The following are mini-scenarios developed by UC Berkeley that can be used to stimulate discussion of departmental readiness at faculty or staff meetings.



1. Theft. A nighttime theft removed all the desktops & laptops from your main department office.

· What would be the most serious impact of this?

· Would any data be irretrievably lost?

2. Social Distancing. (Instructional units only)  During a severe flu pandemic, public health authorities forbid public gatherings greater than 10 people, until further notice.  The Chancellor orders all classes not to meet for at least two weeks, possibly longer.  The Chancellor asks Deans and Chairs to report how many of their courses could continue without in-person meetings.  What would you report?

3. Need to Move. Your building is closed indefinitely following an earthquake.  Your entire department is given other space to relocate to.  You are allowed to move all your furniture & equipment.  What issues would you face?

4. Purchasing. Following a severe earthquake, campus data networks are down and are not expected to be restored for 2-3 weeks (no internet, no central campus applications).  Your department’s building is open. However, there has been significant damage and your department needs to purchase some replacement equipment & supplies immediately.  With BFS down (no purchase orders) would you be able to purchase?  How?

5. Campus Closure.  Public Health authorities have ordered the campus to close for at least three weeks due to an epidemic.  Are there activities in your department that could not be temporarily ceased?  If so, what?

6. Fire. A fire destroys the building that houses your department’s main office.

· What would you lose?

· How would you recoup?


7. No Grades. (Instructional units only)  Twelve weeks into the semester, a GSI suddenly leaves campus and cannot be contacted.  The grades he has given to his students thus far have not been recorded.  What will you do?

8. Research Labs Destroyed.  A fire destroys three adjacent laboratory suites (3 Principal Investigators).  Envision the worst outcomes.  Is there anything that the department or the PI’s could have done to avoid these worst outcomes, or reduce their impact?

9. Freezers.  (Research units only)  An explosion in a campus high-voltage substation renders the campus without power for at least five days.  Your building has an emergency generator, but it does not start due to an unknown problem.  Your department’s labs have a total of 31 refrigerators & freezers of various temperatures, including ultra-cold.  What will you do?  Is there anything that your department or the PIs could have done ahead of time to make it easier to cope?

10. Strike.  Years of tight budgets take their toll, and two campus unions begin an indefinite strike.  At least one of these unions represents some staff in your department.

· What difficulty could this cause for your department?

· How would your department keep functioning?


11. Student Housing. (RSSP only – Residential & Student Service Programs) You are the student housing department.  Following a severe earthquake, all of your residential buildings show signs of structural damage, of varying extents.  The campus tells you that it will take a minimum of two days to even inspect the buildings to ascertain damage, following which some may be re-opened and others may remain closed for repairs.  Aftershocks may lengthen the process.  Half of the resident students leave campus immediately for home, but the others remain.  How will you shelter and feed these students?

12. Student Housing #2. Same scenario as the preceding.  How will you keep students from re-entering the closed (and presumably unsafe) residence halls?

13. High Absenteeism. A virulent flu causes 40% of your department’s staff to be absent, each for 1-3 weeks, over a period of 2-3 months.  What are the challenges that are of greatest concern as remaining staff struggle to keep the department functioning?

14. Research Materials. (Research units only)  Do your Principal Investigators and other faculty take steps to protect their most important research materials (physical or electronic) against loss due to disaster-events?  If yes, what do they do?