• GUIDE FOR DEVELOPING HIGH-QUALITY SCHOOL EMERGENCY OPERATIONSPLANS U.S. Department of Education U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services U.S. Department of Homeland Security U.S. Departmentof Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal EmergencyManagement Agency 2013

  • This report was prepared for the U.S. Department of Educationunder Contract Number EDESE12O0036 with Synergy Enterprises, Inc.Madeline Sullivan served as the contracting officer’srepresentative for the Readiness and Emergency Management forSchools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center. The viewsexpressed herein represent the collective expertise of the federalagencies issuing this document. No official endorsement by the U.S.Department of Education of any product, commodity, service, orenterprise mentioned in this publication is intended or should beinferred. For the reader’s convenience, this publication containsinformation about and from outside organizations, includinghyperlinks and URLs. Inclusion of such information does notconstitute an endorsement by the Department.

    U.S. Department of Education

    Arne Duncan Secretary

    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

    Deborah S. Delisle Assistant Secretary

    Office of Safe and Healthy Students

    David Esquith Director

    June 2013

    This report is in the public domain. Authorization to reproducethe report in whole or in part is granted. While permission toreprint this publication is not necessary, the suggested citationis: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary andSecondary Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Students, Guide forDeveloping High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans,Washington, DC, 2013. To obtain copies of this report, Downloadonline at Office of Safe and Healthy Students, 2013. EmergencyPlanning Webpage. Available athttp://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/emergencyplan/index.html, orReadiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) TechnicalAssistance (TA) Center, 2013. Available athttp://rems.ed.gov/EOPGuides.

    Availability of Alternate Formats Requests for documents inalternate formats such as Braille or large print should besubmitted to the Alternate Format Center by calling 202-260-0852 orby contacting the 504 coordinator via e-mail at [emailprotected]

    Notice to Limited English Proficient Persons If you havedifficulty understanding English you may request languageassistance services for Department information that is available tothe public. These language assistance services are available freeof charge. If you need more information about interpretation ortranslation services, please call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327)(TTY: 1-800-437-0833), or e-mail us at[emailprotected] Or write to U.S. Department ofEducation, Information Resource Center, LBJ Education Building, 400Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20202.


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    Introduction and Purpose................................................................................................1

    Planning Principles..........................................................................................................4

    The Planning Process.....................................................................................................5 Step 1: Form a Collaborative Planning Team............................................................ 5 Step2: Understand the Situation...............................................................................7 Step 3: Determine Goals and Objectives.................................................................12 Step 4: Plan Development (Identifying Courses of Action)...................................... 14 Step 5: Plan Preparation,Review, and Approval..................................................... 16 Step 6:Plan Implementation and Maintenance....................................................... 20

    Plan Content.................................................................................................................23 The Basic Plan.........................................................................................................23 Functional Annexes Content....................................................................................28 Threat- and Hazard-Specific Annexes.....................................................................35

    A Closer Look................................................................................................................37 1.) Information Sharing............................................................................................38 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)......................................... 39 Health InsurancePortability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)................. 51 2.) Psychological First Aid for Schools(PFA-S) ....................................................... 523.) School Climate and Emergencies.......................................................................53 4.) Active Shooter Situations....................................................................................56

    List of Tables Table 1: Assessment.................................................................................................9 Table 2: Sample Risk Assessment Worksheet........................................................ 12 Table3: Threat and Hazard Types and Examples................................................... 36

    List of Figures Figure 1: Steps in the Planning Process....................................................................5 Figure 2: Traditional EOP Format...........................................................................18

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    INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE Each school day, our nation’s schoolsare entrusted to provide a safe and healthy learning environmentfor approximately 55 million elementary and secondary schoolstudents1

    Lessons learned from school emergencies highlight the importanceof preparing school officials and first responders to implementemergency operations plans. By having plans in place to keepstudents and staff safe, schools play a key role in takingpreventative and protective measures to stop an emergency fromoccurring or reduce the impact of an incident. Although schools arenot traditional response organizations, when a school-basedemergency occurs, school personnel respond immediately. Theyprovide first aid, notify response partners, and provideinstructions before first responders arrive. They also work withtheir community partners, i.e., governmental organizations thathave a responsibility in the school emergency operations plan toprovide a cohesive, coordinated response. Community partnersinclude first responders (law enforcement officers, fire officials,and emergency medical services personnel) as well as public andmental health entities.

    in public and nonpublic schools. Families and communities expectschools to keep their children and youths safe from threats(human-caused emergencies such as crime and violence) and hazards(natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and accidents). Incollaboration with their local government and community partners,schools can take steps to plan for these potential emergenciesthrough the creation of a school Emergency Operations Plan (schoolEOP).

    We recommend that planning teams responsible for developing andrevising school EOPs use this document to guide their efforts. Itis recommended that districts and individual schools compareexisting plans and processes against the content and processesoutlined in this guide. To gain the most from it, users should readthrough the entire document prior to initiating their planningefforts and then refer back to it throughout the planningprocess.

    The guide is organized in four sections:

    1. The principles of school emergency management planning.

    2. A process for developing, implementing, and continuallyrefining a school EOP with community partners (e.g., firstresponders and emergency management personnel) at the schoolbuilding level.

    3. A discussion of the form, function, and content of schoolEOPs.

    4. “A Closer Look,” which considers key topics that supportschool emergency planning, including addressing an active shooter,school climate, psychological first aid, andinformation-sharing.

    As the team that developed this guide began its work to respondto the president’s call for model emergency management plans forschools, it became clear that there is a need to help ensurethat

    1 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for EducationStatistics, Digest of Education Statistics 2011.Washington, DC:Author, 2012. Available athttp://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d11/index.asp.


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    our schools’ emergency planning efforts are aligned with theemergency planning practices at the national, state, and locallevels. Recent developments have put a new emphasis on the processfor developing EOPs.

    National preparedness efforts, including planning, are nowinformed by Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 8, which was signedby the president in March 2011 and describes the nation’s approachto preparedness. This directive represents an evolution in ourcollective understanding of national preparedness, based on thelessons learned from terrorist attacks, hurricanes, schoolincidents, and other experiences.

    PPD-8 defines preparedness around five mission areas:Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery.


    Protection means the capabilities to secure schools against actsof violence and manmade or natural disasters. Protection focuses onongoing actions that protect students, teachers, staff, visitors,networks, and property from a threat or hazard.

    for the purposes of this guide, means the capabilities necessaryto avoid, deter, or stop an imminent crime or threatened or actualmass casualty incident. Prevention is the action schools take toprevent a threatened or actual incident from occurring.

    Mitigation means the capabilities necessary to eliminate orreduce the loss of life and property damage by lessening the impactof an event or emergency. In this document, “mitigation” also meansreducing the likelihood that threats and hazards will happen.

    Response means the capabilities necessary to stabilize anemergency once it has already happened or is certain to happen inan unpreventable way; establish a safe and secure environment; savelives and property; and facilitate the transition to recovery.

    Recovery means the capabilities necessary to assist schoolsaffected by an event or emergency in restoring the learningenvironment.

    Emergency management officials and emergency responders engagingwith schools are familiar with this terminology. These missionareas generally align with the three timeframes associated with anincident: before, during, and after.

    The majority of Prevention, Protection, and Mitigationactivities generally occur before an incident, although these threemission areas do have ongoing activities that can occur throughoutan incident. Response activities occur during an incident, andRecovery activities can begin during an incident and occur after anincident. To help avoid confusion over terms and allow for ease ofreference, this guide uses “before,” “during,” and “after.”

    2 In the broader PPD-8 construct, the term “prevention” refersto those capabilities necessary to avoid, prevent, or stop athreatened or actual act of terrorism. The term “prevention” alsorefers to preventing imminent threats.

