Basic Plan - Concept of Operations
Concept of Operations
The Concept of Operations section provides an overview of the emergency management structure and procedures for responding to an emergency situation. More detailed information can be found in the appendices after the Basic Plan.
The role of University departments involved in emergency response will generally parallel normal day-to-day functions. However, employees may be assigned to work in areas and perform duties outside their regular job assignments. Day-to-day functions that do not contribute directly to an emergency may be suspended for the duration of an emergency. Efforts that would typically be required for normal daily functions will be redirected to accomplish emergency tasks following the Incident Command System (ICS).
This plan is designed to be flexible to be used in any emergency response situation regardless of the size, type or complexity. The procedures outlined in this plan are based on a worst-case scenario. Part or all of the components of the plan may be activated as needed to respond to the emergency at hand.
Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) Activation
This plan is activated whenever emergency conditions exist in which immediate action is required to:
- Save and protect lives.
- Prevent damage to the environment, systems and property.
- Initiate Incident Command System (ICS) and develop an appropriate organizational structure to manage the incident.
- Coordinate communications.
- Provide essential services.
- Temporarily assign University staff to perform emergency work.
- Invoke emergency authorization to procure and allocate resources.
- Activate and staff the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Levels of Emergency
There are five Types (levels) of emergency, Type 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The lower the type of emergency, the larger the scale of the event and the more resources and coordination are required to manage the event. Any given type may be bypassed if necessary to allow a response to proceed directly to a higher level. As emergencies progress to a more complex types, the stated activities of previous types will continue to be enacted.
The type of emergency will be determined by the Incident Commander.
TYPE 5 EMERGENCY
An unplanned event that is not likely to adversely impact or threaten life, health or property. Control of the incident is within the capabilities of University employees and the duration of the event is limited.
- Automatic fire alarm
- Small chemical spill
- Localized water pipe break affecting a portion of a building
- Localized undetermined odor problem
- Student demonstration
- Planned event with attendance >5,000
The onsite lead unit/department handles the situation following the lead unit’s Standard Operating Procedures. The lead unit responding to an incident is the Incident Commander (IC).
TYPE 4 EMERGENCY
If the situation escalates to where the life, health or property within a single area may be threatened and control of the incident may be beyond the capability of University employees, outside agency assistance may be necessary.
- Death of a student
- Chemical spill (requiring a disruption of services and a FD Hazmat response)
- City water main break (involving most of a building or one which threatens non-critical services)
- Odor requiring evacuation
- Loss of heat, power or water to a building for a short term
TYPE 3 EMERGENCY
If the situation impacts or threatens life, health or property on a large scale at one or more locations within the University, control of the incident may require specialists in addition to University and outside agency personnel. Long-term implications may result.
- City water main break (involving service to multiple buildings)
- Loss of heat or power (to multiple buildings)
- Fire affecting an residential building
- Chemical release (causing the evacuation of one or more buildings)
- Hostage situation
- Labor disruption
- Large-scale civil unrest on university property
- Missing student
- Suspicious death (on campus)
The department head contacts University Police for the determination of whether to activate the Incident Management Team (IMT) and the Policy Group.
TYPE 1–2 EMERGENCY
The situation adversely impacts or threatens life, health or property at the University on a large scale and control of the incident will require multiple agencies and multiple university departments working together. Long-term implications are likely.
- Large-scale chemical release
- Major, long-term power outage
- Building collapse
- Ice storm
- Hosting/managing an evacuation shelter
- Large-scale external emergency (e.g. Sept. 11, 2001)
In addition, the following figures highlight both general and event specific monitoring and response procedures for the Binghamton University in the event of an emergency.
- Figure 2.2: highlights the General Emergency Response process
- Figure 2.3: highlights the Inclement Weather Monitoring process
Emergency Management Structure
Emergency response activities at the Binghamton University are directed under the authority delegated to the Incident Management Team (IMT). The IMT’s Incident Commander will report directly to the Vice President for Operations.
