Safety and effective learning go hand in hand. So, although September is a very busy time of year for the education community, it’s also a good time for students, school staff, and families to make sure they are up-to-date in their knowledge of school emergency plans, policies and procedures.
In fact, September is National Preparedness Month – and this year’s theme is Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.
In support of National Preparedness Month and National PrepareAthon! Day, parents might want to ask school officials for details about the school’s emergency operations plan (EOP).
Teachers and school officials might also want to take the time to go over emergency procedures with their students and with their EOP planning teams. EOP planning teams consist of a wide range of school personnel, student and parent representatives, and community partners such as first responders and local emergency management staff. The planning team should be small enough to permit close collaboration with first responders and other community partners, yet large enough to be representative of the school, its families, and its community.
Our Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center has a great resource – the EOP Assess – an interactive tool geared toward helping EOP planners prepare a high-quality EOP. You can also visit the REMS TA Center website for additional information.
We also encourage everyone to take action during National PrepareAthon! Day on Sept. 30. You can download the digital media toolkit, follow @Readygov and @PrepareAthon on Twitter, and use the hashtag #NatlPrep if you want to share your participation and show your support.
Together we can celebrate National Preparedness Month and support a school year that’s safe, healthy and focused on learning!
Amy Banks is a management and program analyst at the Center for School Preparedness at the U.S. Department of Education.