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Emergency Preparedness Online


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Emergency Preparedness Online,
Fifth Edition

A resource directory for emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and accessible communications

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Emergency Preparedness in Schools

A. General Information

The importance of Emergency Notification and Preparedness in our nation's schools cannot be overstated. Fortunately, Government Agencies, commercial enterprises, and concerned citizens are answering the call to establish and maintain alert and communication systems within schools, in preparation for emergencies. In addition to these efforts, it is also crucial for schools to collaborate with expert resources such as "military essay writing service" at that can provide comprehensive guidance and support in developing emergency response plans tailored to the unique needs of educational institutions. By leveraging the expertise of such services, schools can ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of their emergency preparedness strategies, ultimately prioritizing the safety and well-being of students and staff. The following are current organizations and programs that are advancing this initiative:

B. The U.S. Department of Education

The United States Department of Education is addressing the topic of Emergency Response through programs developed by their special offices, such as the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools (OSDFS). The U.S. Department of Education has also produced a guide to provide schools and communities with basic guidelines and useful ideas on how to develop emergency response and crisis management plans. It is titled "Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities."

Download a copy of "Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities"
  1. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)

    Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools
    This guide offers research-based practices designed to assist school communities identify these warning signs early and develop prevention, intervention and crisis response plans. The document was based on the work of an independent panel of experts in the fields of education, law enforcement, and mental health. The guide includes sections on:

    1. Characteristics of a School that is Safe and Responsive to All Children
    2. Early Warning Signs
    3. Getting Help For Troubled Children
    4. Developing a Prevention and Response Plan
    5. Responding to Crisis
    6. Resources
    7. Methodology, Contributors, and Research Support
  2. Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools

    Emergency Planning
    As schools and communities across the U.S. prepare and develop plans for responding to potential emergency situations, the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools has unveiled a new web resource to help. It is designed to be a one-stop shop that provides school leaders with information they need to plan for any emergency, including natural disasters, violent incidents and terrorist acts. The site will be regularly updated.

    The Emergency Planning website

    Emergency Response and Crisis Management Plan Discretionary Grants
    Funds will be available to local education agencies to strengthen and improve emergency response and crisis management plans. The funding forecast, as of 11/28/05:

    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $100,000-$500,000
    Estimated Number of Awards: 73
    Deadline: May 21, 2007
    CFDA Number: 84.184E

    More Grant Information

C. The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF)

The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) was established in 1997, by the U.S. Department of Education, as a free public service to provide information on planning, designing, funding, building, improving, and maintaining schools. NCEF is managed by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), which was authorized by Congress in 1974 to serve as a non-profit, non-governmental, authoritative source on building science and technology.

The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities has directed a considerable amount of attention towards the important problem of disaster preparedness and response for schools. NCEF's maintains a resource list of links, books, and journal articles on building or retrofitting schools to withstand natural disasters and terrorism, developing emergency preparedness plans, and using school buildings to shelter community members during emergencies. Some highlights from this list include:

  1. Homeland Security for Schools: Threat Status Alert Worksheet
    This worksheet includes suggested actions for schools based on general recommendations from the Homeland Security Department.

    Download the Worksheet
  2. Disaster Recovery: The Time is Now
    Reviews the Hurricane Katrina experiences of some prepared (and unprepared) higher education institution technology departments, suggests steps for developing a disaster recovery plan, describes a pan-departmental disaster team, and types of backups.

    Download "Disaster Recovery: The Time is Now"
  3. is designed to assist victims of disasters in locating the information and services they need. The goal of the site is to combine the disaster management resources of all the federal agencies in its partnership in one central location.

  4. How Schools Can Become More Disaster Resistant: Resources for Parents and Teachers

    FEMA recommends the following actions for all school officials: 1) Identify hazards likely to happen to your schools; 2) Mitigate against the hazards; 3) Develop a response plan, including evacuation route; 4) Plan for coping after a disaster; and 5) Implement drills and family education.