Binghamton University Emergency Policy Group
The Policy Group provides strategic direction in making policy decisions for any incident that impacts the University’s ability to perform its critical business functions. The Policy Group makes policy whereas the IMT implements those policies. The president of Binghamton University chairs the Policy Group.
University President Succession of Authority
To maintain emergency management functions and an orderly continuation of leadership in an emergency situation, the following succession of authority applies if the University president is unavailable:
1) Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
2) Vice President for Student Affairs
3) Vice President for Operations
4) Vice President for Research
5) Vice President for Advancement
Binghamton University Incident Command System
The CEMP follows the structure of the Incident Command System (ICS) for managing a response. There are three functional areas in the ICS structure: (1) Incident Commander (IC); (2) Command Staff; and (3) General Staff. The Incident Commander supervises the Command Staff and General Staff and is responsible for emergency response activities and efforts. (See Figure 2.4 for Binghamton University Incident Command System diagram)
In most Type 1, 2 and 3 emergencies, the Incident Commander, Command Staff and Section Chiefs in the General Staff will report to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
The Incident Commander (IC) manages all emergency activities, including development, implementation and review of strategic decisions, as well as post-event assessment.
- The Incident Commander is the authority for all emergency response efforts and serves as supervisor to the Public Information Officer (PIO), Liaison Officer, Safety Officer, EOC Coordinator and Support Staff, Operations Chief, Planning Chief, Logistics Chief and Finance Chief.
- The Incident Commander may retain any or all of the positions in the Command and General Staff depending on the complexity of the event.
- The IC determines the location of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Establishing an Incident Commander
The Incident Commander (IC) will vary depending on the situation at hand. The IC may not always be the highest ranking individual at the University but rather an individual with the specific skills, knowledge base and training needed to respond to the specific situation.
When an incident occurs, the initial Incident Commander will be established from the responding resources on scene and communicated to all personnel. During a more complex incident, a person with higher qualifications may assume command or the Policy Group may designate an IC. The on-site Binghamton University IC will provide a situation status briefing to an IC assuming command. Incident command may be carried out by a Unified Command established jointly by units and/or agencies that have direct functional or jurisdictional responsibility for the incident.
The Incident Commander (IC) is responsible for the overall management of the incident and all activities/functions until the IC delegates and assigns them to Command or General Staff. The Incident Commander is responsible for the following tasks:
- Providing overall leadership for incident response.
- Assessing incident situation.
- Establishing incident objectives.
- Developing the Incident Action Plan (in conjunction with General Staff Section Chiefs when General Staff is activated).
- Initiating Incident Command System: developing an appropriate organizational structure and delegating authority/functions to others.
A Deputy Incident Commander may be designated to:
- Perform specific tasks as requested by the Incident Commander.
- Perform the incident command function in a relief capacity.
- Represent an assisting agency that shares jurisdiction.
Command Staff report directly to the Incident Commander. Positions include the Public Information Officer, Liaison Officer and Safety Officer. Current lines of succession are provided for each position.
Public Information Officer (PIO)
The PIO is responsible for relaying incident related information to the public and media and with other agencies. This position is always activated in a Type 1, 2 or 3 emergency and as needed in Type 4 and 5 situations.
1) Senior Director, Communications and Marketing
2) Senior Director of Media and Public Relations
3) Assistant Director of Media and Public Relations
The Liaison Officers are responsible for coordinating with external partners, such as city, county, state or federal agencies, and public and private resources groups, as well as internal University groups.
The Safety Officer monitors, evaluates and recommends procedures for all incident operations for hazards and unsafe conditions, including the health and safety of emergency responder personnel. The Safety Officer is responsible for developing the site safety plan and safety directions in the Incident Action Plan (IAP).
The General Staff is comprised of four sections: (1) Operations, (2) Planning, (3) Logistics, and (4) Finance and Administration. Each section is headed by a Section Chief and can be expanded to meet the resources and needs of the response. Section chiefs report directly to the Incident Commander.
The Operations Section is responsible for managing all incident-specific operations of an emergency response.