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    As schools plan for and execute response and recovery activitiesthrough the emergency operations plan, they should use the conceptsand principles of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).One component of NIMS is the Incident Command System (ICS), whichprovides a standardized approach for incident management,regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity. By using ICSduring an incident, schools will be able to more effectively workwith the responders in their communities. For more information onICS and NIMS, please see the Resources section.

    While some of the vocabulary, processes, and approachesdiscussed in this guide may be new to the education community, theyare critical. The vocabulary, processes, and approaches arecritical to the creation of emergency management practices andplans that are integrated with the efforts of first responders andother key stakeholders, and that incorporate everything possible tokeep children safe. If a school system has an existing plan,revising and adapting that plan using the principles and processdescribed in this guide will help ensure alignment with theterminology and approaches used across the nation.

    The Departments issuing this guidance are providing examples ofgood practices and matters to consider for planning andimplementation purposes. The guidance does not create anyrequirements beyond those included in applicable law andregulations, or create any additional rights for any person,entity, or organization. The information presented in this documentgenerally constitutes informal guidance and provides examples thatmay be helpful. The inclusion of certain references does not implyany endorsement of any documents, products, or approaches. Theremay be other resources that may be equally helpful.

    This guide replaces “Practical Information on Crisis Planning: AGuide for Schools and Communities” (January 2007), which isrescinded.

    All websites listed in this guide were last accessed on May 30,2013.

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    PLANNING PRINCIPLES The following principles are key todeveloping a comprehensive school emergency operations plan (schoolEOP) that addresses a range of threats and hazards:

    Planning must be supported by leadership. At the district andschool levels, senior-level officials can help the planning processby demonstrating strong support for the planning team.

    Planning uses assessment to customize plans to the buildinglevel. Effective planning is built around comprehensive, ongoingassessment of the school community. Information gathered throughassessment is used to customize plans to the building level, takinginto consideration the school’s unique circumstances andresources.

    Planning considers all threats and hazards. The planning processmust take into account a wide range of possible threats and hazardsthat may impact the school. Comprehensive school emergencymanagement planning considers all threats and hazards throughoutthe planning process, addressing safety needs before, during, andafter an incident.

    Planning provides for the access and functional needs of thewhole school community. The “whole school community” includeschildren, individuals with disabilities and others with access andfunctional needs, those from religiously, racially, and ethnicallydiverse backgrounds, and people with limited Englishproficiency.

    Planning considers all settings and all times. School EOPs mustaccount for incidents that may occur during and outside the schoolday as well as on and off campus (e.g., sporting events, fieldtrips).

    Creating and revising a model emergency operations plan is doneby following a collaborative process. This guide provides aprocess, plan format, and content guidance that are flexible enoughfor use by all school emergency planning teams. If a planning teamalso uses templates, it must first evaluate their usefulness toensure the tools do not undermine the collaborative initiative andcollectively shared plan. There are some jurisdictions that providetemplates to schools, and these will reflect state and localmandates, as applicable.

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    THE PLANNING PROCESS There are many ways to develop a schoolEOP. The planning process discussed in this section is flexible andcan be adapted to accommodate a school’s unique characteristics andsituation.

    Effective school emergency management planning and developmentof a school EOP are not done in isolation. It is critical thatschools work with their district staff and community partners—localemergency management staff, first responders, and public and mentalhealth officials—during the planning process, as an effectiveschool EOP is supported at the district level and integrated withdistrict, community, regional, and state plans. This collaborationmakes more resources available and helps to ensure the seamlessintegration of all responders.

    Schools can use the process outlined below to develop a plan, doa comprehensive review of their entire plan, or conduct periodicand incremental reviews of the plan’s components. While this guideis designed for schools, districts may use this planning process aswell.

    Figure 1 depicts the six steps in the planning process.3

    Figure 1: Steps in the Planning Process

    At each step, schools should consider the impact of theirdecisions on ongoing activities such as training and exercises aswell as on equipment and resources.

    Step 1: Form a Collaborative Planning Team Lessons learned fromexperience indicate that operational planning is best performed bya team. Case studies reinforce this concept by pointing out thatthe common thread found in successful operations is thatparticipating organizations have understood and accepted theirroles. Close 3 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FederalEmergency Management Agency. Developing and Maintaining EmergencyOperations Plans: Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101, Version2.0. Washington, DC: Author, November 2010. Available athttp://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/divisions/npd/CPG_101_V2.pdf.


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    collaboration between schools and community partners ensures thecoordination of efforts and the integration of emergency managementplans.

    Identify Core Planning Team: The core planning team shouldinclude representatives from a wide range of school personnel,including, but not limited to, administrators, educators, schoolpsychologists, nurses, facilities managers, transportationmanagers, food personnel, and family services representatives. Itshould also include student and parent representatives, andindividuals and organizations that serve and represent theinterests of students, staff, and parents with disabilities, andothers with access and functional needs, as well as racialminorities and religious organizations, so that specific concernsare included in the early stages of planning. In addition, the coreplanning team should include community partners such as firstresponders, local emergency management staff, and others who haveroles and responsibilities in school emergency management before,during, and after an incident. This includes local law enforcementofficers, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, schoolresource officers, fire officials, public and mental healthpractitioners, and local emergency managers. Their expertise willinform the development, implementation, and refinement of theschool EOP.

    The planning team should be small enough to permit closecollaboration with first responders and other community partners,yet large enough to be representative of the school, its families,and its community. It should also be large enough as to not placean undue burden on any single person.

    Connecting the Planning Team to District, Local or Regional,State, Tribal, and Federal Emergency Planning

    Schools undertake emergency operations planning within thecontext of district, local or regional, state, tribal, and federalagency emergency planning. School districts serve as the liaisonbetween the school and these broader agencies. In order to promotecoordination between these entities, the planning team is stronglyencouraged to include a district representative. The local schooldistrict’s emergency planning policies, procedures, and trainingactivities will inform and enhance the school’s planning to asignificant degree.

    In addition, from the onset, the planning team should be awareof any local or state requirements that may apply to the schoolEOP.

    Form a Common Framework: A shared approach facilitates mutualunderstanding, coordination, and execution of the emergencymanagement strategies as well as works from a common commandstructure. All team members need to take time to learn each other’svocabulary, command structure, and culture in order to facilitateeffective planning.

    Define and Assign Roles and Responsibilities: Each personinvolved in the development and refinement of the plan should knowher or his roles and responsibilities in the planning process.

    Determine a Regular Schedule of Meetings: School emergencymanagement planning is an ongoing effort that is reinforced throughregularly scheduled planning meetings. Establishing a

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    flexible but regular schedule of meeting times will facilitategreater collaboration, coordination, and communication among teammembers and will help solidify crucial relationships.

    Step 1 Outcome After completing Step 1, the school has formed aplanning team with representatives from all necessary stakeholders.The planning team has taken initial steps to form a commonframework, define and assign roles and responsibilities in theplanning process, and set a schedule of planning meetings.

    Step 2: Understand the Situation In Step 2, the planning teamidentifies possible threats and hazards, and assesses the risk andvulnerabilities posed by those threats and hazards.

    Effective school planning depends on a consistent analysis andcomparison of the threats and hazards a particular school faces.This is typically performed through a threat and hazardidentification and risk assessment process that collectsinformation about threats and hazards, and assigns values to riskfor the purposes of deciding which threats or hazards the planshould prioritize and subsequently address.

    Identify Threats and Hazards The planning team first needs tounderstand the threats and hazards faced by the school and thesurrounding community.

