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REMS TA Center

New School Year Emergency Management Planning—The Role of School Districts

Welcome back to a new school year! Emergency management staff and leaders within school districts can do various things at the start of the school year to prepare schools for success in safety planning. We’ve included some ideas to help school districts do just that below. Do you have other ideas on how school districts can support schools with emergency management planning at the start of each school year? Share them in our Community of Practice. We’ve created a forum just for that purpose: http://rems.ed.gov/COP/REMSCOPforum/topics.aspx?ForumID=103.

Make sure school leaders know the law. Send or post a list of any new state or local laws related to school safety, bullying, emergency operations plan (EOP) development, or other topics related to K-12emergency management. Access our State Map of Emergency Management Resources and let us know if we need to make any updates based on changes in legislation in your state. (http://rems.ed.gov/stateresources.aspx)

Provide professional development opportunities for school leaders in the area of emergency management. Offer opportunities for school principals in your district to assess their knowledge of key emergency management principles using our EOP ASSESS tool (http://rems.ed.gov/Assessment/K-12/A_Demographic.aspx) and/or to get trained on key topics in emergency management by hosting a FREE training at your school district site (http://rems.ed.gov/TA_TrainingsByRequest.aspx).

Review, update, and confirm relationship parameters with community partners. Review Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and Memoranda of Agreements (MOAs) with district-wide community partners to determine whether any updates need to be made. (See samples via our Tool Box: http://rems.ed.gov/ToolBox.aspx.)

Provide a schedule for EOP review and update. If state or local law requires your school district to review school EOPs regularly, make sure the review dates are added to the district calendar so that school leaders have time to meet with planning teams and/or request training, data on threats, and information from core members of the EOP planning team.

Support the Individual Preparedness of Students at Your Institution of Higher Education (IHE) This Back-to-School Season

As students begin to return to IHEs and settle into a new school year, this is a great opportunity to capitalize their desire and motivation to be involved in campus activities and treat them as partners in ensuring their campus is better prepared for emergencies.

To help with the IHE’s emergency planning efforts, a student representative can be encouraged to serve on the planning team to provide input and feedback in creating, reviewing, or revising the IHE EOP. One way the student can help is by identifying courses of action that best meet the needs of students in an emergency. For example, the student representative might offer suggestions for the best ways to communicate with students in an emergency. In addition, the student can also take valuable information back to the student body about the need for individual preparedness and work with student groups to facilitate preparedness efforts (e.g., ensuring students have emergency preparedness supplies and knowing how the IHE will contact them in an emergency).

To promote these individual and group preparedness efforts, IHE emergency managers may want to tailor preparedness messages to specific student populations. This could include messages for those who live on campus, off campus, international students, those with disabilities or access and functional needs, and others. Individual preparedness messaging may be especially helpful to freshmen students or others who may have just moved away from home for the first time. These students may have typically looked to their parents or guardians, or their K-12 school, for help in an emergency but now have a greater responsibility for their own safety.

For more information on including students in preparedness activities, check out the REMSExpress resource on “Maximizing Student Participation in the Higher Education EOP Planning Process” here: http://rems.ed.gov/docs/Volume5Issue5.pdf.

It’s That Time of Year Again! National Preparedness Month Is Here and the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill Is Around the Corner. Are You Ready?

National Preparedness Month 2016

The start of National Preparedness Month kicks off in September and the REMS TA Center is joining the call to promote the weekly themes that schools and IHEs can use to participate in the national movement to “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” To view the weekly themes for this year, visit: www.ready.gov/september.

Thank you to everyone who joined the U.S. Department of Education and the REMS TA Center in celebrating America’s PrepareAthon! earlier this year via participation in Twitter chats on severe weather preparedness. Search #PrepareAthonforSchools on Twitter to track some of the action. Not on Twitter? That’s ok. You can also view resources shared during the series here: http://rems.ed.gov/COP/REMSCOPforum/topics.aspx?ForumID=97.

Social media is a great way to engage your state education agency, local education agency, school, or school district in national conversations on school safety, emergency preparedness, school climate and other topics that school leaders, staff, parents, and whole school communities find important. Since initiating the @remstacenter profile last September as a part of the 2015 National PrepareAthon! Day, we have connected with more than 500 national, state, and local level leaders and individuals via Twitter chats and daily connections and have witnessed a lot of great examples of preparedness within schools across the country. Thank you to everyone who has followed us, shared our posts, and participated in conversations we’ve held via Twitter! You’ve made our online presence worthwhile! We’d love to have you join weekly Twitter Chats we’re hosting at 2 p.m. ET to celebrate America’s PrepareAthon! and National Preparedness Month. See details below.

