Critical Incident Policy


Next review
Tue, 16 June 2026

The purpose of this Critical Incident Policy (CIP) is to provide a detailed plan of how Eastern College Australia will prepare and respond to critical incidents and emergency situations. 

Approved on: 16 Jun 2023
Review cycle: 3 Years
Owned by

College Board

Approved by

College Board

Policy Contact: 
Chief Operations Officer

Critical Incidents must be planned for in light of the College delivering courses to international students (overseas onshore students) and delivering courses in, or requiring travel through, locations overseas that are not politically stable.


The purpose of this Critical Incident Policy (CIP) is to provide a detailed plan of how Eastern College Australia will prepare and respond to critical incidents and emergency situations. 

The ECA Critical Incident Policy (CIP) details all critical contact information, procedures and policies related to managing critical incidents, ranging from simple first aid to the property being rendered unusable. It must be read in conjunction with: 
ECA Risk Management Policy 
  • Risk Management Framework 
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Internal Audit Responsibilities 
  • Risk Assessment and Management Process 
ECA Risk Profile 
ECA Crisis Management Plan 
  • Key Information
  • ​Contact Register 
  • Crisis Management 
  • Incident Response Codes 
  • Evacuation Procedure 
  • Evacuation Plans 
  • Critical Function Plans 
  • Academic (Sudden and Prolonged Absence) 
  • Data Backup 

Critical Services and Recovery 

ECA Workplace Health & Safety Policy 

ECA Business Continuity Policy 


  • Business continuity program elements 
  • Leadership continuity 
  • Business continuity assessment 
  • Recovery time objective assessment 
  • Disaster recovery plan 
This CIP applies to all staff, students, visitors, contractors and volunteers at Eastern College Australia. 
Critical Incident Management Team
Critical Incident Management Centre: the pre-designated location where the Critical Incident Management Team will meet to coordinate activities. 
Disaster Recovery Plan 
Executive Principal 
Chief Operations Officer 
ECA Senior Leadership 
Eastern College Australia. 
Melbourne School of Theology. A partner of Eastern College Australia. 
The College 
The College refers to Eastern College Australia. 


The plan describes the College and its environment, the potential hazards to which it is likely to be exposed and the manner in which the College will manage the emergencies. It assumes that staff and students will be familiar with its contents and will be regularly drilled in the procedures to be adopted during an emergency. It assumes that preventative measures will have been implemented to reduce the impact of an emergency that occurs. 
A critical incident may include the following: 
  • Fatality
  • Serious injury
  • Siege / hostage / disappearance or removal of student
  • Firearms / bomb threats
  • Collapse / major damage to building or equipment
  • Motor vehicle collision / impact with the College
  • Fire in school building / bushfire
  • Impact by equipment / machinery / aircraft
  • Fumes / spills / leaks / contamination by hazardous material
  • Outbreak of disease
  • Flood / windstorm or other natural event 
  • Cyber security threat 
A Critical Incident may also relate to a traumatic event such as: 
  • missing international students; 
  • a serious traffic collision; 
  • murder or suicide; 
  • ​physical / sexual assault or domestic violence;
  • severe verbal or psychological aggression;
  • a hold up or attempted robbery;
  • serious threats of violence; 
  • drug or alcohol abuse; and 
  • cyber security threat 
The plan is intended to be flexible. Procedures have been developed that should assist the College to manage emergencies ranging in nature and intensity from small- scale localised incidents lasting minutes or hours and which are managed by the College, to large-scale incidents which require external assistance and which may last several days. It identifies roles and responsibilities of staff, students and visitors during an emergency. It describes actions to be followed in the case of specific types of emergencies. 
All incidents likely to affect the safety and well-being of students, staff or visitors are to be reported immediately and responded to as soon as possible. The safety and well-being of all people exposed to the emergency are to be considered at all stages of the emergency. 
An emergency may have effects on those involved lasting long after the initial crisis has been resolved. The College recognises that in addition to implementing procedures to resolve the emergency quickly, the College may require support to assist the College community to return to normal functioning. 
The plan is to be reviewed annually by the Executive. In the event of an emergency, the plan is to be reviewed as soon as possible after the event to determine whether procedures in the plan were followed and whether they were adequate. 

