View Current

Critical Incident Response Group Procedure

This is the current version of this document. You can provide feedback on this policy to the document author - refer to the Status and Details on the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Procedure has been developed to specifically target members of Charles Sturt University's (University's) Emergency Planning Committee, campus based Critical Incident Response Groups and other members within the Emergency Control Organisation at the University. It is designed to be a practical guide that will assist members from these Groups in responding appropriately to an incident or a traumatic event which does or is likely to cause significant physical and/or emotional distress to staff and/or students. A critical incident can also include an event that by its nature will or could possibly cause the reputation of Charles Sturt University to come under negative public scrutiny or reaction. This document establishes basic procedures and reporting systems that covers preventative measures, immediate responses, and follow-up actions to deal with both the immediate consequences and the longer term implications of a critical incident.

(2) Implementation of an appropriate response in accordance with this Procedure is the responsibility of the campus based Critical Incident Response Groups that are led by the Chief Warden. In the event that an emergency also results in a critical incident being proclaimed, the Emergency Control Organisation hierarchy will be activated and the Chief Warden will manage the emergency at a local level while the Head of Campus manages the non-emergency issues associated with the critical incident and will also liaise with the University's Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Team as required.

(3) This Procedure must be read in conjunction with other University manuals and administrative procedures, specifically the Emergency Control Organisation Policy and Site Emergency Procedures.

(4) The Emergency Control Organisation Policy is the principal document that empowers the establishment of the organisational wide Emergency Planning Committee's and the Critical Incident Response Groups on each campus, which combined with the Emergency Control Organisation at each University premise represent the University's Critical Incident and Emergency response management framework.

Scope

(5) This Procedure applies to members of the University's Emergency Planning Committee, Critical Incident Response Group and other members within the Emergency Control Organisation on Australian University Premises.

Top of Page

Section 2 - Glossary

(6) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Critical Incident - means a traumatic event, or the threat of such (within or outside Australia) which has the potential to harm life or well-being and causes extreme stress, fear or injury to the person experiencing or witnessing the event. A critical incident may take place either on or off a University Premise.
  2. Critical Incident Response Group - is created on University Premises as determined by the Emergency Planning Committee to plan and organise responses to Critical Incidents in accordance with this Procedure.
  3. Presiding Officer, Emergency Planning Committee - is the officer appointed by the Executive Director, Division of Facilities Management to manage and coordinate the general activities of the Emergency Planning Committee and Critical Incident Response Groups. The Presiding Officer, Emergency Planning Committee may also be required to participate in the University's Crisis Management Team to assist with the management and response to a crisis at an organisational level as well as liaise with the University's Business Continuity Planning Group.
  4. Chief Warden - is the person who has overall control in the event of an emergency, providing leadership to the emergency control organisation and implementing the appropriate response. The Chief Warden may also be involved in the recovery phase, to coordinate activities to support the return to normal business operations.
  5. Chief Incident Controller - is the person appointed the Presiding Officer of the Emergency Planning Committee by the Executive Director, Division of Facilities Management. The Chief Incident Controller may be required to assume overall control of a significant critical incident, providing leadership to the relevant Chief Warden, Critical Incident Response Group and senior management. The Chief Incident Controller may also be involved in the recovery phase, coordinating activities between senior management and the Critical Incident Response Group's to support the return to normal business operations.
  6. Command Centre Controller - is a member of the Critical Incident Response Group appointed, as required, by the Chief Warden to manage the Command Centre activities and to ensure the information exchange between the Incident Command Centre and the Chief Warden is timely and accurate.
  7. Command Centre - is a defined facility which provides the members of Critical Incident Response Group and possibly essential services staff with the physical and technological resources to effectively fulfil their role to manage an effective response to an emergency or critical incident.
  8. Crisis - means any emergency or critical incident that is beyond the capacity or the delegated authority of the campus Critical Incident Response Group to successfully manage, or a series of events that have the potential to seriously damage an organisation's people, operations or reputation.
  9. Crisis Management - is the development of a system to minimise the impact of a crisis on an organisation's people, operations and reputation and to assist an organisation to recover from such an extreme event.
  10. Crisis Management Team - means the team that will be formed to manage an extreme event as defined by crisis above. The composition and function of the Crisis Management Team is detailed in the Proposed Crisis Management Structure at CSU.
  11. Emergency - is a sudden, unexpected event that requires an immediate response from internal and external emergency services. Emergency management is the development of effective incident response systems focused on controlling the event.
  12. Emergency Control Organisation - is a person or persons appointed by the Emergency Planning Committee to direct and control the implementation of the facilities emergency response procedures.
  13. Emergency Planning Committee - is the Committee of persons responsible for the documentation and maintenance of the emergency plan including the establishment and maintenance of the University's Emergency Control Organisation and Critical Incident Response Groups.
  14. Emergency Services - are the public organisations that respond to and deal with emergencies when they occur, especially the Ambulance Service, Police Service, Fire and Rescue Services and the State Emergency Services (SES) relevant to your state or territory.
  15. Safer Community Scheme - is a central process of enquiry for information, advice and support in managing inappropriate, concerning or threatening behaviours. Safer Community staff will provide leadership and support in all stages of responding to complex and sensitive situations.
  16. Site Emergency Plan - means the written documentation of the emergency arrangement for a facility generally made during the planning process. It consists of the preparedness, prevention and response activities and includes the agreed emergency roles, responsibilities, strategies, systems and arrangements.
  17. Staff - means all continuing, fixed term, casual or contract employees of the University
  18. Student - means a person who has been accepted for admission to or enrolled in any course or program offered at, or in conjunction with Charles Sturt University, or whose body of work, completed whilst so enrolled (eg. a research thesis), is still under examination.
  19. University Campus - means a facility or location where the University Council has resolved to approve the designation of the location as a 'Campus' under the University Act. Our campus locations within NSW and ACT are Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Canberra, Dubbo, Goulburn, Orange, Parramatta, Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga.
  20. University Premises - means any land which is owned, controlled, managed or occupied by the University together with any building, construction or facility of any kind (whether permanent or temporary) on that land and also includes any other building, construction or facility which is under the control or management of, or which is occupied by the University. This excludes any building sites under the control of a head contractor.
  21. Visitor - means any person who is not a student or member of staff but who accesses University Premises.
Top of Page

Section 3 - Policy

(7) Refer to the Emergency Control Organisation Policy

Top of Page

Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Critical Incident Management

(8) A critical incident requires a considered, coordinated and timely response from the University to prevent the situation from significantly worsening and to minimise future adverse ramifications. Critical incidents may be physical, such as major fires, floods or the release of chemical, biological or radioactive substances, or they may be less tangible such as a political issue with potential to significantly damage the University's reputation such as a breach of animal ethics, etc.