September 1 – Week 1: Kick-off week to National Preparedness Month

Join us for a Twitter Chat to promote participation in National Preparedness Month among K-12 schools and school districts and IHEs. Use #=PrepareAthonforSchools (K-12) and #CampusPrepareAthon (IHEs) to chat.

September 8 – Week 2: Preparing Family and Friends

Join us for a Twitter chat to share ideas you can use to engage friends and family in preparedness activities during the back-to-school season. Use PrepForSchool to chat.

September 15 – Week 3: Preparing Through Service

Join us for a Twitter Chat to share ideas on how you work with community organizations or neighbors in your school community to support each other in preparedness. Use #WholeSchoolCommunityto chat.

September 22 – Week 4: Focus on Individual Preparedness

Join us for a Twitter Chat to share ideas on how you can ensure equity and access when promoting individual preparedness. Use #PrepStartsWithYou to chat.

September 29 – Week 5: Lead up to 30th, National Preparedness Day

Join us for a Twitter Chat where we will share how schools, districts, and IHEs can register activities on the FEMA Website and offer states a chance to share chances for staff and students to participate in local events before and on National PrepareAthon Day. Use #NatlPrep to chat.

ShakeOut Your Earthquake Awareness Skills. Join the Nation as We Drop (or Brake), Cover, and Hold on! This October 20, 2016!

The Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill is an annual opportunity to practice what to do during earthquakes and to improve preparedness. This year, it will be held on October 20, 2016, at 10:20 a.m. Tracking from the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill Website shows that “9,660,588 participants are registered by 5,575 K-12 schools and districts” and that “2,133,487 participants are registered by 299 colleges and universities” across the world this year. Along with links to register, the Website provides information on who is participating, how to participate, and the national partners involved in the annual drill. You can also find education-specific pages for schools and IHEs, which are broken down by state and region. These pages contain information that K-12 schools and school districts and IHEs can use to plan a drill, get prepared, and promote participation among the whole school community, including students, parents, teachers, and community partners. View the links below to see if your state, school, and/or IHE is participating this year! Please note that the statistics include data from schools, school districts, and IHEs outside of the United States.

View the K-12 school and school district participants here: http://shakeout.org/participant_list.php?category=schools

View the college and university participants here: http://shakeout.org/participant_list.php?category=colleges

To see who is participating, visit: http://www.shakeout.org/whoisparticipating/. To learn more about the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, you may also visit: http://rems.ed.gov/Shakeout.aspx.

Making EOP Revision or Development a Priority This Back-to-School Season? Use Our FREE Tools!

As another school year begins, emergency management planning teams around the country are engaging in preparedness activities, and the REMS TA Center offers a suite of EOP Interactive Tools to assist you in this process. Whether you are a newly formed planning team, have an existing EOP, or have prioritized developing your EOP this academic year, there is a tool for you!

Individuals who are newly joining their planning team may use EOP ASSESS to test their knowledge of concepts fundamental to emergency management and ensure that they are on the same page as other members of the planning team. Similarly, returning team members may use EOP ASSESS to refresh their understanding of EOP planning and identify areas for learning opportunities.

Schools or IHEs with existing EOPs may use EOP EVALUATE to determine areas of their plan to revise during the academic year. Schools may then use EOP ASSIST 2.0 Software or the EOP ASSIST Interactive Workbook to revise those areas of their school EOP.

Schools that do not currently have EOPs may use EOP ASSIST 2.0 Software or the EOP ASSIST Interactive Workbook to start developing their plans. These tools both walk users through the six-step planning process with supporting resources and generate a customized EOP. As the school year progresses, teams may continue to use these tools to enhance sections of their school plans.

If you have any questions about using any of the EOP Interactive Tools, including installing EOP ASSIST 2.0 Software on your organization’s server or customizing the EOP ASSIST Interactive Workbook to include state and/or local laws, please contact the REMS TA Center Help Desk by calling our toll-free telephone number 1-855-781-REMS [7367], emailing info@remstacenter.org, or submitting a TA request form.

