The University of Memphis
Crisis Management Plan
THE BASIC PLAN
1.1. The President of The University of Memphis has primary responsibility for
effectively managing any crisis which might occur on or affect the University
of Memphis campus*.
1.2. Emergency Management is normally divided into four phases or parts:
mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Mitigation might be best
described as those measures taken to avoid crises or perhaps to prevent small
emergencies from becoming large crises. Examples include designing and
constructing buildings in accordance with applicable fire and life safety codes,
installing fire alarm and sprinkler systems, designing adequate storm water
drainage systems, and designing and maintaining adequate and reliable water
supplies. Preparedness is the development of plans and procedures necessary to
enable the effective and efficient use of resources in the event of a crisis.
Response and recovery are self explanatory. This Crisis Management Plan
(CMP) will focus on the latter three phases.
1.3. This plan is designed to provide a flexible framework for crisis management
rather than step-by-step directions for handling any and every conceivable
crisis, although Annex 2 to this document specifies procedures for some types
of potential crises on an individual basis.
1.4. University departments involved in crisis management are responsible for
developing internal procedures and training personnel as necessary to support
this plan and its Annexes.
*For the purposes of this plan, “campus” includes main campus and South Campus. It
does not include the UofM Carrier Center, the Millington Complex, the Speech and
Hearing Center, or any other off-campus sites at which University classes are offered.
2.1. The University of Memphis Crisis Management Plan (CMP) formally
establishes and documents a coordinated plan for managing crises, whether
large or small, which may arise in spite of all mitigation efforts.
2.2. The aim for this plan is to provide (a) a leadership framework for crisis
management and (b) response and recovery procedures with sufficient
flexibility to accommodate contingencies of various types and magnitude.
2.3. The plan will be periodically reviewed and regularly exercised so that when
crises do occur, the University’s response will be effective and efficient in
(a) protecting human life, health and well-being, (b) minimizing damage to the
natural environment, and (c) preserving University property, resources and
3.1. A crisis may occur at any time of the day or night, weekend, or holiday, with
little or no warning.
3.2. Community-wide disasters may mean that County and City emergency services
may not be available to assist the University, particularly for the first day or
two. The worse the crisis, the more The University of Memphis will be left on
its own. Therefore, the University has as a goal to be prepared to be self-
sufficient for 72 hours if the need arises.
4.1. Protect and preserve human life, health and well-being.
4.2. Minimize damage to the natural environment.
4.3. Minimize loss, damage or disruption to the University’s facilities, resources and
4.4. Ensure appropriate communications and notifications within the University, the
community, and beyond.
4.5. Elicit a response which is appropriate to the magnitude of the crisis.
5.1. The scope of this plan is limited to:
5.1.1 Crises that may occur on any part of the University of Memphis campus, as
defined in the footnote to Section 1.0.
5.1.2 Activities that commence from the first indication of a crisis condition and
continue until the end of the incident. The end of the incident is defined as
the time when non-crisis operations are resumed.
5.1.3 Nothing in this plan shall be construed in a manner that limits the use of
good judgment and common sense in matters not foreseen or covered by
the elements of the plan.
6.1. For the purposes of this plan, a brief description is given for the following
6.1.1 Crisis - An incident with the potential to cause deaths or injuries – physical
and/or psychological - to students, faculty, staff, or the public; or to shut
down business, disrupt operations, cause physical or environmental
damage; or to threaten the institution’s financial standing or public image.
6.1.2 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) – The EOC serves as a centralized
management center for emergency operations. Here, decisions are made by
the Crisis Management Team based upon information provided by the
Incident Commander and other personnel.
6.1.3 Incident Commander - The individual in charge of the response to the
crisis. Different individuals will take on the role of Incident Commander
depending on the type of crisis and level of severity. Until Incident
Command is formally ceded, the Director of Public Safety will assume
7. Types and Levels of Crisis
7.1. Limited Crisis – A limited crisis, within the scope of this plan, is any incident,
potential or actual, which will not seriously affect the overall functional
capacity of the university, but nevertheless requires some degree of action. In
some cases, a limited crisis may be small enough that it can be effectively
handled by the affected department(s). In other cases, it may require assistance
from the University Police and from off-campus emergency response groups
according to the standard operating procedures of the University Police.
