Emergency Response

An outline of the University of Calgary emergency response levels, organizational structure for planning and response, business continuity, and emergency response plans.

Building and Departmental Emergency Response Plans

An Emergency Response Plan has been developed for all buildings at the university. Building Emergency Response Plans can be found on the Emergency Plans webpage

Only certain departments that conduct higher risk activities, such as Faculties of Science, Engineering and Medicine, have been identified to complete Emergency Response Plans. All Faculties, departments and operational units are required to have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP). BCPs can be found on the Business Continuity SharePoint site.

Emergency Response Levels

The University of Calgary has three emergency response levels.

Minor incidents happen on campus regularly. Their scope is well defined and their duration and impacts understood. Typically, these incidents are handled through normal response procedures and may be managed by the IMT working with a single department or multiple departments. Activation of the EOG would not be necessary.

Serious incidents may have a significant impact on life safety at one, or multiple, campus departments and require a significant coordinated response led by the IMT and external agencies. Activation of the EOG either partially or fully to support a serious incident may be necessary.

Critical incidents may include serious injuries and/or fatalities. Many, if not all, departments on campus are impacted, normal campus operations are interrupted, response and recovery activities continue for an extended period, and routine responses are insufficient. In a critical incident, both CMT and EOG are activated.

Incident levels may change, higher or lower, through the life cycle of the incident. A typical example is a fire or flood that results in damage to property, assets and/or impacts operations. The incident may originally be classified as critical incident, but may be deescalated to a serious or minor incident once the safety risks have been mitigated; i.e., “emergency” is over and regular operational units are able to commence with recovery operations. This would be characterized by a standing down of the EOG and CMT, and a change in incident command from Emergency Responders (Municipal Responders, Campus Security or Emergency Management), during the response phase to other operational units (Facilities Management, RMI, and Faculty) during the recovery and remediation phase.

Emergency Response Organizational Structure

The University of Calgary emergency response system is designed to manage all emergency response activities on university property. It is composed of the following major elements.

First Response Team (FRT) is the first line resource for all levels of emergency operations on university property.

The University Incident Commander, identified by a bright green vest and Incident Commander patch, will coordinate the first response activities, personnel, and communications at the emergency site. The team may be called upon to respond to off-site incidents involving the university as required. 

The First Response Team is the first level of decision-making within the university's emergency response organization and is responsible for all first line activities related to an emergency on university property. They coordinate activities of all university resources present at the scene of an emergency from the Incident Command Post. The University FRT will also coordinate with municipal emergency services personnel, mutual aid partners, and contract emergency response resources.

The Incident Management Taskforce (IMT) is the primary resource for supporting the University First Response Team in an emergency. The IMT will be activated for all Level 2 and 3 incidents.

The Incident Management Taskforce has the following functions:

  • provide direct support to the operations of the First Response Team 
  • evaluate and prepare for the impact of the emergency on the overall operation of the university
  • minimize the effects of the emergency on the rest of the university
  • communicate with municipal authorities
  • deal with regulatory agencies
  • manage all communications with media and public
  • long term planning for the emergency operation
  • plan for and initiate post-incident recovery operations
  • facilitates decision making and takes direction from the Crisis Management Team
  • maintains documentation on all decisions and actions of the IMT as well as acting as the archive for all documentation related to the individuals responding on-site at the emergency
  • operationalize the strategic decisions of the Crisis Management Team.

The Crisis Management Team (CMT) is the primary body for policy direction and interpretation for the university during a crisis. A partial or full activation of the Crisis Management Team will be required for all Level 2 and 3 incidents.

The Crisis Management Team has the following responsibilities:

  • provide support to the IMT
  • consider impacts of the emergency on the long term operation of the university in terms of reputation, government regulation, and service delivery
  • provide interpretation of university policy when needed
  • communicate with senior levels of government
  • provide spokesperson to media as required
  • communicate with other senior university officials and committees.