    The planning team can draw upon a wealth of existing informationto identify the range of threats and hazards that may be faced bythe school. First, the planning team members should share their ownknowledge of threats and hazards the school and surroundingcommunity have faced in the past or may face in the future. Theplanning team should then reach out to local, state, and federalagencies for data about historical threats and hazards faced by thesurrounding community. Local and county agencies that have aknowledge of threats and hazards include, but are not limited to,emergency management offices, fire and police departments, as wellas local organizations and community groups (e.g., local chapter ofthe American Red Cross, Community Emergency Response Team),utilities, and other businesses that can provide helpfulinformation.

    Assess the Risk Posed by the Identified Threats and Hazards Oncean initial set of threats and hazards have been identified throughthe process described in the previous section, the planning teamshould select suitable assessment tools to evaluate the risk posedby the identified threats and hazards.4

    Evaluating risk entails understanding the probability that thespecific threat or hazard will occur; the effects it will likelyhave, including

    4 For more information on the threat and hazard identificationand risk assessment process, please see FEMA’s Threat and HazardIdentification and Risk Assessment Guide (CPG 201) athttp://www.fema.gov/plan.


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    the severity of the impact; the time the school will have towarn students and staff about the threat or hazard; and how long itmay last. The local and county emergency management staff should beable to provide information on some of the risks posed by threatsand hazards common to the school and surrounding community. Thisenables the planning team to focus its assessment efforts onthreats and hazards unique to the school community, as well as onthe particular vulnerabilities of the building and itsoccupants.

    “Vulnerabilities” refers to the characteristics of the school(e.g., structure, equipment, information technology (IT) orelectrical systems, grounds, surrounding area) that could make itmore susceptible to the identified threats and hazards. Assessingrisk and vulnerability enables the planning team to focus itsefforts on prioritized threats and hazards.

    There are numerous assessments that the planning team may use,including site assessments, culture and climate assessments, schoolbehavioral threat assessments, and capacity assessments. Theseassessments will help the planning team not only assess risk butalso identify resources and issues that the plan may need toaddress. Through the assessment process, the planning team may alsoidentify additional threats and hazards.

    The most successful assessments are conducted by a broad arrayof individuals, including support staff and first responders.Students and parents, including students and parents withdisabilities, and others with access and functional needs, shouldbe included to the maximum extent appropriate. The assessment alsohas to be strategic: If the school is in an isolated region of acounty and the response times for law enforcement officers or fireofficials and EMS practitioners are lengthy, that may alter thecalculus of the assessment. If response time is lengthy, othersecurity measures may need to be enacted to compensate for lengthyresponse times.

    Assessments will be used not only to develop the initial planbut also to inform updates and revisions to the plan on an ongoingbasis. The following table provides more information about some ofthe most essential assessments the planning team shouldundertake.5

    5 For more information on assessments and schools, see theReadiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) TechnicalAssistance (TA) Center’s A Guide to School VulnerabilityAssessments athttp://rems.ed.gov/display.aspx?page=publications_General.


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    Table 1: Assessment

    Type of Assessment Description Purpose and Results

    Site Assessment

    A site assessment examines the safety, accessibility, andemergency preparedness of the school’s buildings and grounds. Thisassessment includes, but is not limited to, a review of buildingaccess and egress control measures, visibility around the exteriorof the building, structural integrity of the building, compliancewith applicable architectural standards for individuals withdisabilities and others with functional and access needs, andemergency vehicle access.

    Increased understanding of the potential impact of threats andhazards on the school buildings and grounds. Increasedunderstanding of risk and vulnerabilities of the school buildingsand grounds when developing the plan. Knowledge of which facilitiesare physically accessible to students, staff, parents, volunteerworkers, and emergency response personnel with disabilities and canbe used in compliance with the law.

    Culture and Climate Assessment

    In schools with positive climates, students are more likely tofeel connected to adults and their peers. This fosters a nurturingenvironment where students are more likely to succeed, feel safe,and report threats. A school culture and climate assessmentevaluates student and staff connectedness to the school and problembehaviors. For example, this assessment may reveal a high number ofbullying incidents, indicating a need to implement an anti-bullyingprogram. If a student survey is used to assess culture and climate,student privacy must be protected. A range of school personnel canassist in the assessment of culture and school climate, includingschool counselors and mental health staff.

    Knowledge of students’ and staff’s perceptions of their safety.Knowledge of problem behaviors that need to be addressed to improveschool climate.

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    Type of Assessment Description Purpose and Results

    School Threat Assessment

    A school threat assessment analyzes communication and behaviorsto determine whether or not a student, staff, or other person maypose a threat. These assessments must be based on fact, must complywith applicable privacy, civil rights, and other applicable laws,and are often conducted by multidisciplinary threat assessmentteams. While a planning team may include the creation of a threatassessment team in its plan, the assessment team is a separateentity from the planning team and meets on its own regularschedule.

    • Students, staff, or other persons that may pose a threat areidentified before a threat develops into an incident and arereferred for services, if appropriate.

    Capacity Assessment

    The planning team needs to know what resources will be at theirdisposal. A capacity assessment examines the capabilities ofstudents and staff as well as the services and material resourcesof community partners. This assessment is used to identify peoplein the building with applicable skills (e.g., first aidcertification, search and rescue training, counseling and mentalhealth expertise, ability to assist individuals with disabilitiesand others with access and functional needs). Equipment andsupplies should also be inventoried. The inventory should includean evaluation of equipment and supplies uniquely for individualswith disabilities, such as evacuation chairs, the availability ofsign language interpreters and technology used for effectivecommunication, accessible transportation, and consumable medicalsupplies and durable medical equipment that may be necessary duringa shelter-in-place or evacuation.

    An increased understanding of the resources available.Information about staff capabilities will help planners assignroles and responsibilities in the plan.

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    After conducting these assessments, the planning team shouldconsolidate all of the information it has obtained into a formatthat is usable for comparing the risks posed by the identifiedthreats and hazards. This information will then be used to assessand compare the threats and hazards and their likely consequences.This is referred to as a “risk and vulnerability assessment.” Oneeffective method for organizing information is to create a tablewith a range of information about each possible threat and hazard,including any new threats or hazards identified through theassessment process. The table should include:

    Probability or frequency of occurrence (i.e., how often a threator hazard may occur);

    Magnitude (i.e., the extent of expected damage);

    Time available to warn staff, students, and visitors;

    Duration (i.e., for how long the hazard or threat will beoccurring); and

    Follow-on and cascading effects of threat or hazard.

    While some of the information collected will directly feed intothis table, other information, for example details on schoolclimate challenges, will have to be organized differently. The mostimportant outcome is that information is clearly presented so thatit can be easily used to inform the plan’s development.

    Prioritize Threats and Hazards Next, the planning team shoulduse the information it has organized to compare and prioritizerisks posed by threats and hazards. This will allow the team todecide which threats or hazards it will directly address in theplan. The team must consider multiple factors when developing anindicator of risk to the institution. One option is a mathematicalapproach, which assigns index numbers (e.g., a 1-to-4, 1-to-5, or1-to-10 scale) for different categories of information used in theranking scheme. Using this approach, the planning team willcategorize threats and hazards as posing a relatively high, medium,or low risk. The following table, “Table 2: Sample Risk AssessmentWorksheet” (separate from Table 1, above) provides a sample riskassessment worksheet for comparing and prioritizing threats andhazards.

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    Table 2: Sample Risk Assessment Worksheet

    Hazard Probability Magnitude Warning Duration Risk Priority

    Fire 4. Highly likely 3. Likely 2. Possible 1. Unlikely

    4. Catastrophic 3. Critical 2. Limited 1. Negligible

    4. Minimal 3. 6–12 hrs. 2. 12–24 hrs. 1. 24+ hrs.

    4. 12+ hrs. 3. 6–12 hrs. 2. 3–6 hrs. 1. < 3 Hours

    High Medium Low

    Hazmat spill outside the school

    4. Highly likely 3. Likely 2. Possible 1. Unlikely

    4. Catastrophic 3. Critical 2. Limited 1. Negligible

    4. Minimal 3. 6–12 hrs. 2. 12–4 hrs. 1. 24+ hrs.

    4. 12+ hrs. 3. 6–12 hrs. 2. 3–6 hrs. 1. < 3 hrs.

