Operations Policy And Procedure Notices #06/02


July 1, 2002


Procedure for Emergency Response




OPPN 15/90


To Standardize Emergency Response Procedures


When an emergency situation is reported to the Department of Buildings (i.e. building collapse, crane accident, major fire, explosion, or water main break affecting a structure) to the extent practicable in the circumstances the Department will follow the daytime and after-hours emergency procedures outlined below.

Daytime/Weekday Emergencies (Mon. to Fri., 8:30 am to 3:30 pm)


All emergency calls (from Police Department (PD), Fire Department (FD), Office of Emergency Management (OEM), City Hall Police Desk) will come directly to the Office of Operations ("Operations") where phones will be staffed from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Operations will also monitor the OEM frequency. These calls will be entered in a log where the following information will be recorded:
  • name and agency of caller
  • time and date of call
  • "call back" number
  • address and nature of emergency

If any borough personnel are the first to be made aware of an emergency, they will notify Operations in the manner specified above.


Operations will contact the appropriate borough or division chief who in turn will:
  • Contact the field inspector (by means of Nextel) nearest the emergency, who will immediately proceed to the emergency.
  • Dispatch a supervising inspector from the borough office with a car equipped with lights and sirens, a Nextel with activated cell phone, and an emergency contact phone list. All responding personnel will carry an 800MHz radio.
  • If the initial information indicates a major emergency, Operations should also immediately notify the Commissioner and/or Deputy Commissioner for Technical Affairs as well as the Director of Communications.
  • If specialized units are required (i.e. Cranes and Derricks, BEST, Elevators, Boilers, Plumbing, Electrical) they will also be dispatched by Operations.
  • The borough office will inform Operations which personnel were dispatched as well as their approximate ETA's so that this information can be relayed to the appropriate requesting agency.

Operations will maintain a dedicated Nextel in a charger base that is programmed with the phone #s and PINs of all supervisors and chiefs who in turn will have the phone #s and PINs of their inspectors. Operations will also maintain a current list of all the numbers including the entire DOB Nextel Direct Connect & Phone # List. If a requesting agency requires an updated ETA or additional information, they will call Operations who can then call the en-route supervisor. The supervisor will in turn have all of his or her inspectors programmed on his or her Nextel and can contact the responding inspector. If the inspector or supervisor encounters significant delays in their response, they will immediately report this to Operations who will convey the information to the requesting agency.

Notifications from the Scene:

  • All personnel responding to the scene will record their time of departure to and time of arrival at the scene, as well as time of departure from the scene (to be entered later on a special report).
  • The inspector on the scene will immediately give the responding supervisor a preliminary evaluation of the scene so that the supervisor can determine if additional DOB resources are necessary.
  • The supervisor will immediately inform Operations that he or she or the inspector is on the scene and then make a cursory review of the scene and report this information to his or her chief. Operations will contact the Commissioner, Director of Communications and/or executive staff if warranted.
  • A determination will be made if it is necessary for Emergency Response Team to respond to relieve the daytime personnel and monitor an operation that will continue past 4:30 pm.
  • As soon as feasible, special reports will be faxed to Operations from the borough office detailing the emergency, including DOB units that responded, times of arrival and departure from the scene and the end result.
  • Log entries will be prepared for all emergency responses regardless of whether action was taken by DOB.

After Hours Emergencies (weekends, holidays, and 3:30 pm to 8:30 am weekdays)

Emergency Response Team (ERT): 

After-hours emergencies are handled by the ERT. There will always be two teams of two inspectors each, available for after-hours emergency response. Reports of after-hours emergencies are typically relayed directly to the ERT by OEM, PD or FD. ERT must scan PD and FD radio frequencies as well as have cell phones and pagers for direct contact from OEM, PD and FD. The ERT duty roster containing the team designation ("Car 93" or "Car 95"), inspector names, cell phone and pager numbers will be faxed to OEM's Deputy Commissioner weekly. At the start of each tour, an ERT member shall call OEM Watch Command and inform them of the number of teams that are working that tour, their team designation and names and working hours. Watch Command shall be notified of any addition or reduction in teams during a tour.

ERT Inspectors:
Upon notification of an emergency, the team will report directly to the scene and if the situation warrants, notify the Assistant Commissioner of Citywide Inspections. If the Assistant Commissioner of Citywide Inspections is unavailable, the appropriate Borough Administrative Construction Chief will be called. If specialized units are required, the designated after-hours contact for that unit will be contacted. After the inspection, the ERT Inspector will call the operations executive initially contacted to report their findings. In the event of a fatality, media coverage or expected media coverage, the Mayor or a high-ranking City official on the scene, a major building collapse, explosion or water main break, the ERT inspector will notify the Director of Communications.

Operations Officer:

If the situation warrants, the Operations executive contacted will take the following actions:
  • Dispatch the Borough Commissioner, Deputy Borough Commissioner, Division Chief or Director, or other Department of Buildings personnel to the scene.
  • Contact and brief the Director of Communications about the situation and give the names and phone numbers of the ERT inspectors on the scene.

Multiple Emergencies:

When a 2nd or multiple emergencies arise, calls will be logged and routed in the same manner as above. Conditions will be assessed as additional emergencies unfold and multiple emergencies triaged according to their severity. During normal business hours the resources of the Borough Office will be called upon for multiple emergencies. After-hours, stand-by PE/RA's assigned by Borough Commissioners will respond when the ERT cannot.


  • The Director of Communications will ensure that the Commissioner is fully briefed on the situation.
  • If necessary, the appropriate Borough Construction Chief will act as on-site point-person at day-time, weekday emergencies.
  • When the emergency is deemed under control, the appropriate Borough Commissioner will assume responsibility for monitoring the site.