School Emergency (or Crisis) Management Evaluation

Performed by our Executive Director Michael Dorn, our emergency management plan evaluation approach will emphasize how the documents are likely to successfully achieve their purpose in the following specific ways:

o    Document voice – are documents addressed to the proper audience so they can properly influence behavior and decision-making?

o    Clarity of language – are the documents easily understandable to the reader to create consistency in meaning?

o    Liability language – do policies, plans and other documents create increased exposure to civil liability because of the manner in which they are worded?

o    Three dimensional approach – do the documents set up school officials for failure because they are written in a manner that is less likely to achieve the goals of the content or not written in a manner to make it more likely that staff will deviate from them to cause plan failure?

o    Appropriate empowerment – are the documents written in a manner to help staff understand the proper level of empowerment for improved decision-making in life and death situations? For example, are the plans prepared in a manner to help avoid catastrophic plan failure such as the deaths of 95 staff and students in the 1958 Our Lady of Angels Catholic School fire? In this case, no staff member activated the fire alarm system for a full five minutes after the fire was discovered due to the manner in which the plans were developed, communicated, and drilled when staff had to perform under extreme stress.

o    Role specific action steps for emergency preparedness plans – are the plans more likely to fail under actual field conditions because they do not adequately recognize and address the unique roles of different categories of employees?

o    Emergency plan integration – are plan components properly integrated to achieve a unified approach to resolution of crisis situations?

o    Proper incorporation of the NIMS into plan components – does each plan component properly incorporate the NIMS?

o    Ease of utilization under extreme stress – are emergency plan components designed in a manner to make them easy to navigate and utilize under extremely stressful and chaotic conditions?

o    Plan format – are emergency plan components formatted in a manner consistent with the ability of human beings who are performing under extremely high stress to be able to use them rapidly and effectively?

o    Planning concept – is the emergency preparedness planning concept viable under actual crisis conditions?

o    Completeness – are emergency plan components complete in view of the all hazards approach to school crisis planning as recommended by the United States Department of Education?

The evaluation will focus not only on the completeness of the documents, but also on whether they are written in a manner to foster effective application by staff and students under day to day normal operating conditions and as appropriate, under actual crisis conditions. Mr. Dorn will base his evaluation on his extensive experience in conducting security assessments of K12 schools, institutions of higher learning, government buildings, airports and corporate facilities, his consulting work with government agencies across the United States and abroad, his extensive risk management work with a number of the nation’s largest insurance companies, his state level emergency management and homeland security experience, and his work researching and writing more than 27 books on security and emergency preparedness.

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