Critical incident management policy

Intent and objectives

To provide a framework for RMIT’s response to a major event, critical incident or crisis during and in the period immediately following the event and for management of the longer term consequences of such an incident.


This policy and related procedures are designed to ensure RMIT:

  • meets its duty of care obligations in providing the highest possible standard of health and safety for staff, students and other persons working at or visiting RMIT;
  • is able to respond swiftly and effectively in the event of a concerning or critical incident, disaster or crisis;
  • is compliant with relevant legislation and Standards


All staff, students, contractors and visitors as well as all University owned buildings, leased or hired building space, structures, external areas and vehicles.


Local critical incident management arrangements apply at RMIT Vietnam and at offshore partner organisations.


1. Incident management

1.1 RMIT will act proactively to identify and manage incidents which have the potential to affect seriously the safety of staff and students and / or on RMIT’s business continuity or reputation.

1.2 RMIT will provide information and training on action to take in the event of an emerging risk or actual critical incident.

1.3 In the event of a major or critical incident or crisis, clear procedures will ensure effective management of the immediate situation and its aftermath.

2. Incident classification

2.1 Incidents at RMIT are classified and managed according to a 5 level typology:

  1. Insignificant Incident
  2. Minor incident
  3. Moderate Incident
  4. Major Incident
  5. Critical Incident.

3. Incident Response

3.1 Depending on the nature of the incident, a response may involve action by:

  • Security and/ or
  • Emergency Services and/ or
  • Safety Team and / or
  • Crisis Management and Recovery (CMR) Team and / or
  • Critical Incident Recovery (CIR) Teams.

4. Emergencies

4.1 Emergencies on RMIT campuses are managed by RMIT Security Services in conjunction with RMIT initial response first aiders and fire wardens and with relevant external Emergency Services, where appropriate.

5. Critical incident management and recovery manual

5.1 RMIT’s actions in a critical incident or crisis are framed by protocols outlined in the RMIT Crisis Management and Recovery Manual.

6. Crisis management and recovery team (CMR Team)

6.1 A critical incident or crisis at RMIT is managed by the University’s Crisis Management and Recovery Team (CMR Team).

6.2 The CMR Team is activated if there is a major event (level 4) or a critical event (level 5). The Crisis Management and Recovery Team will be notified of moderate incidents (level 3) which have the potential to escalate.

6.3 The CMR Team is responsible for coordinating and managing RMIT’s response to and its recovery from a major or critical event in order to minimise trauma, loss and damage. The Crisis Management Team is comprised of senior RMIT officers assigned to specific roles. The Crisis Management Team trains and prepares under various threat scenarios.

6.4 The CMR Team is lead by a member of the RMIT Executive. The CMR Team leader is responsible for:

  • determining whether the CMR team is notified or activated
  • determining the composition of the CM Team for the immediate crisis
  • coordinating the response to the crisis
  • declaring when the incident has moved from a critical phase to a recovery phase

7. Critical incident recovery teams (CIR Teams)

7.1 Recovery from a critical incident or crisis at RMIT is managed with the assistance of relevant Critical Incident Recovery Teams (CIR Teams).

7.2 CIR Teams are appointed by the CMR Team to manage recovery from the incident after the incident has moved from the critical phase to the recovery phase.

7.3 CIR Teams may include:

  • a student focused, Incident Recovery Team
  • a staff focused, Incident Recovery Team
  • a Facilities Recovery Team
  • an Information Technology Services Disaster Recovery Team

7.4 Each CIR Team has a documented incident / disaster recovery plan.

8. Safety team

8.1 Threatening or inappropriate behaviour may require an immediate response and then a follow up response to manage any ongoing safety issues - including making decisions about what further action should be taken. An RMIT Safety Team is activated when an incident occurs involving a person demonstrating threatening or inappropriate behaviour which generates ongoing concern about safety (moderate incident, level 3).

8.2 The Safety Team will alert the Crisis Management and Recovery (CMR) Team where there is a reasonable concern that a moderate, level 3 incident will escalate.

RMIT incident typology and management responsibility



AT RMIT, managed by:

1. Insignificant incident

A minor incident or problem or other internal event which can be handled by campus personnel using standard operating procedures.

Eg a staff or student with a personal issue which is distressing or upsetting.

Relevant Head of School /Business Unit, plus

Student Counselling Duty work counsellor or Staff Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

2. Minor incident

A minor incident or injury which causes concern but presents no external threat.

Eg threat to harm self where the person accepts they need assistance and support and is compliant; student/staff experiencing medical or mental health emergency; traumatic or accident death of staff/student

Relevant Head of School /Business Unit, plus

Student Counselling Duty work counsellor or Staff Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

3. Moderate incident

A concerning event which has the potential to escalate to a more serious crisis and/ or effect operations

Eg. behaviour which is an actual or potential risk to safety of self or others and the person does not consent to or cooperate with intervention.

Relevant Head of School /Business Unit, plus Safety Team

(Crisis Management Team notified)

4. Major incident

A serious event

It may also be another event that has occurred or is imminent which poses a threat.

Eg a fatality, serious injury, fire, explosion, material release, local incident.

Crisis Management Team, Emergency Services and Security

5. Critical incident

Critical incident means a severe crisis such as a number of fatalities and serious injuries. An event which is likely to cause extreme physical and /or emotional distress to staff, students and visitors. It may also be any incident reflecting on RMIT’s reputation and may not necessarily require an initial emergency response.

Eg natural disaster, a large fire, explosion, bomb sabotage, material release, civil unrest, environmental issue or ethical or reputation damage.

Crisis Management Team, Emergency Services and Security

Major or critical incidents

Examples of events which may be deemed a Major (level 4) or Critical (level 5) incident include:

  • threat of or act of violence towards staff and / or students
  • hostage or siege situation
  • discharge of firearm
  • any fatality, near fatality or incident likely to affect the wellbeing of a number of staff and/or students
  • serious incident involving RMIT student or staff on or off campus
  • fire, explosion, bomb threat
  • biological / radiological threat
  • environmental pollution
  • toxic/ chemical release
  • major failure in internal processes eg fraudulent activity
  • serious ethical issue / damage to reputation
  • natural disasters that cause major damage to an RMIT campus including RMIT Vietnam
  • sabotage of critical facility
  • loss of utilities (eg gas, power, water) for an extended period
  • prolonged loss of computing, telecommunications
  • serious health issue / outbreak of disease

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