Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Emergency Management Policy

Category Administration and Management
Type Policy
Approved by University Council
Date Policy Took Effect 4 October 2010
Last Approved Revision 22 June 2018
Sponsor Chief Operating Officer
Responsible Officer Emergency and Business Continuity Coordinator
Review Date 10 October 2022

Purpose

All emergencies on campus should be immediately reported to the authorities on 111 and/or Campus Watch on (03) 479 5000 or 0800 479 5000.

The Emergency Management Policy specifies how the University shall respond to significant emergency situations, details the responsibilities of key staff and provides a mandate for decisions that may need to be taken.

The Emergency Management Policy is supported by the Emergency Management Plan, which provides more specific information on processes to be followed during an emergency.

Organisational Scope

University-wide.

Definitions

Alert Status A pre-emergency status relating to an increased risk of a potential emergency, including the risk of an epidemic, pandemic and/or infectious disease outbreak. During an Alert Status the University may communicate information and carry out precautionary measures.
Communication Team The team responsible for internal and external communications during an emergency, comprising communications staff under the direction of the Incident Controller.
Coordinated Incident Management System A system adopted by all emergency organisations in New Zealand and internationally for implementation at times of emergencies.
Emergency For the purpose of this policy, an event, or series of events, that can cause death or significant injuries to staff, students, or the public; or that can suspend business, disrupt operations, create significant physical or environmental damage, or threaten the University’s financial standing or public image.
Emergency Management Plan The plan detailing how the University will prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Incident Controller The Incident Controller leads the operational response to an emergency, via oversight of the Incident Management Team.
Incident Management Team The designated group of appropriately trained, skilled and experienced staff that are responsible for the operational management of emergencies in accordance with the Emergency Management Plan.
ITS Disaster Any significant event that disables Otago University’s critical information technology services for an extensive period of time such that teaching cannot continue.
ITS Disaster Recovery Planning Group
The designated group of ITS staff responsible for preparedness and response planning for ITS disasters.
ITS Disaster Recovery Team The designated group of appropriately trained, skilled and experienced staff that are responsible for assisting the Incident Management Team with the response to the IT disaster.
Pandemic Planning Group A broad cross-functional group of University staff and representatives from external agencies responsible for planning and advising on the University’s response to epidemics, pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks. The group is convened by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) or their delegate.
State of Campus Emergency A declared status that indicates that an emergency cannot be managed via normal operations, and which activates provisions in the Emergency Management Plan.
Strategic Emergency Management Group The group responsible for focusing on strategic issues and making high-level decisions during, and in the aftermath of, a State of Campus Emergency. The group is comprised of senior staff and is led by the Vice-Chancellor.

Policy Content

1. General principles

(a) The University is committed to supporting the safety and welfare of its students, staff, and visitors and will make every reasonable effort to respond to emergencies based on the situation, information and resources available.

(b) The University endorses and adopts the Coordinated Incident Management System and will follow this system when managing campus emergencies.

(c) The University’s response to an emergency will be managed by two key groups:

i. the Strategic Emergency Management Group – responsible for the University’s strategic response to an emergency

ii. the Incident Management Team – responsible for the University’s operational response to an emergency

(d) The University will cooperate with local agencies and public bodies that have responsibilities related to disaster preparedness, response and control; and will take necessary and prudent steps to assure continuity of operations and restoration of normal activities as quickly as possible following an emergency or disaster.

(e) The University will maintain an Emergency Management Plan which will detail emergency planning and response processes and management structures, which will be reviewed annually.

(f) The University will test the Emergency Management Plan, including the capability of the Incident Management Team and the Strategic Emergency Management Group, with at least one simulation exercise per year.


2. Declaration of a State of Campus Emergency

(a) A State of Campus Emergency shall be declared by the Vice-Chancellor whenever an emergency occurs which cannot be handled by day-to-day operations and management.

(b) Where a potential emergency event is not yet at a critical stage, the University may enter an Alert Status. Alert Status activation shall be the responsibility of the Emergency and Business Continuity Coordinator, in consultation with the Vice-Chancellor.

(c) Relevant provisions in the Emergency Management Plan shall be activated whenever the University enters an Alert Status or a State of Campus Emergency is declared.

(d) The University website will be the primary tool for communication about an emergency, via the main homepage and mirrored information on the homepages for the Wellington, Christchurch and Southland campuses. Alternative communication channels such as physical signage may be used if internet access is disrupted.

3. Roles and Responsibilities

(a) The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for:

i. declaring a State of Campus Emergency at any University of Otago Campus

ii. making key executive decisions such as those pertaining to closure of part or all of the campus, evacuation of non-essential personnel, suspension of business activity, and business continuity, and

iii. leading the Strategic Emergency Management Group during a State of Campus Emergency.

(b) The Incident Controller shall be:

i. the Emergency and Business Continuity Coordinator or other delegated authority in Dunedin and/or for emergencies affecting all campuses

ii. the Senior Managers Client Services in Christchurch and Wellington, or other nominee selected by the Dean of the relevant campus, and/or

iii. the Operations Coordinator in Invercargill.

(c) The Incident Controller is responsible for:

i. notifying the Incident Management Team when a State of Campus Emergency is declared

ii. managing the initial response to an emergency including making decisions around operational priorities and resource allocation

iii. overseeing and directing the Incident Management Team during a State of Campus Emergency or Alert Status

iv. coordinating all communications with staff, students, the broader University community, the media and the public on behalf of the University, and

v. overseeing and directing the Incident Management Team’s Communications Team during a State of Campus Emergency or Alert Status.

(d) The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) is responsible for:

i. providing planning and intelligence information to the Incident Controller during an epidemic/pandemic/infectious disease Alert Status or State of Campus Emergency, and

ii. chairing the Pandemic Planning Group.

(e) The Chief Operating Officer, is responsible for coordinating appropriate operational planning to ensure University-wide preparedness for an emergency, including the successful implementation and maintenance of the Emergency Management Plan and related plans.

(f) The Director of Risk Assurance and Compliance is responsible for reviewing the Emergency Management Plan on an annual basis, with input from the Emergency and Business Continuity Coordinator, Proctor’s Office and the head of Health and Safety, and reporting findings and recommendations to the Chief Operating Officer.

(g) The Senior Manager IT Infrastructure is responsible for:

i. providing planning and intelligence information to the Incident Controller during an ITS disaster Alert Status or State of Campus Emergency, and

ii. chairing the ITS Disaster Recovery Planning Group.

(h) The Emergency and Business Continuity Coordinator is responsible for:

i. arranging the annual testing of the Emergency Management Plan, and

ii. providing training on the Emergency Management Plan for key staff.

iii. collating/updating contact information for key staff, including all staff on the Strategic Emergency Management Group and the Incident Management Team.

iv. Declaration of Alert Statuses.

(i) All Heads of Departments, Directors and Managers are required to:

i. be aware of the contents of the Emergency Management Plan, and meet any responsibilities they have as detailed within the Plan, and

ii. have appropriate plans in place for their area of responsibility in case of emergency.

(j) During a State of Campus Emergency staff in the Strategic Emergency Management Group and the Incident Management Team shall be released from their normal duties to take up their prescribed roles.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Contact for Further Information

If you have any queries regarding the content of these procedures or need further clarification, contact the Emergency and Business Continuity Coordinator at andrew.ferguson@otago.ac.nz