School emergency operation planning guides, webinars available

The federal government has released school emergency operation planning guides for schools and higher education institutes. Accompanying webinars will be held Thursday, June 27, and Friday, June 28.

Guides

This month the federal government released the Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans and the Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education. These guides are the culmination of years of emergency planning work by the federal government and are the first joint product of the Departments of Education, Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services on this critical topic. The guides incorporate lessons learned from the recent shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Oak Creek, Wis., as well as the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma. The guides can be customized to each type of community and may be used to create new emergency plans and to revise and update existing plans.

The planning process outlined in the guides will help schools align their emergency planning practices with those at the national, state and local levels. National preparedness efforts, including emergency planning, are now informed by Presidential Policy Directive 8, signed by the President in March 2011, which describes the nation’s approach to preparedness. This directive represents an evolution in our collective understanding of national preparedness, based on the lessons learned from terrorism, hurricanes, school incidents and other emergencies.

The new guides translate the planning guidance from these recent developments to the school contexts, ensuring that they benefit from these advancements, and introduce schools to a new approach to planning that includes walking through different emergency scenarios to create a course of action for each objective the team is trying to accomplish, whether it be providing fire prevention training to all students and staff that work with combustible materials or evacuating everyone in the building.

Access the guides on the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center website at the following location: rems.ed.gov/EOPGuides.

Webinars

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students and its REMS TA Center will host 90-minute webinars that provide an overview of these two guides on June 27-28.

These webinars will be done in collaboration with all of the federal agencies that worked together to develop the guides, and will provide an overview of:

  • The key principles for developing a comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) for a school
  • The planning process for developing, implementing and refining an EOP for a school
  • The form, function and content of a school EOP plan
  • Topics that support emergency operations planning including, but not limited to, information sharing, school climate, active shooter situations and psychological first aid for schools

In order to accommodate as many interested parties as possible, there will be a 90-minute school guide webinar and a separate 90-minute guide webinar for institutes of higher education on June 27, and these two webinars will be repeated on June 28. In addition, both webinars will be archived for those unable to participate. The webinars will include a 60-minute presentation on a guide and a 30-minute question-and-answer session, along with information on how to access more information and resources.

The webinars are first come, first serve; participants are encouraged to pre-register.

Webinar dates and times are as follows:

Thursday, June 27

  • 1 – 2:30 p.m. (90 minutes) An Overview of the Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans
  • 3 – 4:30 p.m. (90 minutes) An Overview of the Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education

Friday, June 28

  • Noon – 1:30 p.m. (90 minutes) An Overview of the Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education
  • 2 – 3:30 p.m. (90 minutes) An Overview of the Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans

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