Food for Thought “Nothing is more important to American parents than the safety of their children...” -- Former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings
What is a School? Place to Educate Safe Haven Day Care Health Care Provider Family Services Full-Service Restaurant Public Transportation Custodial and Grounds Service
What is a School? Counseling Service Job Training and Placement Service Fitness Center Public Library Public Shelter
What is a School? Texas School Districts are “Governmental Entity” Section 418.004, Government Code
What is Emergency Management? Mitigation Preparedness Response Recovery
What Is Emergency Management? Mitigation/ Prevention: Any action taken to reduce the loss of life or damage to property from hazards of all kinds. Reduces costs of response and recovery.
What Is Emergency Management? Preparedness: Builds the emergency management function to respond effectively to and recover from any hazard that cannot be mitigated.
What Is Emergency Management? Response: Puts preparedness plans into action to respond effectively and efficiently to any emergency that may occur.
What Is Emergency Management? Recovery: Returns systems and activities to normal, beginning right after the emergency. Some recovery activities may be concurrent with response efforts.
Moral and Legal Responsibilities Each day parents entrust schools with their children. Once a student steps on campus or on the bus the school is legally and ethically responsible for them until they are picked up by a parent or returned home. This responsibility remains, even when disaster strikes.
It’s not a matter of if… but when and how often
The Challenge Today’s schools play a unique role in emergency management…charged with the safety and care of children, schools must respond appropriately in any crisis.…No matter where, no matter when….
The Challenge Whether it is directly or indirectly related to our traditional school role; whether it is part of the school year, after school, or summer and holiday activities.
The Situation The time is past when districts could go it alone, or prepare for a few basic scenarios. In today’s environment it is neither prudent nor possible to prepare for all eventualities.
The Assumption Schools cannot predict when an incident is going to happen or what will be involved. When emergencies occur or threaten – schools must respond appropriately.
Tangible vs. Intangible Some dangers can be identified through a hazard hunt: Natural Technological Environmental Demographic
Tangible vs. Intangible Others are trickier Behavioral Socioeconomic Criminal Human error Biological
Not a Luxury Ensuring that everyone is aware of what to do in an emergency is critical to student and staff safety and to the educational process.
It’s the Law School-centered emergency management is not a luxury, it’s the law. Audits Planning Codes Drills Training Standards
It’s the Law Chapter 37 of the Education Code. School administrators and designated Education Service Center personnel are expected to work closely with local first responders and Emergency Management Directors in their areas to ensure public school resources are made available (TEA 6/10/08). Supported by Texas Unified School Safety Standards.
School Specifics Some EM concepts need to be tailored to the unique needs of school and students. Special issues exist that are apart from more traditional emergency response (accountability, safety, etc.)…
School Specifics Student safety and accountability is vital. Unique requirements exist for resumption of classes after school or community incidents.
Responders Have a Role Many concerns and misconceptions exist in coordinating emergency response with schools… It is vital that law enforcement and first responders be allowed to do their jobs and not usurp responsibilities of the District.
Schools Have a Role School officials cannot abdicate their responsibilities to first responders. Schools are the custodians of the children and owners of the facility or resource. Schools know their systems best.
Special Considerations School emergency plan should include terrorist and criminal components. Assistance is available from: School-based law enforcement Safety and risk managers Emergency managers School safety experts
Special Considerations Crime scene considerations Help campuses understand the importance of a crime scene What is required to preserve the crime scene Who makes designation
When Things Go Wrong Emergency situations develop more quickly than anyone thinks they will. School officials face tough decisions. Schools have some unique challenges about which first responders are unaware. School districts must expect to be self reliant until help arrives and to remain part of the process after that. When disaster strikes all available resources and skill sets are needed.
School-Centered Emergency Management Works A comprehensive, all-hazard approach to manage all kinds of emergencies. An organized process provides a consistent and coordinated process to ensure efficient and effective response to and recovery from major events. The system expands/contracts as needed and is consistent with local, state and federal emergency management systems. It ensures a safe and secure learning environment.
School-Centered EM Tools School-Based Hazard Analysis National Incident Management System NIMS provides a basic, national and standardized framework for disaster and emergency response for the overall emergency management community Multi-hazard planning, training and exercise School Continuity of Operations Mutual Aid/Resource Management
Emergency Operations Plans The Plan and its Support Documents Outline the intended approach to managing emergencies and disasters of all types. Represent procedural guidelines and should not be regarded as a performance guarantee. Provide conceptual framework for flexible and coordinated multi-agency response for the efficient and effective use of resources during a major event.
All-Hazard Requirement Operational plans provide coordination and consistency of response and recovery, regardless of the type of incident. Identify the relationship between… The district office and the site. The school district and public safety response. Plan for all phases of emergency management. Ensure a common structure and language, which incorporates the incident management system (incident command).
Emergency Management Four Phases Mitigation Preparedness Response Recovery Emergency Management is a continuous cycle, not a one-time effort.
Mitigation/PreventionMitigation Preparedness Response Recovery Any action taken to reduce the loss of life or damage to property from hazards of all kinds. Reduces costs of response and recovery.
