Policy Number: 105

Policy Suffix:

I. General Policy

The University uses an all-hazards approach to Emergency Management to prevent, mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from emergency and crisis situations. The University’s preparation for and response to an emergency is the responsibility of Emergency Management (EM). EM is responsible for all phases of emergency management to prepare the university for emergencies/crises related to larger (150 or more expected attendees) planned events and incidents. EM is led by an emergency manager who serves as the director of the program. The director then coordinates the university’s designated “essential” employees to form the Incident Management Team (IMT). The university has adopted the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and responds to incidents and events using the Incident Command System (ICS).

II. Roles and Responsibilities

A. Authority

The President has delegated authority to the Executive Vice President for Operations, Finance, & Support to declare a campus emergency and oversee the management of incidents on the campus. The Executive Vice President for Operations, Finance, & Support is the chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee (CMAC). The director of Emergency Management is the leader of the IMT and manages the overall operations of incidents or events that involve coordination of multiple departments and/or outside resources to stabilize or manage the incident/event (as outlined in the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP)).

When the IMT communicates a response to an emergency, that response is the primary response governing the actions of any School, Division or Department, in order to avoid conflicting responses, directives or use of resources. All responses at these levels are subordinate and complementary to the University’s overall emergency response.

III. Definitions

All-hazards – an approach that considers the full range of threats, man-made and natural, accidental and premediated disasters, and other emergencies.

CMAC-Crisis Management Advisory Committee

IMT- Incident Management Team

COOP Plan- Continuity of Operations Plan

Crisis- an event that disrupts normal university operations and can potentially put students,
patients, visitors, faculty, staff, or property at risk.

Emergency- Incidents that involve two or more departmental responses and/or require external
resources to stabilize the situation.

EOP- Emergency Operations Plan

HMP- Hazard Mitigation Plan

NIMS- The National Incident Management System (NIMS) provides a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life and property and harm to the environment.

IV. Elaboration of Policy

A. Guidance

In managing emergencies, the University is guided by these criteria, in order of priority:

  1. Life Safety
  2. Incident stabilization
  3. Protection of property and the environment, key assets, and preservation of research.
  4. Resumption of Research and Teaching

B. Organization/Roles & Responsibilities

The CMAC membership is comprised of senior leadership of the university who provide overall strategic and policy direction to the IMT. The CMAC meets quarterly to address policy and planning issues. It also deploys in times of crisis to make policy decisions and provide overall priorities and generalized direction to the IMT.

The IMT is comprised of essential personnel from across the University and is responsible for developing the objectives, strategies, and tactics necessary for incident and event management. The IMT meets quarterly and may be convened more often as needed.

The University adheres to NIMS concepts and outlines the desired actions of first responders and field-based operations in accordance with ICS.

C. Planning

Emergency Management has developed and maintains 3 core plans and their supporting annexes:

  • Hazard Mitigation Plan – This plan identifies the hazards and risks most prevalent for Rice University and is used to build capabilities to mitigate and respond effectively.
  • Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) and Annexes – The EOP addresses the authorities and process involved in managing incident and large events at the University. The annex outlines the work involved in mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
  • Continuity of Operations Base Plan and Accompanying Annexes (COOP) – Identifies essential functions, personnel, equipment, resources and technology systems and databases needed to resume campus services by department and provides lines of succession for leadership.

All other departmental level plans are subordinate to these university-wide plans.

D. Communications

Crisis communications systems are managed by Emergency Management to facilitate emergency notifications, incident response, and hazard communication. These systems include:

  • Outdoor Warning System
  • Mass Notification System – RICE ALERT
  • Interoperable Radio Communications
  • Incident Management Software
  • Weather monitoring stations/systems

These systems enable timely critical information sharing and effective crisis/emergency communications. Misuse of these systems is a violation of policy and is punishable up to and including termination.

V. Cross References to Related Policies

Laboratory Safety Policy, 313
Crisis Pay Guidelines
Environmental Health and Occupational Safety Program, Policy 805

VI. Responsible Official and Key Offices to Contact Regarding the Policy and its Implementation

Responsible Official: Executive Vice President for Operations, Finance, & Support

Key Office: Emergency Management

VII. Links to Procedures or Forms



Reginald DesRoches, President

Policy History


November 1, 1996


May 3, 2023

Clerical Changes

September 30, 2022

January 18, 2023

January 20, 2023

January 31, 2023

August 15, 2023

December 5, 2023

March 4, 2024