Emergency response plans will be implemented where an immediate and comprehensive university response is warranted to major incidents affecting the campus community. There are plans for different scenarios; i.e. on-campus incidents which do not affect the area around campus and major events such as an earthquake that affect the entire city and/or region.

On-Campus Incident Response Plans
These are plans to address incidents that are confined solely or primarily to campus. Examples include fires, sudden deaths through accident or suicide, and acts of violence. Such events would involve significant response by local agencies such as the Tacoma Fire and Police Departments.

Professional outside assistance is an important element of campus incident response. However, the university also must be prepared to quickly implement its own responses. This includes communicating emergency information and response plans to the campus community.

Emergency Response Management Plan
This plan addresses natural disasters or other occurrences that impact the campus and the surrounding area or region. Examples include earthquakes, windstorms, and regional power outages. Under these circumstances, Puget Sound may need to rely significantly on its own human and physical resources. Outside professional assistance to campus may be limited, particularly during the first days following such incidents. Therefore, regional and/or longer term events require detailed response plans and in-depth participation by key university staff.

Puget Sound's emergency response management plan is consistent with National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) organization and procedures. It is designed to facilitate interoperability with external emergency response agencies.

Departmental specific response plans are maintained by key response departments. These departmental plans are congruent with the overall emergency response management plan but outline more precise responsibilities and use of resources controlled by key responding departments.