Examples of Limited Crises in the context of this plan include, but are not
limited to the following: localized chemical spill, plumbing failure or water
7.2. Controversial Issues. Issue driven and/or slowly developing situations that
may negatively impact The University of Memphis. These situations are
primarily people, rather than infrastructure, focused.
Examples of controversial issues include, but are not limited to the following
events: unscheduled or planned protests or disruptions; civil disturbances;
unauthorized occupancy of campus areas; sexual assaults; hate crimes;
controversial speakers; and bias related crimes.
7.3. Major Crisis. An incident posing major risk to University personnel, students,
visitors, or resources that has caused or has the potential for causing fatalities or
injuries and/or major damage. Such an incident is equivalent to a campus-wide
‘state of emergency,’ and is expected to require activation of the Crisis
Management Team and the assistance of off-campus emergency response. A
Limited Crisis or a Controversial Issue may develop into a Major Crisis.
Examples of emergencies which are covered by this plan include, but are not
limited to one or a combination of the following perils: infectious disease, fire,
explosion, inclement weather, earthquake, building collapse, power failure,
flood, wind, chemical release, radioactive contamination, riot, bomb threat,
aircraft emergency and terrorism.
8. Leadership Framework for Crisis Management
8.1. This leadership framework is based on the Incident Command System, which is
designed to provide an organizational structure capable of responding to
various levels of emergencies ranging in complexity. It also provides the
flexibility needed to respond to an incident as it escalates in severity. Because
of this flexibility:
8.1.1 The leadership framework for crisis management as defined in this plan
does not resemble the day-to-day organizational structure of the
University. Employees may report to other employees to whom they do
not usually have a reporting relationship.
8.1.2 Further, assignments and reporting relationships may change as crisis
8.2. The Crisis Management Team (CMT) coordinates the campus response to and
recovery from Controversial Issues and Major Crises.
8.3. Each member of the CMT has a designated back-up. For the purposes of this
plan and its Annexes, the primary CMT member will be mentioned by position
title. However, it is to be assumed that if the primary CMT member is
unavailable, his or her back-up will carry out the duties of the primary CMT
8.4. The CMT is composed of two teams or groups – the Policy Group and the
8.4.1 Role of Policy Group (CMT-Policy):
- Defines Crisis Policy
- Approves overall priorities & strategies
- Issues public information reports & instructions
- Determines program closures and resumptions
- Plans and prioritizes long term recovery
8.4.2 Role of Operations Group (CMT-Operations):
- Determines the scope and impact of the incident
- Prioritizes emergency actions
- Deploys and coordinates resources and equipment
- Communicates critical information and instructions
- Monitors and reevaluates conditions
- Coordinates with government agencies
8.4.3 The organizational structure of the CMT is shown below:
Policy Group Public Information
External Agencies Incident
(EMA, Fire, Police, etc.) Commander
9. Response Framework for Crisis Management
9.1. Any Unpredicted Crisis or Emergency. Report any crisis or emergency
immediately to University of Memphis Police Services at 678-HELP (4357).
9.2. Police Services Dispatch will follow a defined sequence of responses for nearly
all emergency situations:
9.2.1 Dispatch police officers and make appropriate fire and/or medical rescue
9.2.2 Notify the Director of Public Safety or designee according to departmental
9.2.3 Notify the Director of Environmental Health & Safety, the Assistant Vice
President of Physical Plant, Student Health Services, and/or Residence
Life per internal procedures.
9.2.4 If warranted, the Director of Public Safety will notify the President, the Vice
President for Business & Finance, and/or other individuals, after crisis
conditions have been verified by Environment Health & Safety, Physical
Plant and/or Student Health Services.
9.2.5 The President or designee determines whether to declare a Major Crisis and
notifies the Director of Public Safety.