(9) Assessment of an incident must take into account both the reaction of the individual or individuals directly affected and the wider ranging effects on members of the University community at large. It should also be noted that people react in different ways, both in their immediate and in their longer term responses to events.

(10) In assessing a critical incident, consideration must be given to the prevailing factors and mood of staff and/or students at the time of the incident. For example, if a major incident such as vandalism or assault has occurred in a specific building and this is followed soon after by a minor incident such as petty theft in the same building, the second minor incident may well produce additional stress for the people involved. In this case, the second incident should be regarded as a critical incident although normally petty theft would be regarded as minor.

(11) Some examples of critical incidents:

  1. any fatality, near fatality or incident likely to seriously affect a number of staff and/or students;
  2. serious/traumatic traffic incidents;
  3. murder or suicide (or attempt) involving students/staff and their family members;
  4. physical or sexual assault;
  5. injury or death of a colleague;
  6. fire, explosion, bomb threat; unintentional release of chemical, biological or radioactive substances;
  7. hold-up or attempted robbery;
  8. threats of violence to staff/students;
  9. major theft or vandalism;
  10. incidents involving pain or abuse of children;
  11. sights, sounds, or smells that cause distress to students and/or staff;
  12. storms/natural disasters;
  13. technical failure that significantly impedes business continuity;
  14. an incident that has the potential to have a negative impact on the University's reputation; and
  15. public health matter - contagious disease subject to mandatory notification.

Part B - Crisis Management

(12) Crisis Management is the development of a system to minimise the impact of a crisis on an organisation's people, operations and reputation and to assist an organisation to recover from such an extreme event.

(13) At present there exists a range of policies and processes that covers many aspects of the Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery phases of emergency and disaster management. These processes include but are not limited to: risk and threat assessment, risk mitigation, emergency preparation and response, and business continuity planning.

(14) The Emergency Planning Committee has recommended that the existing University processes be integrated to form a crisis management framework that would be governed by a high level Crisis Management Committee. Please refer to the Proposed Crisis Management Structure at CSU for further details.

(15) In the absence of a formal crisis management framework it is incumbent upon members of the responding Critical Incident Response Group to seek senior level support on a case by case basis.

(16) What is the distinction between an emergency, critical incident and a crisis?

  1. An Emergency is a sudden, unexpected event that requires an immediate response from internal and external emergency services. Emergency management is the development of effective incident response systems focused on controlling the event.
  2. A Critical Incident is defined as a traumatic event which does or is likely to, cause extreme physical and/or emotional distress to staff and/or students and may be regarded as outside the normal range of experience of the people affected. A critical incident may take place either on or off University Premises.
  3. A Crisis can be any emergency or critical incident that is beyond the capacity or the delegated authority of the campus Critical Incident Response Groups to successfully manage, or a series of events that have the potential to seriously damage an organisation's people, operations or reputation.

Part C - Disaster Management

(17) As history indicates, at some point in the future, the members of the Critical Incident Response Groups will be involved with the management of a significant event or a disaster in our regions that will be broader than just the University. In an event of this scale the normal range and response times from emergency responders and suppliers will be prioritised by either the Local Emergency Management Controller (LEOCON) or the District Emergency Operations Controller (DEOCON).

(18) In preparation for such an event it is important that the Critical Incident Response Groups understand how the University is required to integrate with the NSW Disaster Recovery Plan (DISPLAN) and the broader disaster management network. It is recommended that this process be documented in a Business Continuity Plan by each of the Campus Critical Incident Response Groups.

(19) For the purposes of this Procedure, 'disaster' means an emergency due to an actual or imminent occurrence (such as fire, flood, storm, earthquake, explosion, terrorist act, accident, epidemic or warlike action) which:

  1. endangers, or threatens to endanger, the safety or health of persons or animals in the State; or
  2. destroys or damages, or threatens to destroy or damage, any property in the State, being an emergency which requires a significant and co-ordinated response.

(20) For the purposes of the definition of emergency, property in the State or Territory includes any part of the environment in the State or Territory. For example, a reference in the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 (NSW) refers to:

  1. threats or danger to property includes a reference to threats or danger to the environment; and
  2. the protection of property includes a reference to the protection of the environment.

Part D - Emergency Control Organisation Structure

(21) The University's Emergency Control Organisation has been established in accordance with Australian Standard AS 3745 'Planning for Emergencies in Facilities' and provides members with guidance to the planning for, and management of emergency and critical incident situations across all University Premises.

(22) Appendix 2 demonstrates how the Emergency Control Organisation is structured at the University and the relationship between the Emergency Planning Committee, Critical Incident Response Group's and the campus emergency structure (wardens).

(23) If an emergency is declared, the campus based emergency structure will implement an appropriate response to emergency situations in accordance with the Site Emergency Procedures Manual. In the event that the campus emergency generates into a critical incident, the Emergency Control Organisation hierarchy will come into effect and the Critical Incident Response Group will manage the incident at the local level, liaising with the University's Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Team as required.

