IC) is the HPU Vice President for Student Life or designee and is the primary individual responsible for coordinating the University’s initial response to a campus incident/emergency. The IC will direct and manage emergency responses in conjunction with the Assistant Vice President of Facilities and Planning and the Director of Public Safety through the authority of the President of the University. The Director of Public Safety is also the primary liaison between HPU and federal, state, and local emergency management agencies.
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is the central operations center utilized during emergency situations. The EOC directly supports the IC and is fully equipped to communicate with the campus and external agencies.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM
The Emergency Response Team (ERT) is always on call and is responsible for staffing the EOC and coordinating and/or directing necessary resources to support the IC during emergency situations. The ERT also assists the President and senior University leaders in developing and implementing strategies, tactics, and the overall plan for managing a campus emergency. The ERT provides general oversight of all emergency response and recovery operations and determines the appropriate courses of action to ensure that emergency management decisions are inclusive of all University operations and lead to timely restoration of the University’s mission. The ERT is comprised of: Vice President for Student Life; Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Planning; Director of Public Safety; Assistant Vice President for Information Technology Services; Assistant Vice President for Communications; University Nurse; and Assistant Vice President for Business and Human Resources. ERT members regularly plan, train, and communicate strategies to mitigate campus emergencies.
II. NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES
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INTERNAL NOTIFICATION SYSTEM
Emergency situations can occur at any time. Members of the HPU community have a responsibility to notify University officials of incidents/emergencies as they are observed. HPUDPS should be notified of all emergencies and will respond to the scene and coordinate (as needed) with University officials concerning institutional response and/or community notifications.
EMERGENCY INFORMATION DISSEMINATION
In an emergency that has been determined to pose a danger or imminent threat to the health and safety of the surrounding community, information will be disseminated to the HPU community and the public without delay. University officials will determine the content of the emergency message and initiate the notification system as soon as possible unless the notification will, in the judgment of responsible authorities, compromise the efforts to assist victims or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency. In many instances this information may be provided by external emergency responders in lieu of or in addition to the University itself. The means of dissemination may vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the incident/emergency and the communication process.
The Vice President of Student Life, in coordination with University leaders and ERT personnel, will determine the significance of the emergency to include; which members of the HPU community to notify, which information to include in the notification, and will be responsible for initiating the notification system(s). While emergency information dissemination may at times be coordinated by the Vice President for Student Life through the Director of Public Safety, Facilities Office, Office of the President, or the ERT; the Vice President for Student Life is ultimately responsible for and has authority to initiate notification systems as needed without prior consultation with University leaders in the event of an emergency. University Marketing is responsible for drafting and disseminating internal and external communications related to incidents/emergencies in coordination with the Vice President of Student Life, the ERT, and University leaders.
The primary means of emergency information distribution are: HPU Emergency Alert System, HPU Website, University-wide broadcast email, telephone, and news media. HPU Emergency Alert System is the primary method to rapidly communicate an emergency by way of email, phone, and text message to the HPU community. All students are enrolled in the system at the beginning of each semester based on contact information they have provided to the Registrar’s office. Employees are enrolled in the system at time of hiring. Existing employees were enrolled in the system when it was initially implemented. Students, faculty, and staff may choose to opt out if desired, and all parties are notified about how to update contact information.
III. EMERGENCY RESPONSE PROCEDURES
When an incident occurs, HPUDPS officers are dispatched to the scene and if warranted the Vice President of Student Life is notified. HPUDPS officers provide direction and assistance in mitigating the incident, including coordination with local law enforcement, fire, or emergency agencies. The Vice President of Student Life notifies senior University leaders and coordinates with other relevant external agencies/authorities.
An incident or series of critical incidents which requires the University to disengage resources from normal operations to provide extraordinary protection of life, property and/or operations will constitute a campus emergency. The Vice President of Student Life directs actions to prepare for or respond to all incidents or emergencies that may occur and coordinates the appropriate response dependent on the scope and nature of the specific incident/emergency.
The first step in mitigating campus emergencies is the development and implementation of an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for each potential incident. Secondly, key personnel (e.g., Building Supervisors and Residence Life staff) receive training and participate in drills and exercises to test their procedures. Familiarity with procedures, timely execution, and communication are essential elements to emergency management.
FACILITY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Building Supervisors and Residence Hall Directors/Resident Assistants are responsible for implementing plans/procedures and issue directions to occupants when there is a perceived threat. The following are the general procedures for effectively managing emergencies affecting facilities.
