Safety and Security
Two national response models serve as the framework for local policies, procedures and response plans. For larger-scale emergencies and disasters, the National Response Framework (NRF)16 offers guiding principals that enable all partners to prepare for and provide a unified response to disasters and emergencies--from the smallest incident to the largest catastrophe. The term "response" (as defined by the NRF) includes taking immediate action to save lives, protect property and the environment and meet basic human needs. Response also includes the execution of emergency plans and actions to support short-term recovery. The NRF also describes how agencies, such as schools, can work together with communities, tribes, states, the federal government and private partners. Secondly, the National Incident Management System (NIMS)17 is a comprehensive national design for conducting incident management. NIMS provides the template, while the NRF provides the structure and mechanisms for incident management. A key component of NIMS is the Incident Command System (ICS)18, which provides a standardized approach for incident management, regardless of cause, size, location or complexity. By using ICS during incidents, schools and districts will be able to more efficiently work with responders in their communities. To maximize success, effective management of school emergencies requires training, preparation and planning. Schools are responsible for anticipating and preparing to respond to a variety of emergencies. The policies and procedures outlined below will help empower the students and staff to respond in an emergency, closely aligned with the phases of emergency management:
The Five Phases of Emergency Management Prevention Mitigation Preparedness Response Recovery:
1. Prevention focuses on training, hazard response plans and exercises ahead of an event to prepare through proactive planning. The risk of loss of life and injury can be limited through good evacuation plans, environmental planning and design standards.
2. Mitigation is the effort to reduce the loss of life and property by developing structural and non-structural measures that will mitigate the effects of a disaster.
3. Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating and taking corrective action. These elements are the cornerstones of preparedness and focus on readiness to respond to all-hazards incidents and emergencies.
4. Response is the management of resources including personnel, equipment and supplies and utilizes the incident command system in an all-hazards approach. The response phase is a reaction to the occurrence of the event.
5. Recovery activities continue beyond the emergency period and focus on restoring critical functions to stabilize operations and increase capacity to continue to serve their community after a disaster. The goal of the recovery phase is to bring the affected areas back to some degree of normalcy as soon as possible.