Emergency Planning Committee

(24) The Emergency Planning Committee is responsible for establishing and maintaining University Emergency Control Organisations and Critical Incident Response Groups. The Emergency Planning Committee sets the strategic direction, and standards in emergency and critical incident management at the University through policy, guidelines and template plans. For further detail on the functions of the Emergency Planning Committee refer to the Emergency Control Organisation Policy and the Division of Facilities Management Emergency Planning web page.

Emergency Planning Committee Authority and Indemnity

(25) During an Emergency or emergency exercise, pending the arrival of the Emergency Services, Emergency Control Organisation personnel shall have absolute authority to issue instructions to evacuate all persons from buildings and / or other areas of the University's Premises.

(26) Emergency Control Organisation personnel have the benefit of an indemnity from the University against civil liability resulting from things done, or omitted to be done, when carrying out their duties as Emergency Control Organisation personnel, for example, actions taken in an emergency evacuation of a building, provided those personnel act in good faith and in the course of carrying out their emergency control duties.

Emergency Management Governance within the Charles Sturt University Context

(27) The Safety Management Committee's Structures summarises the existing safety management committee structures that exist at the University.

Note: The Emergency Planning Committee will continue to work towards the creation of an integrated emergency and business continuity management framework where Risk and Threat Management, Emergency and Critical Incident Management and Business Continuity Planning are considered as an integrated process.

(28) The Presiding Officer, Emergency Planning Committee shall be appointed by the Executive Director, Division of Facilities Management to manage and coordinate the general activities of the EPC and Critical Incident Response Groups.

(29) The Presiding Officer of the Emergency Planning Committee may also be required to participate in the University's Crisis Management Team to assist with the management and response to a crisis at an organisational level as well as liaise with the organisation's Business Continuity Planning Group.

Part E - Critical Incident Response Group

(30) The Critical Incident Response Group on each campus is designed to be the core of the University's response to an incident occurring on that specific campus or nominated University Premise. However, it is the responsibility of the Chief Warden (or nominated Deputy Chief Warden), to determine whether or not the incident is a Critical Incident as defined in clause (16) b. and, if so deemed, to put into operation the Critical Incident Response Group to enact the Site Emergency Procedure.

Role of the Critical Incident Response Groups

(31) The Critical Incident Response Group has the role on each campus and nominated University Premise of formulating and implementing specific critical incident management plans to the standards set by the Emergency Planning Committee that will provide for a coordinated response to Critical Incidents that may occur.

(32) The Critical Incident Response Group will review procedures and plans and enable ongoing training.

Role of Critical Incident Response Group in an Incident

(33) The functions of the Critical Incident Response Group during a Critical Incident will include coordination, implementation, supervision, and liaison as outlined in Parts C and D of this Procedure.

Role of the Critical Incident Response Group in a Disaster

(34) The role of the Critical Incident Response Group during a Disaster is to collaborate with the appointed Local District Emergency Operations Controller for the Local Government Area.

Critical Incident Response Group Terms of Reference

(35) Members of the Critical Incident Response Group are responsible for:

  1. formulating, implementing and amending the University Campus Emergency and Critical Incident plans;
  2. ensuring a consistent approach to Emergency and Critical Incident management at the University Campus level;
  3. coordination and administration of the resource allocation at the University Campus level;
  4. managing the many facets of a response to an Emergency and/or Critical Incident to its successful completion;
  5. measuring the effectiveness of the Crisis Management plan against set performance indicators;
  6. ensuring that all positions on the Critical Incident Response Group are filled and personnel receive ongoing training;
  7. arranging for the conduct of Critical Incident exercises;
  8. creating awareness of the Critical Incident Response Group and its role to the relevant University senior executive; and
  9. fostering and maintaining a relationship with other appropriate external organisations.

Critical Incident Response Group Membership

(36) The composition of the Critical Incident Response Group may vary from campus to campus, however it is recommended that wherever possible the membership should be structured as follows:

Positions

  1. Presiding Officer, Chief Warden; Division of Facilities Management
  2. Deputy Chief Warden (Alternate Presiding Officer) Client Services Coordinator, Division of Facilities Management or Chief Warden's Nominee;
  3. Head of Campus;
  4. Manager, Residential Operations, Residence Life;
  5. Head of Campus Executive Officer or Nominee;
    Nominees with appropriate delegations from:
  6. Executive Director, Human Resources;
  7. Executive Director, Division of Information Technology;
  8. Chief Financial Officer;
  9. Dean of Students;
  10. Executive Director, Division of Marketing and Communication;
  11. Executive Director, Division of Student Administration; and
  12. Academic member representative.

(37) Campuses that are unable to appoint 'full' membership shall join resources with an appropriate campus that can provide such support and resources.

Roles and Responsibilities of Critical Incident Response Group Members

Chief Warden

(38) On arrival at the scene of a Critical Incident, the Chief Warden will be responsible for the assessment and coordination of responses to the incident, and other staff members may be co-opted as necessary to deal with specific incidents. For example, the Residential Advisors would be a most valuable resource in any incident that might involve students who are on-campus residents.

Chief Warden authority in an Emergency

(39) In a declared Emergency or Critical Incident the Chief Warden shall assume control of the situation and the Chief Warden's directions shall take precedence over the normal chain of command protocols until such time as the Chief Warden determines it is safe to return to the normal chain of command or is directed to do so by the Vice-Chancellor or representative after control has been handed back from the lead Emergency Services Agency.

(40) The International Student Advisor on each campus shall be contacted if the incident involves an international student or students.

(41) The Chief Warden will declare an Emergency and or Critical Incident as the circumstances dictate.

(42) The Chief Warden shall liaise closely with other relevant members of the Critical Incident Response Group to ensure that students and staff who demonstrate behaviours that might place themselves or others at risk have been identified.

(43) The Chief Wardens shall be available 24/7 to respond to incidents and invoke the campus Critical Incident Response Group as required. Critical Incident Response Group members shall ensure that a trained deputy is available to cover their role during absences from duty.