The Planning Section is responsible for collecting, monitoring, evaluating and disseminating information relating to the response effort. It is responsible for the development, maintenance and distribution of the Incident Action Plan (IAP).
The Logistics Section is responsible for procuring supplies, personnel and material support necessary to conduct the emergency response (e.g. personnel call-out, equipment acquisition, lodging, transportation, food, etc.).
Finance and Administration Section
The Finance and Administration Section is responsible for purchasing and cost accountability relating to the response effort. This section documents expenditures, purchase authorizations, damage to property, equipment usage and vendor contracting, and develops FEMA documentation. The use of appropriate ICS forms to accomplish this ensures adequate documentation of the incident and reimbursement for costs associated with the incident. The Finance Section Chief shall be responsible for working with FEMA Disaster Assistance Teams and/or other external partners for the purpose of cost recovery.
Standardized Terminology/Plain Language
It is important that responders and incident managers use common terminology. There simply is little or no room for misunderstanding in an emergency situation.
The use of plain language in emergency response is matter of public safety, especially the safety of first responders and those affected by the incident. It is critical that all local responders, as well as those coming into the impacted area from other jurisdictions and other states as well as the federal government, know and utilize commonly established operational structures, terminology, policies and procedures. This is what NIMS and the Incident Command System (ICS) are all about — achieving interoperability across agencies, jurisdictions and disciplines.
The use of common terminology is about the ability of area commanders, state and local EOC personnel, federal operational coordinators and emergency responders to communicate clearly with each other and effectively coordinate response activities, no matter what the size, scope or complexity of the incident. The ability of responders from different jurisdictions and different disciplines to work together depends greatly on their ability to communicate with each other.
While FEMA does not require plain language for internal operations, it strongly encourages it, as it is important to practice everyday terminology and procedures that will need to be used in emergency incidents and disasters. It is required that plain language be used for multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction and multi-discipline events such as major disasters and exercises. Since FY 2006, federal preparedness grant funding has been contingent on the use of plain language in incidents requiring assistance from responders from other agencies, jurisdictions and functional disciplines.
The Binghamton University CEMP includes a glossary and list of acronyms to assist with the adoption of standardized terminology. This list can be found in Appendix G of the Comprehensive Emergency Management Program (CEMP).
Incident Command Post (ICP)
First responders shall establish an incident command post (ICP) near the scene of the incident. The ICP shall be in a location far enough from the scene to protect individuals operating at the ICP from scene hazards, but close enough to manage resources, strategies and tactics. The establishment of an ICP shall follow Incident Command System (ICS) procedures with the most senior qualified responder assuming the role of Incident Commander.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
Emergency situations that require extensive coordination of resources, personnel, and information sharing will be managed in part or in full from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
The Emergency Operations Center is the centralized facility where emergency response and recovery activities are planned, coordinated, and delegated. The EOC will operate on a 24-hour, 7-day basis during extended events with rotating shifts until the emergency is over. The EOC will be supervised by an EOC Manager. The EOC manager will be either the Binghamton University director of emergency management or other qualified member of the IMT. The EOC may sometimes serve as the Incident Command Post (ICP) when activated. The Incident Commander determines when the incident no longer needs coordination from the EOC. Normal shift rotation is 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
This information is confidential and shall only be released to individuals with a need to know. Written requests for this information may be submitted to the director of emergency management. The director shall evaluate the request to determine if the information may be released.
The EOC will be activated during any situation that requires the immediate coordination of multiple University departments and auxiliaries.
Any member of the Incident Management Team has the authority to convene the entire IMT. The Policy Group, the director of emergency management and the chief of police have the authority to activate/open the EOC. The degree to which the EOC is activated depends on the need for coordination and communication between internal and external interest.
Once the EOC is activated, the director of emergency management, or his/her designee, shall immediately report to the EOC. He/she shall be responsible for preparing the EOC facility for operation and checking staff into the EOC.
As a standard practice the Command Staff and General Staff Section Chiefs will report to the EOC to assume emergency response roles in a Type 1, 2 or 3 emergency.