    High Medium Low

    Step 2 Outcome After completing Step 2, the planning team has aprioritized (high, medium, or low risk) list of threats and hazardsbased on the results of the risk assessment.

    Step 3: Determine Goals and Objectives In Step 3, the planningteam decides which of the threats and hazards identified in Step 2will be addressed in the school EOP. The planning team may decideto address only those threats and hazards that rank “high” in riskpriority, or they may decide to also address some of the threatsand hazards that rank “medium.” This is a critical decision pointin the planning process that is left up to the planning team. It isrecommended that the team address more than just the “high” riskpriority threats and hazards.

    Once the planning team has decided which threats and hazardswill be addressed in the school EOP, it develops goals andobjectives for each.

    Develop Goals and Objectives Goals are broad, general statementsthat indicate the desired outcome in response to the threat orhazard identified by planners in the previous step. They are whatpersonnel and other resources are supposed to achieve. They alsohelp identify when major activities are complete and what defines asuccessful outcome.

    The planning team should develop at least three goals foraddressing each threat or hazard (though the planning team may wantto identify more). Those three goals should indicate the

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    desired outcome for (1) before, (2) during, and (3) after thethreat or hazard. For a fire, for instance, three possible goalsinclude

    Hazard Goal Example 1 (before): Prevent a fire from occurring onschool grounds.

    Hazard Goal Example 2 (during): Protect all persons from injuryand property from damage by the fire.

    Hazard Goal Example 3 (after): Provide necessary medicalattention to those in need.

    Objectives are specific, measurable actions that are necessaryto achieve the goals. Often, planners will need to identifymultiple objectives in support of a single goal.

    Using the goal in Example 1 of preventing a fire on or nearschool grounds, possible objectives include

    Objective 1.1: Provide fire prevention training to all studentsand staff who use combustible materials or equipment.

    Objective 1.2: Store combustible materials in fireproofcontainers or rooms.

    Using the goal in Example 2 of protecting all persons frominjury by the fire, possible objectives include

    Objective 2.1: Evacuate all persons from the buildingimmediately.

    Objective 2.2: Account for all persons.

    Using the goal in Example 3 of providing necessary medicalattention to those in need, possible objectives include

    Objective 3.1: Immediately notify fire department officials andEMS personnel of any fire on schools grounds via 911.

    Objective 3.2: Immediately begin to provide first aid.

    After the team has finished compiling the objectives for theprioritized threats and hazards, it will find that certain critical“functions” or activities apply to more than one threat or hazard.Examples of these cross-cutting functions include evacuating,providing medical care, and accounting for all students, staff, andguests.

    After identifying these functions, the planning team shoulddevelop three goals for each function. As with the goals alreadyidentified for threats and hazards, the three goals should indicatethe desired outcome for (1) before, (2) during, and (3) after thefunction has been executed. These commonly occurring functions willbe contained in a “Functional Annex” within the school EOP. Moredetails on these functions are included in the Plan Content sectionof this guide, including issues to consider as you develop goalsand objectives for these functions.

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    For an evacuation function, three possible goals are

    Function Goal Example 1 (before): Ensure all students and staffknow their evacuation route.

    Function Goal Example 2 (during): Evacuate the schoolimmediately.

    Function Goal Example 3 (after): Confirm that all individualshave left the building.

    Once the goals for a function are identified, possiblesupporting objectives are identified. For the evacuation goalsabove, objectives could include

    Objective 1.1 (before): Assess, identify, and communicate thelocation of rally points to be used during an evacuation.

    Objective 2.1 (during): Evacuate all students, staff, and guestsfrom the school using assigned routes.

    Objective 3.1 (after): Safely sweep the building.

    Step 3 Outcome After completing Step 3, the planning team has atleast three goals (i.e., before, during, and after) for each threator hazard and function, as well as objectives for each goal.

    Step 4: Plan Development (Identifying Courses of Action) In Step4, the planning team develops courses of action for accomplishingeach of the objectives identified in Step 3 (for threats, hazards,and functions). Courses of action address the what, who, when,where, why, and how for each threat, hazard, and function. Theplanning team should examine each course of action to determinewhether it is feasible and whether the stakeholders necessary toimplement it find it acceptable. For additional issues to consideras you develop courses of action for functions, please see the PlanContent section.

    Identify Courses of Action Courses of action include criteriafor determining how and when each response will be implementedunder a variety of circumstances. Subsequently, the planning teamdevelops response protocols and procedures to support theseefforts.

    Possible courses of action are typically developed using thefollowing steps:

    1. Depict the scenario. Create a potential scenario based on thethreats and hazards identified and prioritized in Step 2.

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    2. Determine the amount of time available to respond. This willvary based on the type of threat or hazard and the particularscenario. For example, in the case of a hurricane, the school mighthave days or hours to respond before the storm makes landfall,while the school may have to respond in minutes to an activeshooter.

    3. Identify decision points. Decision points indicate the placein time, as threats or hazards unfold, when leaders anticipatemaking decisions about a course of action. Walking through eachscenario in detail will help identify the relevant decision pointsfor each one, such as whether or not to evacuate, shelter in place,or lockdown.

    4. Develop courses of action. Planners develop courses of actionto achieve their goals and objectives by answering the followingquestions:

    What is the action?

    Who is responsible for the action?

    When does the action take place?

    How long does the action take and how much time is actuallyavailable?

    What has to happen before?

    What happens after?

    What resources are needed to perform the action?

    How will this action affect specific populations, such asindividuals with disabilities and others with access and functionalneeds who may require medication, wayfinding, evacuationassistance, or personal assistance services, or who may experiencesevere anxiety during traumatic events?


    Plans must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act,among other prohibitions on disability discrimination, across thespectrum of emergency management services, programs, andactivities, including preparation, testing, notification andalerts, evacuation, transportation, sheltering, emergency medicalcare and services, transitioning back, recovery, and repairing andrebuilding. Plans should include students, staff, and parents withdisabilities. Among other things, school emergency plans mustaddress the provision of appropriate auxiliary aids and services toensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities(e.g., interpreters, captioning, and accessible informationtechnology); ensure individuals with disabilities are not separatedfrom service animals and assistive devices, and can receivedisability-related assistance throughout emergencies (e.g.,assistance with activities of daily living, administration ofmedications); and comply with the law’s architectural and otherrequirements. (Information and technical assistance about theAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is available athttp://www.ada.gov.)


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    Effective communication with individuals with limited Englishproficiency (LEP), including students and parents, is an essentialcomponent of emergency planning and response. Plans must complywith applicable legal requirements on language access, includingTitle VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (available athttp://www.justice.gov/crt/about/cor/coord/titlevi.php) and theTitle VI regulation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (available athttp://www.justice.gov/crt/about/cor/fedagencies.php).

    Select Courses of Action After developing courses of action,planners compare the costs and benefits of each proposed course ofaction against the goals and objectives. Based on this comparison,planners select the preferred course or courses of action to moveforward in the planning process. Plans often include multiplecourses of action for a given scenario to reflect the differentways it could unfold.

    After selecting courses of action, the planning team identifiesresources necessary to accomplish each course of action withoutregard to resource availability. Once the planning team identifiesall of the requirements, it begins matching available resources torequirements. This step provides planners an opportunity toidentify resource gaps or shortfalls that must be taken intoaccount.

    Step 4 Outcome After completing Step 4, the planning team willhave identified goals, objectives, and courses of action forbefore, during, and after threats and hazards, as well asfunctions.