Deputy Chief Warden

(44) The Deputy Chief Warden shall assist the Chief Warden in all aspects of the Critical Incident Response Group and Emergency Control Organisation management.

(45) In the absence of the Chief Warden the Deputy Chief Warden may also be required to substitute as the Chief Warden if circumstances so require.

(46) In some cases the nominated Chief Warden for a particular campus may be remote to that campus or site making the formation of a fully resourced Emergency Control Organisation problematic. Where this situation exists the relevant Chief Warden shall nominate a Deputy Chief Warden for that campus who will act, for all intent and purpose, as the Chief Warden during a practice or declared Critical Incident or Emergency.

Command Centre Controller

(47) Where required the Command Centre Controller shall be appointed by the Chief Warden to manage the proceedings at the Incident Command Centre and to co-ordinate the transfer of information to the Chief Warden at the site of the emergency.

(48) The Command Centre Controller (CCC) shall usually be appointed from the membership of the local Critical Incident Response Group.

(49) Where the Chief Warden is not required at the site of the emergency the appointment of an Incident Controller may not be necessary.

Head of Campus

(50) The Head of Campus' are designated as Official University Spokespersons (refer to Media Policy Part F) and as such are authorised to engage with the media or issue a media statement during a Critical Incident. They shall liaise closely with the University's Media Officer (Moff) to ensure the communications surrounding a Critical Incident are timely, accurate and accessible.

(51) While it is the Chief Warden's role to manage the Emergency at the front line, it is the Head of Campus'responsibility to manage and coordinate the related issues resulting from the emergency to ensure that the functions and procedures of the Critical Incident Response Group and this Procedure are implemented.

(52) Importantly, during the Emergency the Head of Campus is also the key management link between the Critical Incident Response Group and the University's Senior Executive.

Critical Incident Response Group Secretary

(53) The principal role of the Secretary is to support the administrative functions of the Critical Incident Response Group. This extends to providing accurate records of the Critical Incident Response Group meetings and associated correspondence. The Secretary shall ensure the minutes of meetings are provided to the Secretary of the Emergency Planning Committee within one week of the Critical Incident Response Group meeting.

(54) A Critical Incident Response Group minute template has been developed by the Emergency Planning Committee to create a consistent meeting management framework across all the Critical Incident Response Groups. Templates are available from the Emergency Planning website.

CSU Media Officer (Representative, Division of Marketing and Communication)

(55) The ability of the University to effectively communicate with internal and external audiences during a Critical Incident and during its recovery phase is crucial. The effectiveness of the University's communications during a Critical Incident can be used to judge if the organisation has successfully handled a Critical Incident.

(56) The CIRG Media Officer should be one of the earliest members notified of a Critical Incident and be included in all briefings. During the Critical Incident they are responsible for managing and liaising with the media and providing information to the media. During an Emergency or Critical Incident all media communication shall be directed to this member.

(57) The role of the University's Media Officer will be guided by Part G of the Media Policy titled 'Critical Incidents'.

(58) The Media Officer responsible for the Critical Incident will report the incident immediately to the Manager, Content and Communication where, in the view of the Media Officer or Chair of the Critical Incident Response Group for that University Campus or facility, the Critical Incident has significant corporate level implications. In all other cases, the Media Officer will report the Critical Incident as soon as is reasonably practicable to ensure the Management Accountant, Division of Finance, Vice-Chancellor and senior executive can be updated on the matter by the Manager, Content and Communication/ Executive Director, Division of Marketing and Communication; in case they are appearing in the media for another purpose and are asked a question about the matter.

(59) In line with Part F of the Media Policy, the Media Officers are not designated as Official University Spokespersons. As such they will work closely with the Chief Warden and/or Head of Campus to ensure the communications surrounding a Critical Incident are timely, accurate and accessible.

(60) Key tools in communicating a Critical Incident to Staff, Students, the media and other stakeholders will be updates on the official University News web page, the establishment of a special information University web-page, social media (CSU Facebook) and the establishment through the University Contact Centre of an external single telephone number to offer to the public.

(61) A decision on whether to use any of these tools for a Critical Incident lies with the local Critical Incident Response Group.

(62) The Media Officer can liaise with the Manager, Contact Centre on the establishment of the single external telephone number.

(63) The Media Officer can liaise with the Digital Marketing Specialist for the establishment and updates on the main University homepage. Read more on this from the Division of Marketing and Communication's Emergencies and crisis communication web page.

(64) Another tool of the University Media Officer will be the Critical Incident Emergency Communication Strategy Template. This document may be used by the Media Officer in preparing the Official University Spokesperson to communicate with the media.

(65) In addition, the Division of Marketing and Communication's website has a number of valuable resources involving a range of different communication strategies.

Finance Representative

(66) The Finance representative shall be empowered to approve expenditure, travel requirements or other Finance resource required in the management of a Critical Incident.

Human Resource Representative

(67) The Human Resources representative shall be empowered to access staff records that maybe required in the management of a Critical Incident.

(68) The Human Resource representative shall liaise closely with other relevant members of the Critical Incident Response Group to identify staff who may be exhibiting behaviour that places them or others at risk of a potential Critical Incident.

Information Technology Representative

(69) The Information Technology representative will facilitate access to communication services and systems that maybe required in the management of a Critical Incident.

(70) This role shall also work proactively to ensure the Critical Incident Response Group Command Centre is adequately supported by communication technology to successfully respond to a Critical Incident.

Student Services Office Representative

(71) The Student Services Office representative shall be empowered to access student records and related support services that may be required in the management of a Critical Incident.

(72) The Student Services Office representative shall liaise closely with other relevant members of the Critical Incident Response Group to identify Students or Staff who may be exhibiting behaviour that places them or others at risk of a potential Critical Incident.

Manager, Residential Operations, Residence Life

(73) The Manager, Residential Operations shall be empowered to access student residential records, residential accommodation and catering resources that maybe required in the management of a Critical Incident.

