Alert Carolina System Protocols

Title

Alert Carolina System Protocols

Introduction

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has an Alert Carolina System (ACS), which is activated using a strategy that is based on redundancy, using multiple methods to communicate with students, faculty and staff, as well as visitors, local residents, parents and the news media. The ACS consists of the following four types of notification: emergency, crime alert, informational and adverse weather. The University’s goal is to provide the campus and the community with a prompt notification of a confirmed situation and to provide instructions for taking action if needed. These protocols outline the Alert Carolina System.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THESE PROTOCOLS IS GUIDANCE FOR ISSUING NOTIFICATIONS TO THE CAMPUS, RECOGNIZING THAT INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES OR EVENTS NOT ANTICIPATED BY THESE PROTOCOLS MAY OCCUR. THE EXPERIENCE AND JUDGMENT OF THOSE USING THESE PROTOCOLS IS AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION IN HOW AND WHEN THESE PROTOCOLS ARE USED AND WHEN A NOTIFICATION IS ISSUED.

Background

In 2007, the University purchased its outdoor siren warning system, following about two years of discussion and planning. The sirens were designed to deliver high-intensity warning signals over a large area using omni-directional speakers, as well as public address announcement capability. The sirens are activated only in a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of the campus community or a test. (See About the Sirens.)

In conjunction with the siren system installation, the University developed and launched Alert Carolina, a safety and awareness initiative, in March 2008 to educate students, faculty and staff about what to do in an emergency and where to go for information and resources. Alert Carolina communications are anchored by a website, where updates about an ongoing situation are posted. The website also provides detailed information, resources and contacts covering campus safety issues. Other Alert Carolina communication methods may include some or all of the following systems:

  • Text messages, which may be sent to the text-capable cell phone numbers registered by students, faculty and staff in the online campus directory.
  • Campus-wide email and voice mail (only for campus land lines; lengthy delays likely).
  • Replication of Alert Carolina website postings announcing the University’s current status on the University’s homepage.
  • Adverse Weather and Emergency Phone Line, 919-843-1234, for recorded information.
  • University Access Channel (Chapel Hill Time Warner Cable Channel 4) along with other campus cable television channels.
  • 1610 AM, the low-frequency travelers’ advisory radio station covering about a two-mile radius from campus.
  • News release sent to campus and local media.
  • Official University social media accounts. (Those emergency-related messages also activate social media accounts targeting parents who have signed up through the Office of New Student and Parent Programs in Student Affairs and the campus community through the UNC Police Department’s website and social media accounts.)
  • Direct, localized means of communication, such as voice/bullhorn from emergency responder vehicles; fire alarm systems; and public address systems in a small number of buildings.

The University’s ACS addresses the reporting requirements of the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act. The Clery Act was amended by the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act, which requires universities to include a statement of current campus policies regarding immediate emergency response and evacuation procedures, including procedures:

"To immediately notify the campus community upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or staff occurring on the campus ... unless issuing a notification will compromise efforts to contain the emergency."

While the law does not specify requirements related to time(s) or mode(s) associated with issuing notifications, it does indicate that once a situation is confirmed, such warnings should be issued “immediately.”

Training and Exercising

Training and exercising are essential to demonstrating and improving the University’s ability to activate its ACS. Periodic exercising also helps ensure that equipment and procedures are maintained in a constant state of readiness. The University tests the sirens at least twice a year in addition to other emergency preparedness activities, drills and exercises. The campus continues to evaluate its Alert Carolina System Protocols as part of an ongoing evaluation of best practices and the use of new technologies. And the University coordinates closely with UNC General Administration to fully participate in emergency preparedness activities and work being coordinated across the 17-campus UNC system.

Staff with responsibilities in the ACS will receive initial training on the notification protocols and process. The University Executive Group and/or Emergency Response Officials (ERO) will be briefed on the ACS and their responsibilities for making and carrying out related policy and action decisions. On an ongoing basis, staff and leadership will be trained and exercised on the ACS and will be informed when the ACS protocols or technology are updated.

The University recognizes that trained staff may not be available in an emergency to perform their function under the ACS protocols and has committed to developing a robust line of succession within each area of responsibility. New staff with ACS roles will be trained on the system and protocols as they assume their positions.

