Emergency Management Policy


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Emergency Management Policy



The occurrence or imminent threat of a campus Disaster or Emergency, whether resulting from a natural, technological, or human cause, presents potential for widespread or severe damage, injury or loss of life or property and threatens the ability to conduct normal University operations. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (University) desires to safeguard the welfare of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors and to protect its property before, during and after a Disaster or Emergency to preserve the University’s mission of teaching, research, and public service.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the University is prepared for and can effectively respond to and recover from a Disaster or Emergency through the appropriate use of University and community resources. This preparation and effective response will mitigate the immediate and long-term effects on the University’s constituents, operations, and mission. This policy defines the organizational framework of the Emergency Management Program and Emergency Coordination and establishes roles and responsibilities for Emergency Management and Mission Continuity planning activities at the University.


This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, and affiliates, principally personnel with responsibilities in the University’s Emergency Management Program and Emergency Coordination, as well as business units with roles outlined in the Core Plans and Programs listed in this policy. The policy covers both the day-to-day administrative functions and activities, as well as the operational components of campus-wide Incident and Event coordination.


Policy Statement

The mission of the University’s Office of Emergency Management and Planning (OEMP) is to create and maintain a culture of preparedness and resilience throughout the campus community. OEMP is responsible for adopting an all-hazards, whole community approach within its preparedness Programs following state and federal guidance and accepted emergency management standards and best practices. This includes the adoption, implementation, and utilization of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Incident Management System and National Preparedness System as the framework by which University Emergency Management activities are structured. OEMP coordinates the implementation of this framework using the nationally accepted Emergency Management mission areas: prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. To support inclusive Emergency planning efforts, minimize duplication of effort, and promote a common operating picture, University units are required to cooperate with OEMP in coordinating and facilitating preparedness programs and initiatives.

Core Plans and Programs

A coordinated, all-hazards planning effort creates the foundation of the University's Emergency Management Program. Specific plans and Programs developed and maintained by OEMP, that support the Emergency Management mission areas, include:

  • Alert Carolina Program
    The Alert Carolina Program ensures the development, implementation, and execution of Alert Carolina, the campus emergency notification system. Alert Carolina communicates in multiple ways with students, faculty, and staff, as well as visitors, parents, and the news media in the event of an Emergency or dangerous situation.
  • Campus Emergency Preparedness - Training & Exercise Program (TEP)
    The TEP is a multi-year program which includes a series of increasingly complex exercises and the associated training requirements that address identified needs and priorities within the University. The goal of a progressive multi-year TEP is to increase a state of readiness among those with designated emergency preparedness and response roles.
  • Continuity of Administration (COA)
    This plan ensures that the University can conduct its essential leadership functions in a coordinated effort during an Emergency or Disaster. While the severity and consequences of an Emergency are unpredictable, effective contingency planning can minimize the impact and disruption on the University’s mission, leadership, personnel, and facilities.
  • Continuity Of Operations (COOP) Plan - Tar Heel Mission Ready
    The COOP-Tar Heel Mission Ready document reflects details to ensure a high probability of restoration of essential functions following an Incident.
  • Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
    The EAP’s purpose is to protect campus building occupants and visitors from serious injury, property loss, and/or loss of life in the event of an actual or potential Disaster or Emergency. The EAP describes the role of Building Emergency Coordinators and the initial responsibilities and actions faculty and staff must take to protect all building occupants and/or visitors until the appropriate University or first responders take over.
  • Emergency Operations Plan (EOP)
    The EOP establishes the University’s all-hazard approach to Disaster or Emergency response.  It outlines the general policies, guidelines, organizational structure, and roles and responsibilities of University departments and personnel.
  • Hazard Mitigation Plan
    The Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies hazards, analyzes vulnerabilities, defines mitigation strategies and actions, and describes implementation of those strategies and actions.
  • Recovery Plan
    The Recovery Plan outlines the University’s short and long-term recovery priorities for a return to normal operations after an Emergency or Disaster.  It guides restoration of critical functions, services, vital resources, programs, and infrastructure.

Execution of the Emergency Management Program and Coordination

Program Administration

To ensure the University is in a constant state of preparedness and resilience, Emergency Management and Mission Continuity activities must continue in perpetuity, even when a campus Emergency does not exist. OEMP will facilitate all such activities in a cooperative and collaborative way that engages appropriate University and external stakeholders.

