Emergency or Crisis Management Plan

If an individual is in need of immediate medical treatment, human lives are at risk or a crime is being committed (including acts of violence), first call Duke Police at 911 (if calling from a land line on Duke property) or 919-684-2444 (if calling from a cell phone). The acute situation should be managed first. Only after it is stabilized (or at the first opportunity) should the administrative channels of communication described in this document be implemented.

Connectivity with Duke University and Health System

Duke University (DU) has established an emergency management plan to prevent and respond to emergencies and crisis at the University and School levels. In addition, the Duke University Health System (DUHS) has an emergency plan given the unique complexities of a health system. The emergency management plan for the School of Nursing (SoN) must articulate with both the DU and DUHS plans.

The School of Nursing is connected to the Duke University emergency management process as well as the DUHS emergency leadership team by way of its Associate Dean, Finance and Administration (ADFA). The ADFA is a member of the Duke University Emergency Management Council which meets and communicates regularly to continually improve emergency and crisis planning across Duke. In the event of an emergency or crisis, the ADFA, with the Executive Vice Dean (EVD) as back-up, participates on the applicable DU or DUHS/DUMC emergency team and advises on SoN issues.

Faculty, staff and students should notify the ADFA as soon as possible after becoming aware of an emergency or crisis and it is safe to do so. Notification of the ADFA should occur:

  • Instances of personal injury while fulfilling obligations as a DUSON employee or student, locally or abroad.

  • Instance of personal injury of a visitor to a DUSON facility.

  • Any acts of violence or threats of violence by a DUSON employee or student while fulfilling their DUSON related obligations, or by a visitor to a DUSON facility, locally or abroad.

  • Any acts of violence or threats of violence against a DUSON employee or student while fulfilling their DUSON related obligations, or against a visitor to a DUSON facility, locally or abroad.

  • Any time the reputation of DUSON is at risk or could possibly be harmed as a result of negative publicity.

  • Significant damage or destruction of DUSON property, including facilities (for example, a flood or fire in one of our buildings, or damage from a storm)

When in doubt, please defer to caution and notify the ADFA.

SoN Emergency Leadership Team

The SoN has established an Emergency Leadership Team (ELT) to lead the management and mitigation of emergencies and crisis at the school level.

ELT Mission

The mission of the ELT is to provide leadership and to coordinate communications during and immediately after an emergency or crisis so that the effects of the emergency are minimized, with prioritization given to the safety of SoN people.

ELT Activation

Emergencies or crises can take varying forms and involve a full spectrum of severity. Some involve DU or DUHS activating its formal emergency plan due to a wide reaching crisis or emergency that potentially impacts all schools. Others are localized to the School of Nursing or its people. In some cases, the emergency involves injury, death, or a significant safety concern.

The ADFA of the SoN will determine when the ELT is to be activated. In the ADFA’s absence, the EVD will decide if the ELT should be convened. If the emergency is declared for the SoN and the ELT is activated, the ELT members will be contacted by the ADFA or designee.

The vast majority of SoN emergencies or crises do not require the activation of the ELT, but rather close coordination among members of the school’s ELT, other school leaders, and in some cases university or health system leaders/personnel. The ADFA makes the decision as to activation of the ELT based upon the response and structure that will create the best outcome in the particular crisis situation. Often this includes engaging the help of other ELT members, members of the ADFA’s staff, and/or other support departments within the SoN. The ADFA coordinates closely with the Dean in all crisis or emergency situations and will engage the Dean in decisions that should be made by her, when logistically possible.

ELT Membership

The SoN ELT consists of the Dean, ADFA, EVD, the Associate Deans responsible for Research, Academics, Global Affairs, Development/Alumni Affairs, and the Director of Marketing and Communications. This team will convene either in person (in the Command Center or via conference call). In case of a situation where the ADFA cannot be involved, the EVD will serve as the Incident Commander.

ELT Responsibilities
  1. Notify emergency response personnel if they have not already been notified, using the appropriate Duke University emergency management protocols.

  2. Coordinate with University officials based on the nature of the individual incident.

  3. Serve as a central point for incoming and outgoing information on the emergency or crisis.

  4. Develop an appropriate mechanism for communication of the emergency or crisis and update for internal constituencies.

  5. Determine the appropriate response to the situation.

  6. The first responsibility of supervisors and managers during a workplace emergency is to protect life and property by notifying the appropriate emergency response personnel (University police, fire) as appropriate to the situation. The ADFA should be notified within 30 minutes, or as early as possible, when any emergency response personnel are called due to an incident in the SoN, on its property, in its leased spaces or involving one of its employees or students. The ADFA or designee in communication with the ELT or applicable members of the ELT will determine the appropriate response to the situation.

The following provides an outline of position-specific responsibilities, as needed and applicable, of the SoN ELT members in the event of an emergency or crisis.

Position Responsibilities
Dean Overall responsibility for the school and makes strategic decisions in the event of an emergency or crisis. When logistically possible, the Associate Dean, Finance and Administration consults the Dean during the crisis or emergency about important decisions that impact the school.
Associate Dean, Finance and Administration (ADFA)

Establishes the basic policies and criteria for declaration of an emergency. Declares an emergency when required and is the highest level of authority during the emergency, serving as Incident Commander. Convenes the Emergency Leadership Team's opening meeting/conference call. Has authority and responsibility for SON matters during the emergency. Also has specific authority and responsibility for SON facility, administrative, human resources, IT, and business related issues during the emergency. Will consult with the Dean as needed. Orders implementation of SON emergency plans. Declares an end to the emergency and concluding dates for certain processes and procedures.

Executive Vice Dean Functions as back up to the ADFA during his absence and has back-up authority to activate the SON ELT during the ADAF's absence. When not serving as Incident Commander in the back up capacity, responsible for overall coordination of student and faculty issues, as well as working witht he other Associate Deans responsible for academics, research, or global affairs.
Associate Dean, Academic Affairs Has authority and responsibility for SON academic affairs related issues especially as it relates to faculty, students, classroom and clinical experiences, and impact upon class schedules.
Associate Dean, Research Affairs Has authority and responsibility for SON research related issues during the emergency.
Associate Dean, Global and Community Health Has authority and responsibility for SON international and community health related issues during the emergency.
Associate Dean, Development & Alumni Affairs Has authority and responsibility for representing alumni or significant donor issues as appropriate.
Assistant Dean, Marketing, Communications & Business Development Coordinates media inquiries and works with Duke Medicine and University communications officials to determine public relations strategies during an emergency. Responsible for writing and distributing all DUSON communications in an emergency.


Facility and Communications Items

Conference Room 3023

The designated Command Center in a declared emergency/when the ELT is activated. This room is equipped with red electrical outlets that are connected to back-up generator power. This room also has satellite TV connectivity with local and national news networks.

Conference Room 3088

The designated Call Center which would be implemented in a scenario during which we would expect a high volume of inbound telephone calls as a result of a crisis or emergency. This room is also equipped with red emergency power generator connectivity.


DUSON’s external facing website is connected to the DU web site so that DU communications officials are able to broadcast special emergency messages as a banner at the top of the DUSON webpage. Likewise, upon the direction of the Incident Commander, the Director of Marketing and Communications can broadcast a DUSON specific emergency message on a banner across our DUSON webpage and other appropriate communication channels.

Important Note About the Media

All media inquiries should be directed to the Director of Marketing & Communication’s office. This will help ensure that the media receive accurate and timely information.

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