    Visit FEMA's "How Schools Can Become More Disaster Resistant: Resources for Parents and Teachers"
  5. The Preparedness of Schools to Respond to Emergencies in Children: A National Survey of School Nurses
    This document examines the preparedness of schools to respond to pediatric emergencies and potential mass disasters, using published guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association.
    Download "The Preparedness of Schools to Respond to Emergencies in Children: A National Survey of Nurses"

    NCEF's Preparedness Resource List

D. The REMS Technical Assistance Center

The Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center is administered by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS) to help school districts develop comprehensive plans for any emergency or crisis, including natural disasters, pandemic influenza, violent incidents, and terrorist acts. According to the REMS website, “A primary service coordinated by the Center is the provision of responses to emergency planning questions and technical assistance needs. Requests for assistance could range from example REMS plans; to strategies and materials to help with staff trainings; to tips for creating buy-in with stakeholders; to help evaluating REMS plans. Center staff collaborate with a network of local and national crisis planning experts to provide answers to REMS-related questions and to meet any specific technical assistance needs.” The REMS website also offers information regarding their grant competition and pertinent facts about resources, publications and training sessions.

More information on the REMS Technical Assistance Center

E. Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools

FEMA has developed an eight hour independent study program entitled IS-362 Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools. It is a short and "easy to take" web-based course that focuses on emergency preparedness and planning for schools. The course describes emergency management operations, roles and duties; explains how to assess potential hazards that schools may face; explains how to develop and test an Emergency Operations Plan that addresses all potential hazards. This course is designed for school administrators, principals, and first responders. However, parents, teachers, volunteers, anyone with a personal or professional interest in school preparedness is welcome to participate. Upon finishing the course, any student wishing to obtain a "Certificate of Completion" will need to successfully submit and pass a final exam. Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools covers the following topics:

  • Lesson 1: Course Overview
  • Lesson 2: Understanding Emergency Management
  • Lesson 3:Recruiting Your Planning Team
  • Lesson 4: Assessing Your Hazards
  • Lesson 5: Developing Your Plan
  • Lesson 6: Planning for Terrorism
  • Lesson 7: Training and Testing Your Plan
  • Lesson 8: Course Summary and Test
More Infomation on Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools

F. The Community Emergency Response Network (CERN)

Howard County's Community Emergency Response Network (CERN) was created to facilitate the development of a community-based disaster response plan for Howard County, Maryland, to guarantee maximum readiness in the event of a terrorist attack. This unique community emergency preparedness program was initiated after September 11, as a partnership between the Horizon Foundation, the County government, and important community agencies in Howard County. The effort supports government disaster planning through coordination of the emergency plans and resources of participating members. CERN functions include planning, a high level of inter-agency coordination, the development of tabletop exercises, disaster plan review, shelter planning and communications enhancement.

Howard County's Public School System plays an important role in the CERN program. The School Information page on CERN's website provides information concerning emergency notification, EAS broadcast stations and other local news media, emergency-related school procedures, and parent's responsibilities during an emergency. According to the website: "In addition to inclement weather, recent events accentuate the need for parental awareness of school safety procedures. Emergencies have the potential to affect only one building or a number of school facilities. A large regional incident might require a system-wide response. Our schools have plans in place that anticipate many kinds of emergencies. We are continuously upgrading these procedures."

More information on Cern

CERN's School Information site
Howard County's School Emergency Repsonse Plan

G. School Actions for Emergencies (SAFE) Center

A joint project of eSchool News and the International Society for Technology in Education, with contributions from other relevant education organizations and solution providers, the SAFE Center is a free website that provides access to a collection of information and resources collected to help educators prepared for possible emergencies. The SAFE Center website offers pertinent news, videos, a list of service providers, and articles about school emergencies, technology and IT security, The SAFE Center also features a compilation of actual Emergency Preparedness plans used throughout the country, as well as a disaster directory where you can access information on any specific type of emergency.

Access the School Actions for Emergencies (SAFE) Center

H. School Accessibility Resources

This heading contains additional information regarding schools and accessibility. These accessibility resources have been gathered together, in this separate section, to provide easy availability to those for whom accessibility is a foremost concern.

  1. Creating Accessible Schools

    The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities' website that examines issues surrounding federal mandates to accommodate students with disabilities, including the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of Title V of the Rehabilitation Act, and advisory guidelines from the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

  2. Inside Gallaudet: How Can Deaf and Hard of Hearing People Know About Emergencies?

    Gallaudet University's webpage offers a link to the National Association of the Deaf's website, as well as a link to a free pager/email service to access varrious types of emergency information from local, regional and national government sources.

  3. Emergency Preparedness for Children With Special Health Care Needs

    The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians' downloadable form, designed to assure prompt and appropriate care for Children with Special Health Care Needs. This form is to be filled out and filed at a child's school in case of an emergency. The child's complicated medical history is concisely summarized and available when it is needed most - during an emergency when neither parent nor pediatrician is immediately available.


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