Mitigation/Prevention Ensure hazardous material safety. Identify and upgrade facility safety measures (fire, alarms, security, break-resistant glass, landscaping). Develop a safe schools programs. Conduct regular hazard analysis with follow up corrective measures. Have process in place for ongoing identification of safety/security concerns. Identify flood-prone areas and plan accordingly.
Preparedness MitigationPreparedness Response Recovery Builds the emergency management function to respond effectively to and recover from any hazard that cannot be mitigated.
Preparedness Identify your team Develop planning needs Identify resource needs Set up an organizational structure (chain of command, lines of succession) Develop the plan Practice it (exercise) Use lessons learned to revise/update
Response Mitigation Preparedness Response Recovery Puts preparedness plans into action to respond effectively and efficiently to any emergency that may occur.
Response Physical impact may be faster and more severe on children. Student accountability is a response issue unique to schools. Critical decisions in the first few minutes determine the next several hours. How do we handle cascading events? How do we find necessary resources? What if a crime scene is involved? Communication can make or break a response. School must be part of the big picture throughout.
Recovery Mitigation Preparedness Response Recovery Returns systems and activities to normal, beginning right after the emergency. Some recovery activities may be concurrent with response efforts.
Recovery (Infrastructure) Damage assessment Share information with local and state officials Disaster assistance process Structural/physical repair Service restoration Clean up
Recovery (Human) When a crisis affects the school, it impacts the entire community. Make sure plans take care of adults as well as children. Make sure they cover anniversaries and other trigger events.
Recovery (Continuity) A sustainable school system must have continuity of operations. Requires a consistent and coordinated way to ensure operational and educational sustainability Plan for resumption of classes
Reciprocal Partnerships The community is strengthened by meaningful partnerships among schools, organizations, businesses and community members This will not be substantive if it is not reciprocal.
Why Plan? Preparedness is a deterrent Incorporates “best practices” Is all inclusive Is ethical Prevents injuries & saves lives Protects property
Why Plan? Is cost effective Limits liability Improves internal & external response Increases community confidence Facilitates a good learning environment
Reactive vs. Proactive Crisis intervention is reactive, occurring after an emergency occurs. Emergency planning is proactive, enabling schools to reduce the frequency and magnitude of emergencies and to respond efficiently and effectively.
Reactive Protocol-based plans: Limited and inflexible: Represent one element of emergency management process Don’t guarantee a consistent, comprehensive recovery Many are “flip chart” dependent
Proactive All-hazard plans: Consistent with a good teaching and learning environment Cyclical and comprehensive Broad based and flexible, build upon existing infrastructure Portable and sustainable Easily understood and recalled Address crisis and consequence management Reduce frequency and magnitude of emergencies
The Process School emergency management plans… Involve all planning activities required to respond to and recover from an emergency. Build an emergency management framework that is consistent among not only campuses and facilities but among local school districts. Build a system that is consistent from year to year, so students follow the same protocols throughout their educational careers. Complements the emergency programs that local, state and federal governments use.
The Plan Comprehensive: It will include complete response procedures for everyone who has a role in the response. Risk-based: It will address the actual risks facing the school. All-hazards: It can apply in any hazardous situation, from lightning strike to terrorist threat.
Situation & Assumptions The types of information that should be addressed in the Plan include: Hazards to be addressed. Include hazards identified as being high risk (e.g., tornadoes, flooding, fire) or having a high degree of impact (e.g., explosion, terrorist incident). Probability of the occurrence of such events. Areas of the building or grounds that would most likely be affected (e.g., vulnerability of gym roof in high wind). Locations of special populations (e.g., students with disabilities, non-English-speaking students). Critical resource needs if a high-risk incident occurred.
Situation & Assumptions Develop assumptions about potential situations that might occur to fine tune the scope of the plan Conduct a hazard analysis early in the process as the source of these assumptions. Outline: Hazards that the Plan is meant to address. Characteristics about the community that could affect response activities. Information used in preparing the Emergency Operations Plan that is hypothesis rather than fact.
Concept of Operations Determining how the school will operate in an emergency situation, and how it will work with response organizations, is critical to a smooth emergency response. The school (or district's) overall approach to an emergency is called its concept of operations. The school's concept of operations explains: What should happen... When... At whose direction…
Accountability & Reunification You could have an outstanding response plan, saving hundreds of people lives. However, if your parent/student reunion process does not function smoothly and with confidence, the perception for the parents will be that there is chaos in the campus. Plan must include policies and procedures for releasing students. Guidance for administrators, media and parents about the reunification process
Recommendation: Reunification Process File forms by alpha and keep in a portable box. Identify members of the student/parent reunion team. Identify a group of students to train as runners for the reunion process. Identify a reunification area separate from emergency responders, parents and press. Include a check-in area/gate. Identify team leaders for a student care team and train them. Identify supplies necessary to effectively do your job. Provide training for the team members and student runners. Educate parents, press and the community. Exercise the plan.