Unified Command (UC)
A Unified Command is used when more than one agency within the incident jurisdiction are working together to respond to an incident. In many emergency situations the University will work with the Town of Vestal, the Village of Johnson City, the City of Binghamton and/or Broome County in a Unified Command.
In a Unified Command situation, the Policy Group, the director of emergency management or the chief of police will determine who will serve as the Joint Incident Commander representing Binghamton University.
The Vestal Fire Department will assume the role of Lead IC for any fire, special rescue, EMS, mass casualty incident or hazardous materials event that requires their resources to respond to the Vestal campus. The City of Binghamton Fire Department will assume the role of Lead IC for any fire, special rescue, EMS, mass casualty incident or hazardous materials event that requires their resources to respond to the University Downtown Center. The Village of Johnson City Fire Department will assume the role of Lead IC for any fire, special rescue, EMS, mass casualty incident or hazardous materials event that requires their resources to respond to the Health Sciences Campus or associated property.
New York State University Police will assume Lead IC for any law enforcement event that requires their response to Binghamton University property.
When multiple agencies respond to the same incident, the senior members of each agency will determine who shall act as the IC or if a Unified Command approach is needed. In some cases a Binghamton University official may be requested to participate as a Joint Incident Commander in the Unified Command.
Binghamton University personnel and resources may be integrated into appropriate ICS positions. At the very least, the need for a liaison from Binghamton University should be anticipated, and under most circumstances, will be requested.
The outgoing on-site IC will provide a situation status briefing to the incoming IC assuming command.
Transfer of command
Transfer of command is the process of moving incident command responsibilities from one Incident Commander to another. Transfer of command may take place for many reasons, including:
- A jurisdiction or agency is legally required to take command.
- Change of command is necessary for effectiveness or efficiency.
- Incident complexity changes.
- There is a need to relieve personnel on incidents of extended duration.
- Personal emergencies (e.g., Incident Commander has a family emergency).
- Agency administrator/official directs a change in command.
A main feature of ICS is a procedure to transfer command with minimal disruption to the incident. This procedure may be used any time personnel in supervisory positions change. The following three key procedures should be followed whenever possible:
- The transfer should take place face-to-face.
- The transfer should include a complete briefing.
- The effective time and date of the transfer should be communicated to all personnel who need to know, both at the scene and elsewhere.
The transfer of command briefing should always take place. The briefing should include the following essential elements of information:
- Situation status.
- Incident objectives and priorities based on the IAP.
- Current organization.
- Resource assignments.
- Resources ordered and en route.
- Incident facilities.
- Incident communications plan.
- Incident prognosis, concerns, and other issues.
- Introduction of Command and General Staff members.
Incident Action Plan
To help ensure a consistent and accurate understanding of the common operating picture, Binghamton University shall use Incident Action Plans (IAPs) for critical incidents and large planned events. An Incident Action Plan (IAP) is a written or verbal strategy for responding to the incident developed by the Incident Commander and Section Chiefs in the General Staff.
A written IAP is not required for smaller incidents. In those cases, the Incident Commander can verbally communicate response strategy to the Incident Command System personnel.
In larger emergency situations a written IAP will be more effective. A written IAP should be considered when:
- Two or more jurisdictions are involved in the response.
- A number of ICS organizational elements are activated (typically when General Staff Sections are staffed).
- Multiple operational periods will be involved.
- A hazmat incident is involved (required).
Developing an Incident Action Plan
In larger emergency situations the Incident Commander and Section Chiefs in the General Staff will meet immediately to develop the Incident Action Plan (IAP). The Planning Section Chief is responsible for the writing, maintaining and distributing the IAP.
The Operations Chief will delineate the amount and type of resources needed to accomplish the plan. The Planning Section, Logistics Section, and Finance and Administration sections will have to work together to accommodate those needs.
The Planning Section is responsible for writing and maintaining the Incident Action Plan. The IAP will include standard forms and supporting documents that convey the Incident Commander’s intent and the Operations Section’s direction for the accomplishment of the plan. The Planning Section will communicate with other section chiefs any materials and documentation needed to develop the plan. The Incident Commander approves the written IAP.
