Off-Site Disaster Emergency Response Procedures

Employees and students who may be the first at the scene of an emergency away from the university should know how to react and assist emergency responders.


Individuals should understand how the Emergency Management System works.  The nationwide Emergency Management System has been organized so that multiple emergency response agencies use a common command and control structure, and can work together efficiently, even if they are from different communities and geographic locations.

The overall person in charge normally has the title of Incident Commander and is usually the senior police or fire official.  Every disaster response is handled on a case-by-case basis.  If you are at the site of an emergency before responding emergency agencies arrive, remember the following guidelines:

  • Contact the emergency dispatcher at 911 for assistance.
  • If you are the first individual at the scene, survey the area carefully.  If there are downed power lines, spilled chemicals, toxic gases, structural fire, or collapsing buildings do not enter.  Be sure to report these hazards when you report the emergency.
  • Do not delay reporting the incident while you render aid; call for help quickly.
  • If you choose to volunteer and are able, administer first aid to the injured according to your training level.
  • Protect yourself from blood exposure, as well as the hazards noted above.  Do not become a casualty yourself.
  • Report your findings and actions (briefly) to the first responding emergency services personnel (usually police or fire).
  • If you choose to remain as a volunteer, offer your assistance to the Incident Commander and inform him/her of any medical/fire training you may have.  Follow the Incident Commander's instructions and work within the system.

Personal disaster response

If you are at the site of an emergency before responding emergency agencies arrive, remember the following guidelines:

  • Report the emergency at 911.
  • Survey the scene.  (Determine if it is safe to enter. Do not enter if gases or chemical clouds, downed power lines, etc., are present).
  • Report findings to Incident Site Commander or the first agency to respond.
  • If you choose to volunteer and are properly trained and qualified, carry out emergency first aid according to your training level.
  • Report any blood or body fluid exposure to the Incident Commander.


Because of the possible psychological impact of an emergency, which may affect your job performance, report your involvement to your supervisor.