Section A – Policy and Procedural Awareness

Domestic Students

At the beginning of each semester, all students are directed to policies and information that relate to: 
  • Faculty & Staff profiles 
  • Training Priorities 
  • Community Life 
  • Expectations and Standards
  • Personal Spiritual Development
  • Academic Matters
  • Community Life
  • Appeals and Complaints (Academic & Non-Academic Matters) 
  • Legal Services
  • Student Body and Its Leadership
  • Calendar & Events
  • Wantirna Campus Facilities
  • Children on Campus 
  • Recreational Facilities
  • Library
  • Refreshments
  • Connecting Up
  • Evacuation Drills and Critical Incident Response 
  • Administration
  • Employment While Studying
  • Alumni and Friends 
  • Policy: Code of Conduct 
  • Policy: Intimidation and Sexual Harassment 
  • Policy: Access to Students Records 

International Students

All international students will be advised during orientation of the details of ECA’s Critical Incident Policy. Each student will be given the International Student Handbook which contains: 
  • details of local emergency services 
  • details of College contact persons and telephone numbers 


All members of staff will be made aware of the Critical Incident Policy for Domestic and International Students at the beginning of each semester. 


Section B - Roles and Responsibilities

The Executive Principal will coordinate activity during an emergency and will also act in the role of Communications Officer. When present in the College campus the Executive Principal shall be the Incident Controller. In the absence of the Executive Principal, the Chief Operations Officer will carry out the role of Incident Controller. One of these people is usually at school at all times. In their absence, the Director of Academic Admin & Quality Assurance will resume this role. 
Staff will be directed by the Incident Controller during the emergency and should not initiate any action related to the emergency without the Incident Controller’s authorisation. This does not prevent staff taking action which minimises the nature of the emergency such as using a fire extinguisher on a fire or administering first aid to a student, visitor or other staff member, to reduce the effects of an injury, however, the safety, care and supervision of the students will be the first priority for faculty and staff. 
Members of staff not immediately supervising students shall report to the Incident Controller at the evacuation site or near the front office for duties as assigned. Any staff member given a task to complete by the Incident Controller must advise the Incident Controller when it has been completed.

The Incident Controller is responsible for: 

  • Notification of emergency services 
  • Alerting staff and students about the emergency
  • Evacuation or lock-down of staff, students and visitors
  • Provision of resources to manage the emergency
  • Liaison with emergency services
  • Delegation of duties to staff as required
  • Communication with staff, students and family
  • Maintenance of staff and student welfare 
  • Will be wearing a High Visibility jacket at all times 

Faculty and Staff

Staff are responsible for the safe and orderly evacuation of students on the sound of the emergency announcement. Depending on the type of emergency, Staff shall either take their students immediately by the shortest practicable route to the evacuation assembly area or gather them into their lecture rooms. Staff will ensure that students are accounted for and will check storerooms and toilets as indicated on lecture room emergency action cards. The lecture attendance roll will be taken to evacuation assembly area so that any missing students can be identified and reported to the Incident Controller. 
Staff, or persons delegated by them, shall turn off all appliances if time permits including stoves and light switches. Close doors and windows before leaving the lecture room. Under lock-down conditions windows should be closed. 
Operations and administration staff will deal with routine inquiries from staff and will assist the Incident Controller during the emergency. Staff will be responsible for general telephone communications including notification of students’ emergency contacts at the direction of the Incident Controller. 
Staff members shall heed only those communications that come from the Incident Controller or which are clearly presented as originating from him/her. Clarity of lines of communication and authority structures can be critical for safety. 
Outside persons such as Police, Fire and Emergency personnel do not have authority to give directions directly within the school until they have communicated through the Incident Controller who retains responsibility for staff, students and visitors. 


Critical Incident Management Centre (CIMC)

The Critical Incident Management Centre (CIMC) means the pre-designated location where the Critical Incident Management Team will meet as soon as possible once an incident has been deemed to be a critical incident as defined in this policy. The CIMC will be equipped with those resources needed to manage the incident. 
A secondary location will also be identified to use in the event of the primary location being within the affected area. 
The principal CIMC is located in the Executive Principal’s Office on Level 1 of the Wantirna campus. This space enables access to executive resources and reception/ administration resources. 
The secondary CIMC if the primary CIMC is unavailable or unusable is to be the Reception area on the Ground Floor of the Wantirna campus. 