(74) The Manager, Residential Operations shall liaise closely with other relevant members of the Critical Incident Response Group to identify Students and Staff who may be exhibiting behaviours that places them or others at risk of a potential Critical Incident.

(75) This role also has a responsibility to provide pastoral care services to students impacted by a Critical Incident.

Division of Student Administration Representative

(76) The Division of Student Administration representative shall be empowered to access student records that may be required in the management of a Critical Incident.

(77) The Division of Student Administration representative shall liaise closely with other relevant members of the Critical Incident Response Group to identify Students or Staff who may be exhibiting behaviour that places them or others at risk of a potential Critical Incident.

Academic Representative

(78) The Academic Representative on the Critical Incident Response Group shall consider the implications of the Critical Incident Response Group's business and planning activities on the academic processes of the University.

Incident Scribe

(79) The Chief Warden will appoint an incident scribe to document events as they unfold for submission to relevant parties. It will also be the Chief Warden's responsibility to assist with the completion of the Accident Incident Report, if applicable, and to ensure that it is forwarded within two days of the incident to the Division of Human Resources'. The Chief Warden will assist with the initiation of any other relevant documentation required by the particular circumstances of the incident.

(80) At the conclusion of the Critical Incident, the Chief Warden will conduct an operational debrief using the information provided by the Incident Scribe.

Functional Area Coordinator

(81) During the response or recovery phase of a Critical Incident the Critical Incident Response Group has the option of appointing a Functional Area Coordinator. The Functional Area Coordinator shall serve as the single point of contact between the Critical Incident Response Group and the functional area to coordinate support activities associated with the event. The Functional Area Coordinator will liaise with the functional area manager to ensure the appropriate authority is provided to achieve the required organisational outcome.

Combined Critical Incident Response Groups

(82) In recognition of smaller campuses and other University premises that are unable to support their own Critical Incident Response Group, another Critical Incident Response Group may be requested to combine available representatives into their group to provide support and guidance until such a time that the group can stand alone.

Critical Incident Response Group Members with multiple membership

(83) A member may, due to their role within the University be a member of more than one Critical Incident Response Group. An example of this may be a Media Officer who is responsible for more than one campus as part of their substantive University position.

Critical Incident Response Group Meetings and Schedules

(84) Regular planned meetings of the Critical Incident Response Group are critical to the successful administration of this group. It is recommended that meetings of the Critical Incident Response Group are scheduled quarterly at the commencement of each year.

Critical Incident Training Scenarios

(85) The Chief Warden shall ensure that the Critical Incident Response Group meetings include regular table top scenarios across a range of potential incidents. This is a key function to prepare the members and to establish the understanding of the individual members role within the group and to create the working relationships with other members that are so important during a real Critical Incident.

Revision of this Procedure

(86) Unless done during regular meetings the Critical Incident Response Groups should meet at least once a year for the express purpose of reviewing this Procedure.

(87) Where amendments to this Procedure are recommended through an official meeting of a Critical Incident Response Group, the Critical Incident Response Group Secretary will forward the recommendations through to the Secretary of the Emergency Planning Committee who will put such recommendations to the membership of the Emergency Planning Committee for ratification and inclusion in the Procedure. If this Procedure is amended for any reason the Secretary of the Emergency Planning Committee shall distribute notice of the revision through to all Critical Incident Response Group and Emergency Planning Committee members and update and gain approval of the changes in accordance with the University delegations.

Part F - Prevention Principles

(88) While it is impossible to foresee the events or factors that can lead to a Critical Incident, Staff and Students are encouraged to be aware of the importance of planning to mitigate the effects of a traumatic event that could follow such an incident. The following should be used as a guide to prevention:

  1. Proposed Risk and Threat Management Process:
    1. the University has an existing risk assessment and mitigation process in place and is in the process of implementing a Business Continuity Plan; and
    2. the Emergency Planning Committee and Critical Incident Response Groups will consider how they may use this process to identify, mitigate and manage identified risks and threats from the perspective of preventing a potential Critical Incident occurring or mitigating the impact of a Critical Incident if it should occur.
  2. Proposed Safer Community Scheme:
    1. the introduction of a process similar to the Safer Community Scheme is a key strategy that directly relates to a proactive approach to risk management that includes comprehensive programs for risk identification, mitigation, crisis planning and preparedness. The Emergency Planning Committee strongly supports the introduction of a Safer Communities Scheme; and
    2. this Scheme was introduced by Monash University in the wake of on campus shootings and sees the University's communities working proactively together, sharing relevant information in a timely manner aimed at identifying and supporting students and staff that may be at risk, and intervening to prevent a Critical Incident occurring. This identification process is carried out through a system of key behavioural indicators.
  3. Passive and Active Security Design Standards:
    1. the Division of Facilities Management's will include in its planning process consideration of appropriate passive and active design elements aimed at engineering out aspects of building and campus design that create negative security outcomes; and
    2. in addition to preventing Critical Incidents, the design process will also include reactionary measures aimed at improving safe and secure locations in case of a Critical Incident on campus.
  4. Encouraging Planning for Personal Safety:
    1. the Emergency Planning Committee and Critical Incident Response Groups should actively promote and encourage the inclusion of personal safety awareness for all Students and Staff to ensure that Students, Visitors and Staff:
      1. understand to be alert not alarmed and be cognisant of what is happening around them and any changing or developing circumstances;
      2. are aware of the main pedestrian thoroughfares through the campus which are well lit and not walk alone in remote locations;
      3. are aware of and understand the Campus Security phone system and its use;
      4. understand that pedestrian travel at night should be planned to ensure they are not alone; and
      5. that Staff staying back at night should notify Security staff and advise Security when they finally depart.

