Emergency Response Roles

Emergency Response Roles


All employees have a responsibility to report emergencies immediately to the University Police Dispatch: x 3111 or 255-3111.

  • Know the location of the closest fire alarm pull station.
  • Know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher in your work area.
  • Know the location of the emergency exits in your workplace.
  • Know the Emergency Response Procedures and follow them when initiated.
  • Assist visitors who are on university property during emergencies.
  • If evacuation alarm sounds, evacuate immediately to your assembly area.
  • Not every emergency can be covered by preset plans. In these cases, use your best judgment.


This individual will have a familiarity with the unit personnel, mission and operations. Experience and communication skills are more critical than seniority because this person is the communication link between the Director of Crisis Management, the Emergency Coordinator, and unit personnel.

  • Establish and maintain communications with the Emergency Operations Center, and transmit information between key personnel at the scene, Satellite Operations Center, and the Emergency Operations Center.
  • Maintain liaison with the University Communications Coordinator, who will relay critical information and status bulletins to the Director of Crisis Management, unit personnel, and the University Relations Coordinator.


The Emergency Coordinator is the department's key person during an emergency.  Each department will have an Emergency Coordinator and appoint an appropriate number of Assistant Emergency Coordinators for each location.

  • Responsible to develop and train the department on the Building / Floor Emergency Plan.
  • Responsible to contact the Director of Crisis Management in response to an emergency affecting their area of responsibility.
  • In an emergency, is the initiator and coordinator of the Building / Floor Emergency Plan from the location's Satellite Operations Command Center.
  • Must be familiar with all Emergency Response Procedures.
  • Based on hours of operation, location and unit size, the Emergency Coordinator will appoint and train the appropriate number of Stairwell/Floor Monitors, Volunteer Emergency Response Teams, Special Response Teams and their alternates.  The Emergency Coordinator will maintain a current list of these personnel and appoint replacements as necessary.
  • Responsible to train new department personnel in applicable Emergency Response Procedures and coordinating an annual department emergency response briefing.
  • Maintain a current list of their location personnel for emergency roll call purposes.  In the event of an evacuation, the Emergency Coordinator will perform a roll call and determine if all persons and visitors are accounted for.  The Emergency Coordinator will forward the results of the roll call immediately to the Director of Crisis Management.
  • The protection of people is priority one.  If there is ample time, employees will oversee the securing of any records of value and confidentiality.


Assists the Emergency Coordinator during emergencies, and acts as Emergency Coordinator when the Emergency Coordinator is unavailable.

  • Assists the Emergency Coordinator with duties as assigned.  At least one Assistant Emergency Coordinator shall be assigned to, and be responsible for, every location to which the Department may be assigned.

Example:  The College of Engineering and Applied Science has units assigned in various locations on-campus and off-campus.



This person is selected because he or she is familiar with and coordinates and oversees facility activities during normal operations.  The Director of Crisis Management is generally the department's vice chancellor, dean, director, or chair.

  • Evaluates incoming emergency information related to the department.
  • Determines the department response plan of action and activates it.
  • For an emergency within their department:  acts as the official representative of the department and communicates with the Incident Commander.
  • Directs and monitors the emergency activities of their unit.  Assigns personnel as needed to support the Incident Commander.
  • For an emergency outside of, but affecting their department:  notifies and updates management of status of the crisis.
  • Provides information to management and/or University Relations (via the Emergency Operations Center when activated).
  • Assists the Emergency Operations Center and Incident Commander in determining when the resumption of normal activities can begin.


The person selected to be the Assistant Director of Crisis Management also needs to be familiar with the facility activities.   If the Director of Crisis Management is absent or unavailable, this person will assume the role of Director of Crisis Management.

  • Evaluates the site of the emergency and assists the Incident Commander.
  • Communicates directly with the Director of Crisis Management.
  • Assists students, contractors, visitors and others as necessary.
  • Responds to the emergency as necessary.
  • Assists outside rescue and fire agencies, through the Incident Commander.
  • Opens gates, doors, etc. for outside rescue and fire agencies.
  • Acts as a guide for outside rescue and fire agencies.
  • Knows locations of shut-off valves for all utility services and electrical and communications panels.
  • If the Director of Crisis Management is not available, the Assistant Director of Crisis Management will assume his or her role; and assign a new Assistant Director of Crisis Management to take his or her place.