    Goals, objectives, and courses of action for threats and hazardswill go into the “Threat- and Hazard-Specific Annexes” section ofthe school EOP.

    Goals, objectives, and courses of action for functions will becontained in the “Functional Annexes” section of the schoolEOP.

    Step 5: Plan Preparation, Review, and Approval In Step 5, theplanning team develops a draft of the school EOP using the coursesof action developed in Step 4. In addition, the team reviews theplan, obtains official approval, and shares the plan with communitypartners such as first responders, local emergency managementofficials, staff, and stakeholders.

    Format the Plan An effective school EOP is presented in a waythat makes it easy for users to find the information they need andthat is compatible with local and state plans. This may includeusing


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    plain language and providing pictures and/or visual cues for keyaction steps. This guide presents a traditional format that can betailored to meet individual school needs. This format has threemajor sections: the Basic Plan, Functional Annexes, and Threat- andHazard-Specific Annexes.

    The Basic Plan section of the school EOP provides an overview ofthe school’s approach to emergency operations. Although the BasicPlan section guides the development of the more operationallyoriented annexes, its primary audiences consist of the school,local emergency officials, and the community (as appropriate). Theelements listed in this section should meet the needs of theseaudiences while providing a solid foundation for the development ofsupporting annexes.

    The Functional Annexes section details the goals, objectives,and courses of action of functions (e.g., evacuation,communications, recovery) that apply across multiple threats orhazards. Functional annexes set forth how the school manages afunction before, during, and after an emergency.

    The Threat- and Hazard-Specific Annexes section specifies thegoals, objectives, and courses of action that a school will followto address a particular type of threat or hazard (e.g., hurricane,active shooter). Threat- and hazard-specific annexes, likefunctional annexes, set forth how the school manages a functionbefore, during, and after an emergency.

    The following functional format can be used for the FunctionalAnnexes as well as for the Threat- and Hazard-Specific Annexessections. Using the format below and the work the planning team didin Step 4, each function, threat, and hazard will have at leastthree goals, with one or more objectives for each goal and a courseof action for each of the objectives.

    Title (the function, threat, or hazard)



    Courses of Action (Describe the courses of action you developedin Step 4 in the sequence in which they will occur.)

    Figure 2 below outlines the different components of each ofthese three sections. This guide details the contents of thesethree sections under Plan Content.6

    6 The term annex is used throughout this guide to refer tofunctional, hazard- or threat-specific, or other supplements to thebasic plan. Some plans may use the term appendix in the samefashion (e.g., hazard-specific appendix).

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    Figure 2: Traditional EOP Format

    Write the Plan As the planning team works through the draft, themembers add necessary tables, charts, and other supportinggraphics. The planning team circulates a draft to obtain thecomments of stakeholders that have responsibilities forimplementing the plan. Successful plans are written according tothe following simple rules.

    1. Summarize important information with checklists and visualaids, such as maps and flowcharts.

    2. Write clearly, using plain language, avoiding jargon,minimizing the use of abbreviations, and using short sentences andthe active voice. Qualifiers and vague wording only add toconfusion.

    3. Use a logical, consistent structure that makes it easy forreaders to grasp the rationale for the sequence of the informationand to scan for the information they need.

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    4. Provide enough detail to convey an easily understood planthat is actionable. For example, classroom teachers may have aone-page document that covers what they will need to know and doduring an emergency, or create flip-charts, posters, or signsgiving simple directions. Organize the contents in a way that helpsusers quickly identify solutions and options. Plans should provideguidance for carrying out common courses of action, through thefunctional and threat- and hazard-specific annexes, while alsostaying out of the weeds.

    5. Develop accessible tools and documents. Use appropriateauxiliary aids and services necessary for effective communication,such as accessible websites, digital text that can be converted toaudio or Braille, text equivalents for images, and captioning ofany audio and audio description of any video content.

    Review the Plan Planners should check the written plan forcompliance with applicable laws and for its usefulness in practice.Commonly used criteria can help determine the effectiveness andefficiency of the plan. The following measures can help determineif a plan is of high quality:

    A plan is adequate if the plan identifies and addresses criticalcourses of action effectively; the plan can accomplish the assignedfunction; and the plan’s assumptions are valid and reasonable.

    A plan is feasible if the school can accomplish the assignedfunction and critical tasks by using available resources within thetime contemplated by the plan.

    A plan is acceptable if it meets the requirements driven by athreat or hazard, meets cost and time limitations, and isconsistent with the law.

    A plan is complete if it

    Incorporates all courses of action to be accomplished for allselected threats and hazards and identified functions;

    Integrates the needs of the whole school community;

    Provides a complete picture of what should happen, when, and atwhose direction;

    Estimates time for achieving objectives, with safety remainingas the utmost priority;

    Identifies success criteria and a desired end state; and

    Conforms with the planning principles outlined in thisguide.

    The plan must comply with applicable state and localrequirements because these provide a baseline that facilitates bothplanning and execution.

    Additionally, when reviewing the plan, the planning team doesnot have to provide all of the resources needed to execute a courseof action or meet a requirement established during the

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    planning effort. However, the plan should explain where or howthe district and school will obtain the resources to support thoserequirements.

    Approve and Share the Plan After finalizing the plan, theplanning team should present it to the appropriate leadership andobtain official approval of the plan. The team should then sharethe plan with its community partners who have a responsibility inthe plan (e.g., first responders, local emergency management staff)and additional stakeholders that have a role in the plan, includingrelevant district, local, regional, and/or state agencies withwhich the plan will be coordinated. The plan should also be sharedwith other organizations that may use the school building(s).

    Schools should be careful to protect the plan from those who arenot authorized to have it and should consider how they will securedocuments shared electronically. Law enforcement agencies and firstresponders have a secured, Web-accessible site available to housecopies of plans, building schematics, phone contact sheets, andother important details that round out planning. Schools mustcomply with state and local open records laws in storing andprotecting the plan.

    The team should maintain a record of the people andorganizations that receive a copy of the plan.

    Step 5 Outcome After completing Step 5, the planning team willhave a final school EOP.

    Step 6: Plan Implementation and Maintenance Train Stakeholderson the Plan and Their Roles Everyone involved in the plan needs toknow her or his roles and responsibilities before, during, andafter an emergency. Key training components include:

    Hold a meeting. At least once a year, hold a meeting to educateall parties on the plan. Go through the plan to familiarize thesestakeholders with it.

    Visit evacuation sites. Show involved parties not only whereevacuation sites are located but also where specific areas, such asreunification areas, media areas, and triage areas will belocated.

    Give involved parties appropriate and relevant literature on theplan, policies, and procedures. It may also be helpful to provideall parties with quick reference guides that remind them of keycourses of action.

    Post key information throughout the building. It is importantthat students and staff are familiar with and have easy access toinformation such as evacuation routes and shelter-in-placeprocedures and locations. Ensure that information concerningevacuation routes and shelter-in-

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    place procedures and locations is effectively communicated tostudents, staff, and parents with disabilities as well as otherswith access and functional needs, such as by distributing thematerials by e-mail in an accessible format.

    Familiarize students and staff with the plan and communitypartners. Bringing community partners (e.g., law enforcementofficers, fire officials, and EMS personnel) that have a role intothe school to talk about the plan will make students and staff feelmore comfortable working with these partners.

    Train staff on the skills necessary to fulfill their roles.Staff will be assigned specific roles in the plan and positionssupporting the Incident Command System (ICS) that will requirespecial skills, such as first aid, threat assessment, and provisionof personal assistance services for students with disabilities, andothers with access and functional needs. Also, substitute teachersmust be trained on the plan and their roles in the plan.

