Disasters or emergencies can happen suddenly, creating a situation in which specific buildings, areas of campus or the entire campus may need to be evacuated. To address such emergencies, the University of Missouri (MU) has established an Emergency Management Plan (EMP), which provides a guideline for the management of the immediate action and operations required to respond to potential threats requiring evacuation for protection of students, faculty, staff and visitors.
The purpose of an evacuation order allows MU to save lives, minimize injuries, preserve a functioning administration, and maintain activities essential to their survival and recovery from natural and man-made hazards. An evacuation order establishes the procedures for conducting efficient, effective, coordinated emergency operations involving the use of all resources belonging to the University or available to it.
The University of Missouri is a land grant university that covers over 1,300 acres of land in Columbia, Missouri. With a student population of approximately 35,000 and a full- and part- time workforce of approximately 13,000; the University of Missouri campus is a city within a city. MU has an internationally accredited Police Department, which is trained in responding to numerous types of emergencies. Mutual-aid agreements exist with numerous public-safety agencies across the State, which can be implemented in the event of an emergency.
MU with its various departments, resources, training, and mutual-aid agreements is well- equipped to respond to an evacuation should one be required. In the event that internal resources require additional support in responding to an emergency, MU may request assistance from the City of Columbia, the County of Boone and the State of Missouri.
The Chancellor of the University of Missouri campus is ultimately responsible for emergency management activities within the boundaries of the university. The Vice-Chancellor for Operations is responsible for maintaining and implementing the Emergency Management Plan. The Chancellor, his designee or the Chief of Police may issue a partial or complete campus evacuation order to protect life.
An evacuation order is based on the concept that a partial or full evacuation of the campus will remove people from potential danger and enhance the capabilities of responders to stabilize the situation. The order will contain specific locations to be evacuated and an evacuation reception area will be designated. The MU Alert web page will continually be updated providing the most current information and guidance about the situation as it develops.
Large public venues as well as individual buildings have evacuation plans in place should they be needed. Employees within these large venues and buildings should familiarize themselves with evacuation plans, emergency exits and evacuation rally points in order to assist others not familiar with the evacuation procedure. All individuals should rely on the MU Alert website for updated information about the emergency situation.
MU has established four phases of activities to assist in the implementation of the EMP.
- Mitigation. Activities are undertaken by individuals/departments to improve their capabilities to respond to a potential emergency and fulfill assigned responsibilities. The purpose of mitigation is to identify potential hazards to engineer structures to minimize the potential for damage.
- Preparedness. Activities are undertaken by individuals/departments to increase their readiness posture during periods of heightened risk.
- Response. Activities are undertaken by individuals/departments to respond to an occurrence that threatens or harms faculty, staff, students, visitors and/or property.
- Recovery. Activities are undertaken by individuals/departments to provide for the welfare of the faculty, staff and students following a disaster and/or emergency.
The Emergency Management Plan is organized into a Basic Plan and Annexes. Each Annex addresses a specific functional area and outlines in a more detailed manner the responsibilities and operation of that function.
The Functional Areas with applicable Annexes are:
- Annex A. Policy & Direction
- Annex B. Communications Systems and Warning
- Annex C. Damage Assessment & Incident Analysis
- Annex D. Crisis Communication (Public Information)
- Annex E. Law Enforcement, Safety & Security
- Annex F. Fire and Rescue
- Annex G. Resource Management
- Annex H. Hazardous Materials Response
- Annex I. Facilities and Infrastructure
- Annex J. Evacuation & Transportation
- Annex K. Campus Shelter
- Annex L. Health and Medical
The Chancellor and the executive policy group will collaborate on evacuation decisions and distribute evacuation orders through campus alert and warning systems.
The Vice Chancellor for Operations at MU is responsible for the designating an Incident Commander or Critical Incident Coordinator. The Incident Commander or Critical Incident Coordinator is responsible for all emergency management activities including the implementation of the EMP and directing emergency evacuation activities within university boundaries.
An Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated and staffed when there is: a potential for an emergency condition to arise, for example in the case of severe weather; an emergency situation has occurred; or in any situation where it is necessary for the operations of the University to be conducted out of a single location.
Lines of succession have been created within the EMP to ensure that the emergency response activities of MU may be carried on in the event of key personnel not being available to respond. In the event circumstances resulting from an emergency prevent a department from performing effective operations, the Critical Incident Coordinator, thru mutual-aid agreements, will request assistance from outside emergency response and support agencies as appropriate.
An annual review of the EMP is conducted under the auspices of the Vice Chancellor for Operations in conjunction with the campus departments and organizations assigned responsibility for implementation of the plan. Evacuation plans for large venues and buildings are updated annually by the venue manager or building coordinator.
Frequent exercises of the plan are conducted throughout the year. These exercises provide practical controlled operations experience to those individuals who would have responsibilities in the emergency operations center should a real-life emergency occur. In addition, these exercises help facilitate the review of the emergency operation plan and its Annexes.