Part G - Preparation Principles

(89) While it is impossible to foresee the events or factors that can lead to a Critical Incident, Staff and Students are encouraged to be aware of the importance of planning to mitigate the effects of a traumatic event that could follow such an incident. The following should be used as a guide to preparation:

  1. emergency telephone contact numbers for both the external Emergency Services (000) and Campus Security (internal shortcut 400) should be prominently displayed in all offices and public areas;
  2. the contact telephone numbers listed under the Emergency Contact Details Template should be made available to all members of the CIRG who will be responsible for publishing any or all of them should this be deemed necessary;
  3. the maintenance of information contained in the on-line staff induction process to ensure currency of information;
  4. the availability of appropriate resources and the development of safety measures will be monitored on a regular basis through the relevant Divisions of the University and the Emergency Planning Committee's. Staff should be encouraged to bring issues of safety to the attention of their immediate supervisors who should bring such issues to the attention of management. In the case of Students, they should bring their concerns to the appropriate student organisation on each campus;
  5. the Division of Facilities Management's will undertake regular liaison with Emergency Services, including the provision of maps and updating information on new buildings, roads, etc;
  6. the University's Media Officer will maintain regular liaison with local and regional media to provide contact numbers for the provision of information during Emergency situations;
  7. networks involving internal and/or external providers of health, safety and support mechanisms should be maintained and updated as required by individual Schools and Divisions, with details provided to the Critical Incident Response Group;
  8. the Critical Incident Response Group will be responsible for updating emergency telephone contact numbers and developing rosters for the establishment of a 24-hour on-call service, details of which must be provided to the Campus Security staff;
  9. the Critical Incident Response Group will facilitate the dissemination of relevant information to those affected by the Critical Incident. This information should include key contacts and telephone numbers, particularly of people and organisations that can assist with alleviating the stress caused by the incident. (Refer to the Emergency Contact Details Template for the list of contact telephone numbers for each campus);
  10. the Critical Incident Response Group members shall maintain a 'confidential' contact list of key University personnel who may be required to be contacted at any time of the day or night. This list is only to be made available to members of the Critical Incident Response Group who will only use this confidential information as a legitimate function of the Critical Incident Response Group's business;
  11. the Australia New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee's publication Active Shooter Guideline for Places of Mass Gathering; and
  12. amendments to this Procedure will be communicated as per the University Policy guidelines.

Part H - Response Principles

(90) Critical Incident Response Group members should be aware that by the time they receive notification of a proclaimed Emergency the situation could be well advanced and several processes or actions may already be well advanced and requiring corporate management intervention.

(91) If a building's Site Emergency Plan has already been activated the Chief Warden will assume control of the event and be debriefed on site of the circumstances and actions that have been initiated.

(92) The Chief Warden will communicate with the Critical Incident Response Group who will be required to manage the behind the scene processes while the Chief Warden manages the scene of the emergency until such time as the Emergency Services assume control.

(93) The key to an effective and relevant response to a Critical Incident is coordination and this will be achieved by following these important steps:

  1. the initial response to a Critical Incident will be notification of the incident to, if necessary, the Emergency Services (externally), and then to Campus Security;
  2. notification should include the type of incident, the exact location and details of any person or persons who might be injured, in distress, or at risk;
  3. Campus Security will immediately contact the Chief Warden (or nominated Deputy Chief Warden);
  4. if people are at risk, they will be removed from the area and/or assistance will be rendered as necessary. The incident area will be sealed off if required. The Targeted Incident Planning (TIPs) tool, described in Targeted Incident Planning Instructions is provided to support the Critical Incident Response Group members to identify and prioritise incident response actions; and
  5. once a Critical Incident has been identified by the Chief Warden or Deputy Chief Warden, a member, or members, of the Critical Incident Response Group may be asked to assist with an assessment of the immediate situation, to set priorities, and to begin initial responses according to the established guidelines. The other members of the Critical Incident Response Group will be notified to place into action, resources as required.

(94) Action to be undertaken by the Chief Warden or nominated Critical Incident Response Group member:

  1. identification of people involved and the resources needed;
  2. implementation of response in terms of people and resources;
  3. communication with the Safety Regulator (for example, Workcover NSW or Worksafe ACT). The Work Health and Safety legislation requires certain 'notifiable incidents' to be notified to the relevant State safety regulator. A notifiable incident can include: the death of a person; a serious injury or illness; or a dangerous incident. All Critical Incidents must be reported promptly to the Division of Human Resources and if required, the Division of Human Resources will notify the appropriate Safety Regulator. For further information see Communication with Safety Regulator;
  4. establishment of a central information point to provide up-to-the-minute, accurate information to staff, students, families of those involved, helpers, and the media. A single spokesperson, normally the Head of Campus as a designated Official University Spokesperson (Media Policy, Part F - University Spokespersons), will be appointed to speak to the media and other persons involved with the incident;
  5. appointment of contact person. A senior officer of the University will be appointed to make personal contact with individuals including victims, other students and/or staff, family, and friends. This responsibility shall be delegated to the most appropriate position within the University as determined to suit the circumstances of the event and could be allocated to several staff;
  6. arranging counselling services. Arrange Counselling services at appropriate locations and, if required, outside agencies will be notified and will make themselves available to assist all those affected by the incident;
  7. provision of a quiet area. A quiet area will be established for the use of victims and/or their families. This area shall be protected from intrusion by anyone not immediately affected by the incident;
  8. supervision of property. Steps will be taken to supervise property, both personal property and any buildings or structures that might be unsafe and in need of immediate repairs; and
  9. liaison with Emergency Services. The Chief Warden will be the University's principal liaison officer for all Emergency Services and combatant authorities.