9.2.6 See Section 14.3 for subsequent notification procedures.
9.3. Response to a Limited Crisis. The impacted departments or personnel
coordinate directly with Public Safety, Environmental Health & Safety,
Residence Life, or Physical Plant to resolve a Limited Crisis. Limited Crises are
reported through normal channels (Police Services for issues of public safety,
Physical Plant for building issues, Telecommunications for telephone problems,
etc) and are handled based upon established departmental practices. Limited
Crises do not require activation of the University’s Crisis Management Plan,
although portions of the plan may be utilized (e.g., Building Evacuation
9.4. Response to a Controversial Issue. The University’s administrative staff
comprise a critical group that must evaluate controversial issue situations on a
case-by-case basis. Controversial situations can be quite complex because of
the varied institutional, student, and community responses that must be
coordinated. Activation of all or portions of the Crisis Management Plan may
be warranted. For example, the Crisis Communications Plan will normally be
put into place when the University is addressing a Controversial Issue.
9.5. Response to a Major Crisis.
9.5.1 When a major crisis has been declared by the President or designee (see
Section 9.2), such declaration authorizes the Director of Public Safety to
activate the CMT-Operations Group.
9.5.2 Members of the CMT-Operations Group are notified by Police Services
9.5.3 Members of the CMT-Policy Group are notified by the President’s Office or
the Office of the Vice President for Business & Finance.
9.5.4 When crisis conditions abate, the CMT-Policy Group and the Incident
Commander determine the appropriate time to declare the state of Major
9.5.5 Prior to the assembling of the CMT-Operations Group, on scene responders
are authorized to make necessary operational decisions and to commit
resources to mitigate and control the crisis. Police Services may also
request help from other departments on an emergency basis, including
asking staff be pulled off less critical assignments to assist their officers.
9.5.6 If a Major Crisis is declared, it may become necessary to restrict access to
specific areas on campus to authorized individuals. Only those authorized
individuals who have been assigned crisis response duties will be allowed
to enter an area or building affected by an incident. Access restrictions will
be appropriately communicated. Failure to comply may result in
disciplinary or legal action.
10. Crisis Management Team-Policy Group
10.1. Members of the CMT-Policy Group are notified by the President or the Vice
President for Business & Finance.
10.2. Membership. The CMT-Policy Group consists of University leadership as
- Vice President for Advancement
- Vice President for Business & Finance
- Vice President for Information Systems
- Vice President for Student Affairs
- Legal Counsel
- Director of Communications Services
- others as needed depending on the nature of the
10.3. Public Information Center. The purpose of the Public Information Unit is to
maintain liaisons with the news media; provide news releases and other
information as approved by the President; assure that official statements are
issued only by those administrators authorized to issue such statements; assist
in handling telephone inquiries from the public relative to the disaster; accredit
bonafide members of the news media operating on campus. The Director of
Communications Services is responsible for developing procedures related to
the development of such a Center.
11. Crisis Management Team-Operations Group
11.1. Members of the CMT-Operations Group are notified by Police Services
Dispatch, and follow provided instructions.
11.2. Once the CMT-Operations Group is activated, members report to the
Operations Group Leader.
11.3. CMT-Operations Group Leadership
11.3.1 The CMT-Operations Group Leader has ultimate responsibility for
activation, oversight and termination of the Emergency Operations Center
(see Section 13).
11.3.2 The CMT-Operations Group Leader will serve as the Incident Commander
except in those instances when Incident Command is ceded to a non-
University official (see Section 12).
- If Incident Command is ceded to a non-University official, the CMT-
Operations Group Leader will be the Director of Public Safety.
- In these instances, the Director of Public Safety may cede Operations
Group Leadership to the Assistant Vice President for Physical Plant,
the Director of Environmental Health and Safety or other University
official, as the situation warrants.
11.4. CMT-Operations Group Membership & Responsibilities
11.4.1 Director of Public Safety will assume Incident Command in the majority
of campus emergencies. The Director will furnish and direct manpower
and equipment to cordon and maintain security in the affected area;
conduct search and rescue operations; maintain traffic and crowd control;
and direct large-scale evacuations.
