William & Mary

Emergency Operations Plan


The Emergency Operations Plan establishes the policies, procedures, and organizational structure for response to emergencies that cause a significant disruption to all or portions of the university.  The plan describes the roles and responsibilities of emergency management teams as well as essential departments during emergency situations.  As emergencies are often sudden and without warning, these procedures, while providing guidance, are designed to be flexible in order to permit the university to respond to any given situation. Refer to the Emergency Response Guide for faculty, staff and students to prepare for your role in an emergency situation.

The plan includes protocols to address specific types of emergencies.  These protocols are meant to guide the stabilization of and recovery from an incident and include emergency instructions and references in a concise format for use by individuals designated to manage the response while preserving resources.

The plan outlines the preparation of, response to, and recovery from emergency events.  It is consistent with established practices related to emergency response actions, incorporating the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to facilitate coordination and interoperability among responding agencies.  The university will cooperate with federal, state, and local emergency management agencies and other responders in the development, implementation, and execution of its emergency response plans.  Nothing in this plan should be construed in a manner that limits the use of good judgment and common sense in matters not foreseen or covered by the elements of the plan.

This plan supports the university's intent to respond to any emergency situation in a safe, effective, and timely manner.  The university's mission in the event of an emergency is, in order, to:

  1. protect human life;
  2. preserve health, safety, and basic care;
  3. protect university assets;
  4. maintain university services
  5. assess damages; and
  6. restore general campus operations

The plan works in concert with the university's Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) to achieve these priorities.

The Emergency Management Team (EMT) plans and executes emergency preparedness, response, and recovery functions and develops and maintains the COOP.  The members of the EMT include:

  • Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration -- Chair and Emergency Plan Coordinator
  • TBD -- Vice Chair
  • Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies
  • Associate Provost for Information Technology
  • Associate Vice President for Facilities Management
  • Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Chief of W&M Police
  • Senior Associate Vice President for University Communications
  • Director of Auxiliary Services
  • Professor/Chair of Biology
  • Assistant to the President/Provost
  • Chief Operations Officer, VIMS
  • Emergency Management Coordinator

The plan also incorporates building coordinator functions.  Building coordinators are responsible for disseminating information and instructions to building occupants during an incident.  These coordinators are critical resources in the event of an emergency.  They are provided with training and materials to accomplish their tasks.  These individuals are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the Emergency Operations Plan and for ensuring that building occupants have an understanding of procedures related to their specific area.

Faculty and staff are expected to familiarize themselves with applicable emergency plans and procedures and evacuation routes.  They should know who the building coordinator is for their building and take instruction from that coordinator in the event of an incident.  Faculty and staff must be prepared to assess situations quickly but thoroughly, and use common sense in determining a course of action.

The communications protocols outlined in the emergency operations plan use a variety of notification strategies to communicate with faculty, staff, and students about impending threats or emergencies as well as throughout the duration and recovery from an event.  The university has established a siren and mass notification system.  Students, faculty, and staff enter emergency contact phone numbers and email addresses that are used during an emergency to communicate critical information.

The university's emergency operations and continuity plans are continually evaluated, improved, and refined as the university continues to strengthen its capabilities to respond to emergency events.

Read the full version of the Emergency Operations Plan (pdf).

Learn more about how to respond to emergency situations in the Emergency Response Guide for faculty, staff and students.