Copies of the IAP are distributed to the Policy Group and members of the IMT. The IAP should be conveyed to all resources on scene. A briefing prior to each shift should be held to communicate the IAP to everyone involved in the incident.
In a Unified Command Situation the Joint Incident Commanders will work together and with Command and General Staff to develop the IAP.
Implementing the Plan
The Operations Section is in charge of implementing components of the IAP. The Operations Section Chief will meet with supervisors of tactical resources to brief them on the plan and delineate their respective assignments.
The Operations Section has the authority to make appropriate adjustments to the plan as needed to meet the plan objectives in the most efficient manner possible. Changes should be communicated to the Incident Commander and Planning Section Chief and documented in the ICS 214.
A series of forms found in the IAP will assist the IMT in documenting and communicating information related to the incident.
It is important that the incident be properly documented throughout the response effort. Forms for documenting information will be provided by the Planning Section with the Incident Action Plan (IAP). Thorough documentation will:
- Ensure information is transferred accurately during shift changes.
- Inform the After Action Report (AAR) that will be compiled once the incident has been resolved.
- Assist in reimbursement measures taken after the incident has been resolved.
The members of the media will go to the designated media center (Location determined at the time of the incident). The Public Information Officer is responsible for the set-up, use, and breakdown of the Media Center. All press releases must be approved by the Incident Commander.
The Incident Commander decides when the situation is under control and the Incident Management Team (IMT) can be deactivated. Deactivation requires two key functions:
- Demobilization of Response Units (General Staff Sections)
- Documentation of Incident [i.e., After Action Reports (AAR)]
The Planning Section oversees the preparation of demobilization planning and collection of incident documentation.
Demobilization of Response Units
Incident Commander meets with Section Chiefs to develop a demobilization plan for the General Staff Sections. This plan must ensure adequate care for orderly, safe, and cost effective movement of personnel and equipment that is not longer required. Section chiefs are responsible for overseeing the demobilization of their respective sections.
Documentation of Incident and Post Incident Analysis
After the incident has been resolved, an After Action Report (AAR) will be compiled to include information about the incident, the response actions taken, and lessons learned. The AAR will provide the channel through which the University may analyze the incident and improve procedures and operations for future events. This will ensure a continuing process of enhancement to the University’s mitigation, response and recovery capabilities.
The AAR is developed by the director of emergency management or his/her designee. Information for the AAR will be gathered from the members of the Binghamton University Incident Management Team (IMT) and others as deemed appropriate. The AAR will serve as the official record describing the incident and the University’s response efforts. The AAR will contain action items and lessons learned for improvement of policies, procedures, and/or operations. The action items and lessons learned will be used to update the CEMP and will be incorporated in future University training exercises.
Additional documentation required for insurance, FEMA and disaster assistance purposes will be organized by the Finance and Administration Section (See Appendix B: Incident Command System Structure).
Some situations may cause the campus to cease some or all University operations. In situations when University operations have been shut down, the first step to recovery is to ensure that the campus is safe and secure. The second step will be to restore campus facilities and grounds. The third step will be for the Policy Group to determine when and how to return to normal campus operations.
The director of emergency management will be responsible for starting the recovery process while emergency response activities are still being implemented. He/she works closely with University personnel and government agencies in the recovery process. The director of emergency management looks at how the University can better prepare and mitigate the effects of future emergencies.
Campus Continuity of Operations
Continuity of Operation Plans (COOP) is an effort within individual departments and agencies to ensure continuity of their essential functions across a wide range of emergencies and events.
- Today's changing threat environment and recent emergencies have increased the need for COOP capabilities and plans.
- COOP planning is part of the fundamental mission of all federal agencies.
- COOP is also "good business."
- Be capable of implementing its COOP plans with and without warning.
- Be operational not later than 12 hours after activation.
- Be capable of maintaining sustained operations for up to 30 days.
- Include regularly scheduled testing, training, and exercising of personnel, equipment, systems, processes and procedures used to support the agency during a COOP event.
