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Emergency Response Plan

Executive Summary


Disasters or emergencies can happen suddenly, creating a situation in which the normal support services for the University can become overwhelmed. During crises, the University requires special programs to address the needs of emergency response operations and recovery management.

To address such emergencies, Concordia University has established this all-hazard Emergency Response Plan, which provides guidelines for the management of the immediate actions and operations required to respond to an emergency or disaster, including initial recovery activities and responsibilities.

The overall priorities of the University during a disaster are the protection of lives, live assets, valuable research processes, property, the community, and the environment.

The overall objective of the University is to respond to emergency conditions and manage the process of restoring University business, academic and research programs and services.

Purpose of the Plan

This plan provides the management structure, key responsibilities, emergency assignments, and general procedures to follow during and immediately after an emergency.

The University has established this plan to address the immediate requirements for a major disaster or emergency in which normal operations are interrupted and special measures must be taken to:

  • Save and protect the lives of students, employees, and the general public.
  • Manage immediate communications and information regarding emergency response operations and campus safety.
  • Provide essential services and operations.
  • Provide and analyze information to support decision-making and action plans.
  • Manage University resources effectively in the emergency response.

This plan does not supersede or replace the procedures for safety, hazardous materials response or other procedures that are already in place at the University. It supplements those procedures with a temporary emergency management structure, which provides for the immediate focus of management on response operations and the early transition to recovery operations.

Plan Usage

This plan is established as a supplement to the University’s administrative policies and procedures. Under activation and implementation, it serves as an emergency manual setting forth the authority to direct operations, direct staff assignments, procure and allocate resources, and take measures to restore normal services and operations.

Users are to follow and complete the checklists contained in this document during emergency response and pre-event trainings and exercises.

This plan is designed to be updated after each activation or exercise. A debriefing session will be conducted to identify “lessons learned” and areas of improvement to the University’s emergency plans and processes. The procedural checklists and forms are to be reviewed and revised each time they are reprinted for electronic update and distribution.

Planning Assumptions

Emergency planning requires a commonly accepted set of assumed operational conditions that provide a foundation for establishing protocols and procedures. These assumptions are called Planning Assumptions, and the standard practice is to base planning on the worst for the University, as for all organizations in South Eastern Quebec, the worst conditions are represented by either man-made events such as terrorism or natural disasters such as severe weather.

The Planning Assumptions incorporated into this plan include:

  • Critical lifeline utilities may be interrupted including water delivery, electrical
  • power, natural gas, telephone communications, cellular telephones and information systems.
  • Regional and local services may not be available.
  • Major roads, bridges and local streets may be impassible.
  • Buildings and structures, including homes, may be damaged.
  • Normal suppliers may not be able to deliver materials.
  • Contact with family and homes may be interrupted.
  • People may become stranded at the University- conditions may be unsafe to travel off campus or people may become stranded abroad while traveling due to local situations or disasters.
  • The University will need to conduct its own rapid assessment, situation analysis, and deployment of on-site resources and the management of emergency operations on campus while emergency conditions exist.
  • Communication and exchange of information will be one of the highest priority operations at the EOC.

Concept of Operations

Concordia’s all-hazard Emergency Response Plan is considered a management tool, in that it provides an overall organization and general procedures for the management of information, activities, and operations during an emergency. The planning is based on the Incident Command System (ICS) and the CSA1600 standard on Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs

(ICS) is a systematic tool used for the command, control, and coordination of emergency response.  ICS is based upon a flexible, scalable response organization providing a common framework within which responders can work together effectively. University responders may be drawn from multiple departments that do not routinely work together, and ICS is designed to give standard response and operation procedures to reduce the problems and potential for miscommunication during incidents

The benefits of the ICS process are:

  • Thirty-year history of successful implementation for emergency response management in the field.
  • Ten-year history as the International (Global) Standard for Emergency Management organization.
  • Proven Best Practices in Emergency Management
  • Standardized functions and processes.
  • Flexibility in application – allows for scale-up, scale-down and transition.
  • Team-based, bundled and linked processes and cross-functional efficiency within the organization.
  • Easy-to-understand for the users.
  • Action oriented – focuses on results and output.
  • Starts and stops – designed for rapid deployment and smooth de-activation.

