4. Incident Command System

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standard, on‐scene, and all‐hazard emergency management system adopted by Youngstown State University in the event of a large scale declared emergency which has the possibility for extending into longer periods of time.  It represents organizational “best practices” and has become the national standard for incident response. Under ICS, there is only one Incident Commander (IC) who is the person in charge of the incident. This person must possess sufficient experience and knowledge to manage the incident. The nature of the emergency determines the position responsible for incident command. Depending upon the nature of an emergency, the Incident Commander (IC) may be a different individual not necessarily from the University. The following list is an example of who may fill the role of an Incident Commander in particular emergencies. This is not a complete list, but only serves as an example;

Incident Commander List
Emergency Incident Commander
Active Shooter Ranking YSU Police Supervisor on scene
Fire Ranking Youngstown Fire Department Official on scene
Building Collapse Ranking Youngstown Fire Department Official on scene/ AVP YSU Facilities
Chemical Spill Mahoning County Hazmat Team Supervisor
Bomb Threat Ranking YSU Police Supervisor on scene
Power Outage

AVP YSU Facilities

An emergency affecting a large geographical area or one requiring a multi‐disciplinary response may require the alternative method of Unified Command. In this case, each discipline (i.e. Fire, Police, Medical, etc.) has one person in‐charge of executing the Incident Action Plan as it relates to that person’s respective discipline.

The ICS consists of five functional components. The management of every emergency, incident or event includes these components. They are:

  • Command
  • Operations
  • Planning
  • Logistics
  • Finance/Administration

Incident Action Plan

For Emergencies that are more serious, complex, and or long duration, there will be an oral or written Incident Action Plan (IAP) completed by the Incident Commander. The purpose of the IAP is to provide a coherent means to identify and communicate the overall incident objectives and priorities to key supervisors. Essential elements of the IAP are:

  • A statement of objectives appropriate to the overall incident
    • A description of the ICS structure and persons responsible for each component
    • A statement of strategies and tactics to be employed
    • The identification of supporting resources needed

Incident Command Post

The Incident Command Post (ICP) is the location from which the Incident Commander (IC) manages all incident operations. The ICP may or may not be located on the campus depending upon the scope of the emergency. The ICP may be an office, conference room, or other area which has the necessary communication resources, safety, and security during an emergency.  Only those individuals with direct authority and responsibility for managing the response to the emergency operate from the ICP. The Incident Commander may move to the Emergency Operations Center for incidents which require dedicated emergency communications resources, long term Incident Command support, and or a secure location.

Emergency Operations Center

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is the location from which the coordination of information and resources to support long term emergency operations (24 hours or more) occur. When an emergency is confined to campus property and facilities, the 2nd floor of Clingan-Waddell Hall (YSU Police Department) serves as the location of the EOC. Functions conducted at the EOC include:

  • Coordination
  • Communications
  • Resource dispatching and tracking
  • Information collection, analysis and dissemination

When an emergency extends beyond the campus and involves other communities, the EOC may be located off‐campus and staffed by university as well as non‐ university persons.

University Closing/Cancellation Procedure

Youngstown State University is open year round except for designated holidays. The university will remain open and classes held unless there is clear and substantiated evidence to warrant otherwise, i.e., extreme weather. Generally, such actions fall under two categories – University Closings and Cancellation of Classes.

  • University Closings. The university is closed. Classes are cancelled. Employees should not report to work, except for essential emergency personnel*. All buildings, except residence halls and the dining facilities that support those halls, will be closed.
  • Cancellation of Classes: Classes are cancelled, but the university remains open. Employees should report to work.

While the goal is to have as many people as possible on campus when the university is open, the university realizes that some students and employees live a significant distance from campus. Consequently, individuals are not expected to place themselves in a dangerous situation to get to campus. Employees and students are encouraged to use their best judgment in deciding whether it is safe to drive when confronted with severe weather.** 


Among the several tools YSU may use to communicate to students and employees in the event of a university closing or class cancellation:

  • Penguin Alert text messages and/or e-mails. You must sign up to receive these important messages. To sign up, visit PenguinAlert.
  • By phone on the YSU Emergency Information Line, 330-941-2222.
  • On the YSU homepage.
  • Social media via Facebook and Twitter.
  • Radio and TV:  Closing information will be provided to major radio and television stations across the Youngstown region. (Note that WYSU-FM 88.5 is the official radio source regarding information about University operations.)

* Such as snow removal crews, as well as other personnel involved in operations that must continue (e.g. Campus Police, WYSU-FM, and some Facilities employees). Premium pay for employees who are required to work during closing, if applicable, will be in accordance with the appropriate bargaining agreement.

** In the event individual judgment is exercised not to report to campus, affected employees, who communicate this action to their supervisors, shall have access to accumulated vacation time, available personal days, or accrued compensatory time and/or emergency leave as provided in applicable policies and collective bargaining agreements. The severity of the weather conditions may also necessitate the cancellation of scheduled events such as national testing sessions, athletic events, and fine and performing arts programs.

Authority to close school or cancel classes

The authority to close the university and/or cancel classes rests first with the President, and then with the Provost, the Vice President for Finance and Operations and the AVP of Facilities.

to the contrary, it should be understood that classes and other functions will continue as scheduled and that employees should report for work at their normal starting times.

Calls should NOT be made to the YSU Police Department to verify a university closing.