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Phases of an Emergency

All major incidents have four distinct phases that require special management skills. Green Mountain College Campus Security, and Green Mountain College departments (when appropriate) will to the extent feasible and appropriate use terms and a concept of operations as outlined in the National Incident Management System (NIMS), as referenced in Presidential Homeland Security Directive 5.

Crisis Phase
The crisis phase is often characterized by confusion, panic, “rush” to the scene, and “gridlock.” The goal of the first-responding College official in the crisis phase is to:

  • Limit the growth of the incident;

  • Promote the safety of the community and first responders; and

  • Stabilize the scene.

The first-responding College official at an emergency will assume the role of Incident Commander at the scene, until relieved by a supervisor or appropriate first response personnel. Priority tasks include:

  • Establish communications and control;

  • Identify any “danger zone”;

  • Establish an inner perimeter to secure the “danger zone”;

  • Establish an outer perimeter to control access to the entire scene;

  • Establish a command post;

  • Establish a staging area;

  • Make (in explicit or implicit terms) an initial categorization of the Level of the incident, using the categories described above; and

  • Request needed resources, depending on the perceived Level of the incident.

Scene Management Phase
Emergencies present particular challenges for the College, since there is often a need for multi-agency coordination, not just among GMC departments, but with local, state, and/or federal resources, as well. If it is determined that an incident may continue for a longer duration, then the College would transition to a scene management phase. The primary goal of scene management is to gain control. If warranted during this phase, the Emergency Operations Group may establish an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to further manage the event (see below).

Executive Management Phase
A transition to the executive management phase occurs when the size, scope and seriousness of the event is such that it cannot be managed effectively by the scene command personnel, and/or it is deemed appropriate to implement executive management under the circumstances. Level 4 and 5 emergencies are most likely to require this phase. This phase will necessitate the establishment of an Emergency Operations Center and activation of the Emergency Policy Group (see below for definitions).

Termination Phase
Once the incident has been resolved and order restored, this phase ensures scene integrity. During this phase, a plan is developed for a smooth transition to normal operations by coordinating with other relevant university, federal, state, county, and local organizations. Personnel involved in the incident may be directed to prepare an after-action report and a review of the incident. Counseling support should be available to any staff involved in the incident.

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