Emergency Coordination

When a Major Incident or Major Event occurs, the University will operate under a centralized structure for coordination of response and recovery activities, information sharing and documentation, and resource management.  This operational structure encompasses the following core elements:

  1. Command and Coordination
    The University follows the National Incident Management System framework that promotes a common understanding of the fundamentals of risk-informed planning and decision making to help the University examine a hazard or threat and produce integrated, coordinated, and synchronized effort. During a campus Disaster or Emergency, coordination takes place in the University’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) working in conjunction with the command function that occurs in field through active response efforts.
  2. Communications and Technology Systems 
    The University uses several technology systems to support Incident management and coordination operations. The primary technology systems utilized are:
    • Emergency Notification System - Alert Carolina: A communication system designed to quickly disseminate critical information and alerts to individuals on or affiliated with the University;
    • Incident Management Software System: A comprehensive software that facilitates the coordination, tracking, and response to incidents, enabling effective communication, resource allocation, and decision-making capabilities;
    • Continuity Planning Software System: Software that assists in the development, implementation, and tracking of Mission Continuity plans to minimize the impacts of critical operations following a disruption
    • Weather Forecasting Application/Systems: Advanced technology applications that analyze meteorological data to provide accurate predictions and warnings about several weather conditions, enabling proactive planning and response to mitigate potential risks and protect public safety.

  3. Resource Allocation & Management
    Resource management involves collaboration and coordination across the University, local, and state organizations to systematically manage resources, including personnel, equipment, teams, supplies, and facilities. A central point of coordination at the University, typically the EOC, ensures external partners do not receive duplicate or conflicting requests or information. OEMP is the University’s central point of contact for all coordination with local and state Emergency Management agencies.
  4. Emergency Declaration
    In response to an Emergency or Disaster, as defined in this policy, the Chancellor may declare a Campus State of Emergency to allow for activation of the University’s Emergency plans, protect lives and property, and ensure continuity of critical functions. During a Campus State of Emergency, the Chancellor may temporarily suspend rules which would adversely hinder or delay actions necessary to provide for the health and safety needs of the campus community. In addition, designated University officials authorized to execute this policy may use all campus resources to respond to the Emergency. A Campus State of Emergency typically compliments a local declaration but may be issued independently.

    Pursuant to North Carolina General Statue 166A-19.22, the Town of Chapel Hill and/or Orange County may declare a local state of Emergency within their jurisdiction prior to or during an Emergency. Should either jurisdiction enact a local state of emergency, the University may adhere to the directions, prohibitions, and restrictions authorized within their declaration in whole or part.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of key departments/units and personnel required to effectively coordinate and implement the University’s Emergency Management Policy are as follows:

Program Administration

The primary personnel/departments that will oversee the Emergency Management Program consist of the following:

  • Institutional Integrity & Risk Management (IIRM)
    IIRM is the major campus unit that houses the University’s Emergency Management Program.
  • Campus Safety & Risk Management (CSRM)
    CSRM is responsible for overall campus safety and is the immediate senior reporting unit of OEMP.
  • Office of Emergency Management & Planning
    OEMP is responsible for administering the campus Emergency Management Program, and the Director is responsible for program execution. The following committees provide key advisory support:
    • Emergency Management Advisory Committee
      The Emergency Management Advisory Committee provides for a coordinated input by university stakeholders in the preparation, implementation, evaluation, and revision of the Program.
    • Alert Carolina Advisory Committee
      The Alert Carolina Advisory Committee advises on policies and procedures in place that support the University’s emergency notification system, Alert Carolina
Emergency Coordination

The primary personnel/groups that provide Direction during an Emergency or Disaster serve as Emergency Policy Officials, consisting of the following:

  • Chancellor
    Upon determining that a Disaster or Emergency exists, the Chancellor will declare a Campus State of Emergency and authorize activation of the campus EOC. The decision to activate is typically made with the advice and counsel of the Vice Chancellor for IIRM, Associate Vice Chancellor for CSRM, the Director of Emergency Management and Planning, and senior leaders involved in the Emergency or Disaster. Should the Chancellor at any point be unable to exercise their role, their responsibility is automatically delegated to the Chancellor’s designee as documented in the COA Plan.
  • Chancellor’s Emergency Policy Group
    The Chancellor’s Emergency Policy Group serves as the Chancellor’s senior campus policy advisory committee during an Emergency, providing executive-level decision-making, Direction, coordination, and communication support to the Chancellor.