Operational Guidelines

Purpose and Authority of the Alert Carolina System Protocols

These protocols provide operational guidelines for issuing Alert Carolina notifications. These protocols are integrated with and supplement the University’s Emergency Operations Plan (EOP).

The protocols are consistent with the Safety and Security Policies of the University and have been approved by the University Executive Group.

Purpose of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ACS

The purpose of the University’s ACS is to authorize and issue safety and security warning notifications to the campus community in an emergency or when specific actions must be taken to maintain safety and security.

Initial Activation of Alert Carolina

The process for activating the University’s ACS begins when a potential threat or emergency situation is reported to or received by the Department of Public Safety (DPS or Public Safety). Typically, those reports are received via an incoming telephone call or computer transmission to the DPS E-911 Telecommunications Center (Dispatch). Once the emergency is confirmed, the highest-ranking police field supervisor will notify Dispatch and authorize the initiation of the proper type of notification.

Alert Carolina System Principles

The University is committed to informing the campus community as quickly as possible about threats to personal safety or other emergencies that may affect the safety and welfare of students, faculty and staff, as well as campus operations or essential services including Chapel Hill Transit.

The University communicates in an emergency following these principles:

  • Inform campus audiences (students, faculty and staff) first with confirmed facts from emergency responders and any instructions for protective action.
  • Provide timely, accurate and regular updates as part of a communications effort anchored by the Alert Carolina website (https://alertcarolina.unc.edu/). Direct all messages and inquiries to and from other audiences (including parents, local residents and general public) back to the Alert website (not the University homepage) as the best official source of information, regardless of reports or speculation fueled by social media users. (Additional information about how the University plans to communicate with parents is included in Appendix A.)
  • Proactively communicate and work with the news media covering the story. Their reporting of the University’s official information only helps reinforce the correct messages with all audiences.
  • Use simple, direct messages. Stick to the facts and adhere to University policy; don’t speculate. Protect any ongoing law enforcement investigation. Consider potential privacy and legal concerns, including issues concerning patient confidentiality and notification of family members. Be prepared to urge patience; an ongoing event may take hours – or longer – to resolve. We may ask people to stay inside for an extended time period.
  • Affirm the University’s commitment to the safety of the campus community.
  • Announce actions to prevent future problems.

The University has adopted the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as part of the Emergency Operation Plan. The NIMS system includes provisions for managing public communication about an incident, no matter the size or the complexity of the situation or the number of agencies involved in the response. A NIMS response may include a command structure that involves outside agencies and requires the University to coordinate communications through a centralized Joint Information Center with other local, state or federal agencies.

Types of Notification

Under the ACS, the University informs the campus community using four different types of notifications – Emergency Notification, Crime Alert, Informational and Adverse Weather.

Emergency Notifications

The University will immediately notify the campus community after confirming that a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students, faculty, staff or visitors is occurring on the campus. In those instances, the University will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and activate the notification system.

However, if in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, issuing an emergency notification would compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to or otherwise mitigate the emergency, the notification may be delayed. In those cases, the University’s Chief of Police, or the ranking UNC Police officer in charge during his/her absence, will be notified, and once the potentially compromising situation has been addressed the emergency notification will be issued immediately. The following protocols and methods/modes of communication will be used to issue an emergency notification:

