Using Drills and Exercises to Test Your School’s Emergency Operations Plan Q&A

by | Sep 13, 2022 | Ask Gary, Gary's Blog, Q&A with Gary

Below are the remaining questions I received during the August 18 webinar, Using Drills and Exercises to Test Your School’s Emergency Operations Plan, hosted by the Campus Safety Webcast Series.  The replay of the webinar can be found HERE by logging into your existing Campus Safety HQ account, or registering for free. Campus Safety HQ offers hundreds of webinars and valuable resources for free.

Have a question I didn’t answer during the webinar or listed below?  Scroll down and submit your safety or security-related question for me to address.

Is it best to have IAP’s attached to the Annexes for specific geographic, natural, and man-made incidents and keep tactical redactable information in the back appendixes?

Many states exempt school safety plans and information from FOIA requests.  This keeps our EOPs out of the public domain.  For our Incident Action Plans (IAP), an example would be sporting events or extracurricular activities, we keep those separately from our EOP because they could change from week to week, depending on the event.  Our EOPs are not as fluid.  For this reason, if you’re using a school emergency management software to store your EOP like the Mobile Emergency Response Plan application, one of the top capabilities it should have is the flexibility to revise your plans and annexes at any time.

For charter schools, how much input should come from the board of directors vs. the day-to-day school staff for the EOP?

Your EOP should be based on the requirements of your state.  In many of the states where I work, there is a template all schools in the state must follow.  If your state does not have a template, your school should use EOP Assist from the REMS TA Center or the Guide for Developing High Quality School Emergency Operation Plans (K12) or Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operation Plans for Institutions of Higher Education.

What is the best resource/recommendations for Incident Report form templates?

I’m going to answer this question twice as I may have misunderstood this question during the webinar.  I thought the question initially referred to ICS forms.  Because of this, I referred to the FEMA website that lists all of the downloadable, fillable PDF Incident Command System forms. 

However, if you are looking for templates to report injuries, vandalism, bomb threats, or an Active Threat Event, I would first check with your school/district attorney, your state Board of Education, or your insurance company first.  Many Incident Reports would not be covered under the safety exemption most states have for school safety information that protects them from media requests.  This could expose your school/district to possible liabilities.

Funding sources have been impossible to find. Any recommendations?

Two sources you can use are www.grants.gov and you can also check out this link from the Ohio School Safety Center.  Check with your local and state EMA for grant opportunities to conduct exercises with First Responders.

Where is the best place(s) to find tabletop exercises?

One of my favorite free resources that I continue to share:  The REMS TA Center

In fact, I have an entire blog post about the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center and all of the tools it offers.

Any good training videos out there to show to staff at schools?

Another favorite resource of mine: Campus Safety HQ through Campus Safety Magazine.

I started reading Campus Safety magazine back in 2008 when I was promoted into the position as the school district safety director. With a limited security budget, I liked that the monthly magazine was free.  Although Campus Safety magazine is no longer being printed, all the same information is available online with their free subscription.   Campus Safety HQ is another free resource full of articles, instructional videos, and on-demand training focusing on school safety and preparedness.  I like to think of Campus Safety HQ as a virtual, on-demand School Safety Conference that has no registration or accommodation fees.  Schools can utilize this platform to educate their staff at no cost by creating a free account.  Topics that are featured on Campus Safety HQ include “Active Shooter, Compliance, Mental Health, Physical Security, Emergency Management, and All Hazards Emergency Operation Plans.”

I also offer free safety and preparedness training videos through Safeguard Risk Solutions.  These on-demand videos cover topics like conducting threat assessments, best practices for bomb threat response, indicators of violent behavior, and safety and security for charter schools.

 

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