Stairwell/Floor Monitors are important to an effective facility Emergency Response Plan.  Any employee may have to fulfill the function of a Stairwell/Floor Monitor.  All employees need to be trained in these duties because if any employee is near a stairwell door and an alarm sounds, he or she needs to know how to open the door safely.  There will be two Stairwell/Floor Monitors assigned to each stairwell or building entrance equipped with a fire door, normally employees who are closest to the entrance or stairs.  Each entrance or stairwell should have one or more assigned Stairwell/Floor Monitor.  Stairwell/Floor Monitors report to the Emergency Coordinator of their respective units.

  • During an evacuation, immediately go to assigned or nearest stairwell or fire exit.  Use the back of your hand to check the door for heat; and standing off to the side, carefully open and see if the stairwell or exit is clear of smoke and is passable.  If so, direct people to use it in evacuating to the exit at ground level.
  • If the stairwell or exit is smoky or not passable, direct people to alternate exit(s).  Stairwell/Floor Monitors will notify their command center as to the status of the stairwell, if it is impassable.
  • Stairwell/Floor Monitors will keep traffic moving on the stairs in an orderly manner and keep talking to a minimum.
  • When it is necessary for the fire department to use a designated stairwell, the Stairwell/Floor Monitor will assist and shall redirect personnel to the alternate exit(s).
  • The Stairwell/Floor Monitors will stay in place until all searchers have passed and/or if use of the exit is completed.

  • The top floor Stairwell/Floor Monitor will join the Stairwell/Floor Monitor on the next floor down when the use of the top floor landing exit is completed.  (The basement Stairwell/Floor Monitor will move up to the ground floor.)
  • These floor monitors will proceed to the next floor down when the use of that exit is completed.  This procedure will be repeated until all Stairwell/Floor Monitors reach the ground floor and leave the building.
  • Stairwell/Floor Monitors will then report directly to their Emergency Coordinator in the emergency assembly area.


All departments will designate an appropriate number of trained individuals to conduct searches for all shifts/hours of operation.  Personnel who perform as Search Team Members should inform the Emergency Coordinator if they will be absent for extended times (e.g., vacations, training, etc.), so alternates can be designated. Search Team Members will report to their unit Emergency Coordinator during emergencies.

Always have searchers work in pairs.  When assigning searchers to an area, always be sure the areas they search overlap with those of other searchers.  Assign a man and a woman to each team as possible in order to facilitate entering restroom areas.  If one of the searchers is missing, another employee may accompany the searcher.

  • Conduct sweep of their physical unit.
  • Check all normally unoccupied rooms (storerooms, training areas, meeting rooms, restrooms, etc.), areas adjacent to their departments and areas where alarms may not be heard or where speakers are missing.
  • Carefully check all closed doors for the presence of heat and smoke before opening by checking the door with the back of the hand to detect heat.  They should stand off to the side when opening the door.
  • Close all open doors in areas they have searched.
  • Inform personnel they come in contact with to evacuate immediately.
  • Inform Stairwell/Floor monitors that all persons have been evacuated from their assigned area.
  • Searchers will exit building, proceed to their assigned assembly point and report to the Emergency Coordinator of their department.


Special Response Teams are the first line of defense in emergencies.  Before assigning personnel to these teams, first ensure that employees are physically capable of performing the duties assigned to them. Depending on the size of the facility and the particular operation, there may be one or several teams trained in the following areas at your site:

  • Critical operations and emergency shutdown procedures.
  • Securing financial forms, negotiable instruments, and cash.
  • Chemical spill control procedures.
  • First aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Use of various types of fire extinguishers.

The response will vary according to the type of process, the material handled, the number of employees, and the availability of outside resources.

Availability of outside resources, such as firefighters, professional medical assistance and hazardous material response will determine the needs of Emergency Response Teams.  Members of Emergency Response Teams need to be properly trained and certified in the emergency actions they will perform.
Note:  Special Response Team members need to be informed about special hazards, such as storage and use of flammable materials, toxic chemicals, radioactive sources, and water-reactive substances, to which they may be exposed during fire and other emergencies.

It is important for these team members to know when not to intervene.  For example, team members must be able to determine if the fire is too large for them to handle, or whether search and emergency rescue procedures should be delayed until they can be performed safely.
Caution: If members of the Special Response Team may possibly receive fatal or incapacitating injuries, they should wait for professional firefighters or emergency response groups to arrive on the scene.