Plan Objectives

The objectives of this plan are:


  • Provide clear and easy-to-follow checklist based guidelines for the most critical functions and liaisons during an emergency response.
  • Organize and format this plan into an easy-to-follow format in which users can quickly determine their role, responsibility and primary tasks.
  • Link and coordinate processes, actions and the exchange of critical information into an efficient and real-time overall response.

Communications and Information Management

  • Serve as the central point of communications both for receipt and transmission of urgent information and messages.
  • Serve as the official point of contact for the University during emergencies when normal channels are interrupted.
  • Provide 24-hour full service communication services for voice, data and operational systems.
  • Collect and collate all emergency information for notification, public information, documentation and post-incident analysis and debriefings.
  • Provide a basis for training staff and organizations in emergency response management.


  • Determine through a clear decision-making process, the level of response and extent of emergency control and coordination that should be activated when incidents occur.

Response Operations

  • Utilize efficiently the resources on campus to implement a comprehensive and efficient emergency management response team.
  • Continuously be prepared with a pro-active emergency response action plan, for the possibilities and eventualities of emerging incidents

Recovery Operations

  • Transition response operations over to normal management processes.
  • Support business resumption plans and processes, as needed, during recovery phases.
  • Provide documentation and information to support insurance claims

Emergency Authority

This plan is established under all relevant laws and authorities that could have application to emergency management.

The Emergency Management Committee (EMC), chaired by the Vice-President Services and Sustainability is mandated by the President to oversee the University’s Emergency Response Plan.

Members of the Emergency Management Committee include:

  • Vice-President, Services and Sustainability – (Chair)
  • Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies
  • Deputy Provost, Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic
  • Chief Communications Officer
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Associate Vice-President, Information Systems and Chief Information Officer
  • Associate Vice-President, Human Resources
  • University Registrar
  • Senior Director, Property Management, Facilities Management
  • Director, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
  • Director of Campus Safety and Prevention Services (CSPS)
  • Manager, Corporate Risks
  • General Counsel or other Legal Counsel
  • A representative from the Office of Emergency Management

The Emergency Management Committee will:

  • Dictate policy, strategic and resource allocations for the planning of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from, significant emergencies that may negatively impact academic programs are or normal business operations at the University.
  • Provide leadership and motivation
  • Coordinates policy issues specific to the preparation, implementation and execution of the Emergency Response Plan
  • Ensures adequate staff and resources to meet needs
  • Empowers staff to implement emergency preparedness and response plan
  • Provides final decisions where there is competition for limited resources
  • Offers directives regarding financial actions when presented with dilemmas
  • Authorizes funding of emergency projects
  • Deals with work issues that are not covered in existing policies, practices or bargaining agreements
  • Ensures applicable policy decisions are communicated to students and employees
  • Ensures organizational readiness thru development of preparedness plans
  • Supports emergency management training and outreach
  • Supports and participates in emergency management exercises

Plan Activation

Vice-President Services and Sustainability is the designated incident commander and directs the emergency operation center (EOC) and the Incident Management Team

The Vice-President Services and Sustainability is briefed concerning all Category 1 and 2 emergencies and if necessary, may declare a Category 3 emergency.

In the absence of the Vice-President Services and Sustainability, the acting Vice-President Services and Sustainability assumes the authority to take all necessary and appropriate actions on behalf of the Vice-President Services and Sustainability.  In the absence of an acting Vice-President Services and Sustainability, the Director of Campus Safety and Prevention Services (CSPS) will act as incident commander.

This plan is activated whenever emergency conditions exist as defined by Category 1-3 emergencies in which operations cannot be performed and immediate action is required to:

  • Save and protect lives.
  • Coordinate communications.
  • Coordinate resources.
  • Prevent damage to the environment, systems and property.
  • Provide essential services.
  • Temporarily assign University staff to emergency response activities
  • Invoke emergency authorization to procure and allocate resources.
  • Activate and staff the Incident Command Post (ICP) and Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

During incidents and emergency conditions in which the immediate activation of the Emergency Response Plan is needed, the following Positions or their delegates may activate this plan.

