Flood Response

Policy

The following plan has been developed to establish appropriate procedures for responding to a flood emergency that affects University operations.

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Scope

This plan addresses flooding as a result of building system failures or natural occurrences.

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Authority and Responsibility

The University of Chicago Police Department shall be responsible for:

  • Notifying the “On-Call” Safety Officer in the event of a flood and providing the “On-Call” Safety Officer with contact information for the Facilities Operations personnel on site;
  • Notifying the “On-Call” Safety Officer in the event of a severe weather alert;
  • Initiating an evacuation of an area or building by orders of the Emergency Manager and securing the area to prevent access to unauthorized personnel; and
  • Notifying additional resources to request assistance as determined by Environmental Health and Safety.

Facilities Operations shall be responsible for:

  • Calling the University Police when a flood occurs and providing them with contact information and advise them to contact the “On-Call” Safety Officer;
  • Containing a flood and initiating clean up;
  • For minor clean up operations, contacting ABM at 773-702-0260 for additional assistance;
  • For flood areas requiring more than minor cleanup (e.g., water in walls, water coming through ceilings, high levels of water over a large area) contact Risk Management at 773-702-1951;
  • Flood prevention measures during naturally occurring floods such as placing sandbags or transporting and setting up generators and submersible pumps;
  • De-energizing and locking out equipment in the affected areas if it can be done safely;
  • Regularly checking outside drainage systems for at-risk buildings;
  • Providing access to mechanical rooms for remediation and installation contractors; and
  • Restricting access to buildings.

Facility Managers and Housing and Dining Services shall be responsible for:

  • Contacting University Police and Risk Management when a flood occurs;
  • Containing a flood and initiating clean-up;
  • Flood prevention measures during naturally occurring floods such as placing sandbags or transporting and setting up generators and submersible pumps;
  • De-energizing and locking out equipment in the affected areas if it can be done safely;
  • Working with Facilities Services to regularly check outside drainage systems for at-risk buildings;
  • Providing access to mechanical rooms for remediation and installation contractors;
  • Coordinating with Risk Management, Environmental Health and Safety, and the remediation contractor to determine appropriate remediation procedures and ensure the remediation procedures are followed;
  • Restricting access to buildings;
  • Managing outside contractors for remediation;
  • Contacting and managing contractors for replacement of damaged building materials;
  • Communicating and coordinating remediation and installations costs with Risk Management;
  • Coordinating work schedule for contractors with the Building Manager, Risk Management, and Environmental Health and Safety;
  • Coordinating with Building Manager to provide access to affected areas during remediation and installation; and
  • Coordinating with Environmental Health and Safety or Risk Management to declare affected areas ready for re-occupancy.

Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery shall be responsible for:

  • Assigning a project manager immediately;
  • Coordinating with Risk Management, Environmental Health and Safety, and the remediation contractor to determine appropriate remediation procedures and ensure the remediation procedures are followed;
  • Managing outside contractors for remediation;
  • Contacting and managing contractors for replacement of damaged building materials;
  • Communicating and coordinating remediation and installation costs with Risk Management;
  • Coordinating work schedule for contractors with the Building Manager, Risk Management, and Environmental Health and Safety;
  • Coordinating with the Building Manager to provide access to affected areas during remediation and installation; and
  • Coordinating with Environmental Health and Safety or Risk Management to declare affected areas ready for re-occupancy.

Environmental Health and Safety shall be responsible for:

  • Providing an “On-Call” Safety Officer twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week;
  • Responding in a timely manner with appropriate action to control, ensure the safety of respondents, and recover from the flood;
  • Acting as Incident Commander (e.g., assigning personnel to key functions or roles), which shall be the Emergency Manager, or the Director of Environmental Health and Safety;
  • Contacting contractors to obtain supplies (e.g. sand bags, submersible pumps, generators) for flood prevention measures;
  • Acting as the University liaison with the local Police and Fire Departments;
  • Notifying Administration of a flood and providing periodic status reports;
  • Notifying Risk Management and any departments affected by a flood or potential flood;
  • Contacting remediation contractors if damaged building materials need to be removed or dried and disinfected or when the water is hazardous or bio-hazardous, when Risk Management is unavailable;
  • Coordinating the abatement of asbestos or lead-based material when applicable;
  • Coordinating with Facilities Operations, Risk Management, Facility Managers,  Housing and Dining Services, and the remediation contractor to determine appropriate remediation procedures and ensure the remediation procedures are followed;
  • Declaring affected areas safe for re-occupancy; and
  • Reviewing and amending the Emergency Response Plan for Floods.

