Emergency Operations Plan - Basic Plan


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When the University issues an emergency alert in response to a hazard, threat, or actual incident, everyone must know what the emergency conditions mean and basic emergency responses.

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University Emergency Operations Plan - Basic Plan

To request additional information on the Emergency Operations Plan contact Jason Marshburn marshburnjs@appstate.edu.


Higher education institutions across the United States have recognized the importance of comprehensive all-hazard planning in response to both incidents and federal mandates. Emergency management is an evolving field that now recognizes the unique vulnerabilities present on college campuses. Appalachian State University provides this Emergency Operations Plan as a guidance document for all-hazard emergency management. This document is established to replace the former University Emergency Response Plan. While similarities between the two plans exist, this Plan considers emergency functions, numerous hazards, and a heightened role of the Emergency Operations Center in response to major emergencies and disasters.

This Emergency Operations Plan is a guide to how Appalachian State University conducts all-hazards response. It is built upon scalable, flexible, and adaptable coordinating systems to align key roles and responsibilities across the University. It describes both authorities and best practices for managing and coordinating incidents that range from the serious but purely isolated, to large-scale incidents and catastrophic natural disasters.

This emergency operations plan is founded on the principles of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which provides a national template that enables federal, state, local, and tribal governments and private sector nongovernmental organizations to work together effectively and efficiently.

Implementation of this plan will require extensive cooperation, collaboration, and information sharing across all Appalachian State University departments, as well as local and state agencies that will assist the University during major emergencies and disasters.

Portions of this preface are adapted from the National Response Framework, January 2008.


The purpose of the Appalachian State University Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) is to provide the framework and guidance to protect the faculty, staff, students, and visitors of Appalachian State University. To protect the Appalachian community, the Plan will establish both general and specific responsibilities during major emergencies and disasters, or at other times when the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) may be activated. The Plan seeks to facilitate compliance with regulatory requirements of Federal, State, and Local agencies, as well as the University of North Carolina System.

The Plan is designed to be utilized as a "tool box," where each department or member of the University may apply a specific portion of the Plan to their operations during a major emergency or disaster. Additionally, the Plan addresses specific hazards and provides general guidelines for University operations if these situations arise. This plan will not, nor can it be expected to address every possible emergency situation, therefore it encourages generalized preparedness and empowers University stakeholders with the resources and knowledge they need to prepare.

This is not designed as a shelf plan, but rather a readable working document that is continuously revised through exercises and departmental evaluation. In addition to the Plan, educational and marketing materials supplement the information to better disseminate the purpose and intent of the Emergency Operations Plan throughout the Appalachian community. This base plan serves as the fundamental framework that provides authority, scope, and general direction for emergency operations. In addition to the base plan, functional and situational annexes may be utilized to provide additional direction and guidance for specific operations within an incident.


This plan is designed and intended to address numerous hazards that may affect the University. Through the utilization of an all-hazards planning model, this plan may be used for any type of incident, whether natural, man-made, or technological. This plan applies to all departments, personnel, and agents of Appalachian State University, although some departments or agencies may have more specific roles and responsibilities within emergency operations.


The Appalachian State University Emergency Operations Plan is based on the foundations of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5), and Chapter 166A of the North Carolina General Statutes. Other guidance documents from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, and the University of North Carolina General Administration are also utilized.


  1. Appalachian State University has over 16,000 students and more than 4,000 faculty and staff. The University is continuing to increase the number of students, and consequently faculty and staff positions are also added. The University is a member of the University of North Carolina System.
  2. Appalachian State University's main campus is located in the Town of Boone, the County Seat of Watauga County in the northwest corner of North Carolina. Boone is a community of approximately 14,000 full-time residents with population surges during numerous months of the year due to the University population and the vibrant local tourism industry.
  3. The main campus of Appalachian State University includes 56 buildings across 410 acres. Satellite properties such as intramural fields, camps, and other off-site locations comprise an additional 890 acres. The university owns buildings located within other areas of the Town of Boone, Watauga County, Wilkes County, City of Hickory, and New York.
  4. The University operates 21 residence halls that house over 5,000 students.
  5. The most accessible airport that is capable of handling commercial flights is located in Hickory, North Carolina. The Boone airport is a privately owned facility that has limited capabilities.
  6. The University is exposed to many hazards which have the potential to disrupt normal operations within the University and local community, or cause damages and/or casualties.
  7. The University experiences population surges at numerous times during the year for specific events such as football games, graduation, and other cultural events that are hosted on campus from time to time.

Plan Annexes

In addition to the general guidance provided in the Base Plan, annexes are provided that address specific functions, hazards, and situations. The Base Plan is intended to provide the general framework based on an all-hazards planning model. Appalachian State University recognizes that specific functions should be clearly defined and associated roles and responsibilities should be assigned to individual departments within the University. The Emergency Functions outlined in this plan align with the Emergency Support Functions of the State of North Carolina and the Department of Homeland Security. Each function is constructed as a supplement to this Base Plan. The current Emergency Functions that will be incorporated into the Plan include:

Appalachian State University Emergency Functions

  1. Transportation
  2. Communications
  3. Public Works & Engineering
  4. Firefighting and Emergency Services
  5. Information and Planning
  6. Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing and Human Services
  7. Logistics Management and Resource Support
  8. Public Health and Medical Services
  9. Search and Rescue
  10. Oil and Hazardous Materials Response
  11. Food and Water
  12. Energy
  13. Public Safety and Security
  14. Long-Term Community Recovery
  15. External Affairs

Although the majority of the Emergency Operations Plan discusses response mechanisms and procedures, the ultimate resilience and capability of the University to respond is dependent upon the preparedness of all students, faculty, staff, and departments.

The University Emergency Manager is the point of contact for all emergency management programs, including preparedness. In coordination with various University departments, the Emergency Manager will ensure the following preparedness mechanisms are completed on a continual basis:

Emergency Exercises: Exercises are fundamental to the University's emergency preparedness program. Exercises test plan elements, as well as the University's ability to respond to specific incidents. The Federal Emergency Management Agency identifies four types of exercises, each with a significant degree of complexity and involvement. The University will conduct at least one emergency table-top exercise per year. The University should conduct a functional or full-scale exercise at least once every five years. Exercises should involve members of the Executive Group.

Plan Maintenance: The Plan should be reviewed and updated at least annually. This annual plan maintenance may be completed following the exercise schedule.

Emergency Management Relationships: The Emergency Manager will maintain a positive relationship with Watauga County Emergency Management and North Carolina Emergency Management.

Maintain Record of Incident Command System Training: The Emergency Manager will ensure that sufficient courses are offered in Incident Command, and ensure that the University complies with all standards established through National Incident Management System guidance documents.

The Emergency Management Task Force, chaired by the Emergency Manager will meet regularly throughout the year and provide oversight for the emergency management program.

Departmental Responsibilities

All University Departments should continually maintain preparedness via the following actions at a minimum:

  • Review the Emergency Operations Plan and applicable annexes at least annually and provide recommendations to the Emergency Management Coordinator to be considered in the annual revision.
  • Compile and maintain an active call-back list with current phone numbers of all personnel within the department.
  • Provide clear lines of succession that identify personnel that may fulfill the agency head's role during a major emergency or disaster.
  • Maintain a current and comprehensive resource manual that identifies suppliers and agencies that may assist during an incident where University resources are exhausted.
  • Train employees on basic preparedness procedures and general departmental plans for responding to an emergency.
  • Provide department personnel the opportunity to participate in Incident Command System training.
  • Identify program weaknesses and make recommendations to the University Emergency Manager.