  • The Vice-President Services and Sustainability
  • Director of Campus Safety and Prevention Services
  • Director of Environmental, Health and Safety
  • Associate Vice-President for Facilities Management
  • Associate Vice-President, Information Systems & Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Emergency Categories

Emergency conditions vary with each incident and activation. As a guide, three categories of emergency are specified, as follows:

Category 1 – an emergency incident which requires the response and coordination of several University departments and in some cases, municipal emergency services. While there may be some damage and/or interruption to University operations, the conditions are localized and the incident can be effectively managed from an on-site Incident Command Post (ICP) within approximately 1 hour.

Category 2 – an emergency incident that is severe, causing damage and/or interruption to University operations such as class cancellations and department and/or building closures and lasting for several hours. The activation of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is needed to support the on-site ICP and manage extended operations and community notifications.

Category 3 – declared by the Incident Commander; a Category 3 is an emergency incident  that threatens to cause, or has caused, death or injuries to staff, students, faculty or the public; or that has, or threatens, to shut down business, disrupt operations for an extended period, or cause physical, environmental or reputational damage.  A Category 3 emergency may require additional support in the EOC which could include members of the Emergency Management Committee (EMC) and/or representation from other faculties or departments.

Incident Command Post (ICP)

The Incident Command Post (ICP) is a temporary location from which the tactical-level or on-scene incident response is managed.  Typically, the ICP is located at or in the immediate vicinity of the incident to provide support and coordination to both internal and external emergency responders.

During incidents and emergency conditions in which an on-site,  multi-departmental response and coordination is necessary, an Incident Command Post (ICP) will be deployed to; Ensure the coordination of resources by utilizing Incident Command System (ICS) principals..  The ICP will ensure that emergency management procedures are utilized appropriately and that appropriate notification and dissemination of incident related information is systematic and coordinated.

During a Category 1 emergency activation, the following Positions and/or their delegates are assigned to the ICP

  • Security Shift Supervisor
  • Security Operations Manager
  • Appropriate security personnel
  • Environmental Health & Safety personnel
  • Facilities Ops Building Manager
  • Facilities Operations Manager / Supervisor
  • Appropriate Facilities Ops trades personnel
  • Appropriate IITS  personnel
  • Director Media Relations
  • Volunteer emergency responders (CERT)


Emergency Operations Center (EOC)

The emergency operations center (EOC) is a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out emergency management and business continuity functions at a campus or University wide level

An EOC is responsible for the operational overview, of the emergency.  While the EOC does not normally direct responders at the incident command post (ICP) it will provide operational direction to guide ICP personnel in their tactical response.

Common EOC functions include:

  • log and disseminate all information related to the emergency;
  • manage emergency notification;
  • provide and track resources dedicated to the tactical emergency response;
  • manage internal communications related to the emergency;
  • plan and implement response and recovery efforts;
  • manage logistics;
  • track cost and insurance implications;
  • liaise with external emergency services and/or related municipal services; and
  • identify and manage health and safety issues.

The EOC manages the broader operational repercussions or cascading events of an emergency, allowing the ICP to concentrate on the tactical response to control and contain the incident.

EOC activation; the following Positions and/or their delegates are designated as the Incident Management Team and will respond to the EOC when activated;

  • Vice-President, Services and Sustainability (Incident Commander)
  • Associate Vice-President, Information Systems and Chief Information Officer
  • Deputy Provost, Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic
  • Director of Campus Safety and Prevention Services
  • Director of Institutional Communications,
  • Director, EHS
  • University Registrar
  • A representative from Emergency Management
  • A representative from Facilities Management
  • Support personnel from (University Communication Services) UCS
  • Support personnel from Campus Safety and Prevention Services

Depending on the nature of the emergency, representatives from other departments or services may be called upon to supplement the Incident Management Team as required.

During a Category 3, it may be necessary to expand the Incident Management Team to include a logistics, planning and finance sections.