  1. The UNC Police Department confirms (in conjunction with local first responders, the National Weather Service and/or University administrators as appropriate) a reported emergency situation and, in its sole discretion, activates the sirens for an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. The following are scenarios for which an emergency notification will be issued:
    1. armed and dangerous person on or near campus,
    2. major chemical spill or hazardous materials incident,
    3. tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area, or other significant severe, potentially life threatening weather conditions, or
    4. another emergency as determined by UNC Police (general alert). An example could include potential acts of terrorism.
      (In some extraordinary cases the sirens may be activated prior to the confirmation of life threatening circumstances. In those rare instances the sirens may be activated upon the request of the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, or the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration in consultation with the Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety and Risk Management and the Chief of Police. The decision to activate the sirens prior to the confirmation of life threatening circumstances should take into consideration the time of day, the location of the reported threat and concentration of people in the area, the level of law enforcement response and deployment of weapons, and public unrest.)
  2. UNC Police contacts Information Technology Services (ITS) Control Center and informs them that the sirens have been activated and an emergency notification has been initiated based on one of the scenarios listed above. DPS also notifies the UNC Chief Of Police, Orange County 911 Communications Center, and the UNC Hospitals Police Department.
  3. ITS Control Center sends information to the entire UNC community. The ITS Control Center takes some or all of the following steps:
    1. Verifies the identity of the UNC Police representative making the call.
    2. Activates the pre-approved list of siren message templates for the matching scenario (armed, chemical, tornado warning and general alert).
    3. Changes the Alert Carolina website and banner at the top of the main University homepage using a template and RSS feed headlines saying the sirens are on. Also pushes the same message to the University’s official social media accounts. That also reaches the New Student and Carolina Parent Office and UNC Police accounts.
    4. Sends matching text messages to registered text-capable cell phone numbers for students, faculty, staff and UNC Health Care and General Administration employees using data lists maintained by ITS through the online campus directory. 
    5. Activates text-only insert siren messages to interrupt scheduled programming on the campus TV system reaching residence halls and buildings including the Student Union. Also interrupts programming on the University Access Channel (Time Warner, Channel 4) by posting a PowerPoint slide.
    6. Pages the News Services on call staff member/University Relations, who in turn notifies the Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations and the Director of University Communications.
    7. Sends campus-wide email.
    8. Distributes corresponding “siren” status template news release to campus and local media.
  4. UNC Police may activate corresponding notifications to:
    1. 1610 AM, the low-frequency travelers’ advisory radio station, which covers about a two-mile radius from campus. 
    2.  Adverse Weather and Emergency Phone Line, 919-843-1234 (recorded information only).
  5. After activating key siren message templates, ITS Control Center generally:
    1. Notifies the University’s Emergency Response Officials (text, voice and/or email on office, home and cell phones). The notifications report the sirens are on and give call-in instructions to discuss additional University assignments, responses and communications.

      University Response Officials calling in will get assignments at that time – Executive Group, Emergency Operations Center or standby.

      Siren activation automatically opens the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and further response as part of the University’s Emergency Operations Plan (except in the case of a tornado warning. In those instances the EOC will be activated if the campus receives a direct strike and sustains damage).
    2. Alerts campus operators so they can tell callers the most recent information will be posted to the Alert Carolina website.
    3. Alerts ITS Response Center.
    4. Alerts ITS Control Center managers.
  6. Based on facts provided by UNC Police, the Emergency Operations Center and other emergency responders, the University Executive Committee authorizes updates to the campus and public using the Alert Carolina website, text messages and other communication tools available to the University. University Relations develops the notifications, working through the Emergency Operations Center, for approval by the Executive Group. Once approved:
    1. University Relations updates the Alert Carolina website, including RSS feed, and shares text message content with ITS Control Center for delivery.
    2. Then University Relations completes notification templates for TV notifications and campus email. ITS Control Center also activates or sends those notifications, when necessary.
    3. News Services handles follow-up communication – on the scene, via briefings on campus or through other means – with the news media EXCEPT to announce an “All Clear” under the regular emergency notification protocol (as specified in number 7, below).
  7. When it’s time to report “All Clear. Resume regular activities on campus,” the steps above are repeated when necessary, launching another round of communications to the same audiences based on the procedures above.
    1. UNC Police authorizes and initiates the “All Clear” notification process by sounding the sirens (which have a different tone for “all clear”) and contacting ITS Control Center.
    2. ITS Control Center repeats the notifications outlined above.

Crime Alert Notifications

The University will notify the campus community of any Clery Act crime as soon as the information is available to enable people to protect themselves and/or their property from similar crimes only under the following conditions as determined by the UNC Police:

  • There is a serious or continuing threat to the campus community AND
  • Issuing the crime alert will not compromise law enforcement efforts to address the crime.

All available information, both public and confidential, will be taken into consideration when determining if a serious or continuing threat exists. Those considerations include, but are not limited to, the relationship between victims and perpetrators, whether an arrest has been made that mitigates the threat and the amount of time that has passed between the commission of the crime and DPS being notified of the crime. Although each case will be evaluated on an individual basis, in general a report that is filed more than five days after the date of the alleged incident may not allow UNC Police to issue a crime alert.

