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Step 3: Determine Goals and Objectives

In Step 3, the planning team decides which of the threats and hazards identified in Step 2 will be addressed in the school EOP. The planning team may decide to address only those threats and hazards that rank “high” in risk priority, or they may decide to also address some of the threats and hazards that rank “medium.” It is recommended that the planning team address more than just the “high” risk priority threats and hazards.

Once the planning team has decided which threats and hazards will be addressed in the school EOP, it develops goals and objectives for each.

Develop Goals and Objectives

Goals are broad, general statements that indicate the desired outcome in response to the threat or hazard identified by planners in the previous step. They are what personnel and other resources are supposed to achieve. They also help identify when major activities are complete and what defines a successful outcome.

The planning team should develop at least three goals for addressing each threat or hazard (though the planning team may want to identify more). Those three goals should indicate the desired outcome for (1) before, (2) during, and (3) after the threat or hazard. For a fire, for instance, three possible goals include

  • Hazard Goal Example 1 (before): Prevent a fire from occurring on school grounds.
  • Hazard Goal Example 2 (during): Protect all persons from injury and property from damage by the fire.
  • Hazard Goal Example 3 (after): Provide necessary medical attention to those in need.

Objectives are specific, measurable actions that are necessary to achieve the goals. Often, planners will need to identify multiple objectives in support of a single goal.

Using the goal in Example 1 of preventing a fire on or near school grounds, possible objectives include

  • Objective 1.1: Provide fire prevention training to all students and staff who use combustible materials or equipment.
  • Objective 1.2: Store combustible materials in fireproof containers or rooms.

Using the goal in Example 2 of protecting all persons from injury by the fire, possible objectives include

  • Objective 2.1: Evacuate all persons from the building immediately.
  • Objective 2.2: Account for all persons.

Using the goal in Example 3 of providing necessary medical attention to those in need, possible objectives include

  • Objective 3.1: Immediately notify fire department officials and EMS personnel of any fire on schools grounds via 911.
  • Objective 3.2: Immediately begin to provide first aid.

After the team has finished compiling the objectives for the prioritized threats and hazards, it will find that certain critical "functions" or activities apply to more than one threat or hazard. Examples of these cross-cutting functions include evacuating, providing medical care, and accounting for all students, staff, and guests.

After identifying these functions, the planning team should develop three goals for each function. As with the goals already identified for threats and hazards, the three goals should indicate the desired outcome for (1) before, (2) during, and (3) after the function has been executed. These commonly occurring functions will be contained in a Functional Annex section within the school EOP. More details on these functions are included in the Plan Content section of this guide, including issues to consider as you develop goals and objectives for these functions.

For an evacuation function, three possible goals are

  • Function Goal Example 1 (before): Ensure all students and staff members know their evacuation route.
  • Function Goal Example 2 (during): Evacuate the school immediately.
  • Function Goal Example 3 (after): Confirm that all individuals have left the building.

Once the goals for a function are identified, possible supporting objectives are identified. For the evacuation goals above, objectives could include

  • Objective 1.1 (before): Assess, identify, and communicate the location of rally points to be used during an evacuation.
  • Objective 2.1 (during): Evacuate all students, staff, and guests from the school using assigned routes.
  • Objective 3.1 (after): Safely sweep the building.

Step 3 Outcome

After completing Step 3, the planning team has at least three goals (i.e., before, during, and after) for each threat or hazard or function, as well as objectives for each goal.