BASIC (06-10)

GN 00401.020 Facility Closures Due to Disasters

When a disaster situation causes a facility to close for any length of time, notify other offices and components of the unscheduled closure as quickly as possible.

Post notice of the closure through:

  • InfoCast

  • 800 number

  • Media

  • Main entrance

A. InfoCast

Post closure information on InfoCast

  • Call 1-877-697-4889, option 0 (zero)

  • email ^DNNSO Customer Notifications or

  • Use the InfoCast Message Request System (IMRS) http://imrs.ssahost.ba.ssa.gov/

Access all InfoCast messages through the InfoCast history page at http://infocast.ba.ssa.gov/reports/report.html

1. Using email

The administrator, manager, or the area director should send the email message or publication request including this information

  • the target audience is all of SSA

  • name of the office

  • estimated time of office closure

  • how and where the office will handle appointments and walk-in traffic

  • if the closure affects a large area, consider making the InfoCast message critical. Critical messages scroll on the ticker display for eight (8) hours instead of the regular two (2) hours.

The person sending the information to InfoCast can use this template for the email to InfoCast:

  • “Please publish the following InfoCast message.”

    Priority: Critical or Non-Critical

    Title: (Please include "- update" or "- resolution" if appropriate)

    Message (example): "I am the Area 6 Director in the Philadelphia Region and need this message published about site closings today in our region."

    Regional Offices should continue to send an email to the DCO Executive Officer with the following information:

    • Office location

    • Reason for closure

    • Expected length of closure

2. Using the IMRS

  • Submit all office closure notifications as a "Routine Notification" even if the reason for the closure is of a critical or catastrophic nature. The use of any other method of submission routes the message to components within the Office of Systems that do not post messages to InfoCast.

  • Enter the email address of the individual submitting the notification in the appropriate field and the desired title of the InfoCast message.

  • Enter your message in the "Text" box, before hitting the "Submit InfoCast Message Request" button.

  • The submitter will receive two emails, a confirmation of the request and a notice that the message has been posted.

B. Posting to the 800 number system’s appointment screens

If an office closure also affects appointments already scheduled or necessitates making changes to the appointment calendar, post the information about the office closure to the Appointment Calendar Menu (MCAL) screen. The information posted on MCAL depends on the severity and length of the closure and on availability of space. If there is insufficient space on the MCAL for all the office closure information, reference the InfoCast message for more detailed information.

FO Managers, some Program Analysts in Systems, and Program components in Regional Offices (RO) have authority to update the MCAL screen. If a Manager is unable to get access to the MCAL screen, they should contact the RO according to regional guidelines.

The MCAL screen is a complete overlay screen; when an office reopens, delete all the information regarding the office closure along with the changes made to the calendars. We recommend printing a copy of the original MCAL screen before updating the information.

C. Media

Work closely with the Office of Communications to perform local media functions. You can perform these functions from multiple locations within the region, but you must closely coordinate them with the Regional Executive Team.

The designated communications official provides public information materials to Area and local FO and TSC management teams so they can make their local notifications to city, county, state officials, and community advocates in their service areas.

Direct the public to our national toll free number or www.socialsecurity.gov for the latest information.

D. Sign at building entrance

Post a sign at the main entrance notifying the public of the office closure. This may not be practical if a decision is made overnight to delay opening or to remain closed for the day, or if the office is closing immediately due to an imminent threat or danger. When possible, you should ask the building lessor or superintendent to post a notice that the office is temporarily closed.

E. Duration of office closure

1. Less than 1 day

a. Changing the greeting message on the office telephone system

It is generally unnecessary to change the outgoing message on the office telephone system for closures of less than one day. Managers should be familiar with the procedure for changing the message greeting on the office telephone systems from within the office, and remotely from home.

b. Notification to security personnel and contractors

  • If the RO is open, FO and TSC management must notify the Field Services and Facilities Team (FST) and/or the Regional Guard Coordinator by phone of the temporary suspension of service. The FST, in turn, contacts the Federal Protective Service (FPS) lead, and the Contract Officer Technical Rep (COTR) responsible for each respective Guard contract.

  • If the RO is closed, FO management contacts the FPS lead directly and the respective FPS COTR for their area. If the FPS lead or COTR is unavailable, FO management contacts the FPS Mega-Center that services their facility.

2. More than 1 Day

a. Telephone system

Managers must change the office message greeting and contact the RO to request that the Office of Telephone Services (OTS) reroute calls to a designated site.

b. Notifying the DDS and ODAR

FO/TSC regions identify a point of contact (POC) for each state DDS who in turn relay FO closure information to the servicing DDS facilities. Regions also identify a POC for every ODAR office in the region.

c. Notification to the ROCC

FO/TSC management must send an email to ^DNNSO Customer Notifications with this information.

Subject: Office Closure – XXXX FO

The XXXX office in XXXXX is closed today MM/DD/YYYY.

We expect normal operations for the XXXX FO will resume on MM/DD/YYYY.

Name, Title

d. Notification to congressional offices, other elected officials, federal agencies, and community groups

The RCD (or other designated official in the region) notifies the US Congressional offices and appropriate organizations in the region, as well as other Federal agencies (such as Center for Disease Control, Health and Human Services) and State and local departments of health.

The FO/TSC manager (or the Area Office/TSC Director if more than one office is involved) contacts the Office of the Regional Commissioner and the designated communications official to report a temporary suspension of service. Local FO/TSC management contacts local elected officials in their service area, along with community based advocates.

e. Notification to security personnel and contractors

Follow instructions for Office Closure Due to Disaster GN 00401.020E.1.b in this section.

F. Notification when office has reopened

Once an office has reopened, update InfoCast to announce openings. (Follow the contacts listed in Office Closure Due to Disaster GN 00401.020A).


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200401020
GN 00401.020 - Facility Closures Due to Disasters - 05/03/2011
Batch run: 05/03/2011
Rev:05/03/2011