The Johns Hopkins University
March 1, 1999
The Committee gathered as many existing internal crises management plans as it was able to find in the divisions and other units. It recognizes there may be many others it did not find. After examining plans from other institutions and the extant Johns Hopkins plans, and after discussion, the committee adopted a preliminary list of what it considers to be the necessary elements of a divisional plan and, with slight alterations, of a university-wide plan. Those elements include: Statement of purpose. For clarity about what the plan is and is not supposed to accomplish.
Indication of scope. Does the plan cover students at a particular campus? Buildings and grounds emergencies? University-wide crises related to animal research? Basically, what's covered?
Procedure for assessment of crisis magnitude. Is the plan clear about what threshold is to be crossed before it is activated? About what levels of response are possible, given which circumstances? About when is it appropriate and necessary to seek assistance from elsewhere in the university or from outside the university?
Decision-making structure or chain of command. Who's in charge? Who's responsible for what?
Telephone tree. Not only titles, but also names and work and home phone numbers, e-mail addresses, pager numbers, cell phone numbers. Updated frequently.
Procedures for liaison upward. Who seeks assistance from elsewhere in the university (including, when we have completed it, activation of the central university crisis management plan)? To whom does the person go for that help?
Procedures for communications with external authorities. Who communicates with or calls in police, fire or other outside assistance? To whom do these calls go?
Procedures for communications with internal and external constituencies, including news media. Are there procedures (and resources) for calling in public affairs people and for communicating with faculty, staff, students, parents, other concerned persons and (through the news media) the general public?
Criteria for success. Have we spelled out how we will know when we've succeeded? When we've failed? Built-in review. Are there procedures and schedules for drills, and for evaluations of drills and actual events? Is there a procedure for automatic expiration, update and revision, and renewal of the plan?
Person in charge. A clear, prominent statement of who is responsible for the planning process and for future revisions of the plan. Using these elements, the committee evaluated the local crisis management plans it has been able to find. Chart-2 demonstrates that these existing plans are spotty at best in meeting these eleven criteria.
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