K-12 District Emergency Management Planning K-12 District Emergency Management Planning

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Task 2: Exercise the Plan

District’s Role

The school district can play an important role in helping school core planning teams conduct exercises using the approved exercise programs in the Basic Plan section of each school EOP. The district can

  1. Establish policies and procedures for conducting exercises at schools;
  2. Help coordinate drills and exercises that are more complex;
  3. Work with schools to develop an exercise schedule; and
  4. Work with schools to both evaluate and improve exercises.

Training and Exercises is included as a subsection within the Basic Plan. This subsection establishes the expected frequency of exercises to be conducted by the school, which may be influenced by district, state, or local requirements. A school’s training program should be based on guidance or requirements from the district’s policies and procedures. The district should consider the following when developing policies and procedures:

  • What type of training or guidance the district should provide to school core planning teams to help them implement their exercise programs
  • How the plan provides for the whole school community during exercises, including the needs of individuals with disabilities or access and functional needs
  • How exercises should be evaluated (e.g., evaluation team, roles, tools), and the criteria for evaluating exercises
  • The minimum requirements for when and how trainings occur
  • The extent of requirements or recommendations regarding the frequency of community meetings on the school EOP
  • The extent of requirements for trainings on special skills, such as first aid or the provision of personal assistance services to individuals with disabilities and other access and functional needs
  • The extent to which the district will share lessons learned with sister schools following school exercises and emergencies
  • How might the school anticipate, respond to, and mitigate any adverse impacts of an emergency exercise on students (for example, increased anxiety during an exercise for students who have previously experienced trauma)

District officials should also encourage schools to conduct exercises under different and nonideal conditions. In addition, to support the effective execution of an exercise, the district should work with school core planning teams to do the following:

  • Include community partners, such as first responders (e.g., law enforcement officers, EMS, fire department personnel) and local emergency management staff
  • Communicate information in advance to avoid confusion and concern
  • Exercise under different and nonideal conditions (e.g., during different times of day, points in the academic calendar, absence of key personnel, various school events, and under different weather conditions)
  • Ensure consistency with common emergency management terminology
  • Debrief and develop an after-action report that evaluates results, identifies gaps or shortfalls, and documents lessons learned
  • Discuss how the school EOP and related procedures will be modified, if needed, and specify who is responsible for doing so

School’s Role

Based on the policies and procedures established by the district, each school core planning team should be able to conduct exercises of its school EOP. The more a plan is practiced and stakeholders are trained, the more effectively they will be able to act before, during, and after an emergency to lessen the impact on life and property.

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