General Emergency Readiness Procedures for Schools
Be prepared for emergencies and disasters
No one can ever be totally prepared for a natural disaster, but knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency can make a crucial difference. Critical steps to take include creating an emergency plan, conducting emergency drills and being aware of the location of emergency exits and fire extinguishers as well as maintaining an emergency preparedness kit.
What you can do to be prepared:
- Learn what to do in the event of an earthquake or fire. Readiness & emergency management is essential for schools. The REMS Technical Assistance Center's primary goal is to support
schools, school districts, and institutions of higher education in
school emergency management, including the development and
implementation of comprehensive all-hazards emergency management plans.
Learn more about REMS from the US Dept of Education .
- Draft an emergency plan *Sample FEMA School Emergency Plan.
- Review school emergency protocol and stay on top of updates and changes.
- Keep your authorized release information up to date.
- Discuss what you need to prepare for earthquakes and fires; explain the dangers of earthquakes and fires to children and students, and plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
- Locate “safe spots” inside each room per type of disaster.
- Pick a safe place to meet outside in case of fire.
- Locate the exit routes out in each room.
- Create instructions for shutting off the gas, water, and electricity valves in the event of an emergency—keep tools near the gas and water shutoff valves if possible. Remember: only turn your utilities off if you suspect lines have been damaged or you have been instructed to by your utility company.
- Install fire extinguishers (approved for use in both regular and electrical fires) and instruct team members on their use.
- Maintain your fire extinguishers and other emergency tools on a regular basis.
- Inspect your school for potential hazards; secure items that may break, fall, or obstruct an exit during an emergency.
- Keep a portable battery powered radio and an extra set of batteries in an easily accessible location.
- Assemble and maintain an emergency supply kit that contains water, flashlights, batteries and other essentials.
Other things to keep in mind in the event of an emergency
In the event of a major disaster (fire, earthquake, flood) during school hours, children may be kept at school. They will likely be released only to previously authorized individuals with the possible exception of a serious injury, where the child may be sent for emergency medical care. It is highly recommended that emergency student release cards be kept current and accurate. It is the primary document used to locate you or the people you've designated to pick up your child. Your child will likely not be released to anyone who is not on this emergency card.
Telephone systems quickly become overloaded in an emergency, be patient and only use the phone when absolutely necessary. Power outages and road closures may prevent access to some areas, check your local
radio and television stations for information during local disasters
and emergencies. Mark your local radio station on your radio's dial.
While emergencies are not something we expect to happen, it is important to prepare for any eventuality. Schools proactive in communicating and upgrading their emergency procedures and policies are generally better equipped in the event of an emergency and better able to provide a safe environment for their children.Emergency forms may be sent home with each child as part of the school packet at the beginning of the school year, if so, complete and return them to school as soon as possible.
During the school year, please send a note immediately if there are any changes to the emergency information, address, phone numbers, and/or change of responsible contacts that you have on file at your school.
Other Great Emergency Resources