    Exercise the Plan The more a plan is practiced and stakeholdersare trained on the plan, the more effectively they will be able toact before, during, and after an emergency to lessen the impact onlife and property. Exercises provide opportunities to practice withcommunity partners (e.g., first responders, local emergencymanagement personnel), as well as to identify gaps and weaknessesin the plan. The exercises below require increasing amounts ofplanning, time, and resources. Ideally, schools will create anexercise program, building from a tabletop exercise up to a moreadvanced exercise, like a functional exercise:

    Tabletop exercises: Tabletop exercises are small-groupdiscussions that walk through a scenario and the courses of actiona school will need to take before, during, and after an emergencyto lessen the impact on the school community. This activity helpsassess the plan and resources, and facilitates an understanding ofemergency management and planning concepts.

    Drills: During drills, school personnel and community partners(e.g., first responders, local emergency management staff) use theactual school grounds and buildings to practice responding to ascenario.

    Functional exercises: Functional exercises are similar to drillsbut involve multiple partners; some may be conducted district-wide.Participants react to realistic simulated events (e.g., a bombthreat, or an intruder with a gun in a classroom), and implementthe plan and procedures using the ICS.

    Full-scale exercises: These exercises are the mosttime-consuming activity in the exercise continuum and aremultiagency, multijurisdictional efforts in which all resources aredeployed. This type of exercise tests collaboration among theagencies and participants, public information systems,communications systems, and equipment. An Emergency OperationsCenter (EOC) is established by either law enforcement or fireservices, and the ICS is activated.

    Before making a decision about how many and which types ofexercises to implement, a school should consider the costs andbenefits of each, as well as any state or local requirements.For

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    example, while a tabletop exercise may be less costly and lesstime-consuming to run, a full-scale exercise provides a morerealistic context for the simulated response to an emergencysituation, thus providing more constructive feedback to improve theplans. If students are involved, the school should also considerthe age of the student population when selecting the appropriateexercise. Schools should also consider whether to include parentsand should take into account the cultural diversity of theirpopulations when designing exercises and training.

    It is up to the planning team to decide how often exercisesshould be conducted. While frequent exercise is important, it isimperative that exercises are of high quality.

    To effectively execute an exercise

    Include community partners such as first responders (lawenforcement officers, EMS practitioners, and fire departmentpersonnel) and local emergency management staff;

    Communicate information in advance to avoid confusion andconcern;

    Exercise under different and non-ideal conditions (e.g., timesof day, weather conditions, points in the academic calendar,absence of key personnel, and various school events);

    Be consistent with common emergency management terminology;

    Debrief and develop an after-action report that evaluatesresults, identifies gaps or shortfalls, and documents lessonslearned; and

    Discuss how the school EOP and procedures will be modified, ifneeded, and specify who has the responsibility for modifying theplan.

    For additional information on conducting exercises, please seethe Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program Guide athttps://hseep.dhs.gov/pages/1001_HSEEP10.aspx.

    Review, Revise, and Maintain the Plan This step closes the loopin the planning process. It focuses on adding the informationgained from exercising the plan to the research collected in Step2, starting the planning cycle over again. Remember, planning is acontinuous process even after the plan is published. Plans shouldevolve as the school and planning team learn lessons, obtain newinformation and insights, and update priorities.

    Reviews should be a recurring activity. Planning teams shouldestablish a process for reviewing and revising the plan. Manyschools review their plans on an annual basis. In no case shouldany part of a plan go for more than two years without beingreviewed and revised.

    Some schools have found it useful to review and revise portionsinstead of reviewing the entire plan at once. Schools may considerreviewing a portion each month or at natural breaks in the academiccalendar. Certain events will also provide new information thatwill be used to inform the plan. Schools should consider reviewingand updating their plans or sections of their plans after


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    Actual emergencies;

    Changes have been made in policy, personnel, organizationalstructures, processes, facilities, or equipment;

    Formal updates of planning guidance or standards have beenfinalized;

    Formal exercises have taken place;

    Changes in the school and surrounding community haveoccurred;

    Threats or hazards change or new ones emerge; or

    Ongoing assessments generate new information.

    The planning team should ensure that all community partners(e.g., first responders, local emergency management staff) have themost current version of the school EOP.

    PLAN CONTENT Step 5 of the planning process in this guideintroduced a format with three sections for schools to follow indeveloping a school EOP. This section provides greater detail aboutwhat each of the three sections should include and some keyconsiderations in developing the content.

    The Basic Plan The Basic Plan section of the school EOP providesan overview of the school’s approach to operations before, during,and after an emergency. This section addresses the overarchingactivities the school undertakes regardless of the function,threat, or hazard. The content in this section provides a solidfoundation for the school’s operations. The information in thissection should not duplicate information contained in other partsof the plan. Almost all of the information contained in the basicplan should be able to come from the planning team. If the planningteam finds that it has to go outside its members for a significantamount of information, it may be an indication that the planningteam membership needs to be expanded.

    Introductory Material Introductory material can enhanceaccountability with community partners, including first responders,local emergency managers, and public and mental health officials,and make a school EOP easier to use. Typical introductory materialincludes:

    Cover Page. The cover page includes the title of the plan, adate, and the school(s) covered by the plan.

    Promulgation Documentor Signature Page. This document or pagecontains a signed statement formally recognizing and adopting theschool EOP. It gives both the authority and the responsibility toschool officials to perform their tasks before, during, or after anincident, and therefore should be signed by the schooladministrator or another authorizing official.

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    Approval and Implementation Page. The approval andimplementation page introduces the plan, outlines itsapplicability, and indicates that it supersedes all previous plans.It includes a delegation of authority for specific modificationsthat can be made to the plan and by whom they can be made withoutthe school administrator’s signature. It also includes a date andshould be signed by the authorized school administrator.

    Record of Changes. Each update or change to the plan should betracked. The record of changes, usually in table format, contains,at a minimum, a change number, the date of the change, the name ofthe person who made the change, and a summary of the change.

    Record of Distribution. The record of distribution, usually intable format, indicates the title and the name of the personreceiving the plan, the agency to which the recipient belongs(either the school office or, if from outside the school, the nameof the appropriate government agency or private-sector entity), thedate of delivery, and the number of copies delivered. Otherrelevant information could be considered. The record ofdistribution can be used to prove that individuals andorganizations with specified roles have acknowledged their receipt,review, and/or acceptance of the plan. Copies of the plan can bemade available to the public and media without sensitiveinformation, in accordance with public records laws.

    Table of Contents. The table of contents is a logically ordered,clearly identified layout of the major sections and subsections ofthe plan that will make finding information within the planeasier.

    Purpose and Situation Overview The Purpose and SituationOverview section includes the following components:

    Purpose. The purpose sets the foundation for the rest of theschool EOP. The basic plan’s purpose is a general statement of whatthe school EOP is meant to do. The statement should be supported bya brief synopsis of the basic plan and annexes.

    Situation Overview. The situation section explains why a schoolEOP is necessary. The situation section covers a general discussionof

    The threats and hazards that pose a risk to the school and wouldresult in a need to use this plan; and

    Dependencies on parties outside the school for criticalresources.

    Concept of Operations The Concept of Operations section explainsin broad terms the school administrator’s intent with regard to anoperation.

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    This section is designed to give an overall picture of how theschool will protect the students, staff, and visitors, andshould

    Identify those with authority to activate the plan (e.g., schooladministrators, department heads);

    Describe the process by which the school coordinates with allappropriate agencies, boards, or divisions within thejurisdiction;

    Describe how plans take into account the architectural,programmatic, and communication rights of individuals withdisabilities and others with access and functional needs;

    Identify other response and support agency plans that directlysupport the implementation of this plan (e.g., city or county EOP,school EOPs from schools co-located on the campus);

    Explain that the primary purpose of actions taken before anemergency is to prevent, protect from, and mitigate the impact onlife or property;

    Explain that the primary purpose of actions taken during anemergency is to respond to the emergency and minimize its impact onlife or property; and

    Explain that the primary purpose of actions taken after anemergency is to recover from its impact on life or property.

