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University Policy

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1 University Policy: University Facility and Personnel Operating Status Policy Category: Operational Policies Subject: American University operating status during emergencies Office Responsible for Review of this Policy: Office of Finance and Treasurer Procedures: Emergency Closing/Cancellation Procedures, Emergency Management and Continuity of Operations Plan, Departmental emergency operating plans Related University Policies: Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Policy I. SCOPE American University (AU) may change its operating status during periods of inclement weather or other emergency situations. At such times, the University has a prescribed method for evaluation and communication of these changes to AU staff, faculty, and students. Academic and administrative units are expected to abide by any decision made by central administration regarding operating status. II. POLICY STATEMENT American University wishes to protect the safety of its community members, research, and facilities. To that end, University operations may be reduced, suspended or closed due to weather conditions, facility damage, or other emergency conditions that prevent normal operations. The decision to reduce, suspend, or close all or part of the University because of severe weather, building conditions, disruptive actions, or health risks will be made by the President or his designee. The Office of the Vice President of Finance and Treasurer and the department of Human Resources will handle details and questions regarding this policy. III. DEFINITIONS Emergency Events: Three levels of emergency events have been identified, relative to the magnitude of the emergency. - Level 1 – the emergency involves a localized department or building incident that can be quickly resolved with internal resources or limited help, and causes little or no disruption to operations or services. This level of emergency results in limited or no evacuation and has little or no impact on personnel or normal operations outside the locally affected area. An example of this level of emergency is a small-scale incident such as a lab spill or single injury that requires limited response from Public Safety, EHS, and Facilities Management. The primary decision-making responsibility rests with the department that would normally handle the situation. No university-wide action is required.2 - Level 2 – a mid-level emergency that disrupts sizable portions of the campus community and can no longer be managed using normal procedures. Level 2 emergencies are larger scale incidents such as a hazardous materials spill or reported fire that involve Public Safety, EHS, and Facilities Management and may require assistance from external organizations, such as DCFD. They may require a larger evacuation and may involve an entire floor or building. These events may escalate quickly, and may have serious consequences for life safety and/or mission-critical functions. The primary decision-making responsibility rests with the department that would normally handle the situation, but also requires a cooperative effort with other departments that are responding in support. The Emergency Response Team leader is notified in most instances and he/she will advise the President as appropriate. - Level 3 – a major incident that adversely affects the entire campus, and may also affect the surrounding community. Level 3 emergencies may require a major evacuation involving multiple buildings or the entire campus. The effect of the emergency is wide-ranging and complex and a timely resolution of disaster conditions requires broad cooperation and extensive coordination. An example of a Level 3 emergency is a major weather-related event that will result in a suspension of normal University operations. University personnel at the site of the emergency are responsible for those immediate emergency decisions necessary to protect life and property and to stabilize the situation until the Emergency Response Team Leader has been apprised of the situation. Only the President or his designee can declare a Level 3 emergency. Emergency Response Team: Team members, identified in AU’s Emergency Management and Continuity of Operations Plan (provide link to the Plan), have responsibility for overseeing the recovery and continuity processes being executed by the response teams in the field. They are responsible for communicating the recovery status to the Cabinet and making the necessary management decisions to support the recovery efforts. The Emergency Response Team Leader has overall responsibility for the team and communications with the Cabinet and/or the President. Priority Categories of Critical/Essential Personnel: Personnel classified into priority categories as a means of determining the order of need during emergencies. Emergency response priorities may change depending on the crisis situation; however, the following basic order is used when determining who should report to campus. Department heads are responsible for designating critical/essential personnel and notifying those employees prior to or at the time an emergency situation occurs. - Priority Category A – is the most restrictive and includes only those personnel whose daily presence on campus is necessary for life safety and security. For example, public safety staff, and facilities management personnel who maintain utilities. These personnel would be the first to receive protective equipment and preventative measures in situations that require immediate suspension of all normal teaching, research and service activities. - Priority Category B – includes personnel needed to maintain critical infrastructure and safety with intermittent on-campus presence. This, too, is associated with suspension of all normal teaching, research and service activities. If research operations are suspended, for example, personnel must attend to animal care, safety, maintenance of perishable materials, and protection of records and data. Additionally, if the residence halls remain occupied during the emergency situation, food service and housekeeping services must be maintained.3 - Priority Category C – personnel needed for the continuation of critical business operations (as opposed to infrastructure and safety) and includes personnel whose support can be performed from remote locations or with brief, occasional visits to campus. This Category includes personnel needed to resume


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