Snapshots From Our EOP Planning Webinar Series

Since late July, we’ve been hosting weekly events with practitioners in the fields of school and higher education emergency management as a part of our EOP Planning Webinar Series and our ongoing efforts to have regular conversations and to get real perspectives on emerging trends in the field. If you’ve participated in any or all of these events, thank you! We’ve learned so much about topics including family reunification, providing for those with access and functional needs, and preparing for continuity of operations.

Addressing Access and Functional Needs (AFN) in School and Higher Education EOPs Webinar| #InclusivePreparedness Twitter Chat

Blindness, difficulty hearing, broken leg, foreign languages. These are just some of the disabilities and AFN discussed during our July 29 Addressing Access and Functional Needs (AFN) in School and Higher Education Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) Webinar, the first in our EOP Planning Webinar series. This Webinar was special not only because it covered perspectives from the state level, the K-12 level, and the higher education level, but also because it was held 3 days after the 26th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. If you missed it, don’t worry! We’ve created an archived version just for you. View it here: http://rems.ed.gov/AFN2016Webinar.aspx.

Highlights From the #InclusivePreparedness Twitter Chat:

Q2: What has your agency done to ensure those w/ AFN are considered when planning for school/higher ed emergencies?

Jill Barnes @LAUSDisasterGrl: @remstacenter I place a generator at each of my schools that has a student that uses a ventilator. #InclusivePreparedness

Q4: What partnerships are important when supporting students & staff with access & functional needs + disabilities?

Vance Taylor @vance_taylor: @remstacenter @EMgrB Yes! Law enforcement, schools administrators, independent living centers, regional centers, student services for DAFN

Q5: Do you offer any special #emergencyprep resources to student/staff w/ access and functional needs?

@LAUSDisasterGrl: @remstacenterQ5 I keep a lot of resources here: http://achieve.lausd.net/Page/2748  I really like the communications boards. #InclusivePreparedness

Upcoming Events

Did you miss the first couple of Webinars in our EOP Planning and Adversarial- and Human-Caused Threats Webinars series? Don’t fret. It’s not too late to register for the rest. Register at: http://remstacenter.org/webinars/Registration1.aspx?webinarid=1075. The remaining Webinars in these series will be 1 hour in length and begin at 2 p.m. Eastern/ 1 p.m. Central/ 12 p.m. Mountain/ 11 a.m. Pacific/ 10 a.m. Alaska/ 9 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian. See details below.

Friday, September 2: Use of Social Media in School Behavioral Threat Assessments

Presenters will discuss how recent technological advances have created additional considerations for behavioral threat assessments. Topics covered will include online threats and how they can be identified and addressed.

Wednesday, September 7: Integrating Bullying Prevention Efforts Into Emergency Management Planning

This Webinar will provide participants an understanding of the connection between bullying prevention and emergency management planning, including the preparedness missions. Participants will have an opportunity to examine the available resources to measure school climate and learn how to incorporate bullying prevention efforts into emergency management planning.

Friday, September 9: Incorporating Sextortion Into School EOP Planning

Presenters from the U.S. Department of Education, REMS TA Center, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will discuss the latest research and trends related to sextortion of K-12 youth. Topics covered will include analysis of tips from NCMEC’s CyberTipLine, details on Federal efforts to address the issue and provide support on the state/local level, and methods K-12 education agencies can use to prevent, respond to, and recover from sextortion.

Friday, September 16: State and Local Perspectives on Emergency Management Back to School Activities

Presenters from state education agencies and local education agencies will share what they are doing to support districts and schools in developing and revising EOPs as a part of back-to-school professional development activities. REMS TA Center staff will share how to support state and local education agencies in their efforts to ensure EOPs in their schools and districts remain up-to-date.

Host a Free Training at Your School, School District, College or University. It's Free!

Does your school or school district need training from experts on how to develop a high-quality EOP or on resilience strategies for educators? Does your IHE need guidance to help revise your EOP too? We offer FREE training to qualified schools, school districts, and IHEs. You provide the training venue, we provide the expert trainer, onsite logistical staff, and materials at no cost. For further details please visit: http://rems.ed.gov/TA_TrainingsByRequest.aspx

Quick Links


If you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact the REMS TA Center at 1-855-781-REMS [7367] or via email at info@remstacenter.org.

Follow us on Twitter: @remstacenter