University of Houston-Victoria

Emergency Management

Section IV: Situations and Assumptions

Situation Overview

The University of Houston-Victoria is exposed to various hazards, many of which have the potential to disrupt the campus community and can have a significant impact on campus life and property. A Hazard and Risk Assessment is performed by the Emergency Planning Committee in conjunction with the Office of Emergency Management every five years. This assessment follows guidance outlined by FEMA for institutions of higher education. Each hazard is evaluated based on its probability or likelihood of occurrence and its potential impacts to the University. Per the guidance, the probability metric is based on the likelihood that the hazard will occur in the next 15 years. Similarly, the impact value is based on assessing each hazard in six different areas per the guidance. These areas include: (1) whether the hazard has occurred on campus in the past and caused any impacts to life safety, (2) potential/future impacts to life safety, (3) extent of property damage, (4) total cost to respond, repair or replace damaged facilities, (5) duration of interruption to campus-wide activities/operations, and lastly (6) impacts to campus reputation or image. A summary of the Hazard and Risk Assessment results is provided in the following table.

The table below provides a summary of the major hazards, detailing their probability of occurrence and estimated levels of impact. The list is not all-inclusive:

HAZARD TYPELikelihood of OccurrenceEstimated Impact on the university (Public Health & Safety, Property, Operations & Reputation
Hurricane/Tropical Storm Highly Likely Major
Flood/Flash Flood Highly Likely  Moderate 
Extreme Temperatures Highly Likely  Moderate 
Hazardous Material Release Highly Likely  Moderate 
Construction hazards/accident Highly Likely  Moderate 
Infectious Disease Highly Likely  Moderate 
Suicide Highly Likely  Moderate 
Vehicular or light rail accident Highly Likely  Moderate 
Fire Highly Likely  Limited 
Civil Disturbance Highly Likely  Moderate 
Electrical/Power Outage Highly Likely  Limited 
Loss of Water Supply/Contamination   Highly Likely  Limited 
Terrorism  Possible  Moderate 
Winter Weather/Ice Storm Highly Likely  Limited 
Infestation (insects/animals) Highly Likely Limited 
Drought Highly Likely  Limited 
Severe Thunderstorm Highly Likely  Limited 
Cyber Attack – Compromised Systems Highly Likely  Limited 
IT Infrastructure Disruption Highly Likely  Limited 
Bomb Threat Highly Likely  Limited 
Plane Crash Unlikely  Moderate 
Hail Highly Likely  Limited 
Utility Infrastructure Disruption Highly Likely  Limited 
Cyber Attack – Denial of Service Highly Likely  Limited 
Active Shooter Possible  Moderate 
Tornado Possible  Limited 
Building Collapse Unlikely  Moderate 
Hostage Situation Unlikely  Limited 
Earthquakes  Unlikely  Limited 
Sinkholes  Unlikely  Limited 
Rail Accident  Possible  Moderate-Major 

Assumptions

The following listing of planning assumptions on which the plan is based:

  1. The University of Houston-Victoria will continue to be exposed to and subject to the impact of the hazards described above as well as any additional hazards that may develop into the future.
  2. It is possible that a major disaster or emergency many occur at any time and/or place. While in many cases the dissemination of information to the campus community, and the implementation of preparedness measures may be possible in advance of an emergency, some emergency situations may occur with little to no warning.
  3. Outside assistance will likely be available in most emergency situations affecting the University of Houston-Victoria. However, due to the unforeseeable response times in requesting external assistance, it is essential that university entities are prepared to carry out the initial emergency response on an independent basis.
  4. Proper mitigation actions can prevent or reduce potential disaster-related losses. Through emergency planning, the training of emergency responders and other personnel, and regular implementation of emergency drills and exercises, the university’s capacity and readiness to respond to emergency situations can be increased and enhanced.

Phases of Emergency Management

The University of Houston-Victoria Emergency Management Plan will apply the phases of emergency management to include: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery. Campus departments or units will establish their own department or building response plans utilizing the Emergency Management Plan and the UHV Building Emergency Response Plan Template are modeled after UH Emergency Management design to incorporate the development of their response plans.

