Administrative Policies

AD70 Emergency Management

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Brian Bittner, 814-867-3430,

Policy Steward: 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff


  • Purpose
  • Scope
  • Policy
  • Responsibilities
  • Further Information
  • Cross References

    To establish a policy concerning an all-hazards emergency management program at The Pennsylvania State University, prescribing actions that must be undertaken for the safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors, and for the protection of infrastructure, critical assets and services, compliant with applicable federal and state laws and regulations.  The framework of this policy includes program development and maintenance during normal business, activation in response to an emergency, and return to routine operations.


    This policy applies to all University locations.  In accordance with this Policy, each budget executive, is responsible for preparations and performance in their respective units.


    The University will create and maintain an Emergency Management program that integrates a campus-based, all-hazards emergency management effort.  The program will use the framework of the four phases of emergency management: planning, mitigation, response and recovery.  There will be a unified Emergency Management program for the University, but each Campus, College and Administrative unit must develop its own plans in support of the University program. In most cases these plans will consist of business continuity plans, but other plans may be required as applicable.

    An Emergency is defined as an event (expected or unexpected) that places life, property, or the environment in danger, and requires more than the routine public safety response.


    The Office of Emergency Management, under the direction of the Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Police Services, is responsible for:

    • Developing, updating and exercising the overall University Emergency Operations Plan;
    • Overseeing and coordinating emergency planning, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts at all locations;
    • Educating the community on how to best protect themselves by following all applicable regulations and best practices;
    • Facilitating exercises, and coordinating drills in support of the plans;
    • Notifying the community upon declaration of a state of emergency, including appropriate external Emergency Management Agencies; maintaining the University’s Emergency Operations Center; and,
    • Coordinating centralized resources with responsible personnel at locations away from University Park if an emergency is declared affecting those units.

    The Senior Vice President for Finance and Business, the President, Provost, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff and the Vice President for Administration, shall constitute the Emergency Management Executive Policy Group and provide subject matter policy and direction for the entire University. The Policy Group is also responsible for informing the Board of Trustees and providing timely status reports, as appropriate. The Senior Vice President for Finance and Business (or a delegated substitute in his/her absence) is responsible for declaring a state of emergency.  He/she may (depending on the circumstances) elect to exercise authority over an emergency at any University location, or to delegate responsibility for managing the situation to a Budget Executive. The Director of the Office of Emergency Management (or his/her designee) will lead the efforts in the Emergency Operations Center and implement the Emergency Operations Plan, as appropriate.  The Senior Vice President for Finance and Business may direct the replacement of the Director of Emergency Management.  The Senior Vice President for Finance and Business may also direct the opening or closing of the Emergency Operations Center.

    The Emergency Management Group is responsible for remaining updated about the state of the University’s readiness, and for responding if called to participate in the University’s Emergency Operations Center if activated.

    The Commonwealth Campus Crisis Management Team's primary role is to serve in the coordination, collaboration, and facilitation of emergency services and short-term recovery durint threats and events.

    The Budget Executives are responsible for:

    1. Ensuring that each operational unit under their area has developed, implemented and tested an emergency operation plan, and business continuity plan which have been reviewed and approved by the Office of Emergency Management; 
    2. Conducting training in their unit to ensure the operability of the plan and the awareness and responsiveness of faculty and staff; and,
    3. Commonwealth Campus Executives will ensure the Crisis Management Team is established at each location, and that it is appropriately staffed based on the needs of the Campus.


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact University Police & Public Safety.


    Other Policies in this Manual and external regulations should also be referenced, especially the following:

    SY01 - Environmental Health and Safety Policy

    SY03 - Emergencies Involving Students

    SY05 - Persons, Other Than Students or Employees, Who Are Injured or Become Ill on University Property

    SY28 - Emergency Evacuations and Fire Drills - Residence Halls

    Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5, Management of Domestic Incidents

    PEMA, Title 35 Health and Safety, Chapter 5, Emergency Management

    Higher Education Reauthorization Act of 2009

    Most Recent Changes:

    • April 26, 2022 - Editorial changes. Addition of Executive Policy Group membership. Addition of responsibilities or the Commonwealth Campuses and their leadership.

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    • October 8, 2018 - Updated link to PEMA, Title 35 Health and Safety, Chapter 5, Emergency Management.
    • February 27, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
    • May 29, 2013 - Editorial change in the RESPONSIBILITIES section, second paragraph, to include and specify the Vice President for Administration as part of the Emergency Management Executive Policy Group, to bring the policy into conformity with University emergency plans.
    • May 11, 2012 - Editorial change in the RESPONSIBILITIES section, revising the "Senior Vice President for Finance and Business" paragraph to (1) specify those comprising the Emergency Management Executive Policy Group, (2) to clarify responsibilities of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business (or a delegated substitute in his/her absence) and the Director of the Office of Emergency Management (or his/her designee).
    • September 13, 2011 - New policy.

    Date Approved: 

    September 12, 2011

    Date Published: 

    September 13, 2011

    Effective Date: 

    September 13, 2011