    Organization and Assignment of Responsibilities This sectionprovides an overview of the broad roles and responsibilities ofschool staff, families, guardians, and community partners (e.g.,first responders, local emergency managers, public and mentalhealth personnel), and of organizational functions during allemergencies. It

    Describes the broad roles and responsibilities of individualsthat apply during7

    Individuals that the planning team may wish to include in thissection of the plan are principals and other school administrativeleaders, teachers, support personnel (e.g., instructional aides,counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, maintenancestaff, school resource officers [SROs], cafeteria workers, busdrivers), and parents and guardians.

    all emergencies.

    The planning team may also wish to include community-basedorganizations represented in the EOP.

    7 If the planning team considers the information critical to thesuccessful implementation of the plan, it may identify roles andresponsibilities of one or more of these individuals before andafter an emergency in addition to during an emergency.

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    • The following is an example of the type of information thatwould be included in the plan to describe the broad roles andresponsibilities of teachers during all emergencies.

    Teachers will be responsible for the supervision of students andshall remain with students until directed otherwise. Teachers’responsibilities include:

    directing students to inside or outside assembly areas accordingto instructions provided by the Incident Commander or designee;

    accounting for students when class relocates to an outside orinside assembly area or evacuates to another location;

    reporting missing students to the Incident Commander ordesignee;

    obtaining first-aid services for injured students; and iftrained and certified in first aid, rendering first aid, ifnecessary.

    Describes informal and formal agreements in place for the quickactivation and sharing of resources during an emergency (e.g.,evacuation locations to a nearby business’ parking lot). Agreementsmay be between the school and response groups (e.g., firedepartment, police department), neighboring schools, organizations,and businesses.

    Direction, Control, and Coordination This section describes theframework for all direction, control, and coordination activities.It should explain

    The ICS structure as used by the school;

    The relationship between the school EOP and the district, or thebroader community’s emergency management system; and

    Who has control of the equipment, resources, and supplies neededto support the school EOP.

    Information Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination This sectionaddresses the role of information in the successful implementationof the activities that occur before, during, and after anemergency.

    Identify the type of information that will be helpful in thesuccessful implementation of the activities that occur before,during, and after an emergency, such as

    Before and during: weather reports, law enforcement alerts,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio alerts, crimereports.

    After: mental health agencies’ websites and hotlines, andemergency management and relief agencies websites and hotlinesassisting in all aspects of recovery.

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    For each of the identified types of information, provide answersto the following questions:

    What is the source of the information?

    Who analyzes and uses the information?

    How is the information collected and shared?

    What is the format for providing the information to those whowill use it?

    When should the information be collected and shared?

    Training and Exercises This section describes the criticaltraining and exercise activities the school will use in support ofthe plan. This includes the core training objectives and frequencyto ensure that staff, students, faculty, parents, and communityrepresentatives understand roles, responsibilities, andexpectations. This section also establishes the expected frequencyof exercises to be conducted by the school. Content may beinfluenced based on similar requirements at the district and/orlocal jurisdiction level(s). Exercises may range from basic fireand shelter-in-place drills to full-scale communitywide drills thatrealistically portray a crisis and show the role the school playsin school district and municipal planning.

    Administration, Finance, and Logistics This section coversgeneral support requirements and the availability of services andsupport for all types of emergencies, as well as general policiesfor managing resources. It should identify and reference policiesand procedures that exist outside the plan. This section should

    Identify administrative controls (e.g., budget and acquisitionpolicies and procedures) and requirements that will be used toprovide resource and expenditure accountability;

    Briefly describe how the school will maintain accurate logs ofkey activities;

    Briefly describe how vital records (e.g., student records) willbe preserved (details may be contained in a Continuity ofOperations [COOP] functional annex); and

    Identify general policies for keeping financial records,tracking resource needs, tracking the source and use of resources,acquiring ownership of resources, and compensating the owners ofprivate property used by the school.

    Plan Development and Maintenance This section discusses theoverall approach to planning and the assignment of plan developmentand maintenance responsibilities. This section

    Describes the planning process, participants in that process,and how development and revision of different sections of theschool EOP (basic plan and annexes) are coordinated before anemergency;

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    Assigns responsibility for the overall planning and coordinationto a specific position or person; and

    Provides for a regular cycle of training, evaluating, reviewing,and updating of the school EOP.

    Authorities and References This section provides the legal basisfor emergency operations and activities, and includes

    Lists of laws, statutes, ordinances, executive orders,regulations, and formal agreements relevant to emergencies; and

    Provisions for the succession of decision-making authority andoperational control to ensure that critical emergency functions canbe performed in the absence of the school administrator.

    Functional Annexes Content Functional annexes focus on criticaloperational functions and the courses of action developed to carrythem out. This section of the guide describes functional annexesthat schools should address in developing a comprehensive,high-quality school EOP. As the planning team assesses the school’sneeds, it may need to prepare additional or different annexes. Alsoincluded in this section are issues the planning team shouldconsider as it develops goals, objectives, and courses of actionfor these functions. While these are some of the most importantissues, they are not meant to constitute an exhaustive list.

    While these functions should be described separately, it isimportant to remember that many functions will occur consecutively.For example, a shelter-in-place during an emergency may beimplemented but, if the building is damaged, the school may theninitiate an evacuation.

    Often, multiple functions will also be performed concurrently.For example, during an evacuation, once students are safely out ofthe building, the accounting for students, staff, and guestsfunction will begin. The evacuation function, however, will stillbe in effect as staff or first responders work to locate andevacuate any persons not accounted for.

    While functions build upon one another and overlap, it is notnecessary to repeat a course of action in one functional annex ifit appears in a second functional annex. For example, though anevacuation may lead to reunification, it is not necessary to list acourse of action for reunification within the Evacuation Annex.

    Evacuation Annex This annex focuses on the courses of actionthat schools will execute to evacuate school buildings andgrounds.

    The planning team should consider the following when developingtheir goals, objectives, and courses of action:

    How to safely move students and visitors to designated assemblyareas from classrooms, outside areas, cafeterias, and other schoollocations.

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    How to evacuate when the primary evacuation route isunusable.

    How to evacuate students who are not with a teacher or staffmember.

    How to evacuate individuals with disabilities (along withservice animals and assistive devices, e.g., wheelchairs) andothers with access and functional needs, including language,transportation, and medical needs.

    Lockdown Annex This annex focuses on the courses of actionschools will execute to secure school buildings and grounds duringincidents that pose an immediate threat of violence in or aroundthe school. The primary objective of a lockdown is to quicklyensure all school staff, students, and visitors are secured in therooms away from immediate danger.

    The planning team should consider the following when developingits goals, objectives, and courses of action:

    How to lock all exterior doors, and when it may or may not besafe to do so.

    How particular classroom and building characteristics (i.e.,windows, doors) impact possible lockdown courses of action.

    What to do when a threat materializes inside the school.

    When to use the different variations of a lockdown (e.g., whenoutside activities are curtailed, doors are locked, and visitorsare closely monitored, but all other school activities continue asnormal).

    Shelter-in-Place Annex A Shelter-in-Place annex focuses oncourses of action when students and staff are required to remainindoors, perhaps for an extended period of time, because it issafer inside the building or a room than outside. Depending on thethreat or hazard, students and staff may be required to move torooms that can be sealed (such as in the event of a chemical orbiological hazard) or without windows, or to a weather shelter(such as in the event of a tornado).

    The planning team should consider the following when developingits goals, objectives, and courses of action:

    What supplies will be needed to seal the room and to provide forthe needs of students and staff (e.g., water).