Risk Management shall be responsible for:

  • Responding with appropriate action to control and recover from the flood;
  • Contacting remediation contractors if damaged building materials need to be removed or dried and disinfected or when the water is hazardous or bio-hazardous;
  • Coordinating with Facilities Operations, Environmental Health and Safety, Facility Managers, Housing and Dining Services, and the remediation contractor to determine appropriate remediation procedures and ensure the remediation procedures are followed;
  • Ensuring the remediation contractor follows the appropriate remediation procedures as it applies to asbestos or lead-paint;
  • Contacting and coordinating with the insurance company;
  • Contacting outside contractors when equipment needs to be tested; and
  • Coordinating with Environmental Health and Safety to declare affected areas ready for re-occupancy.

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Flood

A flood emergency exists if floodwater is uncontrolled and flowing beyond the area where the source of water is normally contained or controlled.

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Water Emergency Team

The Water Emergency Team is comprised of Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Services, Risk Management, and the University Police. Facility Managers and Housing and Dining Services shall be included when a building managed by their department is affected by a flood. The Emergency Manager or the Environmental Health and Safety senior officer shall act as On-Scene Incident Commander of the Water Emergency Team.

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Incident Notification

The University of Chicago Police shall be notified immediately upon discovery of a flood by dialing 123 or 773-702-8181.

The University of Chicago Police receives flood alerts for the Hyde Park area. The University Police shall page the “On-Call” Safety Officer in the event of a flood or upon receiving a flood alert. The “On-Call” Safety Officer, upon receiving the page, shall contact the University Police Dispatcher and gather information pertaining to the incident or alert. Once information is obtained, the “On-Call” Safety Officer shall notify the Director of Environmental Health and Safety. The Director or the Emergency Manager have the full authority to implement and manage an emergency response.

In the event of a flood or potential flood, the “On-Call” Safety Officer shall contact the Water Emergency Team to initiate the response plan.

Note: If laboratory buildings are affected by a flood, the existence, location, and quantity of any water reactive chemicals needs to be determined. The placards located outside the main door to the laboratory list the types of chemicals in that particular lab. A chemical inventory can be obtained by calling the Principal Investigator noted on the placard, the Office of Research Safety (773-834-2707), Environmental Health and Safety at 773-702-9999.

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Response – Naturally Occurring Floods

The University of Chicago Police receives an alert when flooding is expected in the Hyde Park area. Once the University Police receive an alert, the “On-Call” Safety Officer shall be paged. Once the “On-Call” Safety Officer receives a flood alert they shall contact the Director of Environmental Health and Safety who together shall evaluate the potential to flood.

After evaluation, if Environmental Health and Safety determines it is very likely that any buildings will flood or flooding is actually occurring, the following preventative action shall be taken:

  • Environmental Health and Safety shall notify the Water Emergency Team to initiate response;
  • Facilities Operations shall check drainage around affected buildings to ensure it is functioning properly;
  • Supplies such as sand bags, flash lights, submersible pumps, hoses, and emergency generators shall be obtained by representatives of the Water Emergency Team to prevent the flow of water into buildings;
  • Flood response personnel as designated by the Water Emergency Team shall obtain and don personal protective equipment which shall be determined by Environmental Health and Safety;
  • If flooding occurs and water begins accumulating within the building, Environmental Health and Safety shall conduct a hazard assessment of flooded areas prior to entry by response personnel. If Environmental Health and Safety is not yet on site but other representatives of the Water Emergency Team are present, Environmental Health and Safety may conduct an assessment over the phone. Environmental Health and Safety shall assess the following hazards: health hazards (e.g., contaminated water either hazardous or bio-hazardous) and physical hazards (e.g., building design, existence of submerged office or lab furniture, energized water, rushing water);
  • If safe to do so, Facilities Operations shall de-energize any electrical equipment and outlets in the affected areas. If flooding occurs, maintain all safe and reasonable efforts to protect the building;
  • The building manager or designated personnel shall move any equipment or supplies possible and relocate to a higher floor in the building;
  • All personnel not involved in flood response efforts shall be evacuated by University Police and Environmental Health and Safety; and
  • University Police shall restrict access to the affected areas by appropriate means.

