Protect Your Campus and Community with Effective Disaster Planning

By their very nature, crisis situations are disruptive, striking when you least expect them. How many times have you heard “we never saw it coming” uttered on the news?

From earthquakes and tornadoes to active shootings or civil unrest, it’s important to keep your campus ready for any number of crisis situations. Whether a disaster is natural or man-made, having an emergency response plan in place will help your school prepare for any eventuality.

Developing a Disaster Plan

When developing an effective disaster response program, it’s important to have specialized guidance for your industry. Working with an organization familiar with school emergencies helps ensure your plan is specific to the needs of faculty, staff, and students. Before you begin working on the plan, conduct a thorough assessment of all potential risks and hazards to the building and campus.

Different regions of the country face different threats and hazards. Already this year, flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, and other severe weather events have impacted the country. You’ll need to make different considerations depending on your campus location. Conducting a risk assessment helps tailor the plan to your specific campus, community, and environment, making it much more effective during a crisis.

Best practices have demonstrated that the minimum critical elements of an effective school disaster program should include the following:

  • Identify hazards and conduct a risk assessment specific to the building and campus.
  • Develop a robust emergency plan that addresses how to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from hazards and risks specific to the school community.
  • Include crisis communication planning.
  • Provide training, drills and updates to the plan.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Your staff and students will learn to rely on muscle memory with routine practice of the crisis plan, ensuring a faster, more effective response in the case of an actual disaster situation.

Keep in mind that when creating your plan, a single response likely won’t be enough. You should prepare for various situations.

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