FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is CERT?
  2. When is CERT activated? How are students/employees/parents/the public notified when CERT is activated?
  3. Who runs CERT?
  4. Who runs the University if the president is out of town or unavailable during an incident?
  5. What are the positions listed in the CERT organizational chart?
  6. Where does CERT convene?
  7. If there is an emergency on campus, how will updates be sent out?
  8. Where should parents of UA students go for information?
  9. Does CERT make the decision to cancel classes or close the university?
  10. In the case of a pandemic, how will off-campus students and employees get information about whether to travel to campus?
  11. In the case of an emergency on campus, would the entire incident be handled by the University of Arizona Police Department?
  12. How are the members of CERT prepared to handle campus emergencies?
  13. In the case of fire or a chemical spill, or another contained emergency, are there instructions available for what actions should be taken?
  14. Does the university have a written plan for dealing with emergencies?

What is CERT?

The University of Arizona Campus Emergency Response Team is an organization composed of various campus officials that focuses primarily on the management of situations involving critical incidents on campus.

CERT supports the Incident Commander by providing University resources and support. CERT does not make policy decisions for the University but rather gathers information and provides that information to the Executive Policy Group, which makes the long-range policy decisions. top

When is CERT activated? How are students/employees/parents/the public notified when CERT is activated?

CERT is activated whenever there is a critical incident on campus that could potentially affect the safety, health or well-being of people on campus. In the event of an incident that requires that CERT be activated, the UA home page would be updated with information about the incident. top

Who runs CERT?

Dr. Melissa Vito, Vice President for Student Affairs, is the chair of CERT. top

Who runs the University if the president is out of town or unavailable during an incident?

The University has an orderly succession plan, which goes 10 deep into the UA administration. If the president is unavailable, his/her duties fall to the executive vice president and provost. The next person in line is the senior vice president for business affairs. top

What are the positions listed in the CERT organizational chart?     

CERT is organized in line with the Incident Command System, or ICS, as directed in the National Incident Management System. This same framework is used across the country to manage incidents.

The Incident Commander is responsible for the overall management of the incident.

The Safety Officer ensures the safety of the operations.

The Public Information Officer is the spokesperson for the incident.

The Liaison Officer is responsible for integrating individuals into the ICS.

The Operations Section is responsible for the tactical operations of the incident, meaning this section gets things done.

The Planning Section members develop the Incident Action Plan for extended situations, acting as long-range planners and preparing contingency plans.

The Logistics Section is responsible for ordering and gathering resources to support the incident.

The Administration Section is responsible for the financial, compensatory and administrative functions.
top

Where does CERT convene?

When activated, CERT members generally report to the UA Emergency Operations Center, which is located in an off-campus University building. There are other designated locations on campus where CERT can work if that location is inaccessible or it is determined that the members should convene on campus. top

If there is an emergency on campus, how will updates be sent out?

Updated information will be posted on the UA home page and UANews.org and sent out via UAlert, the University’s emergency alert service. top

Where should parents of UA students go for information?

The UA home page will be updated frequently with information about the incident. Parents also are encouraged to have their students sign them up for UAlert, the University’s emergency alert service, which sends updates via cell phone text messages. All UA employees and students can sign up themselves and one other person. Other resources during an emergency are the Dean of Students Office (520-621-7057) and the UA Parents and Family Association (520-621-0884). top

Does CERT make the decision to cancel classes or close the university?

No. The decision to cancel classes or close the University is made by the UA president or, in his or her absence, the acting president. Such decisions would be made based on recommendations from the Executive Policy Group, a subgroup of CERT. top

In the case of a pandemic, how will off-campus students and employees get information about whether to travel to campus?

Students and employees who have signed up for UAlert should expect to receive this type of information via UAlert messages. They also can check the UA home page for updated information. In the case of a pandemic, it’s likely that local news media will be reporting on the situation and helping to disseminate information to protect the health of employees and students. top

In the case of an emergency on campus, would the entire incident be handled by the University of Arizona Police Department?

In a campus emergency, other law enforcement agencies may be called for assistance. top

How are the members of CERT prepared to handle campus emergencies?

CERT members meet regularly to discuss and prepare for potential incidents. Members also participate in drills that simulate incidents and undergo training in handling incidents and emergencies. top

In the case of fire or a chemical spill, or another contained emergency, are there instructions available for what actions should be taken?

Emergency procedures for specific incidents are available on this website and the Risk Management & Safety website. top

Does the university have a written plan for dealing with emergencies?

Yes. That plan is available on this website at campus-emergency-response-plan. There also is a plan that has been developed for use during a flu pandemic.   top