    How a shelter-in-place can affect individuals with disabilitiesand others with access and functional needs, such as students whorequire the regular administration of medication, durable medicalequipment, and personal assistant services.

    How to move students when the primary route is unusable.

    How to locate and move students who are not with a teacher orstaff member.

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    Consider the need for and integration of “safe rooms” forprotection against extreme wind hazards (such as a tornado orhurricane) in order to provide immediate life-safety protectionwhen evacuation is not an option.

    Accounting for All Persons Annex This annex focuses ondeveloping courses of action for accounting for the whereabouts andwell-being of students, staff, and visitors, and identifying thosewho may be missing.

    The planning team should consider the following when developingits goals, objectives, and courses of action:

    How staff will determine who is in attendance at the assemblyarea.

    What to do when a student, staff member, or guest cannot belocated.

    How staff will report to the assembly supervisor.

    How and when students will be dismissed or released.

    Communications and Warning Annex The Communications and Warningannex includes communication and coordination during emergenciesand disasters (both internal communication and communication withexternal stakeholders), as well as the communication of emergencyprotocols before an emergency and communication after anemergency.

    The planning team should consider the following when developingits goals, objectives, and courses of action:

    How the school’s communications system integrates into the localdisaster and response law enforcement communication networks (e.g.,fire department and law enforcement staff).

    How to ensure relevant staff members can operate communicationsequipment.

    How the school will communicate with students, families, and thebroader community before, during, and after an emergency.

    How to account for technology barriers faced by students, staff,parents, and guardians.

    How to effectively address language access barriers faced bystudents, staff, parents, and guardians.

    How the school will handle the media (e.g., district or schoolPublic Information Officer [PIO]).

    How impacts on students will be communicated to the community,including the impact on activities related to the school but notnecessarily at the school or during regular school hours (i.e.,church use of school property and athletic events).

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    How the school will ensure effective communication withindividuals with disabilities and others with access and functionalneeds (e.g., coordinating with first responders and local emergencymanagers to provide sign language interpreters for use during pressconferences, publishing only accessible documents, ensuringinformation on websites is accessible).

    Family Reunification Annex The Family Reunification annexdetails how students will be reunited with their families orguardians.

    The planning team should consider the following when developingits goals, objectives, and courses of action:

    How to inform families and guardians about the reunificationprocess in advance, and how to clearly describe their roles andresponsibilities in reunification.

    How to verify that an adult is authorized to take custody of astudent.

    How to facilitate communication between the parent check-in andthe student assembly and reunion areas.

    How to ensure students do not leave on their own.

    How to protect the privacy of students and parents from themedia.

    How to reduce confusion during the reunification process.

    How frequently families will be updated.

    How to account for technology barriers faced by students, staff,parents, and guardians.

    How to effectively address language access barriers faced bystudents, staff, parents, and guardians.

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    Telling Family Members That Their Loved One Is Missing, Injured,or Killed

    When reunification is not possible because a child is missing,injured, or killed, how and when this information is provided tofamilies is critical. Before an emergency, the planning team mustdetermine how, when, and by whom loved ones will be informed iftheir loved one is missing or has been injured or killed. Lawenforcement typically takes the lead on death notifications, butall parties must understand their roles and responsibilities. Thiswill ensure that parents and loved ones receive accurate and timelyinformation in a compassionate manner.

    While law enforcement and medical examiner procedures must befollowed, families should receive accurate information as soon aspossible. Having trained personnel on hand or immediately availableto talk to loved ones about death and injury can ensure thenotification is provided to family members with clarity andcompassion. Counselors should be on hand to immediately assistfamily members.

    The school EOP should include pre-identified points of contact(e.g., counselors, police officers) to work with and support familymembers. These points of contact should be connected to families asearly in the process as possible, including while children arestill missing but also before any victims have been positivelyidentified. After an incident, it is critical to confirm that eachfamily is getting the support it needs, including over thelong-term.

    The school EOP should consider printed and age-appropriateresources to help families recognize and seek help in regard to avariety of reactions that they or their loved ones can experienceduring and after an emergency. Often, a family that has lost achild may have other children or another child in the school. It iscritical that these families and loved ones are supported as theyboth grieve their loss and support their surviving child(ren).

    The school EOP also should explicitly address how impactedfamilies and children will be supported if they prefer not toengage with the media. This includes strategies for keeping themedia separate from families and students while the emergency isongoing, and support for families that may experience unwantedmedia attention at their homes.

    Continuity of Operations (COOP) Annex This annex describes how aschool and district will help ensure that essential functionscontinue during an emergency and its immediate aftermath. Essentialfunctions include business services (payroll and purchasing),communication (internal and external), computer and systemssupport, facilities maintenance, safety and security, andcontinuity of teaching and learning.

    The planning team should consider the following when developingits goals, objectives, and courses of action:

    How the COOP annex will be designed so that it can be activatedat any time and sustained for up to 30 days.

  • 33

    How the COOP annex will set priorities for re-establishingessential functions, such as restoration of school operations, andmaintaining the safety and well-being of students and the learningenvironment.

    How the COOP annex will ensure students receive applicablerelated services in the event of a prolonged closure.

    Recovery Annex This annex describes how schools will recoverfrom an emergency. The four most fundamental kinds of recovery areacademic recovery, physical recovery, fiscal recovery, andpsychological and emotional recovery.

    The planning team should consider the following when developingits goals, objectives, and courses of action:

    Academic recovery

    When the school should be closed and reopened, and who has theauthority to do so.

    What temporary space(s) the school may use if school buildingscannot be immediately reopened.

    How to provide alternate educational programming in the eventthat students cannot physically reconvene.

    Physical recovery

    How to document school assets, including physically accessiblefacilities, in case of damage.

    Which personnel have expert knowledge of the schools’ assets,and how and where they will access records to verify current assetsafter disaster strikes.

    How the school will work with utility and insurance companiesbefore an emergency to support a quicker recovery.

    Fiscal recovery

    How district leadership will be included (e.g., superintendent,chief business officer, personnel director, and risk manager).

    How staff will receive timely and factual information regardingreturning to work.

    What sources the school may access for emergency relieffunding.

    Psychological and emotional recovery

    • Who will serve as the team leader.

  • 34

    Where counseling and psychological first aid will beprovided.

    How teachers will create a calm and supportive environment forthe students, share basic information about the incident, providepsychological first aid (if trained), and identify students andstaff who may need immediate crisis counseling.

    Who will provide trained counselors.

    How to address the immediate, short-, and long-term counselingneeds of students, staff, and families.

    How to handle commemorations, memorial activities, or permanentmarkers and/or memorial structures (if any will be allowed). Thisincludes concerns such as when a commemoration site will be closed,what will be done with notes and tributes, and how students will beinformed in advance.

    How memorial activities will strike a balance among honoring theloss, resuming school and class routines and schedules, andmaintaining hope for the future.

    How the Public Health, Medical and Mental Health annex willinform the actions and plans of the Recovery annex.

    Public Health, Medical, and Mental Health Annex This annexdescribes the courses of action that the school will implement toaddress emergency medical (e.g., first aid), public health, andmental health counseling issues. Schools should coordinate theseefforts with the appropriate emergency medical services, publichealth, mental health, law enforcement, fire department, andemergency management representatives. Mental health needs after anemergency will be addressed in the Recovery annex.

    The planning team should consider the following when developingits goals, objectives, and courses of action:

    What the role of staff members is in providing first aid duringan emergency.

    Where emergency medical supplies (e.g., first aid kits, AEDs)will be located and who is responsible for purchasing andmaintaining those materials.

    Which staff have relevant training or experience, such as infirst aid or CPR.

    How the school will secure a sufficient number of counselorsi

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