School Crisis and School Emergency Plans

Most schools have crisis plans.  But our school emergency planning evaluations have revealed that school crisis plans often have questionable content and staff members are not been trained on their school crisis plans. School crisis plans also have not been tested and exercised through tabletop and other exercises to see if what is on paper might actually work in a real emergency.

School Crisis and School Emergency Plans

National School Safety and Security Services is a leading national expert resource on school crisis plans and school emergency planning training and consulting.

Each school district, and individual schools within the various districts, must develop their own school crisis plans and school emergency guidelines. A “cut and paste” or “template” approach using other school emergency plans will typically not lead to full ownership and successful school crisis planning within one’s school.  In fact, it could lead to increased liability for school officials.

Many things school officials need to do to improve school emergency preparedness requires more time than money.

Read, “School Emergency Planning:  Back to the Basics: ‘Nuts-and-bolts’ details make or break schools in a crisis,” the feature article in the Student Assistance Journal, Spring 2009 issue.

Schools prepared for crisis and emergency situations:

  1. Train staff on school security and emergency planning issues.
  2. Assess and refine school security and emergency preparedness plans.
  3. Exercise school emergency/crisis plans.

Schools can enhance crisis preparedness by taking practical steps:

  1. Train staff on early warning signs of violence and school crisis management.
  2. Form crisis teams and guidelines for manmade and natural crises.
  3. Assess and enhance school communications capabilities.
  4. Create and test evacuation, lockdown, and other school safety drills.
  5. Coordinate school emergency planning with police, fire, and other public safety agencies.

These, along with a number of other balanced and rational strategies, may  reduce risks to prevent a school crisis and, in the worst case scenario, to prepare school and community officials for effectively managing those school emergency situations which cannot be prevented.

National School Safety and Security Services’ web site has a number of web pages related to this topic including:
School post-crisis recovery and planning considerations
School security and crisis preparedness best practices
School safety issues and terrorism
School crisis plan templates

Services related to school emergency preparedness and crisis planning:
School emergency planning consultation evaluations
School tabletop exercises
School security, crisis planning, and emergency response training
Training on terrorism and school safety
School security assessments

Related publications:
Classroom Killers? Hallway Hostages? How Schools Can Prevent and Manage School Crises

Related on-site article:
Dr. Scott Poland’s articles providing an internationally recognized school psychology expert’s perspectives related to school crisis response.

Also see:
National Association of School Psychologists Safe Schools Center