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Emergency Operations Planning


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The Department of Education believes school districts must be adequately prepared for a variety of emergencies that threaten the young lives of Iowa students each day.  In response to this, the Department has initiated a program to provide training, support, and technical assistance to public school districts and non-public schools for development of high-quality Emergency Operations Plans. This program will integrate training, workshops, and the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center (REMS TA) to achieve this goal.  

The process involves working collaboratively with district and community partners to assure the developed plans are complete and reflect actual capabilities and available resources.





School Emergency Response Planning Workshop - The process of developing high-quality emergency response plans requires the participation of numerous community partners. To encourage collaboration and ensure the development of high quality plans, the Iowa Department of Education is conducting planning and training workshops in each of the nine Area Education Agencies. Workshops are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and lunch is provided. Districts as well as public and non-public schools are highly encouraged to participate along with County Emergency Management Coordinators, first responders, and any other associations or organizations interested in participating in this important initiative. Click on the following dates to register:

Online Courses

REMS TA Center Virtual Trainings - A diverse set of trainings, including webinars and self-paced online courses on school emergency management available at no cost to schools. Certificates are issued electronically by the U.S. Department of Education.

Emergency Management Institute - Offers self-paced courses designed for people who have emergency management responsibilities and the general public. All are offered free-of-charge to those who qualify for enrollment.

The following courses are recommended for those interested in school emergency response planning:

Project CLEAR Training Videos

  • Preparing Parents for School Emergencies - An online presentation designed to provide parents of children in K-12 schools with an understanding of why schools develop all-hazards plans.
  • School Shooters: An Awareness Program for School Staff - An online presentation designed to provide school staff members with a basic awareness of their responsibilities in preparing for and responding to an active shooter situation in their school.

Iowa School Safety

Every school in Iowa should have a school safety plan in case of a natural disaster, medical emergencies, bomb threats and other situations. Though not mandatory in Iowa, leaders in education, law enforcement, fire safety and homeland security agree that school safety plans are important.

The following agencies and associations worked together to create safety resources for schools: Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Public Safety - Intelligence Fusion Center, State of Iowa Fire Marshal's Office, School Administrators of Iowa, Iowa State Education Association, Iowa Association of School Boards, Heartland Area Education Agency.

The guide below serves as a template for creating local school safety plans. Flip charts offer how-to advice for educators about an emergency or how to react to one. A self assessment and threat report form are also available for school use.

School leaders are encouraged make these plans their own. The goal is to get all stakeholders on the same page when it comes to school safety.

Iowa School Safety Guide

Iowa School Safety Flip Chart - Incidents

Iowa School Safety Flip Chart - Procedures

Iowa School Safety Self Assessment

Iowa School Safety Threat Report Form


Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center (REMS TA) - Supports schools, school districts, and institutions of higher education, with their community partners, in the development of high-quality emergency operations plans and comprehensive emergency management planning efforts.

National Crime Prevention Council - State Centers for Safe Schools - This link takes to a listing of all of State Centers for Safe Schools. Although Iowa doesn't have a Center of its own and some of the Centers are more active than others, the Centers share a common mission: to provide school districts and staff, parents, and students with training, tools, and technical assistance to enhance the safety and security of America's schools.

Legal Lessons on School Safety

NASP School Safety and Crisis Resources - The National Association of School Psychologists has assembled quality resources to promote the ability of children and youth to cope with traumatic or unsettling events.

NCEF Disaster Preparedness and Response for Schools

Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Iowa School Safety Alliance

ABC's of School Safety - Resource from the American Association of School Administrators.


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on November 27, 2015 at 5:25pm.