A. Prevention/Mitigation

Prevention activities are an integral part of the emergency management programs. Prevention and mitigation phase is intended to eradicate hazards, reduce the probability of hazards, which may be related to causing an incident, or lessen the consequences of unavoidable hazards.

Campus wide prevention and technical assistance programs include but are not limited to:

  • Hazard Mitigation Planning activities
  • Enhancements and mitigation projects made to campus infrastructure and facilities including those outlined in the UHV Hazard Mitigation Plan Annex.
  • Continuity of Operations Planning Program available to the campus community including training and educational materials.

B. Preparedness

Preparedness activities are conducted for students, faculty and staff to develop prevention and response campus capabilities that may be used in developing proactive activities.

Departments/units can develop their own department/unit-level response plans by using the UHV Building Emergency Response Plan Template as a reference tool.

Campus wide preparedness programs and activities may include but are not limited to:

  • Presentations conducted by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) on emergency preparedness
  • Presentation and awareness for new employee training
  • FEMA Emergency Management Institute - Self-study programs and certifications https://training.fema.gov/emi.aspx
  • Coordination with campus departments and external agencies with regard to emergency preparedness and planning
  • OEM maintaining a current list of campus personnel who will oversee response actions
  • Training may be conducted by OEM for students, faculty, and staff and including emergency responders, campus administrators, and other groups who may be assisting during incidents
  • Periodic exercises to test the EMP

C. Response

Response operations are intended to resolve a situation while minimizing casualties and property damage.  Response activities may include:

  • Warning notifications and alert information
  • Emergency medical services
  • Law enforcement
  • Campus evacuations
  • Shelter in place
  • Search and rescue
  • Other associated emergency response functions.

D. Recovery

If an incident occurs, the campus will carry out its recovery programs, both short-term and long-term.

  • Short-term recovery seeks to restore vital services to the University and provides for basic campus needs
  • Long-term recovery focuses on restoration of the University to its normal state

The recovery process includes assistance to campus departments. Examples of recovery programs may include temporary housing, and restoration of University services, debris removal, student health services, and reconstruction of damaged roads and facilities.

Emergency Planning Structure

The University of Houston’s Emergency Management Policy (MAPP 06.01.01) is the model plan for the UHV Emergency Planning Structure.

The Emergency Planning Structure is comprised of the following three primary groups:

Executive Operations Team (EOT):

The Executive Operations Team (EOT) has the following roles in regard to emergency planning: policy approval, procedure analysis, compliance related matters, making recommendation to the University President regarding campus closure/cancellation of classes, as well as making recommendations to the University President regarding campus response/recovery efforts in the event of a campus-wide emergency. The Executive Operations Team (EOT) is responsible for the final approval of any major planning developments or changes created by the Emergency Planning Committee. The EOT is comprised of President Executive Committee.

Emergency Planning Committee:

The purpose of the Emergency Planning Committee is to improve campus-wide emergency planning through campus-wide collaboration, coordination and the development of specific emergency procedures and processes. The Emergency Planning Committee is responsible for identifying areas within the university’s emergency operations that need improvement and lack coordination. In addition, the committee collaborates and participates in campus-wide emergency response and recovery planning in order to facilitate effective emergency operations. The committee includes representatives from various departments and divisions who are responsible for providing support and giving direction within their area of expertise, as well as, have a key role in emergency planning.

Emergency Planning Committee Subgroups and Workgroups:

The Emergency Planning Committee subgroups are developed to improve specific aspects of campus-wide emergency operations. If required, these subgroups will be potentially made up of Committee members as well as outside members who play a specific role and provide technical expertise to assist in the planning and collaboration of the subgroup. These subgroups are responsible for developing the specific processes and procedures to improve emergency operations. Each subgroup will have a Chair or Project Manager who is responsible for reporting developments and plans to the overall Emergency Planning Committee