Evacuation will be directed in the event of a fire, chemical or gas leak, or other potential threat to people within the facility.
- For Fire call 911 and activate the nearest fire alarm pull station
- In case of fire, occupants will evacuate via the nearest exit, alert others, and not use elevators
- For other emergencies, contact HPUDPS and provide information concerning the incident
- Alert occupants and direct how to (specifically) evacuate the facility and where to assemble
- Report evacuation status and prevent people from reentering the facility
- Prevent people from re-entering the facility until receiving the “all clear”
Shelter-in-Place is normally directed in the event of severe weather, tornado, or other potential threat emanating from outside the facility.
- Contact HPUDPS and provide/receive accurate information concerning the emergency
- Alert occupants to the situation and direct them to the shelter and of necessary actions/precautions
- Report shelter status, injuries, and facility damage or other hazards
- Prevent people from exiting the facility until receiving the “all clear”
LOCK DOWN PROCEDURES (A.L.I.C.E.)
A lockdown is a temporary sheltering technique that may last for several hours and is utilized to limit exposure to an “Active Shooter” or similar threat. When alerted to lockdown, occupants of any facility within the affected area will lock all doors and windows preventing entry or exit to anyone until receiving the “all clear” or being directed to evacuate. This procedure converts any facility into a large “safe room.”
- Contact HPUDPS and provide/receive accurate information concerning the emergency
- Alert occupants to the situation, direct them to lockdown, and lock all exterior facility doors
- Lock doors/windows, close blinds/curtains, and turn off equipment/devices that emit light/sound
- Report lockdown status, headcount, injuries, and control entry/exit to the room
- Prevent people from exiting the facility until receiving the “all clear” or deciding to evacuate based on the A.L.I.C.E. principles outlined below
A.L.I.C.E. is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. The main objective of this approach is to provide students and staff with options to increase their chance of survival during an “Active Shooter on Campus” emergency. Where the traditional lockdown response is passive in nature (lock doors, turn out lights, and wait for help), the A.L.I.C.E. approach is considered a more aggressive response. The steps in A.L.I.C.E. are as follows:
Alert: Danger announcement
Lockdown: Excellent starting point from which to make safety decisions
Inform: Provide real-time information to those in danger
Counter: Use of simple, proactive techniques to counter aggressive actions if necessary
Evacuation: Remove as many from the danger zone as quickly as possible
If you encounter the shooter, you should immediately call 911 to report the incident, seek a secure area, remain calm, reassure others, assist the injured, and wait for law enforcement response.
Evacuation, shelter-in-place, and lockdown can involve the entire campus or only a few facilities, depending on the nature of the threat.
CAMPUS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Everyone is responsible for assisting in making our campus a safe place by being alert to suspicious situations or activities and promptly reporting them to HPUDPS at 325-649-8609. The following are the general procedures for effectively managing general emergencies.
An explosive device may be placed on the campus with or without warning. If a suspicious object or what appears to be an explosive device is discovered the person should NOT touch it. Immediately clear the area and call HPUDPS.
A bomb threat is usually made by phone and the recipient should attempt to have the person relaying the threat answer the questions below and then immediately notify HPUDPS.
Ask the caller:
- When is the bomb going to explode?
- Where is the bomb located?
- What kind of bomb is it?
- What does it look like?
- Why did you place the bomb?
Keep talking to the caller as long as possible and record the following:
- Time of call
- Age and sex of caller
- Speech pattern, accent, or possible nationality
- Emotional state of the caller
- Background noise.
In the event of a suspicious device or bomb threat, immediately call HPUDPS, quickly and quietly clear the area, and do not open drawers, cabinets, or turn lights on or off.
HPUDPS officers will respond to the scene and implement procedures to mitigate the situation. If occupants are directed to evacuate the facility/area, they will move a minimum of 300 feet from the suspected bomb or suspicious device.
