Safety and Wellbeing Emergencies, Critical incidents and Disasters

Emergencies, Critical incidents and Disasters

James Cook University's Emergency Framework

The University's emergency framework consists of the following policies and plans:

  • Business Continuity Policy and Business Continuity Management Plan
  • Incident Management Policy and Procedures
  • Emergency Management Plan
  • Emergency Management Action Cards
  • Risk Management Policy, Framework and Plan
  • Work Health and Safety Unit
  • JCUSafe App

An emergency is:

An incident that arises internally, or from an external source, which may adversely affect the occupants or visitors, in a facility, and which requires an immediate response (e.g. fire).

In the event of a time critical or life-threatening Emergency Call (0) 000 and request either Police, Fire or Ambulance. 

After this call, or if emergency services are not required, contact JCU Security on x15555 or 1800 675559 to advise and for further assistance.

A Critical Incident is:

An actual or potential incident or series of events that have the potential for catastrophic damage to people, operations and/or reputation where the University (or parts thereof) shift from routine to non-routine operation. This is usually typified by the area affected requiring additional (centralised) assistance in its management and also requiring intensive coordination and management by the Critical Incident Management Group (CIMG).

Further information on JCU's emergency framework can be found here:

The Business Continuity Policy and Business Continuity Management Plan is an integral part of strategic and operational planning and risk management ensuring that the University has the capability to continue delivery of services at acceptable predefined levels following a disruptive event (e.g. cyclone, cyber-attack, etc.). The plan includes documented procedures that guide the University to respond, and restore or recover to a predefined level of operation following disruption, and integrates with the Incident Management Policy and Procedures and the Emergency Management Plan.

The Incident Management Policy provides the overarching framework for the University to:

  • prepare for an incident;
  • respond in the period immediately following an incident (including emergencies and critical incidents); and
  • management of any  longer term consequences of such an incident.

The Incident Management Policy and Procedures define the roles and responsibilities of key staff in the management, coordination and communication of information about an emergency or critical incident; and in the recovery and post-incident review of an incident, emergency response or critical incident and its handling.

The Incident Management Policy categorises incidents into six types that allows focused specialised notification and responses. Incident management plans have been constituted for each incident category.

An incident may be deemed critical, given the scale or impact of the event, and this shifts the allocation of effort and resources to respond from normal reporting lines and structures.

The Emergency Management Plan details the organisational structure, system, resources and processes that may be activated in whole or in part in the event of an emergency. Emergencies typically are immediate (no warning) requiring standard actions by staff or students in order to preserve life. Emergencies requiring an external agency response (such as QFES) and the liaison and coordination with these agencies by key staff is crucial.

Emergency Management Action Cards

These cards are a set of tools developed to provide step-by-step instructions to staff in response to an emergency. The action cards are a shorter form of the emergency response procedures in the Emergency Management Plan.

This information is also available in the JCUSafe App.

The JCUSafe App provides, in one location, information on the University's security and safety plans and resources. JCUSafe is an important tool to provide a safe environment for staff and students as well as meeting emergency response and critical incident obligations. Key features include:

  • Emergency notification system and alert service for critical incident and other safety or emergency alerts
  • Emergency contact information to 000, Campus Security, Suicide Hotline, Mental Health Access Line, Assault and Abuse Counselling
  • Easy access to either a physical or virtual security escort service on campus for staff and students
  • Virtual Friend Walk location sharing with JCU Security or friends and family via SMS, email, messenger
  • Chat capability with JCU Security in real-time for assistance
  • Emergency Plans for a number of potential incidents and the University's Lockdown, Shelter-in-Place and Evacuation procedures
  • Check-in and location sharing allowing users to quickly share their GPS location with the University, friends or family with the tap of a button
  • A safety toolbox including links to local disaster management dashboards, and University information on bullying, cyber abuse, sexual and personal assault
  • Easy access to a range of campus supports including student and staff Counselling Services, peer support, AccessAbility Services, Indigenous Student Services and International Student Support

Find out more

Tropical cyclones threaten northern Australia every year during the tropical cyclone season. This usually goes from between November and April. On average, the Australian region experiences 11 cyclones a year, although typically only four to five of these cyclones will reach land. Individuals should consider their preparedness for cyclone season each year by visiting Get Ready Queensland or Townsville Disaster Management.

JCU has a number of facility specific cyclone plans in place responding to the various stages of a Cyclone, the Watch State, Warning Stage, and All Clear. The JCU Community will be advised via broadcast email and the JCUSafe App that a Cyclone Watch has been initiated and the current status of the cyclone.

Find out more here.