Trinity Emergency Plan

This emergency plan for Trinity College of Arts & Sciences (TCA&S) outlines actions the TCA&S department operations team should take to respond to incidents including accidents, severe weather, fires, explosions, and floods, hazardous materials releases, extended power outages, mass casualty events, and potential or actual terrorism events. It also applies to emergencies in the larger Duke community that could affect TCA&S staff, faculty, students, programs, and facilities.

This protocol is part of the larger Duke University Emergency Management Plan created to prevent and respond to emergencies, protect students, faculty, and staff, secure infrastructure, and guard physical and reputational integrity. Departmental operations team should follow the lead established at the university level during emergency response. 

Emergency Response Procedure

Step 1 Gain Situational Awareness

Gain situational awareness (hazards, safety and/or operational concerns) to determine the severity, scope and potential duration of the emergency.

Step 2 Alert First Responders

Alert First responders in order to safeguard human life, safety and health, and the material assets of the university through the following:

  • Accident or Medical Emergency: Call Duke Police immediately by dialing 911 from a campus telephone line, 919-684-2444 from a cell phone, or using the LiveSafe app.
  • Crime/Violence: Call Duke Police immediately by dialing 911 from a campus telephone line, 919-684-2444 from a cell phone, or using the LiveSafe app.
  • Explosion, Fire, Flood: Call Duke Police immediately by dialing 911 from a campus telephone line, 919-684-2444 from a cell phone, or using the LiveSafe app; evacuate according to policy posted for individual locations. 
  • Information Technology Breaches: Report immediately to Ed Gomes (Trinity Technology Services) at and 919-724-7283.
  • Power Outage or Severe Weather Impact:  Call Duke Police immediately by dialing 911 from a campus telephone line, 919-684-2444 from a cell phone, or using the LiveSafe app; alert Cathy Carter at 919-660-3041 or at
  • Mental Health Issues:  Contact DukeReach ( or using the LiveSafe app; at 919-681-2455 or page the Dean-on-Call 919-970-4169 to assist students who need psychological counseling. Staff and faculty seeking psychological counseling will be referred to Personal Assistance Service (PAS) at 919-416-1727 and

Step 3 Notify Trinity Crisis Management

Notify Trinity Crisis Management members as follows:

Step 4 Crisis Management Team Co-Chairs Continue Notification

The Trinity Crisis Management Lead will continue to notify central Duke and Trinity College senior administration.

  1. Notify Duke’s Emergency Coordinator or designee
  2. Notify senior administration in Trinity College

Step 5 Duke Emergency Coordinator Assessment

The Duke Emergency Coordinator will grade the incident as a Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3, which dictates how the situation will be managed and what resources will be involved.

Step 6 Emergency Recovery Operations

The exact steps for returning to normal operations will depend on the emergency and will be dictated by the Office of the Dean in collaboration with the Duke Emergency Coordinator.


Policy & Priorities

In the event of an emergency or crisis, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences (TCA&S) will:

  • Place the highest priority and concern on human life, safety, and health
  • Be compassionate, caring, and make every effort to address the needs of our faculty, staff, students and visitors
  • Be open, straightforward, and accessible
  • Consider all stakeholders in our actions, keeping them fully abreast of the situation through normal channels, to the best of our ability
  • Acknowledge appropriate responsibility immediately
  • Make crisis response and all associated elements the top priority during a crisis event.

Priorities that must always be addressed when managing any crisis event:

  1. First Priority: Ensure the life/safety of all employees and visitors
  2. Second Priority: Stabilize the situation through reestablishment of essential organizational services
  3. Third Priority: Reduce confusion and misinformation by following a clearly defined chain of communication and response

TCA&S Crisis Management Plan & Team

TCA&S will maintain a Crisis Management Plan and a Crisis Management Team (CMT).

Crisis Management Team & Responsibilities

The CMT will be comprised of a senior administration member, facilities support staff for the area impacted, representatives from Trinity departments and programs, as well as the Duke University Emergency Management Team.

The CMT will be co-chaired by the Associate Dean for Communications AND the Office of Facilities and will be advised by the Duke University Emergency Coordinator, as required. During a crisis, representation on the crisis management team may vary according to the crisis at hand. TCA&S abides by Duke University’s Emergency Management Plan.

