Recommended Steps

  1. Organize a planning group
  2. Obtain director and/or senior management support for the Emergency Operations Plan and planning group members
  3. Designate key personnel from each department and/or division who are familiar with school policy and operations; e.g., local, regional, and staff. School response plans are best created with input from school staff, first responders, health care professionals and any other persons who will be directly involved in the response and recovery efforts.

*Note: The personnel who are responsible for implementing the Emergency Operations Plan must be involved in its development.

Step One

Analyze School Capabilities and Hazards
This section of the Emergency Operations Plan provides for the gathering of information about current capabilities and possible hazards and emergencies that a district may experience. Districts are susceptible to many of the following situations: floods, severe storms, landslides, wild land and urban interface fires, building fires, telephone or power outages, water pipes bursting, chemical releases, workplace violence, bomb threats, dangerous and threatening situations, terrorism, etc. There may be additional hazards that are specific to a particular district.

Identify Critical and Essential Operations
This next step is to assess the vulnerability of a facility and the probability and potential impact of each emergency. Use of the Vulnerability Assessment Chart below this will help guide the process. This chart will enable you to assign, probabilities, estimate the potential impact and assess available resources that could impact a school. Use a low to high-ranking one-to-five, one having the lowest probability and five having the highest probability of occurring when evaluating each hazard or critical operation. Identify applicable codes and regulations. Identify critical mission data and systems.

Step Two

Assign Responsibilities
Plans should be written in terms of positions rather than in terms of a particular person. Districts need to establish the roles, responsibilities and capabilities of their schools and team members. Define the duties of each element of the school with an assigned role in the EOP, and establish procedures for each position to follow during a damaging event. Determine lines of succession to ensure continuous leadership, authority, and responsibility in key positions. At a minimum, assign all personnel responsibility for: recognizing and reporting an emergency, warning other employees in the area, taking security and safety measures, and evacuating safely. The members and their alternates responsible for executing response and recovery in an incident need to be properly trained and identified in the EOP.

Step Three

Develop/Review Emergency Procedures
Districts should develop and/or review their emergency procedures for response to emergencies and/or critical incidents. Determine the conditions under which an evacuation would be necessary. Identify personnel with the authority to order an evacuation. Establish and post specific evacuation procedures. This is the responsibility of each district on a facility-by-facility basis. Designate "evacuation monitors" to help assist others and to account for personnel. A district should have a call list of all employees (or group who share occupancy in the same building), noting those with special skills, such as: CPR, bilingual, etc.

Step Four

Accounting for People (Students, Staff and Visitors etc.)
Each district should describe how it would account for students, staff, visitors and vendors to assure their safety during an evacuation. Employees meeting with visitors and vendors should be responsible for assuring that the visitors and vendors exit the building.

Designated school personnel arriving at the outside meeting area should be responsible for taking a headcount that includes all personnel and visitors. This person should notify emergency personnel of any individual(s) remaining in the building, on a stairwell landing or any other location. Personnel lists should be readily available for this task.

Safe meeting areas outside the building should be located at a minimum of 200 yards from the facility. Stay clear of emergency personnel and equipment as much as possible. Keep in mind that emergency vehicles do not necessarily follow pre-determined routes when responding to an alarm. Company facilities should have a secondary meeting place in case the primary meeting place is inaccessible. Public safety officials may provide additional instructions when an actual event occurs and wind direction is a factor.

In extreme circumstances it may be necessary for districts to establish a phone number employees can use to report their whereabouts and condition. If possible, consideration should be given to sites where evacuees could, if necessary, take shelter indoors at a business, public facility, church, etc. Schools within a complex should designate meeting areas that allow evacuees to quickly move away from the entire complex. Districts are solely responsible for making pre-event arrangements with designated site owners if evacuees are planning to occupy another facility.

Employees should be educated to call or contact their supervisors in situations where an evacuation occurs and they cannot report to the meeting place, or if they are out of the office when the evacuation takes place.

Districts are allowed to ask employees if they will require assistance because of a disability or medical condition. Facts about obtaining and using employee medical information as part of emergency evacuation procedures can be obtained from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's website:

Districts may also, consider enlisting the help of colleagues who may volunteer to act as a "buddy" to an individual with a disability who might need assistance.

Step Five

A communication failure can be a disaster in itself, cutting off vital school activities. Consider the functions your facilities might need to perform in an emergency and the communication systems needed to support them.

Communications are needed to report emergencies, to warn personnel of the danger, to keep families and off-duty employees informed about what's happening at the facility, to coordinate response actions and to keep in contact with customers and suppliers.

Districts may consider various means of notification including but not limited to:

  • Two-way Radios
  • Internet or Intranet
  • Cell Phones
  • Radio
  • Text Messaging
  • Television
  • Email
  • Local Media
  • Mass Notification
  • Weather Service/Radio
Step Six

Damage Assessment & Facility Closure
Each school should plan to determine the extent of damage as quickly as possible after a damaging event has occurred.

What resources will be needed to assess the extent of damage; are they on staff or will other agencies be needed to assist? The districts can provide additional resources to help conduct a damage assessment in a planned and efficient manner. Districts will need to maintain records for all damaged-related cost and continue to ensure the safety of personnel on the property until the event has concluded and business is operational as normal. Once a damage assessment is completed, decisions can then be made to determine if the school will need to relocate to an alternate site.

Incidents, which may cause this plan to be initiated, vary in scope and impact. Closing a facility is generally a last resort, but always a possibility. Identify the conditions that could necessitate a partial or full closure and define who has the responsibility for that decision. Determine procedures for, and consequences of, partial or full facility closure.

Long Term/Short Term Relocation
An emergency or disaster may necessitate relocating the operation of a school to an alternate site. The Emergency Responders or agency's can help a district establish its relocation procedures in advance of an emergency. If an alternate site is required for the school to provide critical services, the following items should be considered:

  1. Determine the time frame of relocating
  2. Decide if the school can share one of its own facilities or that of another school
  3. Develop an inventory of space and equipment requirements to support personnel

Districts should have an agreement in place for an alternate site before an event occurs. The alternate operations location should not be in the same vicinity as the normal operation.

Step Seven


Step Eight