Logistics School Resources Facilities and Equipment Food Transportation Staffing Requesting Support Parks and Recreation Transportation Department Medical/Mental Health Community American Red Cross Hotels, motels, restaurants
Logistics Accessing Resources Agreements Contracts Memorandums of Understanding, etc. Tracking Liabilities Special Permissions Restitution
Communication is Vital Plans must address how the school will communicate with the District office, with first responders, with parents and with the press. Include radio, cell phone, and non- technology options
Public Communication Schools are high emotion, high profile places The public expects and demands complete and timely information. Being bombarded with conflicting messages prevents good decision making. The press may arrive at the scene of an emergency before senior staff or the communications staff. Social media introduces new challenges in the emergency communications process. Technology speeds communication and becomes a vital source of information for the public, press and parents.
Roles & Responsibilities All schools have an organizational system in place that includes: A person in charge. Administrative staff. Faculty. Maintenance personnel. The organization that works well for day- to-day activities must be flexible in an emergency.
How Will Schools Operate? What should happen… When… At whose direction…
National Incident Management System (NIMS) Provides a nationwide template enabling Federal, State, Local and Tribal governments and private-sector and nongovernmental organizations to work together effectively and efficiently to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from domestic incidents regardless of cause, size or complexity. --National Response Plan (Dec. 2004)
NIMS Standardized national approach (HSPD-5, dated 2/28/03) Incorporates “best practices” School System-wide response managed and coordinated Cornerstone is in the Incident Management or Incident Command System Condition of federal preparedness funds
Incident Command System Incident Commander OperationsPlanningLogistics Public Information Finance- Administration Safety Liaison
ICS Principles Certain tasks or functions must be performed Many functions are the same or very similar from situation to situation Often are extensions of daily responsibilities Every incident needs a person in charge No one should direct more than 5 to 7 others No one should report to more than 1 person Ensure that school personnel and response personnel “speak the same language” No “codes” unless absolutely necessary When codes are necessary, ensure that school and response personnel know them in advance
Incident Commander Incident Commander: Coordinates all response activities. Their role is “hands off” management from a command post. They stand back and direct overall activities.
Command Staff Public Information Officer (PIO) Reports to incident commander and manages news media. Liaison Officer: Reports to incident commander and is conduit for district administration, community, etc.
Command Staff Safety Officer: Reports to the incident commander and ensure maximum safety at the scene. Serves as the only person who can overrule the Incident Commander as it relates to health and safety.
ICS Sections Operations: involves emergency response and accountability measures. These are the “doers.” Planning: provide situation assessment, reporting and documentation. These are the “knowers” and the “thinkers.”
ICS Sections Logistics: support emergency operations and staging. These are the “getters.” Finance/ Administration: keep comprehensive financial and timekeeping records for both response and recovery. These are the “payers.”
Sample School ICS Incident Commander Principal Operations Asst. Principal Planning Librarian Logistics Custodial Supervisor Public Information Speech Teacher Safety SRO or Nurse Liaison Administrative Asst. Finance-Admin Math Teacher
Preparing the Players School employees are public employees and may be pressed into service when disaster strikes. School employees are seen as credible, caring individuals. They must understand expectations.
Why Exercise? Clarify roles and responsibilities Validate the plan Reveal planning weaknesses Reveal resource needs Improve coordination Improve individual performance Provide exposure in a controlled environment before an actual event
Orientations Introduce new programs, policies or plans Review roles and responsibilities Serve as a starting point for most other exercises Seminar or lecture setting New hires, promotions, transfers Manage expectations
Drills Practice and perfect a single response Concentrate efforts on a single function Provide hands-on experience Provides practice in specialized skills Helps maintain proficiency. Usually does not included other agencies
Types of Drills All staff and students should know and practice: Evacuation Reverse evacuation Lock down Shelter/Severe Weather Other
Tabletop Exercises Participants include Superintendents, Board Members, Principals and Department Heads, other senior personnel. Lend themselves to low-stress discussion of plans, policies and procedures. Provide an opportunity to resolve questions of coordination and responsibility. Usually involves a hazard scenario but time is not a factor.
Functional Exercises Participants are selected based upon the exercise requirements. Emergency Operations Center is activated to respond to a simulated specific hazard. Stress is more realistic and time is a factor. Often includes other agencies. Participants become familiar with performing their roles. Simulators provide message input to participants and respond to their requests.
Full-Scale Exercises Includes activation of Emergency Operations Center and the actual field response to a simulated specific hazard. Involves multiple agencies. Generates high stress levels for participants. Time is based upon actual field activities. Allows “worker-bees” to interact with multiple agencies, most of whom they’ve never met. Identifies more comprehensive list of needed training and resources.
Facing the Facts Emergency management works in schools. Schools need strong emergency management programs The emergency management community must be better educated about district emergency operations. Districts must be better educated about emergency management. The better schools manage an event and the quicker they recover, the sooner recovery starts for the entire community.
The Objective No matter the incident type, the stronger and more consistent our preparedness and initial response, the better able we are to effectively and efficiently manage the entire event, learn from our experiences and return to a state of normalcy, better prepared for the future.