Emergency Operating Principles

All Hazards Emergency Operating Principles

This document is intended to provide broad and general expectations regarding designated emergency personnel employees at Georgetown University.  Nothing in this document is intended to change existing policies or collective bargaining agreements.

Emergency Response Objectives

Georgetown University has two primary objectives during an emergency event:

  1. Safety and Security – The University seeks to provide a safe and secure campus for all Georgetown community members, including emergency employees who provide services during an emergency event.
  2. Instructional and Operational Continuity – The University seeks to maintain the instructional continuity of its academic programs, as well as the continuity of its other operations, to the extent possible during an emergency event.

Operating Principles

The following operating principles apply to Georgetown University’s response to an emergency event:

Emergency Personnel Designation

Certain employees are designated as “emergency employees” to provide critical services during an emergency event. Regardless of weather or other conditions, these employees must report to work as scheduled or directed during emergency situations unless informed otherwise. In addition, employees who have responsibilities under an instructional continuity plan must fulfill their responsibilities regardless of weather-related conditions. These requirements are fortified in University HR Policy 611 and collective bargaining agreements with union-represented employees. Specifically the University may mandate an extension of a workday or early recall for some or all emergency employees for emergency situations.

There may be times due to emergency events that Georgetown University may decide to reduce operations or close. Department/unit managers are responsible for determining the emergency personnel and critical functions of their own unit necessary to continue normal operations during an emergency event. While emergency personnel designations are typically identified in an employee’s job description, critical functions and emergency response will vary based on the circumstances of a specific emergency event. To the extent possible, unit managers will perform contingency planning to mitigate impact on emergency personnel.


Management will provide as much advance notice as possible to employees. However, depending on the type and extent of an emergency, management may only be able to provide very limited advance notification.


The safety of emergency employees is a principal concern during an emergency event. No emergency employee is expected to endanger herself or himself traveling to or from work. When an emergency condition exists, emergency employees are required to make individual arrangements to report for duty without regard to public transportation availability. Accordingly, emergency employees should make appropriate arrangements to report for duty prior to such time they deem conditions of travel to be too hazardous and/or public transit systems become unavailable. Designated emergency employees who do not report for duty and who are not on authorized leave status must provide acceptable documentation explaining their absence. Should documentation not be acceptable, employees may be subject to the progressive disciplinary process. Each employee’s situation will be determined on a case-by-case basis with respect to the specific circumstances.

Contractor Support

The University relies on strategic partners to provide critical services during emergency events. The University also may supplement its emergency response efforts with contract personnel to minimize workload burdens, when necessary. Contract employees are managed and compensated under the terms of their respective contracts.

University Responsibilities

Taking into account these operating principles and the specific circumstances and needs of each emergency event, Georgetown University will seek to:

  • Maximize volunteer participation by emergency employees, thus minimizing directive participation.
  • Ensure appropriate work/rest cycles for emergency employees during extended events.
  • Provide reasonable sleeping and hygiene accommodations for emergency employees when necessary for extended events. Generally such accommodations include shelter, cots, linens and shower facilities.
  • Provide compensation and meals for emergency employees consistent with bargaining unit contracts and HR Policy 611.
  • Ensure emergency employees receive the personal protective equipment, tools and training necessary to complete their work safely and efficiently.
  • Appropriately supplement emergency response efforts with contract personnel to minimize workload burdens, and provide contract employees with similar accommodations regarding work/rest cycles, sleeping accommodations and meals.

Manager Responsibilities

At the start of the recruitment process for a new or vacant position, the hiring manager should specify whether the position has an emergency personnel designation. Positions will be designated as emergency based solely on functional needs as related to job duties. Emergency personnel designations must be documented in position descriptions.

Managers also have the following responsibilities:

  • Managers must ensure their units are appropriately staffed to maintain/resume critical functions during emergency closures or reduced operations.
  • Managers and/or the Department of Human Resources will provide timekeeping instructions to emergency personnel during emergency events.
  • On an annual basis, managers will notify employees who serve in critical positions of their position designation.

Emergency Employee Responsibilities

Emergency employees are expected to report for duty as normally scheduled and/or as directed during an emergency unless specifically directed otherwise. Emergency employees may be required to report for an unscheduled shift, reschedule vacation leave and/or work more than his/her regularly scheduled hours during an emergency. In addition, an emergency employee must:

  • Provide his/her department with current emergency contact information.
  • Understand work assignments that must be completed during an emergency event.
  • Work during emergency closures or reduced operations whether on campus, at home, or at another location.
  • Make appropriate arrangements to report for duty prior to such time they deem conditions of travel to be too hazardous and/or public transit systems become unavailable. The University will make reasonable planning efforts to accommodate emergency employees on campus in sleeping arrangements and hygiene facilities as noted above.
  • Should an emergency employee not have appropriate sleeping accomodations they shall notify their supervisor immediately.  Should the immediate supervisor not appropriately address the concern then the emergency employee shall direct the concern up the chain of command until the situation is resolved. Such engagement will occur without concern of potential reprisal.