If, in the professional judgment of UNC Police, issuing a crime alert notification would compromise efforts to address the crime, the notification may be delayed or information may be limited. In those cases the University’s Chief of Police, or the highest-ranking officer in charge, will be notified. Once the potentially compromising situation has been addressed, the crime alert notification will be issued immediately if the serious or continuing threat still exists.

Clery Act crimes include the following:

  • Murder and negligent and non-negligent manslaughter;
  • Sex offenses including rape, incest, statutory rape and forcible fondling;
  • Robbery;
  • Aggravated assault;
  • Burglary;
  • Motor vehicle theft; 
  • Dating and domestic violence
  • Stalking
  • Arson; and
  • Hate crimes (including any of the above offenses, as well as any incidents of larceny/theft, simple assault, intimidation or destruction/damage/vandalism of property that were motivated by bias).

In addition, the University may issue a crime alert notification in other circumstances that do not represent an immediate threat to health or safety, yet action may enable people to protect themselves and/or their property. Circumstances may include but are not limited to civil disorder, a localized chemical spill or fire such as in a lab facility, or a bomb threat.

A crime alert notification will typically include the following, unless issuing any of this information would risk compromising law enforcement efforts:

  • Date and time or timeframe of the incident
  • A brief description of the incident
  • Information that will promote safety and potentially aid in the prevention of similar crimes (crime prevention or safety tips)
  • Suspect description(s) when deemed appropriate and if there is sufficient detail
  • Police agency contact information
  • Other information as deemed appropriate by the Chief of Police or his/her designee

The following protocols and methods/modes of communication will be used to authorize, create, and issue crime alert notifications. Some or all of the communication systems listed will be utilized depending upon the circumstances.

  1. UNC Police assesses a reported Clery Act crime or circumstance and determinesthat students and employees may be at risk due to a serious or continuing threat.
  2. UNC Police contacts the Information Technology Services (ITS) Control Center and authorizes a crime alert notification.
  3. ITS Control Center uses some or all of the following systems to communicate a crime alert notification to the campus community:
    1. Changes the Alert Carolina website and main homepage using a basic notification template and RSS feed headlines to announce that the campus is on alert status. Also pushes the same notification to the University’s social media accounts.

      Here is the general notification template:

      “The University is currently operating under an alert condition. Campus police are responding to or investigating a serious incident that does NOT pose an immediate threat to health or safety. However, the situation may pose a continuing danger to the campus community and this notification is intended to enable people to protect themselves and/or their property

      The Alert Carolina website will be updated as soon as more information is available. It could take hours for police to resolve a situation depending upon the circumstances. Meantime, if you are directed by police or University personnel to take specific action (evacuate a building, stay out of a certain part of campus, go to your residence hall and stay there), please comply immediately.

      If you see suspicious activity, call 911. But do not call 911 or the UNC Police merely to ask for information about the current incident. Police phone lines need to be kept open for emergency communications.”
    2. Sends SMS text messages to registered text-capable cell phone numbersfor students, faculty, staff and UNC Hospitals and General Administration employees using data lists maintained by ITS through the online campus directory. The text message will say:

      !Alert Carolina!

      Police responding to serious campus incident. Not an immediate health or safety threat. See alertcarolina.unc.edu. (128 characters)
    3. Activates text-only insert messages to interrupt scheduled programming on campus TV system reaching residence halls and some buildings including the Student Union. Also interrupt programming on the University Access Channel (Time Warner, Channel 4) by posting a PowerPoint slide.
    4. Sends campus-wide email.
    5. Distributes corresponding “alert” status template news release to campus and local media.
    6. Alerts campus operators so they can tell callers that the most recent information will be posted to the Alert Carolina website when available.
    7. Alerts ITS Response Center.
    8. Alerts ITS Control Center managers.
  4. UNC Police takes some or all of the following steps:
    1. Posts corresponding messages to 1610 AM (the low-frequency travelers’ advisory radio station covering about a two-mile radius from campus) and the Adverse Weather and Emergency Phone line (recorded information at 919-843-1234).
    2. Coordinates with ITS Control Center to create and issue the initial timely warning notification to the campus community. The Chief of Police/ranking officer in charge informs the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel and the Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations (or their representatives) of the situation, and coordinates with the UNC Police Public Information Officer and the News Services on-call staff member to draft updates to the Alert Carolina website and other forms of campus communication. After review of the notification by University Relations, UNC Police contacts the ITS Control Center to distribute further text messages and Alert Carolina campus-wide emails, as needed. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources will be notified concerning incidents that involve their areas of responsibility.
    3. If the Emergency Operations Center is activated, it requests ITS Control Center to notify the University Emergency Response Officials (text, voice and email on office, cell and home phones). The notifications inform the group that there is a serious situation and ask them to convene via conference call to monitor developments, direct messages and receive assignments. Members of the group will either report as directed or will stay in close contact with the DPS Incident Commander or designee.