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Response – Floods Due to Building Systems

Floods due to building systems shall be handled as follows:

  • Facilities Operations shall determine the cause of the flood;
  • If water is accumulating within the building, Environmental Health and Safety shall conduct a hazard assessment of flooded areas prior to entry by response personnel. If Environmental Health and Safety is not yet on site but other representatives of the Water Emergency Team are present, Safety may conduct an assessment over the phone. Environmental Health and Safety shall assess the following hazards: health hazards (e.g., contaminated water either hazardous or bio-hazardous) and physical hazards (e.g., building design, existence of submerged office or lab furniture, energized water, rushing water);
  • If necessary and safe to do so, Facilities Operations shall de-energize any electrical equipment and outlets in the affected areas;
  • Facilities Operations shall take measures to stop the flow of water through the building (i.e., Shut off valves controlling the flow of water)
  • The building manager and other building personnel shall move any equipment or supplies possible and relocate to an unaffected area of the building;
  • All personnel not involved in flood response shall be evacuated by the University Police and Environmental Health and Safety; and
  • University Police shall restrict access to the affected areas by appropriate means.

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Recovery for Floods Due to Natural Occurrences or Building System Failure

Recovery for floods due to natural occurrences or building system failures shall be handled as follows:

  • Facilities Operations shall determine if any building systems (e.g., fire alarm, fire suppression), building equipment (e.g., elevator, heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment), or building materials have been affected and the extent of the damage;
  • If the water is not considered hazardous or bio-hazardous, Facilities Operations shall initiate water removal activities and contact ABM at 773-702-0260 for additional help;
  • Risk Management or Environmental Health and Safety shall immediately contact remediation professionals if damaged building materials need to be removed or dried and disinfected or when the water is hazardous or bio-hazardous. Facilities Operations shall initiate contact when Risk Management or Environmental Health and Safety are not available. For small flood areas, contact Brouwer Brothers at 708-396-1447. For larger scale flooding, contact Risk Management at 773-702-1951;
  • Environmental Health and Safety, Risk Management, and Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery, or Housing and Dining Services coordinate with the remediation contractor to determine the proper remediation procedures and ensure these procedures are followed;
  • Risk Management shall contact outside contractors if any office or lab equipment needs to be tested;
  • Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery shall contact, coordinate, and manage outside contractors for installation of new building materials; and
  • The affected areas shall be evaluated for safety hazards (e.g., open walls, building materials, tools left out in the area) or any health concerns (e.g., mold/fungal growth due to the flood or contaminated materials). Once those concerns have been addressed and resolved, Environmental Health and Safety, Risk Management, Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery shall declare areas safe for re-occupancy.

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Re-Occupancy

Environmental Health and Safety, Risk Management, Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery, Housing and Dining Services shall be responsible for assessing areas affected by a flood for re-occupancy. The affected areas shall be declared ready for re-occupancy when the construction work is complete or near complete and no longer poses a hazard to the occupants. The area shall be assessed to ensure that all wall and floor openings are closed up, tools and equipment have been removed from the area, and building systems (e.g., ventilation, fire alarm, fire suppression) have been restored.

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Infection Control

When there is a possibility that water from flooding is hazardous or bio-hazardous, a remediation contractor shall complete the entire clean-up. The remediation contractor shall coordinate with Environmental Health and Safety, Risk Management, or Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery, Housing and Dining Services to determine appropriate remediation procedures, including infection control. Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Services Capital Project Delivery, Risk Management, or Housing and Dining Services shall ensure that those remediation procedures are followed. The remediation contractor shall use appropriate disinfecting agents to clean affected areas when drying of or removal of building materials is complete. The remediation contractor shall decontaminate any equipment that is in the affected area during flooding from hazardous or bio-hazardous water.

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Training

When a flood occurs and the water is considered hazardous or bio-hazardous, remediation contractors and other response personnel shall be trained in hazardous waste operations and emergency response.

Incident Follow-up

Risk Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Operations, or Housing and Dining Services shall determine if and when a follow-up meeting will take place after a flood. A follow-up meeting shall include all departments that responded to the flood and is intended to critique the institutional response.

Reviewed: May 2015

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