Universities face a variety of risks, such as violent weather, threats to health, criminal acts, IT outages, or damage to facilities. These emergencies can disrupt teaching, research and public service.
While some university departments are tasked with emergency response, such as the UMass Boston Police Department, most departments initially respond to emergencies on campus by either evacuating or following the instructions of first responders. When an emergency takes place and the university is closed or has limited access, departments should refer to their individual continuity of operations plans. Continuity planning is defined as an effort to define potential risks, determine how those risks will affect the operations of our campus, and implement safeguards designed to diminish those risks.
Continuity planning is done before the emergency happens. Planning helps to:
- Prioritize actions to take before, during and after a disruptive event occurs.
- Identify key resources and dependencies (such as equipment, supplies & facilities) needed.
- Foster efficient communication between department members in the event of an emergency.
Several steps you can take as an individual are described in the following checklists for instructors and researchers. More far-reaching efforts should be thoroughly planned by departments and dean’s offices with guidance from the Provost’s Office. The Provost’s Office oversees the implementation of instructional, research and academic continuity planning. Academic departments should work with their Deans’ Offices to coordinate continuity plans for classes and laboratories. We encourage you to check with your department about continuity planning.
For assistance, please contact the Office of Emergency Management and Business Continuity at 617.287.5104.