      The University Executive Group will direct University Relations (or the ITS Control Center) to make updates on the Alert Carolina website when new information is available from DPS or emergency responders. When the situation is resolved and the safety risk is over, the Alert Carolina website will announce an “All clear. Resume regular activities.” status as needed. (These announcements will also appear in the banner at the top of www.unc.edu.)
  5. When deemed appropriate an “All Clear. Resume regular activities on campus,” notification will be issued. In those cases the steps above are repeated, launching another round of communications to the same audiences based on the procedures above.
    1. UNC Police authorizes and initiates the “All Clear” notification process by contacting ITS Control Center.
    2. ITS Control Center repeats the same notifications outlined above.

Informational Notification

Even though a reported crime or emergency does not meet the criteria for either an emergency or timely warning notification there will be times when, in the judgment of UNC Police, the campus community should be notified about an incident. In those cases, the Chief of Police, or the ranking officer in charge, will authorize an informational notification to be issued.

The following protocols and methods/modes of communication will be used to issue an informational notification:

  1. UNC Police assesses a reported campus crime or emergency situation and determines that the campus community should be notified about the incident even though it does not meet the criteria for either an emergency or crime alert notification under the Clery Act. The following are examples of circumstances that may meet the threshold for an informational notification:
    1. The public nature of an incident is likely to generate significant interestacross the campus community. For example, an incident that no longer represents a threat, but involved the response of multiple emergency vehicles/personnel.
    2. A violent crime in which the perpetrator has been apprehended or is known to no longer be on campus.
    3. An alleged assault occurring on or within close proximity to the campus that does not appear to pose a continuing threat, based on currently available information, including information from local law enforcement agencies. Notification may be elevated to crime alert notification if additional information becomes available to UNC Police that there is a continuing threat to the campus community.
    4. The notification of a particular crime or crime pattern could enhance the overall safety/security of the campus community. For example, the threat is intermittent, such as the identified increase in theft from a specific area.
    5. DPS – or an off-campus law enforcement agency – seeks information to assist in solving a crime.
    6. A crime occurring off campus but due to its location may have an impact on student or employee security interests.
    7. A crime that was not reported in a timely manner.
  2. Chief of Police/ranking officer in charge informs the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel and the Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations (or their representatives) about the need to issue an informational notification, and coordinates with the DPS Public Information Officer, who will draft the informational notification for review by the News Services on-call representative and then contact and coordinate with the ITS Control Center for final distribution. The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources will be notified concerning informational notifications that involve their areas of responsibility.
  3. UNC Police contacts the Information Technology Services (ITS) Control Center and authorizes the initiation of an informational notification and conveys the approved message.
    1. ITS Control Center:
      1. Verifies the identity of the UNC Police representative making the call.
      2. Posts the approved notification as a “Recent Update” on the Alert Carolina homepage.
      3. Sends campus-wide email.

Adverse Weather

The University will issue a text message for a weather alert when a tornado warning is issued by the National Weather Service for Chapel Hill or Carrboro, or when other significant severe weather conditions exist.

The University may also send adverse weather notifications, including email, when other circumstances exist that do not represent an immediate threat to health or safety, yet action may enable people to protect themselves and/or their property. These situations may include approaching snowstorms or hurricanes.