11.4.2 Director of Environmental Health and Safety will coordinate safety and
hazardous materials issues internally, with other government agencies, and
with emergency services response personnel. The Director has
responsibility for evaluating hazards to the environment, health, and
11.4.3 Assistant Vice President of Physical Plant will have the responsibility of
coordinating service elimination and restoration with utility agencies;
furnishing and directing manpower and equipment for restoring buildings
to functional use; performing damage assessment and determining if
buildings are structurally sound before being occupied. The Assistant VP
will also have the responsibility of furnishing and directing manpower and
equipment in setting up cleanup operations.
11.4.4 Designee of Director of Communications Services will serve as the
liaison between the Public Information unit and the CMT-Operations
Group. With the Public Information unit, this individual will coordinating
the needs of the outside media and assist in providing news releases to the
11.4.5 Director of Telecommunications will provide alternate voice and data
communications capability in the event normal telecommunications lines
and equipment are disrupted. The Director will evaluate the requirements
and select appropriate means of backing up the telecommunications
11.4.6 Designee of Provost will have the responsibility of informing and
assigning responsibility to the Deans and the faculty. This individual will
also serve as a liaison between faculty and the CMT-Operations Group,
informing the crisis responders of the specific aspects of an affected
11.4.7 Designee of Vice President for Student Affairs will have the
responsibility of ensuring that the care and shelter needs of resident
students are met. This responsibility may include the evacuation and
relocation of resident students, if necessary. This individual will serve as
the liaison with student leaders, and will arrange for deployment of the
Student Affairs Crisis Response Team, if warranted (Annex 7). The
purpose of this team is to provide services to students in times of crisis or
11.4.8 Director of Residence Life will have the responsibility of ensuring that
the care and shelter needs of resident students are met. This responsibility
may include the evacuation and relocation of resident students, if
11.4.9 Director of Student Health Services will have the responsibility of
coordinating medical aid in the event of a crisis, detecting disease,
coordinating with non-University health care providers, and consulting on
all health-related incidents.
11.4.10 Assistant Vice President for Human Resources will have the
responsibility of ensuring procedures are in place to provide response
personnel with information regarding their families (see Section 14.14).
The AVP-HR will coordinate services for affected faculty and staff to
include referral for injuries covered by worker’s compensation, counseling
services and EAP referrals, and staff notification through various
12. Incident Command
12.1. University response under any crisis is normally directed by the University
Police. The Director of Public Safety or designee will therefore normally
assume Incident Command.
12.2. The Incident Commander has overall responsibility for the management of all
operational activities related to the crisis, including post event assessment.
12.3. The Incident Commander is responsible for coordinating operational activities
with external agencies (Police, Fire, EMA, Health Department, etc.). This
responsibility may be delegated to another member of the Operations Group.
12.4. Incident command may be ceded by University Police to representatives of
Physical Plant, Environmental Health and Safety, Student Health Services or
other University units, as the situation warrants.
12.5. If warranted, incident command will be ceded to the governmental agency with
the broadest jurisdictional authority (e.g., Memphis Fire Department, EMA,
among others) for that incident.
12.6. If necessary, an Incident Command Post will be established at a location near
the crisis which provides the best available location for observation and
logistical support but which ensures an adequate level of safety.
12.6.1 The Incident Command Post is the location from which on-site response is
staged and managed.
12.6.2 Communication facilities at the Incident Command Post will be made
available for use by participating units.
12.6.3 Each responding agency and unit must have a representative present at the
Incident Command Post. These representatives will identify themselves to
the on-site commander.
13. Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
13.1. The requirements of the EOC of The University of Memphis are defined in
13.2. In cases of a Major Crisis, the Director of Public Safety may activate the
Emergency Operations Center (EOC) which shall serve as the work space for
the CMT-Operations Group. Normally, it will be located at the Public Safety
Office in the Zach Curlin Parking Garage. See Annex 4.2 for details.
13.3. Should this location be destroyed or be inaccessible, the alternate location of
the EOC will be in the FedEx Technology Institute (space to be determined).
13.4. A tertiary EOC will be located on South Campus in the case of major damage
to the main campus. The tertiary EOC will be in the Murphy Athletic Complex.
13.5. The Director of Public Safety is responsible for ensuring that these locations are
14.1. At the onset of a crisis, news is likely to spread quickly. Nevertheless, a formal
plan must be in place and supporting protocols must be followed to ensure that
all necessary notifications are reliably made.
