Emergency Response

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


Emergency Response Levels

The University of Calgary has two emergency response levels.

Level 1: A situation exists that represents a danger to the university, however, it can be handled by the university First Response Team and first response from fire, police or ambulance. The expected duration of the emergency response phase is less than six hours.

Level 2:  A serious emergency or crisis exists that seriously affects the university community's safety, the environment, or operations and may be a direct and immediate threat to employees, students, visitors, or the public. It requires a significant response from the municipal emergency response agencies and is expected to have more than a six hour duration for emergency response. This level requires full activation of the Emergency Operations Group and a partial or full activation of the Crisis Management Team.


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.

The 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 Emergency Operations Group (EOG) is the primary resource for supporting the University First Response Team in an emergency. The EOG will be activated for all Level 2 incidents.

The Emergency Operations Group 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 EOG 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 incidents.

The Crisis Management Team has the following responsibilities:

  • provide support to the EOG
  • 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.

Business Continuity

Emergency response and business continuity planning is the process to ensure the appropriate response, continuation, and recovery of business functions in the event that an incident disrupts the university's ability to operate. Floods, fires, power outages, blizzards, major computer system outages, and water main breaks are examples of unanticipated events that can have a devastating impact on the university unless preparation has taken place.

The purpose of emergency response and business continuity planning is to document a preplanned sequence of tasks and resources to assist University of Calgary in the response and continuation of operations.

Business Disruptions

The information below presents examples of situations that may constitute business disruptions. Depending on the severity, these may lead to the activation of the Business Continuity Plan.

  • Police event resulting in extended evacuation
  • Facilities failure that causes business disruption
  • Extended unplanned evacuation
  • Floods or major winter leaks
  • Severe weather
  • Power outages
  • Fire

Not a Business Disruption

The information below presents examples of situations that do not constitute business disruptions.

  • Fire alarm with no evacuation
  • Medical emergency
  • Workplace violence threat (individual level)
  • Building alarm which pages facilities management directly
  • Planned evacuation drills
  • Minor building issues

Additional Teams and Plans

In addition to the Business Continuity Plan, there are other teams and plans available to assist with response and business continuity. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Crisis Management Plan (used by the Crisis Management Team)
  • Crisis Communications Plan (used by the Crisis Communication Team)
  • IT ERT/Disaster Recovery Plan (for recovering IT systems and functions)

The Business Continuity Plans are managed through the Emergency Management Sharepoint site, allowing departments to access and maintain their 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 Management SharePoint site and are kept in the Fire Safety Plan box located by the fire panel in every building.

Specific departments have been identified to complete a departmental Emergency Response Plan. All departments are required to have a Business Continuity Plan. These plans can be found on the Emergency Management SharePoint site.