The CMT Co-Chairs will develop, exercise, and maintain the processes, procedures, and tools necessary to effectively and efficiently manage through any crisis situation that may arise. Team responsibilities include:

  • Acting quickly
  • Obtaining all relevant facts regarding the situation
  • Considering impact to all key audiences (internal and external)
  • Establishing goals to defuse/remedy the situation
  • Engaging assistance, if necessary
  • Communicating with key audiences as needed

Appropriate crisis reporting, tracking, documentation, and post‐crisis review practices will be implemented and adhered to. The CMT will work closely with leadership at the emergency “site” during any crisis and ensure mutual coordination.

Crisis Management Plan

Senior Administration and Facilities leadership will assure that all Trinity College of Arts & Sciences units have developed and implemented local Emergency Response and Evacuation Plans. This Plan is an evolving operational document; departures from this plan in actual crisis/emergency/disaster are likely to be appropriate and will be reviewed and revised based upon lessons learned from new events and/or exercises and/or changes in standards or best practice

Objectives of the Plan

The objectives of our plan include the following:

  1. Identify and assess vulnerabilities and hazards which may have a direct or indirect impact on the organization;
  2. Strategic planning for emergency response, business continuity, and disaster recovery;
  3. Ensure the safety and security of faculty, staff, students and visitors;
  4. Maintain the continuity of our research and teaching services, products, and operations;
  5. Effectively manage disaster assets and resources;
  6. Provide relevant training based upon staff knowledge and lessons learned; and
  7. Integrate the TCA&S Crisis Management Plan with the broader Duke University Emergency Management Plan.

Emergency response will address four phases of emergency (crisis) management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, which are defined below:

  • Mitigation activities are taken to reduce the risk of and lessen the impact due to a crisis.
  • Preparedness activities are taken to organize and mobilize essential resources to a crisis before one occurs (i.e. training, obtaining and storing emergency supplies).
  • Response strategies and actions are activated to respond to the crisis when it occurs
  • Recovery strategies and actions are taken during and after the crisis to restore systems critical to resuming normal operations. Considerations of recovery should begin early in the response phase and can extend into a long‐term period after a major event.

Emergency Levels

Duke University utilizes a tiered response structure that encourages local management of incidents and coordinated communication involving senior leadership. It operates on three levels:

Level 3 ‐ Incidents that have limited impact on the university and can be managed through routine protocols and procedures within a department or center of activity. Examples include flooding of a building, fire alarm, electrical failure, arrest/criminal activity (with limited visibility/reputation impact), etc.

Level 2 ‐ Incidents that have the potential to have a broader impact or that require cooperation among units to effectively manage and resolve them and that require adaptation of routine procedures. Examples include bomb threat, gas leak in building, fire, arrest/criminal activity (with modest visibility/reputation impact), etc.

Level 1 ‐ Incidents that present substantial risk to the community or the university’s resources and reputation and that present a substantial degree of novelty. Examples include tornado, winter weather, armed and dangerous individual, chemical spill, arrest/criminal activity (with high visibility/reputation impact), research fraud with high reputation impact, etc.


Employee Responsibilities

It is the expectation of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences for employees to report any potential or developing crisis up through line management so that an appropriate response can be made. Management should quickly analyze the situation, then alert the appropriate authorities. This response may also include the activation of the TCA&S Crisis Management Plan & Team.

What to do in an Emergency

For specific steps on what to do in case of an emergency, employees are asked to review Duke guidelines:

  • Tornadoes
  • Armed Intruder
  • Winter Weather
  • Hurricane
  • Evacuation
  • Extreme Heat
  • Fire
  • Hazmat

How Campus Emergencies are Communicated

To stay informed about emergencies and/or potential situations, review the Duke Emergency Response Procedure which outlines how information is distributed:

  • Outdoor siren system
  • Text messaging (opt in system; sign up for DukeALERT text messages)
  • Email
  • Duke Emergency Website & alert bar on Duke-hosted sites
  • Direct contact
  • LiveSafe App

LiveSafe App

You are also encouraged to download as use the LiveSafe app, which is free for Duke students, staff and faculty. LiveSafe allows community members to submit various real-time tips through the touch of a button – everything from assault/abuse to suspicious activity – to Duke Police, which monitors messages 24/7 in its dispatch center. With the “SafeWalk” feature, the app uses GPS technology that enables individuals to invite others to “virtually escort” and monitor their location on a real-time map.