14.2. Communications with Media. The University of Memphis Crisis
Communications Plan (Annex 3) establishes procedures related to
communications with external audiences (i.e., media, community, etc.). In line
with this plan, a Public Information Center will be established in the event of a
University crisis (see Section 10.3).
14.3. CMT Communications – Initial Notification.
14.4. The key University of Memphis communications hub is the Police Services
Dispatch. The Physical Plant Facilities Operations unit serves as a back-up.
14.4.1 Polices Services Dispatch is the only communication link with 911 and the
Memphis Police and Fire Departments.
14.4.2 Police Services or Physical Plant Facilities Operations will usually be the
first to be notified of a crisis. Each unit shall ensure that any notification of
a crisis is shared with the other unit.
14.5. As defined in Section 9.2, Police Services Dispatch will follow a defined
sequence of responses for nearly all emergency situations:
14.5.1 Dispatch police officers and make appropriate fire and/or medical rescue
14.5.2 Notify the Director of Public Safety or designee according to departmental
14.5.3 Notify the Director of Environmental Health & Safety, the Assistant Vice
President of Physical Plant, Student Health Services, and/or Residence
Life per internal procedures.
14.6. If warranted, the Director of Public Safety will notify the President, the Vice
President for Business & Finance, and/or other individuals, after crisis
conditions have been verified by Environment Health & Safety, Physical Plant
and/or Student Health Services.
14.7. The Vice President for Business & Finance or designee shall be responsible for
contacting the President, the Provost, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the
Vice President for Information Systems and others, as appropriate.
14.8. The President or designee determines whether to declare a Major Crisis and
notifies the Director of Public Safety.
14.9. The Director of Public Safety notifies Police Services Dispatch of the
declaration, and provides Dispatch with instructions for the CMT-Operations
14.10. Police Services Dispatch will notify all members of the CMT-Operations
Group per Section 9.5.2, and provide them with appropriate instructions.
14.11. Communications Equipment.
14.12. Telephone will be the primary means of communications and will be used
to contact CMT members and university departments.
14.13. Cellular phones, two-way radios and pagers will be issued to CMT
members as appropriate.
14.14. Family Communications. In an emergency, personnel will need to know
whether their families are okay. Taking care of one’s loved ones is always a
first priority. As described in Section 11.4.10, the Assistant Vice President for
Human Resources will develop appropriate procedures to address these needs
in the case of a Major Crisis.
15. Plan Development, Maintenance & Dissemination
15.1. The Vice President for Business & Finance is the Responsible Executive
Officer of the Crisis Management Program of The University of Memphis, and
is as such responsible for ensuring that the plan is developed and maintained.
15.2. The maintenance and further development of the plan must be a shared
responsibility, involving many departments and units across campus. The Vice
President for Business & Finance shall appoint a CMP Coordinator to facilitate
15.3. Each unit or department identified as having a role in this CMP is responsible
for communicating the content of the CMP to its staff.
15.4. The CMP shall be reviewed annually by the Crisis Management Team-
Operations Group and be modified as necessary. Results of the reviews and any
changes to the CMP shall be reported to the President for approval.
15.5. As potential crises emerge, any member of the CMT-Operations Group may
convene the Group to prepare hazard-specific plans.
15.6. Biannual exercises shall be held to train response personnel and evaluate the
adequacy of the CMP. Reports of exercises shall be prepared and submitted to
15.7. Each administrative and academic unit shall develop their own crisis plans.
These plans will outline strategies for protecting department personnel and
programs, and for coordinating with the whole. The Vice President for Business
& Finance or designee will develop a common framework for this purpose.
16. Assistance to community by The University of Memphis.
A crisis affecting the community may require local authorities to request the
assistance of The University of Memphis personnel and/or facilities. It is logical to
assume such assistance would most likely involve the necessity to provide temporary
shelter for victims of a disaster and/or medical care for these persons. The University
of Memphis will cooperate as much as reasonably possible in any emergency
assistance operations directed by outside agencies. Assistance of this nature may
require implementation of this Crisis Management Plan.