A school emergency doesn’t have to be a terrorist attack. It can be the flu spreading like wildfire through the school, it can be a tornado drill or it can be a bad ice storm that knocks out power. But no matter what kind of emergency strikes your child’s school, they should have an emergency plan.
Does your child’s school have an emergency plan in place? Have you asked? If not, find out if the school has a crisis team. You may be able to volunteer to help establish one if there isn’t one already in place.
A school crisis team should be responsible for teaching staff how to handle various disaster situations including:
- Natural disasters
- Severe weather
- Chemical or hazardous material spills
- Bus crashes
- School shootings
- Bomb threats
- Medical emergencies
- Student or staff deaths (suicide, homicide,
- unintentional, or natural)
- Acts of terror or war
- Outbreaks of disease or infections
According to the Department of Education, each event can be handled by breaking it down into the following sequence of crisis management.
1. Mitigation/Prevention addresses what schools and districts can do to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property.
2. Preparedness focuses on the process of planning for the worst-case scenario.
3. Response is devoted to the steps to take during a crisis.
4. Recovery deals with how to restore the learning and teaching environment after a crisis.
While you may not be involved in the actual crisis management planning, it is good to ask about these things for your own peace of mind. Find out how the school will handle various situations and how parents will be notified of disasters. Also make sure each classroom has a disaster kit and each teacher knows how to use it.