SECTION I – POLICY

The following establishes a uniform policy, guidance and procedures for advising agency heads of emergency information, dismissal due to building closure or evacuation, and/or shelter in place of Federal employees in the immediate Chicago area during emergency situations.

Emergency situations as defined by this plan are those of sufficient magnitude so as to present a hazard or danger to the health or safety of Federal employees.  Situations are confined to those involving Government agencies as a whole, and do not focus on individuals. 

Regardless of the situation, the Co-Chairs of the Emergency Preparedness and Advisory Committee (EPAC), after consulting with local public safety officials, will confer with the group of agency officials who form the Emergency Preparedness and Advisory Committee to consider appropriate action.   When the need arises, the Co-Chairs of the EPAC will e-mail the agency officials indicating that a decision is pending regarding the appropriate guidance to follow in response to an emergency situation. If, in the judgment of the Co-Chairs, it is impossible or impractical to obtain such advice from public safety officials and the EPAC, they will act after conferring with each other.  If one of the Co-Chairs is absent, the other Co-Chair will act in his/her stead.

FEB EPAC guidance is a recommendation, with the ultimate decision to allow early departure or late arrival reserved for the agency head or the supervisor of each agency.  Agencies are strongly encouraged to give special weight to the advisory when making decisions.  The Regional Transportation Authority has indicated that neither the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), nor the commuter railroads (METRA) can adjust capacity to handle early dismissals.  Therefore, while an early release may be a benefit to those who depend upon private transportation, that benefit must be weighed carefully when making a decision for early dismissal.

Agencies located in areas outside the main business center of Chicago may or may not be directly affected by the emergency situation. The agency heads in those locations should use their own discretion regarding the need for an early dismissal of employees. If locations outside the Chicago business district are affected, fact-specific guidance will be provided at the time of the emergency notification.

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