Critical Incident Management Team

The Incident Controller at Eastern College Australia has a Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) made up of personnel to assist in the management of incidents. The Critical Incident Management Team consists of the following: 
Incident Controller 
  • In charge of overall management of emergency situations 
  • Student care/ensuring adherence to College protocols, procedures 
  • Brief Media 
Planning Officer 
  • Assessing resource requirements, maintaining status on allocated resources and developing the Crisis Management Plan and Business Continuity Plan. 
Communication Officer 
  • Communication with families and emergency services 
The Incident Controller at Eastern College Australia has a Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) made up of personnel to assist in the management of incidents. The Critical Incident Management Team consists of the following: 

Incident Controller

  • Maintain a current register of CIMT members. 
  • Replace CIMT members when a position becomes vacant. 
  • Conduct regular exercises. 
  • Ensure the emergency response procedures are kept up to date. 
  • Coordinate meetings of the CIMT as appropriate. 
  • Attend training and emergency exercises, as required. 
During emergency 
  • Attend the emergency control point. 
  • Ascertain the nature and scope of the emergency. 
  • Ensure the appropriate response has been actioned. 
  • Ensure that the emergency services have been notified.
  • Establish communications with Chief Warden
  • Initiate evacuation of affected areas if necessary. 
  • Brief the incoming emergency services and respond to their requests. 
  • When the incident is rendered safe or the emergency services return control, notify the CIMT members to have staff and students return to the College. 
  • ​Organise a debrief with the CIMT and, where appropriate, with any attending Emergency Services. 
  • Compile a report for the CIMT.  

Planning Officer

  • Plan for resources required.
  • Attend training and emergency exercises. 
  • Attend meetings of the CIMT as appropriate. 
During emergency 
  • Attend the emergency control point. 
  • Ascertain the nature and scope of the emergency.
  • Act as directed by the Incident Controller. 
  • Collect and evaluate information related to development of incidents. 
  • Identify recovery needs and develop a recovery plan (if required). 
  • Attend meetings of the CIMT as appropriate.

Communications Officer

  • Ensure communications officer is trained in use of the College communication system. 
  • Maintain records and logbooks and make them available for emergency response. 
  • Ensure emergency contact details are up to date. 
  • Attend training and emergency exercises. 
During emergency 
  • Ascertain the nature and location of the emergency. 
  • Confirm that emergency services have been notified. 
  • Notify appropriate CIMT members.
  • Transmit instructions and information.
  • Record a log of the events that occurred during the emergency. 
  • Act as directed by the Incident Controller. 
  • Plan for resources required. 
  • Attend training and emergency exercises. 
  • Attend meetings of the CIMT as appropriate. 


Critical Incident Management Team Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the CIMT include: 
  • Provide those affected by the incident with educational material covering common responses to trauma and strategies for coping with these effects 
  • Monitor the need for counselling; Assess the need for additional support (eg counselling services) from outside agencies 
  • Provide and verify information from the affected area back to the CIMT 
  • Liaise with Work Cover and external agencies 
  • Liaise with the Overseas Student contact officers for International Students 
  • Organise transport for those affected 
  • Consider specific advice to students and staff from ethnic, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds 
  • Implement the Disaster Recovery Plan including a technology recovery strategy 
  • Liaise with Emergency Services
  • Restrict access to affected areas 
  • Risk assessment of hazards and situations which may require emergency action 
  • Analysis of requirements to address these hazards 
  • Liaise with all relevant emergency services, e.g. police, fire brigade, ambulance, hospital, poisons information centre, community health services 
  • 24-hour access to contact details for all students or designated emergency contacts. 
  • 24-hour access to contact details for all relevant staff members needed in the event of a critical incident, e.g. school chaplain, legal services, school security 
  • Development of a critical incident plan for each critical incident identified 
  • Dissemination of planned procedures 
  • Organisation of practice drills
  • Assess replacement or repair options
  • Secure area to an acceptable level of safety 
  • Ensure power supply 
  • Coordinate clean-up of site 
  • Engage contractors as required 
  • Determine telecommunication priorities 
  • Assist in the implementation of action plans at the site 
  • Record Keeping: All team members will keep written records of phone calls, letters, meetings, interventions etc. 


Section C - Reporting a Critical Incident

Students and visitors should report an incident immediately to a staff member. 
Staff should report an incident immediately to the Executive Principal or Chief Operations Officer. 
All emergencies are to be reported to Reception. The Executive Principal or Chief Operations Officer will report the emergency to the emergency services. 

Reporting an emergency - off-campus

An emergency that occurs during a lecture or activity while off-campus is to be reported by the supervising lecturer or staff member to the emergency services. The Executive Principal is then to be advised. The Executive Principal will attend if the incident is within one hour’s travelling time from the College since this is a reasonable time in which to be of support and assistance. Until the Executive Principal arrives and where it is too far for the Executive Principal to travel, the supervising lecturer or staff member shall be in charge. 


