Section VII: Direction and Control
Direction and Control is the system for managing resources, analyzing information and making decisions in an emergency. At the University of Houston-Victoria, Direction and Control is executed through the operations of an Incident Command Post, the UHV Emergency Operations Center, a Staging Area for resources, and a Joint Information Center for public information logistics. Each of these essential functions will coordinate to manage any emergency faced by the University of Houston-Victoria.
Incident Command Post (ICP)
An Incident Command Post (ICP) is a pre-designated temporary location or facility which signifies the location of the tactical-level, on-scene incident command operations. It typically comprises the on-scene Incident Commander (IC) and immediate response personnel to include designated staff, faculty, first responders, and volunteers.
In the event a campus incident requires an Incident Command Post (ICP) at or near the scene, one will be established by the on-scene incident commander (or established at the discretion of local emergency responders).
- Must be located in a safe area adjacent to or near the physical location of the incident(s). This may be determined by the gravity of the incident.
- Is activated by the on-scene IC and will be operated using ICS protocols.
- Will be managed by the designated on-scene IC, who will determine the need for personnel and coordinate the resources.
UHV Emergency Operations Center (UHV-EOC)
The UHV-EM operational readiness is maintained by UHV Emergency Management..
The UHV-EM mission can be best understood in terms of three vital tasks:
- Communication - effectively communicate and receive information. It is critical to inform everyone about an incident. It is equally important to undertake intelligence gathering to manage an incident and to provide notification to crisis personnel, staff and to the campus community.
- Command and Control - provide the command and control functions necessary to stabilize the incident by putting multiple response and recovery plans into action – triggering them as needed, providing the triage structure required to allocate resources and personnel, and assuring effective direction of the response operations.
- Coordination and Documentation - create a mechanism to coordinate all of the steps taken to respond to an event and create a record of those actions to protect students, staff, faculty, infrastructure, and shareholder value. Documentation should include the use of ICS forms and the development of an Incident Action Plan (IAP) as outlined by NIMS when the situation warrants.
Responsibilities of the UHV Emergency Management site include:
- Coordinating between emergency responses by departments within the University community.
- Ensuring University and department actions are accomplished within the priorities established at the UHV-EM site.
- Ensuring that department and inter-agency coordination is accomplished effectively.
- Directing the appropriate staffing level for the UHV-EM and continuously monitoring organizational effectiveness.
- Documenting the actions such as resource requests, costs, and other pertinent details during an emergency.
UHV-EM Command Staff
As determined by the incident, the University Incident Commander may assign an immediate Command Staff consisting of the following positions and responsibilities:
- University Incident Commander – is the individual responsible for all incident activities, including the development of strategies and tactics and the ordering and the release of resources. The Incident Commander has overall authority and responsibility for conducting incident operations and is responsible for the management of all incident operations at the incident site.
- Emergency Manager – may act as University Incident commander or in a capacity needed to insure that emergency operations are efficiently acted upon.
- University Public Information Officer (PIO)- acts as sole media contact; distributes information
- Safety Officer – provides overall operational safety authority
- Liaison Officer – interfaces with cooperating agencies
- Student Affairs Officer – coordinates student housing and evacuation planning
- IT Security Director – ensures IT systems are secured during incidents that may disrupt IT systems.
Sample UHV-EOC Command Staff
UHV-EM General Staff
The General Staff will fill the positions at the UHV-EM location as needed.
General Staff responsibilities include:
- Provide support to stabilize the incident and protect life
- Implement and coordinate the emergency plan of action
- Account for the presence of faculty, staff, and students
- Communicate with emergency response personnel on site
- Report to the UIC.
As determined by the incident, the General Staff may include the following five sections:
- Operations Section
- Planning Section
- Logistics Section
- Finance/Administration Section
- Human Services Section
Sample UHV-EOC General Staff
UHV-EM Activation Phase
- Campus police will notify the President and the Director of Emergency Management (or designee).
- The UHV Campus Sergeant will notify the AVC/AVP for Public Safety and Security.
- The University Incident Commander (UIC) may activate the UHV-EM based on the listed criteria below.
- The designated UIC is responsible for notifying the appropriate lead Command and General Staff member(s) through the designated channels to report to the designated UHV-EM.
UHV-EM Activation Criteria
It is important to activate the UHV-EM at an appropriate level to manage the emergency and to safely control the situation. The following information is provided to serve as a quick guide regarding when the activation of the UHV-EM would be appropriate:
- Emergency response resources beyond the University capabilities are required
- The emergency is anticipated to be of long duration
- Major decisions must or may be required
- A local or state level of emergency will be declared and it may affect the campus
- Activation of the UHV-EM will be advantageous to the successful management of the emergency
Establishing an Alternate UHV-EOC
Depending on the severity of the incident, it may be necessary to relocate to another site to perform the functions. The incident may either disturb the functionality of the primary UHV-EM or it may jeopardize the safety of UHV staff operating at the primary UHV-EM.
Should a transfer be necessary, UHV-EM will arrange for the transfer of needed supplies and equipment from the primary to the alternate site. This includes:
- Computers and laptops
- Maps and displays
- EOC forms
- Binders and Handbooks
- Any documents complied by the UHV-EM staff.
Security for Access
Access to the UHV-EM will be controlled. UHV staff is required to carry their University ID cards and sign in and out.
Sample UHV-EOC Full Activation
One or more staging areas for arriving off-campus responders, equipment and other resources shall be established by University Incident Commander. Staging will be coordinated with local fire, EMS, and police to ensure resources are in a safe location.
Pre-designated staging areas that could be considered will be announced as necessary and may include areas outside of the campus jurisdiction if necessary. There may be multiple staging areas assigned for specific needs such as medical, fire, or police.
Staging area should have different access routes for incoming and outgoing resources and must be located out of any possible line of direct hazard effects, to minimize risk to resources.
Trained and volunteer personnel will report to the staging areas as needed or may be assigned through the UHV-EOC. Personnel not requested or assigned to respond should remain away from the working incident, unless contacted to respond.
Joint Information Center (JIC)
If a university incident is expected to last for a prolonged period of time, a staging site for a media center or a Joint Information Center (JIC) will be established at the announced locations through the UHV-EM under the following conditions:
- University Communications PIO will coordinate the JIC activities.
- Parking adjacent to these facilities will be reserved for media and staff vehicles.
- The JIC will include space for the media, reports, a podium, a multimedia box, backdrop, and appropriate signage.
- JIC location(s) may vary depending on the incident.
Deactivation and Demobilization Phase
The University Incident Commander (UIC) or designee may conclude that the immediate threat of danger posed by the incident is over or the continuity of operations phase has concluded. At that point the UIC will determine when to deactivate the UHV-EM and transition to normal campus operations.
Upon making that determination, the Incident Commander will:
- Notify Command and General Staff sections when they are no longer required in the UHV-EOC
- Work with all UHV-EM staff to ensure that any open action items not yet completed will be handled after the deactivation.
- Work with all UHV-EM staff to ensure that all required forms or reports are completed prior to deactivation and copies made of all logs, reports, messages, and other documents used or received at the UHV-EOC.
- Ensure that all equipment is stored and secure.
- Send the notification to all involved internal and external stakeholders that the UHV-EM is deactivated.