Incidents Involving Organisational Reputation

(95) The University's reputation is a valuable asset. It is therefore important to understand that any event that the Critical Incident Response Groups may be required to manage has the potential to influence the public's perception of the University. The way in which the event is managed has the potential to result in a positive or negative reputational outcome for the University, both nationally and/or internationally. During the management of any event Critical Incident Response Group members shall be cognisant of the reputational risk presented by that event. If the Critical Incident Response Group's evaluation of reputational risk is determined to be significant, this matter should be referred immediately to members of the University's Higher Degree by Research Examinations Committee, Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Team
Reputational Risk:

  1. is a risk of loss resulting from damages to the University's reputation resulting in lost revenue, even if the University is not found guilty of a crime;
  2. is the possible loss of the organisation's reputational capital. Imagine that the University has an account similar to a bank account that they are either filling up or depleting. Every time the company does something good, its reputational capital account goes up; every time the company does something bad, or is accused of doing something bad, the account goes down;
  3. may not always be under the control of the University. Extreme cases such as shootings at a University Premise, physical assaults to international Students, fraud, plagiarism, etc. have resulted in poor reputational outcomes for several well respected universities in recent years; and
  4. can be a matter of corporate trust, but serves also as a tool in crisis prevention. Some corporations try to understand what the potential risks are to the company's reputation and either prepare crisis management responses or solutions.

Incidents Involving On-shore International Students

(96) The University operates under specific obligations for internationals students as required under the Commonwealth Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act).

(97) Where a Critical Incident involving an international on-shore Student meets the definition of the this Procedure, the response is managed in the same manner as that for a domestic Student excepting that the incident must be reported to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International Education and Partnerships) or nominee as soon as possible.

(98) The Pro Vice-Chancellor (International Education and Partnerships) shall develop processes to administer 'all' Critical Incidents as defined under the Commonwealth Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 including, but not limited to, the following events:

  1. serious illness - mental or physical;
  2. illness or injury requiring hospitalisation (within Australia) or death;
  3. non life threatening events including; drug and/or alcohol abuse, missing student, domestic violence, criminal assaults, car accidents (even if the student is not hurt), stalking, criminal conviction, student in significant legal difficulties, student in severe financial difficulties, and significant overseas events e.g. war, earthquake, tsunami, etc.

(99) In most cases these incidents will be encountered first by an International Student Advisor or Residence Life staff that will document as usual and then must report to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International Education and Partnerships) or nominee as soon as possible.
Responsibility for International OnShore Students, provides a table of events to help clarify the classification of incidents in terms of international students.

Critical Incidents Involving CSU Staff or Students Abroad on a Student Mobility Program

(100) For detailed instructions please refer to the "Outbound Student Mobility Critical Incident Procedure " (pending approval for inclusion in the CSU Policy Library and available from CSU Global in the Division of International Education and Partnerships).

Line Management Responsibilities

(101) CSU Global's will follow advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), International SOS and TravelTracker in relation to the safety of Students and Staff in the event of any Critical Incidents involving terrorism, political unrest or outbreaks of infectious disease.

(102) In the instance of any of these organisations issuing a travel warning the Manager, CSU Global will contact Students and Staff involved in a mobility program in the affected area to ascertain their well-being.

(103) The Outbound Student Mobility Critical Incident Procedure will be implemented where the well-being of Students and Staff is deemed to be compromised.

(104) Where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) rating is upgraded to four, all programs will be immediately terminated and processes implemented to expedite the repatriation of participants to Australia, or where this is not possible to the most convenient safe location.

Involvement of the Critical Incident Response Group

(105) In the event of a Critical Incident overseas involving Staff or Students, the Manager, CSU Global (or representative) will make telephone contact with the University Campus in Wagga Security Office who is the nominated central University 24/7 initial contact for Critical Incidents of this nature.

(106) On receiving notification of a Critical Incident from the Manager, CSU Global, the Security Officer on duty shall place the Manager, CSU Global in contact with the 'on-call' Chief Warden. The Security Officer will continue to monitor this process until they are satisfied that 'direct' contact has been made.

(107) The 'on-call' Chief Warden will then collaborate with the Manager, CSU Global and identify the relevant stakeholders required to implement and manage the response to the Critical Incident.

(108) As early as possible in this process the Chief Warden, in conjunction with the Manager, CSU Global, shall determine if and when the Vice-Chancellor should be advised or involved in the management of the Critical Incident.

(109) Note: To facilitate this course of action all security operations manuals will include the above detail.

(110) The contact number for the Wagga Wagga Campus Security is included in the Emergency Contact Details Template.

Part I - Dealing with the Aftermath of a Critical Incident in the Workplace

Critical Incident Response Group members advice to support Managers when dealing with a critical incident

(111) When an incident involving emotional trauma has occurred, the immediate tasks are to ensure:

  1. those staff members' physical and emotional needs are met;
  2. the sense of safety and security are re-established with whatever sense of routine and normality is possible under the circumstances; and
  3. the central stress factor needs to be addressed to allow those involved to return to a more stable and normal level of activity.

(112) In the period between the termination of the incident and the end of the work shift, a meeting should be held to assist Staff to commence the recovery process. This should be done by the line manager/supervisor.

(113) It is important that managers react immediately after the Critical Incident and ensure all Staff receive support as soon as possible. It is important for Staff to be assured that their current emotions are normal and to be expected. Staff should be given time to discuss their emotions and reactions. (Refer to the Emotional Trauma Information Sheet.)

(114) NOTE: The trauma counselling number as detailed in the Emergency Contact Details Template can be used by managers to receive advice on managing Critical Incidents and on trauma management services available from the University's Employee Assistance Program provider.

(115) In cases of acute emotional trauma, prompt assessment by qualified counsellors is recommended to reduce the likelihood of post-incident stress related problems. Otherwise, it is normal for the need for professional debriefing to be assessed after a period of 24 to 48 hours by qualified counsellors. As an immediate response, managers should adopt the following simple, post incident management steps as part of a debriefing process:

  1. gather group together and summarise what has happened. State what you know and what you don't know;
  2. ask Staff if they have any questions. This should lead to discussion, clarification and personal expression;
  3. decide what will happen next in relation to the incident and make interim arrangements for work responsibilities;
  4. present the support arrangements for Staff until the next shift (this should include contact arrangements after hours if required);
  5. provide information on reactions and assistance available. A handout sheet called Emotional Trauma Management is provided by Critical Incident Response Group's team members;
  6. assess Staff members' immediate needs for personal support and practical help; and
  7. give advice on what to do next and how Staff can take care of themselves (use the information provided on the handout sheet - stress the 'normal reaction to an abnormal event' and expected reactions, and things to manage these reactions).