Alerting the College community for on site or nearby emergencies

Students and staff will be alerted by means of an announcement. 
Emergency to be coordinated from the Executive Principal’s office. 
The Incident Controller (CIC) will manage the emergency from the Executive Principal’s office, provided that the emergency is not within the main building. For the duration of the emergency, staff should not enter the Incident Controller’s office except when undertaking a task directly related to the emergency. 

Visitors / Volunteers / Contractors

Visitors, volunteers, and contractors are responsible for their own health and safety and have a duty to carry out their work in a manner which does not present a risk to themselves or others and is consistent with Eastern College Australia’s Policies and this Critical Incident Plan. 
All persons are responsible for and required to report incidents or unsafe conditions and identifying and rectifying deficiencies and opportunities for improvement in the Critical Incident Plan and its procedures. 
All persons must ensure that they implement any part of this Critical Incident Plan as required or requested by the Incident Controller in the event of an emergency situation. Everyone is responsible for ensuring they understand this Critical Incident Plan and where they do not, to seek clarification where required. All occupants and visitors regardless of their abilities have some obligation to take responsibility for their own safety and prepare a plan for Evacuation in an emergency. 
On hearing the alarm and announcement, you are to: 
  • Cease work or activities. 
  • When/if instructed proceed to allotted assembly areas. 
  • Remain at designated assembly areas until all-clear signal given, or you are given other instructions. 

Section D –Communications

The College will ensure a systematic approach is in place in the event of a critical incident and expects that all College staff should take the appropriate action. 
The College will provide to staff information and training on action to take in the event of an emerging risk or actual critical incident and the requirement to report any international (overseas onshore) student missing from the College for 5 working days (no contact with any staff or other students). 
Priority will be given to responding to and managing any Critical Incident. 
During a Critical Incident the CIMT will liaise with relevant staff as necessary and communicate to the staff and students of the College. 
A warning siren will be sounded when there is an emergency to alert the College. An information message by a runner will be sent to individual lecture rooms to advise students and staff about specific actions to be taken if it is a variation of the standard evacuation procedures. 
The Reception telephone is only to be used for emergency communications. The Executive Principal’s telephone is to be used during an emergency by the Executive Principal or the Chief Operations Officer to liaise with emergency services. The remaining phone lines will be used for all other communications. To minimise overloading the College telephone, calls must be restricted and should be brief. 
An information centre will be established in Reception to communicate with family who arrive at the school. 


Communications with the media shall be managed by the CIMT. However, in the event that the media arrives at the College, they should be directed to the Executive Principal or person acting as Incident Controller. 

International Students

The College will provide information to international onshore students on how to report critical incidents during orientation. 

Notifying of a Critical Incident

Students and staff are required to notify any critical incident involving an international student immediately to a member of the Executive. Their details are located in the Crisis Management Plan contact list. 
The Executive member will consider the details and severity of the incident with one other member of the Executive and agree on the action that needs to be taken. 
The Incident is to be documented on the Hazard and Incident Reporting Form and tabled at the next Executive Meeting with outcomes. 
If the incident is not severe and can be resolved with resources available, the Executive will initiate the action to ensure the appropriate level of support is provided. 
If the incident is severe and warrants a level of support/assistance from external resources, the Executive will initiate action to arrange that support. Personal details may be provided to the relevant emergency service/s if the student involved is incapacitated and unable to provide these particulars themselves. 
The incident must be reported to the College’s Critical Incident Management Team as soon as possible after the initial support has been provided and further action taken under this policy. 

Follow Up Action

The College’s Critical Incident Management Team will: 
  • monitor the condition of and provide appropriate support to the international student/s through any period of treatment/convalescence; 
  • in conjunction with the College Board of Directors, ensure where appropriate that family members and other relevant people are kept informed of the condition of the international student; 
  • coordinate the provision of any College based resources required during any period of treatment/convalescence; 
  • liaise with the police and other emergency services personnel, where appropriate; 
  • advise and assist any family members who decide to travel to Australia to support the international student/s with travel and accommodation requirements; 
  • ensure that detailed records are maintained of the incident.
The Dean of Studies must assess the implications of the Critical Incident for an affected student's study and assessment program and determine any actions that are required to mitigate disadvantage. 

Concluding Steps

In the event of the death of an international student, the Critical Incident Management Team will ensure the following is undertaken: 
  • contact the family and determine their wishes regarding repatriation of the body, personal effects, religious observances etc.; 
  • coordinate the repatriation of the body and personal effects in line with the family’s wishes and in accordance with Australian regulations; 
  • organise the sending of a letter of condolence to the family; 
  • ensure all administrative actions are taken e.g. adjust the student records database, process any tuition refunds, etc. 

