School Emergency (or Crisis) Preparedness Plan Development

Serious injury and death have occurred in school crisis situations where a custodian, teacher, or other employee had to make a life or death decision without time available to contact the school’s administrative team to obtain guidance.  Our analysts will work closely with your school/school district planning team and area emergency response agency representatives to develop an all-hazard, role-specific, and NIMS (National Incident Management System) compliant emergency preparedness plan as recommended by the Department of Education in its 2003 Practical Information on Crisis Planning – A Guide for Schools and Communities. Specifically, our analysts will visit your school/school district to facilitate a series of planning meetings with your planning team and area emergency response agency representatives to collect information for the plan development.

Based on information collected from these planning meetings and utilizing our copyrighted Emergency Management Plan Development Templates™ now licensed by more than 8,000 K-12 schools, we will help your school/school district develop prevention/mitigation and emergency preparedness plan components which are tailored to the needs of your school community, local risks, resources, and emergency response agency approaches. The plan development process will begin prior to and will continue after the planning meetings.  The process will involve continual and substantial input and feedback from your planning team and community partners.

We will assist your school/school district develop the following specific plan components:

  • Prevention and mitigation plan
  • All-hazards, role-specific emergency preparedness plan
  • After-hours emergency management plan
  • Site-specific plan template
  • Pre-incident planning template for special needs population

An important planning concept to remember is that the first employee to encounter a life or death crisis situation must be prepared to immediately and independently implement appropriate critical action steps. Deaths have occurred at schools around the nation when school staff members did not know how to react to various crisis situations without asking for help from an administrator. Action steps that should be taken by different staff members during the same incident are sometimes different.  For example, a school administrator, teacher, custodian, and school bus driver would not perform the same action steps during a crisis. In our experience, a more effective approach to school crisis planning involves role-specific plan components.  This concept involves the development of integrated plan components that are unique to a variety of job roles in the organization but are coordinated so all school employees are working towards the same goals.

Our emergency preparedness plan typically includes the following primary job roles:

  • The superintendent and cabinet officials, if applicable
  • Building administrators
  • Front office staff
  • Teachers
  • Custodians
  • Food service personnel
  • School bus drivers and route supervisors

Each of the emergency preparedness plan components for those primary roles will include but not limited to the functional and incident-specific protocols such as:

  • Functional protocols:

o    Emergency communications

o    Emergency lockdown

o    Preventive lockdown

o    Emergency evacuation for fire

o    Remote evacuation and family reunification

o    Reverse evacuation

o    Room clear

o    Shelter-in-place for hazardous material release

o    Critical incident recovery

o    Media

  • Incident-specific protocols:

o    Use of weapons

o    Report of weapon on school property

o    Bomb threat

o    Hostage situation

o    Sexual assault

o    Explosion

o    Injury/illness

o    Attempted suicide/suicide threats

o    Death

o    Food allergy incident

o    Kidnapping/missing students

o    Suspected biological incident

o    Chemical/hazardous material release incident

o    Radiological release incident

o    Intruder/suspicious persons

o    Disruptive/unruly persons

o    Protest/civil unrest

o    Tornado

o    Earthquake