The primary personnel/departments that provide Control of response resources during an Emergency or Disaster are designated as Emergency Management Liaisons and Emergency Management Officials, operating in the following capacities:

  • Emergency Management Liaisons
    Emergency Management Liaisons (EMLs) are senior administrators, typically equivalent to associate vice chancellors, who oversee units with primary responsibilities in the EOP. During Emergencies, they serve as liaisons between the Chancellor’s Emergency Policy Group and Emergency Management Officials in the EOC to ensure response objectives and strategies align with and are complimentary of policy decisions.
  • Emergency Management Officials
    Emergency Management Officials (EMOs) are the primary unit/department representatives for Emergency Support Functions, as identified in the EOP, and serve as EOC staff. They identify strategies, tactics, tasks, and activities to achieve both executive and operational objectives. Individuals designated as EMOs are authorized to commit unit/department resources in support of executive and operational objectives while serving in the EOC.

General responsibilities before, during, and after an Emergency or Disaster applicable across the University are assigned as follows:

  • Departments/Units
    All University departments are required to comply with the following, as applicable:
    • maintain a current building EAP,
    • support assigned EOP function planning, and
    • maintain a Tar Heel Mission Ready Continuity Plan.
  • Deans/Directors/Department Heads
    Deans, Directors, and Department Heads are responsible for ensuring that personnel within their schools/units/departments are aware of Emergency Management plans and the procedures for reporting accidents, emergencies, and safety issues.
  • All individuals to which this policy applies share collective responsibility to maintain individual preparedness to further the overall resiliency of the institution.




Definition of keywords as used in this Policy.

NOTE: Other campus Units may use the same keywords in other University policies. Those campus Units may have more specific language or a different definition for the same keyword. Definitions provided in this policy generally apply to Emergency or Disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

Campus State of Emergency - A finding and declaration by the Chancellor that an Emergency, as defined by this policy, exists.

Command - The immediate control of the active response to the incident in question that involves directing response operations, developing incident objectives, and determining resource needs.  Command is exercised by an individual or individuals, known as the Incident Commander(s).

Direction & Control - The executive governance (Direction), and operational and strategic management (Control) of response assets associated with execution of the EOP, particularly its emergency support functions.

Disaster - A severe or prolonged Emergency that has significantly impacted life, property, environment, and/or critical systems.

Emergency - An occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from any natural, technological, or human cause. This includes Incidents arising with or without warning that overwhelm or nearly overwhelm day-to-day campus resources, plans, and personnel in place to manage them, while causing a significant disruption of normal operations in all or a portion of the campus.

Emergency Coordination - Activity associated with the application and execution of the core plans and Programs outlined in this policy during a Major Incident or Major Event.

Emergency Management - Activity that reduces the campus community’s vulnerability to hazards and creates capacity to cope with Disasters. The process of coordinating available resources to effectively manage Emergencies or Disasters that threaten the University, thereby saving lives, injury, and minimizing economic loss. This involves five Emergency Management mission areas:  prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.

Emergency Management Liaisons - University officials with senior administrative oversight of units with assigned responsibilities in the EOP. During Emergencies, they serve as liaisons between the Chancellor’s Emergency Policy Group and EMOs in the EOC to ensure response objectives and strategies align with and are complimentary of policy decisions.

Emergency Management Officials - University officials who represent business units with assigned functional responsibilities in the EOP and are authorized to commit business unit resources in support of response operations. These university personnel are the designated representatives of an Emergency Support Function in the EOP and serve as EOC staff.

Emergency Policy Officials - University officials with executive authorities, consisting of the Chancellor and members of the Chancellor’s Emergency Policy Group, that provide policy and executive decisions during an Emergency in support of operational objectives.

Event - A planned, non-routine occurrence or activity on campus that brings together people in larger than normal numbers and/or garners an elevated profile.  Events may be reclassified as Incidents should the situation evolve into one matching that definition.  Major Events are Events that place exceptional demands on campus and local safety and support resources and require additional planning, preparation, and mitigation efforts, and therefore require Emergency Coordination.

Incident - An unplanned occurrence or event, natural or human-caused, which requires a response to protect life or property. Major Incidents are Incidents that cause an elevated threat to life, property, or campus operations, place exceptional demands on campus and local safety and support resources, and require additional planning and response capabilities, and therefore require Emergency Coordination.

Mission Continuity -The University’s ability to maintain its core functions and operations to continue providing goods or services to students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders during the first 30 days following a disruption.

Program (Administration) - The day-to-day administrative function of fulfilling the mission of Emergency Management for the University, facilitated by the OEMP director and staff.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contact

Darrell Jeter

  • Title: Director of Emergency Management & Planning
  • Unit: Emergency Management & Planning
  • Email: oemp@unc.edu
  • Phone: 919-445-1730
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Article ID: 137639
Fri 1/14/22 6:35 PM
Thu 2/8/24 2:19 PM
Responsible Unit
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Office of Emergency Management and Planning
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