Public Relations

Where the circumstances of a critical incident involving an international student/s studying at Eastern College Australia is considered to have some public relations implication, the Executive Principal is the only authorised spokesperson to speak to media representatives on behalf of the College. 

 Communications Plan Checklist

Responsibility Assigned to: 
Anticipate the crisis 
Hold a team brainstorming exercise to workshop likely crisis. Can also be informed by risk matrix 
Critical Incident Plan generated
Executive Principal 
Identify / appoint your crisis communication team 
Owner / manager and senior personnel. Depending on scale of business, may include engaging / retaining external expertise 
Clear identification of responsibility for crisis communications 
Scheduling of scenario days (annually) as core crisis preparation activity 
Executive Principal 
Train spokespeople 
Ensure all delegated staff are trained in media management and response, including Front Office staff as they will most likely be approached for ad hoc comment. 
Media ready staff 
Protection of brand via appropriate media response 
Executive Principal 
Establish monitoring / notification systems 
Consolidate databases and document platform / channels to be used to reach all relevant stakeholders – mobile numbers for SMS alerts, social media channels, web administration, etc. 
Crisis ready communication systems 
Chief Operations Officer 
Developing holding statements 
Develop crisis ready statements based on identified scenarios 
Consistent, clear and accurate dissemination of information 
Executive Principal 
Conduct situation analysis during and post crisis to inform messaging 
Adaptive / responsive messaging that is accurate and up to date reflecting the latest set of circumstances 
Chief Operations Officer 
Post crisis, stage debrief to identify enhancements / inclusions 
A robust plan 
Executive Principal 


There are inherent risks associated with any international group travel for College educational purposes. Risk management procedures must be documented in an MST ECA Outbound Risk Management Plan prior to the commencement of travel. The plan must be approved by the College Executive. The Risk Management Plan is designed to ensure the safety of all involved and provide response protocols across various situations including unexpected events and possible emergencies. 
Prior to departure each participating member will familiarise themselves with these procedures. 
The travel advice, information, response protocols and risk register data contained within the Risk Management Plan will not cover every situation which the team may encounter when travelling overseas. However, they are intended to raise the team’s preparedness to be able to respond effectively in any similar situation. 
The plan covers: 
Outbound Program Summary 
Risk Assessment Summary 
About the Intended Location 
DFAT Advice (if applicable) 
Choice of Locations to Visit 
Pre-Trip Planning and Preparation 
Visa Requirements (if applicable) 
Travel Documentation Requirements (if applicable) 
Pre-Travel Packing and Planning 
Inter-Team Contact and Communication Planning 
Local Awareness 
Accommodation Arrangements 
Personal Behaviour Expectations: 
Emergency Plans 
Emergency Plan Response Form 
Phone Contacts 
Program Contacts 
Planning for Recovery

Risk Management Scenarios 
Plan 1: Strategies in Case of Emergency 
Plan 2: A Natural Disaster, Political Unrest or Threat to Group’s Safety Occurs Within Your Vicinity or a Nearby Location. 
Plan 3: You Are Asked To - Or Need To - Cease Participation in the Program. 
Plan 4: You Are Incapacitated (E.G. Ill, Injured, or Involved in an accident etc.) 
Plan 5: The Group Leader is Seriously Injured and/or Incapacitated 



Where a Critical Incident occurs overseas the College will follow the safety or security protocols of the partner(s) in the overseas location. To minimise risks for overseas delivery the College will: 
  • Ensure all offshore residential intensives will be accommodated within gated and guarded facilities. 
  • Prior to an offshore intensive: 
  • consult with the appropriate on-the-ground partners to seek their advice regarding the current state of security in the country/neighbourhood where the intensive venue is located. 
  • check the current travel advise being offered by DFAT & the FCO 
  • determine because of the information gathered as to whether or not to proceed with the intensive. This decision will be reviewed no later than one week prior to the commencement of any offshore intensive. 
  • Not proceed or continue with any offshore intensive in the event of either: 
  • DFAT or FCO issuing a notice advising against all travel in the region where the intensive is located; or 
  • The College’s onshore partner advises that the intensive should not go ahead for security reasons. 
  • Maintain appropriate travel insurance to cover students and staff 


Incident Response Codes




At the conclusion of the Critical Incident the CIMT will: 
  • review its performance in planning, implementing and managing the response to each Critical Incident consistent with this policy; and 
  • make any needed or desirable adjustments or improvements to the Critical Incident policy in light of the review processes