Emergency Management

Spotlight on the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools Emergency Management Resources

  The Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS), part of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), administers, coordinates, and recommends policy for improving the quality of drug and violence prevention programs for students in elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. Its mission is “creating safe schools, responding to crises, drug abuse and violence prevention, ensuring the health and well being of students, and promoting development of good character and citizenship.” [1] [1] OSDFS’s violence prevention programs provide financial assistance for state and local violence prevention activities through formula and discretionary grants. Grants are awarded to state and local educational agencies (LEAs) and other public and private nonprofit organizations. Visit the OSDFS website for more information on grant opportunities.

School Emergency Management

ED has developed a guide to provide schools and their communities with a general introduction to emergency management as it applies to schools and basic guidelines for developing school emergency management plans. Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Communities and Schoo ls outlines the four phases of emergency management (prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery) and provides checklists of the critical issues encountered in each phase. The guide also provides information on specific elements of emergency management, including leadership, communication, and the Incident Command System.

OSDFS, in collaboration with ED’s Emergency Response and Crisis Management (ERCM) Technical Assistance (TA) Center, publishes a series of publications for school districts to improve the emergency management practices within their school communities. One series, “Helpful Hints,” provides key emergency preparedness topics, including the following:

·         Components of Comprehensive School and School District Emergency Management Plans

·         Steps for Developing a School Emergency Management Plan

·         Updating and Maintaining School Emergency Management Plans

In addition, OSDFS produced a “Lessons Learned” document on After-Action Reports: Capturing Lessons Learned and Identifying Areas for Improvement .

OSDFS will release additional publications on lessons learned from suicides, engaging school and school district administrators in emergency management, and others later this summer. Check for new OSDFS publications here .

Other OSDFS and ED resources related to school emergency management include the following:

ERCM TA Center Website

The ERCM TA Center website offers additional school-based resources addressing emergency management through the four phases. Resources include a webcast, training documents presented by experts, and a variety of publications addressing key emergency management issues for schools. Information on the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools discretionary grant program administered by OSDFS is updated annually.

OSDFS Emergency Planning Website

Emergency Planning is part of the department’s Lead and Manage My School series, a group of websites designed to support school-based administrators. OSDFS presents information and resources regarding general emergency management based on the four phases of emergency management: prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Discretionary Grant (CFDA 84.184E)

This grant program is designed to provide funds to LEAs to strengthen and improve their emergency management plans at the district and school-building level. Grantees are required to address all four phases of emergency management: prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. In addition, LEAs are required to form partnerships and collaborate with community organizations, local law enforcement agencies, heads of local governments, and offices of public safety, public health, and mental health as they review and revise school plans. Plans must be coordinated with state or local homeland security plans and support implementation of the National Incident Management System. More than 400 LEAs have received funding under this priority.

In addition, other information related to school safety, including a Bomb Threat Assessment Guide and the Findings of the Safe School Initiative , are available on the OSDFS Emergency Planning website.


[1] http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osdfs/programs.html#state

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