Emergency Management Structure

The management of emergencies requires a standardized approach to command, control, and coordination emergency response.  It is also necessary to provide a common hierarchy within which responders from multiple department and agencies can be effective.

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardized management system designed to enable effective, efficient incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications that operate within a common organizational structure.  The University’s emergency management structure is based on the Incident Command System which is a recognized and proven model, adopted by international emergency management standards.

In most cases, University departments, units, and personnel are assigned to and operate under the different ICS functions that correspond to their everyday responsibilities. Some departments and units may have representation in several different functions depending on the complexity and scope of the incident.

ICS functions consist of:

  • Command
  • Safety
  • Liaison (Internal / External)
  • Communications
  • Operations
  • Planning
  • Logistics
  • Finance

Incident Command System Functions

Command: The Incident Commander (IC) is responsible for the overall management of the emergency response. The IC sets priorities and defines the ICS organization for the particular response.

Safety: The Safety function is assured in the EOC by the Director of Environmental Health and Safety or his delegate. the Director of Environmental Health and Safety provides guidance on general safety concerns, during the emergency response and the recovery phase.  If any safety issues should arise, the the Director of Environmental Health and Safety will address the concerns and alerts the Incident Commander and Incident Management Team.  The safety function is always activated during a Category 1-3 emergency.  At the ICP, the safety function is assured by the Fire and Public Safety Officer who, during a Category 2-3 emergency, monitors safety in the field reports to the Emergency Coordinator at the ICP.

Internal Liaison(s): Acts as the point of contact for Deans, Department Heads, and Student Representatives.  If necessary, the Internal Liaison function will communicates with external agencies or groups that have a shared interest in the incident, or can provide information and/or resources, but are not directly involved in the operational response.  The concerns and needs of various individuals and groups can be relayed to the Incident Commander and Incident Management Team through the Internal Liaison function. This function is activated and assigned at the discretion of the Incident Commander.

External Liaison(s): The external liaison function is activated to ensure coordination between the University and external agencies and/or stakeholders.  The appointment of the external liaison function is made, when possible, according to the natural synergy between internal departments and external response agencies.

Communications; Coordinate and oversee internal and external information releases to University community and the general public.  The Crisis Communications Team is comprised of the Chief Communications Officer, Senior Director, Communications and Public Affairs, Director Media Relations, Director Internal Communications and necessary communications support staff.  The Crisis Communications Team is always activated upon deployment of the EOC.

Operations Function: Provide overall coordination between the EOC Incident management Team and the on-site Incident command Post (ICP) Operations monitors the on-site response and communicates operational priorities and strategies as determined by the EOC and incident Management Team. Operations Is the official communications channel for information and operational requests between the ICP and the EOC Incident Management Team. The Operations Function is always activated upon deployment of the EOC.  The Director of CSPS or designee oversees the Operations function in the EOC.

Planning Function: The Planning Team provides overall management and analysis of incident information and the potential impact on University systems, properties, facilities and capability to occupy buildings and ensure operations. Provides analysis and consultation regarding contingency planning and possible recovery scenarios. Although planning is generally undertaken by the EOC Incident Management team, the Planning Team may be activated, at the discretion of the Incident Commander, whenever there are significant and longer term business continuity considerations. The Planning team consist of representation from:

  • Facilities Management
  • Academic scheduling
  • CSPS
  • IITS

Logistics Function: Logistics Team is charged with the ordering and acquisition of personnel, supplies, materials and equipment to support the incident response objectives.  This may include identifying and procuring facilities, transportation, supplies, equipment, nourishment, lodging, etc. This Section is activated at the discretion of the Incident Commander and/or during long-term or extended emergency operations and recovery. The Logistics team consists of representation from:

  • Hospitality
  • Facilities management
  • Purchasing
  • CSPS

Finance Function: The Finance Section is responsible for monitoring and assessing the Universities risk exposure resulting from the emergency and/or the resulting emergency response operations. The section guides the incident management team to reduce the exposure to risk, documents damages and/or losses incurred during an emergency and liaises with the University’s insurance broker. When necessary, the Finance Section may also document all costs associated with the incident; i.e. damages and overtime hours for response personnel.  

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