Carnegie Mellon University

The Word

Student Handbook

Emergency Response Plan

The Emergency Response Plan is provided on-line by Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Services.

The following is a summary of the plan.


The purpose of this Emergency Response Plan is to establish an organizational structure and procedures for response to major emergencies. It assigns the roles and responsibilities for the implementation of the plan during an emergency following the incident command system model. This plan has been prepared to address all types of emergencies affecting the Carnegie Mellon community in a coordinated and systematic manner. Carnegie Mellon University is committed to supporting the welfare of its students, faculty, staff and visitors. This plan is designed to maximize human safety and preservation of property, minimize danger, restore normal operations of the university, and assure responsive communication to all appropriate parties.

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Emergency events do not always require the same level of response, and are dictated by the severity of the event and its effect on the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Events will be evaluated by an Assessment Team in consultation with one or more members of the President's Emergency Response Team, as appropriate. Only the president or his designee has the authority to declare a campus emergency and activate this Emergency Response Plan. Depending upon the nature of the emergency, the chief of campus police or the director of environmental health and safety, or their designees, will act as the on-scene Safety and Security Officer until, if necessary, relieved by the City of Pittsburgh emergency response officials, or others if the emergency requires a higher level of response (e.g., county, state or federal).

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Emergency Operation Center

An Emergency Operation Center has been established for the coordination of all emergency responses.

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Roles, Responsibilities and Resources

Responsibilities in an emergency are delegated among response teams and resource teams, as indicated below. Response teams will activate resource teams in their respective areas of responsibility.

Response Teams

  • Assessment Team: These individuals are typically the first to respond to an incident. They will assess the severity and level of the emergency and communicate immediately with the President's Office and others as appropriate.
  • Environmental Health & Safety: EH&S coordinates response for emergencies involving hazardous materials, such as fire or explosion, chemical, biological, or radiological incidents. They serve as communication interface with city hazardous materials teams and the fire department on such incidents. EH&S is on call 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • President's Emergency Response Team: The President's Emergency Response Team is comprised of members of Carnegie Mellon administration and selected deans. This team is the decision-making and policy-setting body during a crisis. Decisions regarding canceling classes, campus evacuation, sending faculty and staff home, communications, etc. are the purview of this group.
  • Public Information and Communications: The principal media contact and university spokesperson is the public information officer. This team's responsibility is to 1) provide public relations and crisis communications counsel and principles to institutional decision making; and 2) to share information and communicate effectively with university constituents, the media and external bodies in order to help ensure the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and related publics.
  • Security: Carnegie Mellon Police manage general site security and control site access. The Security Officer provides a liaison with local law enforcement and fire departments. They are on call 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Resource Teams

  • Computing Services and Telecommunications: Computing Services is responsible for telephone and voicemail service, email and network services, and cable TV during an emergency.
  • Dining Services: Dining Services is responsible for providing food required by the members of the campus community in a crisis. Primary focus is on students living in residence halls, faculty, staff, students and others on campus during a crisis until they are able to leave the campus.
  • Facilities Management Services: FMS personnel are expected to respond by providing for the safety of the university's facilities for its occupants, and for protecting the structural integrity of the facilities. Functionally, this means protecting building occupants from hazardous conditions by identifying and managing appropriately the causes of those hazards, such as operating or shutting down building systems.
  • Housing Services: Housing Services is responsible for assuring the continuing shelter needs for campus residents and other Carnegie Mellon community members remaining on campus to support emergency activities.
  • Medical Services: Student Health Services provides medical support and acts as a liaison with the medical community.
  • Student Affairs: Student Affairs is responsible to attend to the broad-based support needs of graduate and undergraduate students and parents. This includes the provision of all non-academic needs such as shelter, food, physical and mental health care, transportation, and other needs as dictated by circumstance.
  • Cohon University Center: This team is responsible for providing support to emergency responders (fax, copier, phones, televisions) and providing a central physical outlet for information through the Information Desk, and postings throughout the building. All information will be disseminated as received from the Public Information and Communications Team.

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Field First Aid Locations

The following locations have been designated as sites for Field First Aid Stations. The location(s) for any specific incident will be determined by the location and severity of the incident.

  • Cohon University Center
  • Gymnasium
  • Rangos
  • Gesling Stadium
  • McKenna
  • Intramural Field
  • Gymnasium
  • Schenley Park's Flagstaff Hill (to be used only in the event that campus locations are usable)

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Recovery Operations

When emergency conditions have been stabilized and control has been returned to the university by external emergency responders, recovery operations will be initiated. Appropriate announcements of the resumption of university operations will be issued by the public information officer pursuant to the communications protocol.

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Psychological Counseling

Recognizing that traumatic events often produce short and long term psychological concerns, counseling will be available to all students, faculty, and staff who desire such intervention.

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