(116) Line managers/ supervisors may arrange for a senior executive manager, respected by the staff involved in the incident, to address the group to show support and consideration.

Part J - Follow Up Action

(117) As soon as possible following a Critical Incident, a meeting of the Critical Incident Response Group will be called to brief members on the incident, responses and outcomes in accordance with Part A of this Procedure.

(118) A Critical Incident does not end with the immediate response. Important follow-up procedures must be implemented in the areas of counselling, information dissemination, and debriefing. These issues are the responsibility of the Critical Incident Response Group which will:

  1. disseminate information to Staff, Students, and all those affected by the incident and to the media;
  2. monitor the need for counselling and maintain contact with those who may need ongoing support, often at times and in locations outside of the normal University routine. Consideration should be given to personal contact with victims and those affected by the incident outside of normal hours. In exceptional circumstances, the Critical Incident Response Group will assess those affected by the incident and make referrals for counselling and/or advice to agencies outside of those normally provided by the University;
  3. provide literature to those affected by the incident on the possible short- and long-term effects;
  4. notify the relevant Managers within the affected Workplace Learning Committee, School's(s) and Division's(s), including Division of Student Administration and residential support staff of students who are likely to be affected by the traumatic situation; to ensure that proper support is given and that inappropriate contacts are not made. Where overseas Students are involved, contact with the relevant Student Support Officers' will be made so that the appropriate cultural responses may be put in place, interpreters may be provided, and overseas authorities, such as embassies and legations, notified; and
  5. conduct debriefing sessions for everyone directly involved in the incident including, if necessary, the wider University community.

Part K - Continual Improvement

(119) Evaluation of the University's response to a Critical Incident is essential to the on-going development and effectiveness of the Critical Incident management processes. The following guidelines should be noted:

  1. shortly after the incident, the Critical Incident Response Group will evaluate the deployment of emergency procedures and the overall response to the incident;
  2. procedures adopted in a particular incident will form the basis of improved responses to trauma management, with Staff and Students encouraged to provide their thoughts and experiences to the Critical Incident Response Group in order to assist in the development process;
  3. the Critical Incident Response Group will conduct regular reviews of procedures and this will be a standing agenda item for the Critical Incident Response Group meetings;
  4. the Emergency Planning Committee and Critical Incident Response Groups will meet annually as a combined group to collaborate and share experiences and other information to develop techniques for continually enhancing Critical Incident management processes;
  5. the Presiding Officer of the Emergency Planning Committee is responsible for ensuring that any process enhancement is incorporated into the appropriate Emergency and/or Critical Incident documentation;
  6. any updates to Emergency or Critical Incident documentation will be communicated to all relevant University stakeholders via the Division of Facilities Management website on Emergency Preparedness and the University's official communication channel, What's New;
  7. ongoing consultations will be held with Staff and Students on critical response strategies;
  8. Staff will be encouraged to undertake training relevant to the handling of a Critical Incident and post-trauma stress management; and
  9. regular exercising through 'Table Top' and 'Real Time' exercises will strengthen understanding and allow refinement of procedures and engage with other service providers in the specialist agencies.

Part L - Other University Groups and Procedures

(120) Guidelines and checklists in this Procedure should be considered in conjunction with other relevant University committees and documented procedures.

Occupational Health and Safety Committees

(121) The Occupational Health and Safety Committees facilitate co-operation between the University and its Staff in instigating, developing and carrying out measures designed to promote a safe and healthy working environment for staff, students and sisitors to University premises, including its remote locations.

(122) The Occupational Health and Safety Committees ensure that all Staff have, through elected representatives, the right to consult with and receive information from senior management representatives on all matters relating to Workplace Health and Safety as per the University's Occupational Health and Safety Consultation Statement.

Biosafety Committee

(123) The Biosafety Committee has the responsibility for establishing guidelines, policies and procedures in the handling, storage, transport and disposal of biological materials including microorganisms, infectious materials of plant animal or human origin and genetically modified organisms (GMO's).

Radiation Safety Committee

(124) The Radiation Safety Committee has responsibility for establishing guidelines, policies and procedures in the handling, storage, and disposal of radioactive substances; monitoring these procedures; maintaining a register of the location and use of all radioactive substances and irradiating apparatus.

Chemical Safety Committee

(125) The Chemical Safety Committee's has responsibility for establishing guidelines, policies and procedures in the handling, storage, and disposal of radioactive substances; monitoring these procedures; and maintaining a register of the location and use of all required chemical substances.

Animal Care and Ethics Committee

(126) The Animal Care and Ethics Committee has the external compliance and reporting responsibilities for any animal used in the teaching and research programs.

Division of Human Resources' (Equal Opportunity)

(127) The responsibility of equal opportunity staff is to provide information on anti-discrimination legislation, the University's policy on freedom from harassment, and general equity issues.

Emergency Planning Committee

(128) Staff from this area will conduct audits of the readiness of Critical Incident Response Groups, facilitate the training of key Critical Incident Response Group personnel, and control the amendment of this Procedure and its distribution via the Emergency Planning web page.

Employee Assistance Program

(129) The University has approved a contract for the provision of employee counselling services to University staff and their families free of charge as part of an ongoing Employee Assistance Program. Details are available from the Division of Human Resources' web site.

Division of Facilities Management

(130) The Division of Facilities Management's has delegated responsibility for the management and oversight of the organisations Site Emergency Procedures and Emergency Evacuation plans. These documents and other assistance are available from the Division of Facilities Management's web site.

Residence Life Office

(131) Residence Life will be responsible for ensuring students who live in CSU Residences have appropriate access to follow up services and support, such as pastoral care and counselling services for students involved in, or affected by, critical incidents.

Guidance Material for Critical Incident Response Group Members

(132) These documents can be found under Associated Information.