A disruptive individual is someone who:
- Makes threats of physical harm to others or themselves
- Behaves in a bizarre manner or is out of touch with reality
- Appears to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
Steps to take when dealing with a disruptive individual:
- Contact HPUDPS and give your name, location, and a brief description of the incident
- If possible provide a name and/or description of the individual
- Maintain a safe distance and do not confront or attempt to restrain the person
- Try to keep the person calm and within sight until assistance arrives
VIOLENT OR CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR
If you are a victim or witness to a crime, you should promptly notify HPUDPS as soon as possible and report the incident, including the following:
- Brief description of the incident to include the time and location
- Description of person(s) and/or property involved
If you observe a criminal act or a suspicious person on campus, immediately notify HPUDPS and report the incident. Assist the officer(s) when they arrive by supplying them with all additional information and encouraging others to cooperate.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FUNCTIONALITY
In an emergency situation, the Assistant Vice President for Information Technology Services will act as the team leader for establishment of phone and internet connectivity and restoration of campus network services. The team leader will contact the IT Services team members and communicate the situation. HPU emergency response protocols will be activated, as appropriate. The team leader will report to the EOC. IT Services staff will be dispatched to complete an inventory of IT functions within the affected buildings and to determine the extent of infrastructure damage. A determination will be made of the steps necessary to restore IT services, and baseline services will be provided in an alternate location for affected staff.
In the event that a disaster affects the data center facility located in the Packer Administration Building at 1000 Fisk Avenue, IT Services staff will implement contingency plans for conducting operations at another site per the departmental disaster recovery plan. The recovery strategy is based on duplicating the most critical data and services at an off-site location as quickly as possible. Sufficient processing resources should be available at the off-site location to conduct essential business at a reduced performance/capacity level; additional processing resources would be added at the time of need in response to the severity of the disaster. Restoring communication methods for faculty, staff and students will be the first priority of the IT Services disaster recovery team.
IV. PLANNING AND TRAINING
The Emergency Planning Committee oversees the development and implementation of the University’s EOP. The committee also ensures key personnel are trained and core processes are regularly tested to evaluate the University’s response capabilities and procedures. University faculty, staff, and students also participate in ongoing training and testing opportunities. Members of the committee include: Vice President for Finance and Administration; Vice President for Student Life; Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Planning; Director of Public Safety; University Nurse; Provost; Assistant Vice President for Information Technology Services; Assistant Vice President for Communications; Assistant Vice President for Business and Human Resources; and Director, Athletic Training Education Program.
ORIENTATION AND RECURRING TRAINING
Members of the HPU community are introduced to safety and security issues and emergency procedures as part of their introduction to campus life and at regular intervals during their work and life on campus.
FACULTY AND STAFF
Basic safety and emergency response information is provided during the new employee orientation process. Information is presented concerning basic response protocols and contact information based on the most likely emergencies/incidents to occur on campus. Regular updates may be provided to faculty and staff via distribution of newsletters or brochures, or University-wide broadcast email.
Safety and security information is provided to all students on an annual basis. New students and their parents obtain information during orientation. Sessions provide students with emergency response procedures, safety tips, and campus contact information. Students living in on-campus residence halls and apartments participate in mandatory annual meetings with their resident assistant or resident director at the beginning of each academic year. Regular updates may be provided to students via meetings, brochures, the Emergency Management web page, or University-wide broadcast email.
In addition, faculty, staff, and students planning to study abroad are required to participate in an orientation session that addresses safety and security issues unique to their location before beginning their respective programs.
RESIDENTIAL FACILITY PREPAREDNESS
Residence Life staff are provided education, resources, and receive special safety and emergency preparedness training and are required to sign training documentation prior to assuming their roles. These individuals receive annual training covering facility Emergency Action Plans, applicable fire protection systems, and general safety procedures.
All on campus residential facilities conduct a fire evacuation drill during the fall and spring semesters. In addition, utilities and communications systems are tested regularly to ensure reliability. Emergency Preparedness Drills, tests, and exercise are conducted annually to evaluate the University’s ability to respond to a variety of potential emergency scenarios, help assess the adequacy of the EOP, and reinforce participant’s knowledge of emergency plans/procedures. Comprehensive planning is essential to ensuring the event is conducted safely and poses minimal disruption to curriculum or other campus events.
A drill is an announced event. Details may be kept confidential to increase realism, but participants will be informed of the date, time, location and basic overview of what will occur.
A test is an unannounced event. No details will be released to the general populace of the campus. The intent is to assess execution of plans/procedures under simulated realistic conditions.
An exercise may be an announced or unannounced event designed to evaluate campus-wide procedures to mitigate an emergency. This may be accomplished in a “table top” venue with the ERT and/or senior HPU leadership or a simulated event impacting the entire campus.
Approved: August 26, 2013 Updated: February 11, 2014