- Provide for a regular risk analysis of current alternate operating facilities.
- Locate alternate facilities in areas where the ability to initiate, maintain and terminate COOP is optimal.
- Take advantage of existing agency field infrastructures and give consideration to other options such as telecommuting, work-at-home and shared facilities.
- Consider the distance of the alternate facility from the primary facility.
- Include development, maintenance and review of COOP capabilities using a multi-year strategy and program management plan.
Benefits of COOP:
- Anticipate events and necessary response actions.
- Adapt to sudden changes in the operational environment.
- Improve their performance through the identification of essential functions, work processes and communications methods.
- Improve management controls by establishing measures for performance.
- Improve communication to support essential functions throughout the agency.
Each division/department at Binghamton University shall be responsible for the development of its individual COOP. Once completed, each COOP will be coordinated with the University’s overall plan and will result in a single COOP with multiple division/department annexes.
Assistance with the development of a division/department COOP is available from the University’s director of emergency management (607-777-3545).
Campus Community: Roles and Responsibilities
This section outlines the roles and responsibilities of students, building managers, faculty, staff, deans and department heads in non-incident events as well as during emergencies.
Currently students, faculty, staff, dean/department heads and building managers attain information on emergency response procedures through the multiple Binghamton University websites:
- Emergency Management: http://binghamton.edu/emergency/
- NYS University Police: http://binghamton.edu/police/
- Environmental Health and Safety: http://.binghamton.edu/ehs/
- Harpur’s Ferry Ambulance: http://harpursferry.org/
- General Safety: https://www.binghamton.edu/about/campus-safety.html
Students are responsible for being aware of their surroundings and familiar with building evacuation routes, exits and the nearest faculty, staff and/or residence director. In the event of an emergency, they are responsible for listening for and following directions provided by emergency responders and/or University staff.
Role in an emergency
Students involved in an emergency should assess a situation quickly and thoroughly, but follow common sense when determining how to respond. If directly involved in an incident, students must contact University Police as soon as possible, show police officers/responders where the incident occurred and provide any requested information. If evacuation of a building is necessary, students should evacuate the building in an orderly fashion and follow directions from emergency responders, building administrators, faculty, staff and department heads.
Building administrators are responsible for maintaining continuous communication with staff on all building related issues. Building administrators are responsible for understanding department emergency and building evacuation procedures as well as campus emergency response procedures. Information regarding a building administrator’s roles and responsibilities can be found on the Binghamton University building administrator website.
Role in an emergency
Building administrators involved in an emergency should assess a situation quickly and thoroughly, but follow common sense when determining how to respond. The building administrator is responsible for following department emergency and building evacuation procedures and will contact the department head, University Police, Environmental Health and Safety or Physical Facilities based on need.
Faculty and Staff
University faculty and staff are seen as leaders by students and must be prepared to provide leadership in emergency situations. Faculty and staff should understand department emergency and building evacuation procedures in areas they work and teach. Faculty and staff may be the first to the scene of an incident and are responsible for following standard operating procedures and contacting the appropriate individuals. They should familiarize themselves with the basic concepts for how Binghamton University responds to an emergency situation. Campus emergency procedures can be found on the Binghamton University emergency management website.
Role in an emergency
Faculty and staff involved in an emergency should assess a situation quickly and thoroughly, but still follow common sense when determining how to respond. Faculty and staff should follow department emergency procedures to report emergencies to University Police. If evacuation of a building is necessary, faculty and staff are expected evacuate immediately.
Deans and department heads serve as leaders for University departments and are responsible for providing overall guidance in the event of an emergency. Deans and Department heads must be familiar with department emergency and building emergency procedures as well as understand the overall emergency response procedures for the Binghamton University campus. Campus emergency procedures can be found on the Binghamton University emergency management website.
Role in an Emergency
Deans and department heads involved in an emergency should assess a situation quickly and thoroughly, while still following common sense when determining how to respond. Deans and department heads must follow department emergency and building evacuation procedures and report emergencies to University Police.