Responsible University Authorities

All requests for the initial activation of the ACS will be made to or routed through the UNC Police Department. Any of the following University officials is authorized to request the activation of the ACS for the type of notification indicated:

Emergency Notification

  • Senior UNC Police Field Supervisor on Duty
  • Police Chief
  • Chair, University Executive Group (Chancellor )
  • Vice Chancellor and General Counsel

Crime Alert and Informational Notification

  • Senior UNC Police Field Supervisor on Duty
  • Police Chief
  • Chair, University Executive Group (Chancellor )
  • Vice Chancellor and General Counsel 
  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
  • Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
  • The following University official(s), if they are directly involved with the emergency response for a safety-and-security incident on campus
    • Director of Campus Health Services
    • Director of Environment, Health and Safety

Adverse Weather Notification

  • Senior UNC Police field supervisor on duty

These positions will be collectively referred to as “Responsible University Authorities” for the purposes of these protocols.

At all times in these protocols, reference to any position at the University shall be understood, in the absence of the referenced individual, to include designees.

Alert Carolina System Authorizations

The following tables summarize the authorization for issuing ACS notifications. All requests for the initial activation of the ACS will be made to or routed through the UNC Department of Public Safety (DPS or Public Safety).

Notification Types, Authorization, and Communication Channels
Notification Type Authorized by Issued by Communication Channels that may be Activated
Emergency Senior UNC Police field supervisor on duty or one of the following Responsible University Authorities: Chancellor or Designee. Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety and Risk Management, Police Chief, Director of Emergency Management & Planning, Director of Environment, Health & Safety (HazMat only). Public Safety
E-911 Communication Center and ITS Control Center
  • Sirens
  • Text messages
  • Alert Carolina website, with RSS feed automatically appearing on unc.edu and activating official University social media accounts. Also activates other social media accounts for Office of New Student and Parent Programs and DPS
  • Campus TV (residence halls and some buildings) and University Access Channel (Time Warner Cable)
  • Campus email
  • 1610 AM Adverse Weather and Emergency Phone Line (recorded)
  • Notify campus, local media
Crime Alert Senior UNC Police field supervisor on duty or one of the following Responsible University Authorities: Police Chief, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement, Director of Campus Health Services, Director of Environment, Health and Safety ITS Control Center and UNC Police
E-911 Communication Center
  • Text messages
  • Alert Carolina website, with RSS feed automatically appearing on unc.edu and activating official University social media accounts. Also activates other social media for Office of New Student and Parent Programs and DPS
  • Campus TV (residence halls and some buildings) and University Access Channel (Time Warner Cable)
  • Campus email
  • 1610 AM Adverse Weather and Emergency Phone Line (recorded)
  • Notify campus, local media
Informational Senior UNC Police field supervisor on duty or one of the following Responsible University Authorities: Police Chief, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement, Director of Campus Health Services, Director of Environment, Health and Safety ITS Control Center
  • Alert Carolina website, appearing as a “Recent Update”
  • Campus email
Adverse Weather Senior UNC Police field supervisor on duty ITS Control Center
  • Text messages
  • Campus email

Alert Carolina System Staff Assignments, Roles

This section describes roles and actions assigned to staff at the University for authorizing and operating the ACS. The Action Checklists provide detailed guidance for each position assigned duties for carrying out the University’s plans.

Summary of ACS Staff Assignments and Roles

This table presents a summary of staff assignments and roles in the ACS. At all times in these protocols, reference to any position at the University shall be understood, in the absence of the referenced individual, to include designees.

