Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

As part of his plan to reduce gun violence, on January 16th the President directed the Departments of Homeland Security, Education, Health and Human Services and Justice to create model emergency management plans for schools, institutions of higher education, and houses of worship. As part of that effort, these agencies are seeking input on what should be included in these plans and how students and staff can best be trained to follow them.

Please share your ideas on what a school, institution of higher education, or house of worship should consider when developing and implementing a comprehensive emergency management plan, including ways the institution could involve the community or other stakeholders in drafting the plan; key issues the plan should address or that agencies should consider as they develop model plans; best practices for training staff, students and users of a facility to follow a plan; as well as best practices for how communities may plan to effectively recover from an incident.

Your ideas will help us understand what works best in your community—and how others could learn from your success. Together, we can make the nation more resilient and secure.

This campaign will be open for new ideas, comments and votes until March 22.

Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

Houses of Worship

Increase access to communications - typically these buildings have no access to any form of communication in the areas used by the woorshipping community. Placing strategically located phones would allow for rapid communication in the event of an incident in the facility

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

Emergency Management Programs for Schools

It's not just the "plan". Rather, it's the "process". As a former emergency management specialist now advocating school safety (www.thepeacechallenge.org), we promote parental and age appropriate student involvement in the development of emergency management programs in schools. This requires thinking "outside the box" to an extent. Instead of expecting students and staff to blindly follow procedures in a plan, they will ...more »

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

EOP Development for Schools

I'm spearheading a project to revise & update our EOP from a boiler-plate model to a NIMS/ICS based All-Hazards model. I found a NIMS based EOP for Schools that is a "training model" produced by FEMA. I used that as a template & are in the process of adjusting it to our District. Overall it looks pretty good, but a number of changes were needed. Within a month or two our school board is expected to vote & approve the ...more »

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

Emergency Plan

Written plans are a component of the Emergency Management programs, They should reflect the community, or organizations measure that are in place to deal with risk, and provide continuity where turnover is high. They are valuable training tools that provide guidance for the development of other parts of the program. (Canton, 2007, p. 196)

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

Communications

Any plan for an institution has to center around communications. Reaction to a threat will involve quickly evaluating the threat, selecting the plan, and dispatching the order to implement. This ability to communicate must be all-inclusive in that it must reach every individual and must not rely on the presence of electrical or other outside energy to each building or wing of the institution. Once the order is received ...more »

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

Vicinity Based Alert Notifications

We just launched our latest m911 app, vicinity based alert notifications that will allow schools, churches, neighborhoods, communities or just a single family and their immediate neighbors to receive alerts whenever an emergency is occurring in their vicinity allowing them to respond appropriately. We are also channeling online safety and preparedness education of citizens.

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

Safety First

Struggling with budget cuts, the public school system often forgets to make safety a first priority. The sacred cow, high school athletics, is an important part of the public school system but our money should first and foremost be spent on upgrading our buildings to improve student safety. I believe safety should come before academics as well. As a parent, I think I can speak for everyone in saying that I will forgive ...more »

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

Adopt/Promote Standard Response Protocol

The "I Love U Guys" Foundation was created to restore and protect the joy of youth through educational programs and positive actions in collaboration with families, schools, communities, organizations and government entities. One of those activities was developing The Standard Response Protocol, which is less about developing a one-size-fits-all plan, and more about common language and response actions simple for students, ...more »

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

Local Governments Need to Take the Lead

In my experience local governments are not always eager to take the lead or contribute in developing higher education schools and houses of worship EOP's. I know they are often underfunded and understaffed however they are the first responders, and if we make our plans without their taking the lead or heavily contributing we will end up with silo's that will be forced together at the first major incident. Local authorities ...more »

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

House of Worship

If your house of worship has members that are part of law enforcement it just makes sense to include them in developing a plan. One such plan has law enforcement members placed at strategic locations during services (they are unidentified) to deal with unexpected threats while non-law enforcement members are assigned other specific duties (such as calling 911, directing members to exits during an emergency, etc.). A ...more »

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

Get our schools prepared

I think EVERY school should have plans in place for a variety of situations that can happen. Whether it's a shooter, earthquake or fire. Every school should have a plan to keep the kids safe. I think we should have some staff and teachers carrying Tasers. We should have food and water in the classroom in case it is on lock down for a long period of time.

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Campaign: Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education and Houses of Worship

Coordination and Practicing

One of the main things I notice as an emergency planner is the continual need within school plans for a practical and logistical exercise plan. A school could have the most sound plan, but can remain ineffective if the end users(teachers, staff, and students, occupants) have knowledge of the procedures within the plan. As an Eagle scout, being prepared is our motto. Thusly, knowledge is power, power is strength, strength ...more »

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