The recent disasters, in Texas and across the nation, serve as a reminder that we must not be complacent when it comes to emergency preparedness. School districts and colleges must remain vigilant, recognizing the importance that they too must develop a comprehensive emergency management program. September was recognized as National Emergency Preparedness Month, but it is important to be prepared all year long.
The School Emergency Operations Plan should align with local, regional, and state agencies as well as with private sector entities and volunteer organizations. The plan and its support documents should provide the framework that outlines the school’s intended approach to managing emergencies and disasters of all types. The planning process also must be an ongoing process with regular updates, especially in the wake of emergency or disaster event, which directly or indirectly affect the school or community.
The foundation for school emergency plans as outlined in Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code requires schools to incorporate the four phases of emergency management — Prevention/Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Beyond that however, plans should represent a conceptual framework for consistent and coordinated multi-agency response and recovery and be supported by training and exercise.
When schools are part of the emergency preparedness process, the entire community benefits. Additionally, what children learn about safety and preparedness translates into lessons that they take home with them. For example, when bad weather threatens, they know what to do whether they are at school or at home.
For information about emergency management and security, please contact Emergency Management and School Security Consultant Melanie Moss or 512.505.2868.