Step 5: Prepare, Review, and Approve the Plan
In Step 5, the planning team develops a draft of the higher ed EOP using the courses
of action developed in Step 4. In addition, the team reviews the plan, obtains official
approval, and shares the plan with community partners (e.g., first responders, local
emergency managers, public and mental health officials), staff, and stakeholders.
Format the Plan
An effective higher ed EOP is presented in a way that makes it easy for users to
find the information they need and that is compatible with local and state plans.
This may include using plain language and providing pictures or visual cues for
key action steps. One traditional format that can be tailored to meet individual
IHE needs includes three major sections:
the Basic Plan, Functional Annexes,
and Threat- and Hazard-Specific
The Basic Plan section of the higher ed EOP provides
an overview of the IHE’s approach to emergency operations. Although the Basic Plan section
guides the development of the more operationally oriented annexes, its primary audiences
consist of the IHE, local emergency officials, and the community (as appropriate).
The Functional Annexes section details the goals,
objectives, and courses of action of functions (e.g., evacuation, communications, recovery)
that apply across multiple threats or hazards. Functional annexes set forth how the IHE manages
a function before, during, and after an emergency.
The Threat- and Hazard-Specific Annexes section specifies
the goals, objectives, and courses of action that an IHE will follow to address a particular type of threat
or hazard (e.g., hurricane, active shooter). Threat- and hazard-specific annexes, like functional annexes,
discuss how the IHE manages a function before, during, and after an emergency.
The following functional format can be used for the Functional Annexes section as well as for the Threat- and Hazard-Specific Annexes section.
Using the format below and the work the planning team did in Step 4, each function, threat, and hazard will have at least three goals, with one or more
objectives for each goal, and a course of action for each of the objectives.
Title (the function, threat, or hazard)
Courses of Action
(Describe the courses of action you developed in Step 4 in the
sequence in which they will occur).
The different components of each of these three sections. Details on the contents of these three sections can be found under Plan Content.
Higher Ed EOP Format
|1.Introductory Material||2.3Planning Assumptions|
|1.1.Cover Page||3.Concept of Operations|
|1.2.Promulgation Document and Signatures Page||4.Organization and assignment of responsibilities|
|1.3.Approval and Implementation ||5.Direction, Control, and Coordination|
|1.4.Record of Changes||6.Information Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination|
|1.5.Record of Distribution||7.Training and Exercises|
|1.6.Table of Contents||8.Administration, Finance, and Logistics|
|2.Purpose, Scope, Situation Overview, and Assumptions ||9.Plan Development and Maintenance|
|2.1.Purpose||10.Authorities and References|
|NOTE: This is not a complete list, but it is recommended that all EOPs include at least the following annexes:|
|1.Evacuation||6.Continuity of Operations (COOP)|
|2.Deny Entry or Closing (lockdown)||7.Recovery|
|3.Shelter-in-Place or Secure-in-Place||8.Public Health, Medical and Mental Health|
|4.Accounting for All Persons||9.Security|
|5.Communications and Notifications||10.Rapid Assessment|
|Threat- or Hazard-Specific Annexes|
|NOTE: This is not a complete list. Each IHE's annexes will vary based on its threats and hazard analysis|
|1.Hurricane or severe storm||5.Mass Casualty Incident|
|3.Tornado||7.Pandemic or Disease Outbreak|
|4.Hazardous Materials Incident||8.Bomb Threat or Explosion|
Write the Plan
As the planning team works through the draft, the members add necessary tables,
charts, and other supporting graphics. The planning team circulates a draft to obtain
the comments of stakeholders that have responsibilities for implementing the plan.
Successful plans are written according to the following simple rules:
- Summarize important information with checklists and visual aids, such as maps and
- Avoid using jargon, minimize the use of abbreviations, and use short sentences and
the active voice.
- Write clearly, using plain language. Use a logical, consistent structure that makes
it easy for readers to grasp the rationale for the sequence of the information and
to scan for the information they need.
- Provide enough detail to convey an easily understood plan that is actionable. For example,
faculty may have a one-page document that covers what they will need to know and do during
an emergency, or create signs giving simple directions. Organize the contents in a way that
helps users quickly identify solutions and options. Plans should provide guidance for carrying
out common courses of action through the functional and threat- and hazard-specific annexes.
- Develop accessible tools and documents. Use appropriate auxiliary aids and services
necessary for effective communication, such as accessible websites, digital text
that can be converted to audio or Braille, text equivalents for images, and captioning
of any audio and audio description of any video content.
Review the Plan
Planners should check the written plan for compliance with applicable laws and for
its usefulness in practice. Commonly used criteria can help determine the effectiveness
and efficiency of the plan. The following measures can help determine if a plan
is of high quality:
A plan is adequate if it identifies and addresses critical courses of action
effectively, it can accomplish the assigned function, and its assumptions are valid
A plan is feasible if the IHE can accomplish the assigned function and critical
tasks by using available resources within the time contemplated by the plan.
A plan is acceptable if it meets the requirements driven by a threat or hazard,
meets cost and time limitations, and is consistent with the law.
A plan is complete if it
- Incorporates all courses of action to be accomplished for all selected threats and
hazards and identified functions;
- Integrates the needs of the whole IHE community;
- Provides a complete picture of what should happen, when, and at whose direction;
- Estimates time for achieving objectives, with safety remaining as the utmost priority;
- Identifies success criteria and a desired end state; and
- Conforms with the Planning Principles outlined in this guide.
The plan must comply with applicable states and local requirements because
these provide a baseline that facilitates both planning and execution.
Approve and Share the Plan
After finalizing the plan, the planning team should present it to the appropriate
leadership and obtain official approval of the plan. The team should then share
the plan with all community partners (e.g., first responders, local emergency managers,
public and mental health officials) and all other entities that have a role in the
plan, including relevant local, regional, and/or state agencies with which the plan
will be coordinated. The plan should also be shared with other organizations that
may use the campus and its building(s).
Institutions should be careful to protect the plan from those who are not authorized
to have it, and should consider how they will secure documents shared electronically.
Law enforcement agencies and first responders have a secured, web-accessible site
available to house copies of plans, building schematics, phone contact sheets, and
other important details that round out planning. IHEs must comply with state and
local open records laws in storing and protecting the plan.
The team should maintain a record of the people and organizations that receive a
copy of the plan.
Step 5 Outcome
After completing Step 5, the planning team will have a final higher ed EOP.