Plan for emergencies and know how to respond.
Families and communities expect schools to keep their children safe from a range of emergency events, like crime, natural disasters, and accidents. Emergencies can happen at any time, and planning for different emergencies can be challenging for schools.
A key component of emergency planning is creating an Emergency Operations Plan (school EOP), or a document that outlines how a school will prepare, respond, and recover from an emergency. A 2015 survey showed that only 32 of 51 state education departments required school districts to have an Emergency Operations Plan in place.
Every district or school should develop and implement comprehensive school EOPs that describe the actions that students, teachers, and school staff should take before, during, and after emergency events, and everyone should have a common understanding of what will be expected of them. Any reduction of time between the beginning and end of an incident can save lives.
Strategies to Consider
- If you don’t have one, develop a comprehensive school EOP by addressing what happens before, during, and after an incident.
- Form a planning team that includes a wide range of school personnel, like administrators, teachers, and school psychologists. Include community partners.
- Establish a regular time to review, evaluate, and update the school EOP—at least every two years.
- Provide regular training on the school EOP to staff and students.
These resources are a starting point for learning about emergency planning. Use these resources to support the implementation of emergency planning initiatives at your school.