Skip to Content

Emergency Operations Planning


On this page...

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.


Spring 2016 Emergency Operations Planning Workshops

The Iowa Department of Education will host a series of tabletop exercises as part of the continued effort to support school emergency operations planning. Tabletop exercises are discussion-based sessions where team members meet in an informal setting to discuss their roles during an emergency and their responses to a particular emergency situation. These exercises will:

  • Increase understanding of the roles and responsibilities in a school emergency.
  • Improve coordination between internal and external teams, organizations, and community response partners.
  • Assess the capabilities of available resources.
  • Test or validate recently changed procedures or plans.
  • Increase understanding of the plan content and process for developing fully comprehensive plans.

Iowa Association of School Resource Officers, 8th Annual School Safety Conference

June 28-29, 2016   Camp Dodge, Johnston Iowa

Iowa Association of School Resource Officers (IASRO) will be hosting their 8th Annual School Safety Conference June 28-29, 2016 for school resource officers, school administrators, juvenile court personnel, school staff, and the community.  The mission of IASRO is to assist in the training, development and sustainment of those law enforcement officers charged with the prevention, detection and investigation of crimes committed on school premises.

The conference will highlight two featured presenters:

Tina Frundt – Courtney’s House / Survivor will discuss Child Sex Trafficking in Our Schools.  She will breakdown the four main paradigms of trafficking to allow school staff members, juvenile court personnel, and SROs to identify warning signs and potential victims.  Tina will also provide tactics for interviewing victims and discuss how to build a case against traffickers and buyers. 

Jermaine Galloway will provide a presentation entitled “HIGH IN PLAIN SIGHT: Current Alcohol, Drug, and Concealment Trends and Identifiers”.  This all day community tailored workshop is designed for anyone with a vested interest in promoting a drug-free community.  A wide variety of topics will be discussed to include: alcohol and drug clothing, alcoholic energy drinks, alcopops, alcohol and drug concealment methods and containers, drug paraphernalia, drug related music and groups, logos, stickers, new technology, youth party tendencies, party games, non-traditional alcoholic beverages, social networking sites, synthetic drugs, OTC drugs, inhalants, concentrates, E-cigarettes, and popular party drugs. 

This session will also cover common stash compartments that can be used to hide weapons inside everyday clothing containers and other items, along with the relationship between alcohol, drug and violence tendencies.  

The mail-in registration deadline is June 17, 2016.  The mail-in form and additional information are available on the Iowa Department of Education Website in the School Safety Index or by contacting Deb VanVelzen at or 515-242-7538.

Fall 2015 Emergency Operations Planning Workshop Materials

School EOP Workshop

Self Assessment Activity 1

Self Assessment Activity 2

Self Assessment Activity 3

Risk and Crisis Communication: 77 Questions Commonly Asked by Journalists During a Crisis


Upcoming Webinars

School Resource Officer’s Role in Emergency Management – Friday, June 3, 10:00am

The School Resource Officer (SRO) plays an important role in your school safety and emergency operations planning efforts.  Chad Bentizinger and Nicole Proesch will present a webinar on June 3rd to improve understanding of SRO roles and responsibilities and provide information on how you can best utilize this important resource.   They will discuss the day-to-day and emergency responsibilities of SROs, what agreements should be in place between the district and the police department, when to involve the SRO in school situations or investigations, and what information can be shared with an SRO under FERPA.  

Be sure to join us for this important webinar on June 3rd at 10 a.m.  Pre-registration is not required. 

Link to join Webinar:

Communications for Emergencies – Friday, June 10, 10:00am

Communications is much more than sending an email home to parents or a news release to the press. Learn how your school district can become its own newsroom with the correct use of social media, and become the go-to source for information in an emergency. Learn how to relationship build with media partners in the community and discuss coverage issues. And become knowledgeable about the inner workings of newsrooms and news crews, and learn how to respond to an unreasonable reporter without becoming the news.

Be sure to join us for this important webinar on June 10th at 10 a.m.  Pre-registration is not required.

Link to join webinar:         


Past Webinars


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.

Planning Resources

The Iowa School EOP planning template and the FEMA Sample School EOP planning template are provided here to assist you with your efforts. The content of the Iowa template has been developed from the comments received during the workshops, directions provided in the Guide to Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans, the FEMA Sample School Emergency Operations Plan, and from nationally identified best practices.

The text in italics provides additional information or instructions on how to complete the associated section of the plan.  The regular text is provided as sample language to assist your planning team in better understanding the type of information needed in each section.  You are free to use the language provided, but I must strongly stress that simply inserting your district’s name in place of bold text will not result in a truly comprehensive plan, nor will it accurately reflect a plan specific to your district.  This should be a collaborative process focused on the needs of the district and school sites.  

Iowa Sample School Emergency Operations Plan

Sample School Emergency Operations Plan - FEMA - Nov 2013

Section 4 Situation Overview

Information Dissemination Worksheet

Injured and Missing Report

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


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

Education Facilities Clearinghouse (EFC) Emergency Preparedness

FBI Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools

Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Iowa School Safety Alliance

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.

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.

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.

Safe School Initiative Report


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 29, 2016 at 9:36am.