Staff Positions and Roles
Staff Position Role
Police Dispatcher
  • Coordinate with the senior UNC Police supervisor on duty
  • Activate the sirens and public address announcements on siren poles as instructed
  • Contact ITS Control Center to issue emergency notifications
  • Contacts Orange County 911 Communications Center
  • Contacts UNC Hospitals Police
  • Contact ITS Control Center to issue status updates or “all clear” notifications as instructed
Senior UNC Police Field Supervisor on Duty
  • Confirm the emergency situation or threat
  • Determine whether an emergency notification to the campus would create a more serious emergency and/or compromise theUniversity’s efforts to contain the emergency
  • Authorize the dispatcher to activate the sirens initiating the emergency notification protocols
  • Notify the Police Chief of the situation, notifications authorized/issued, notifications not authorized/issued due to the potential to compromise University efforts to contain the emergency, and any other actions taken to contain the emergency
  • May authorize the dispatcher to send an all clear notification (for incidents in which this employee has incident command)
Police Chief
  • Receive notification of emergency notifications that have been sent, or notifications not sent because they might compromise the University’s efforts or because the immediacy of the threat is undetermined
  • Provide executive direction to UNC Police or other appropriate units on further messages or notifications 
  • Determine whether an emergency notification to the campus would create a more serious emergency and/or compromise the University’s efforts to contain the emergency
  • May authorize the UNC Police Dispatcher/ITS Control Center to send status update notification or all clear notifications (for incidents in which this person has incident command)
  • Notify the Chair of the University Executive Group and/or Responsible University Authorities or the Emergency Response Officials of the situation, notifications authorized/issued, and any other actions taken to contain the emergency
  • Make assignments among the Emergency Response Group if communications convening that group or opening the Emergency Operations Center are warranted
Responsible University Authorities
  • Confirm whether a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students, faculty, staff or visitors is occurring on the campus for situations within the authorization of the Responsible University Authority
  • May request to, or through, the UNC Police Dispatcher the issuance of an emergency, crime alert or informational notification depending upon their level of authority
  • Restrict the sending out of a notification if it would create a more serious emergency and/or compromise the University’s efforts to contain the emergency
  • May request to, or through, the UNC Police Dispatcher to send status update notifications or all clear notifications (for incidents in which this person has incident command)
Chair, University Executive Group
  • Receive notification of emergency notifications that have been sent and, as appropriate, notifications not sent 
  • Authorize notifications
  • Notify University officials as necessary of the situation, notifications authorized/issued and any other actions taken 
  • May authorize the Dispatcher or trained staff to send status update notifications or “All Clear” notifications (for incidents in which this person has incident command)
Information Technology Services Control Center
  • Provide back-up to UNC Police to activate emergency sirens
  • Initiate initial emergency and crime alert notifications using preapproved notification templates after receiving proper instructions from UNC Police
  • Be prepared to initiate informational notifications (including text, email and Web page updates) after receiving final approved content from UNC Police
  • Help send follow-up communications, including text messages, as approved notifications become available from UNC Police, University Relations and/or other authorized responders
  • Provide technical support to the University’s response efforts for all emergency communications going to campus
  • Coordinate with ITS and service providers as needed to ensure system operability
Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations
  • Support the Executive Group, Emergency Response Officials or Responsible University Authorities with decisions on issuing all levels of notifications and providing follow-up public relations and notification content support
  • Provide additional information on notifications on the Alert Carolina homepage (along with unc.edu as appropriate) and through available communication channels working through the established approval process
  • Focus on informing internal audiences first
  • Through News Services, also work proactively with the news media.
  • Coordinate with ITS and service providers as needed to ensure the ability to post and send notifications

Appendix A: Communicating with Parents and Families

Office of New Student and Parent Programs

To help the parents of University students remain informed about campus safety issues, the University’s Alert Carolina System shares communications for emergency and crime alert notifications (and other updates as necessary) with the Office of New Student and Parent Programs. That office relays the information to parents who have signed up for email notifications through the parent listservs and/or updates from the Office of New Student and Parent Programs social media accounts.

American Red Cross Safe and Well List

Students and employees can let their families know they are okay in the event of an emergency while keeping cell phone lines open for emergency calls by using the American Red Cross Safe and Well list. The Safe and Well list is especially helpful in communicating with family members who are outside the emergency area.

If a disaster or crisis affects the Carolina campus, you can register as “safe and well” by going to the Red Cross Safe and Well website and following the registration instructions.

From a list of standard messages, you can select those that you want to communicate to your family members, letting them know that you are okay. Concerned family and friends can search the list of people who have registered themselves as “safe and well.” A successful search will display first name, last name, an “as of date” and the “safe and well” messages selected.

You may customize messages for loved ones and update social media account statuses directly from the site. The University encourages you to tell family and friends about the Safe and Well List website now so they will know what to do to get your “safe and well” message in an emergency.

Details

Article ID: 131854
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:18 PM
Modified
Tue 6/8/21 1:41 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
03/13/2020 4:15 PM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Associate Vice Chancellor
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
03/13/2020 4:15 PM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
03/13/2020 4:15 PM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
03/13/2020 4:15 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Institutional Integrity and Risk Mgmt