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. The Department provides resources from Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools - Technical Assistance (REMS-TA) that assists public school districts and non-public schools with developing high-quality school emergency operations plans (EOPs). The process for developing EOPs involves working collaboratively with district and community partners to assure the developed plans are complete and reflect actual capabilities and available resources. It is critical to involve district staff, local emergency management staff, first responders, and public and mental health officials during the planning process to integrate the district plan with community, regional, and state plans. The school’s EOP should provide an overview of the school’s approach to operations before, during, and after an emergency.
(Click the link above for registration information to install the toolkit at the local level.)
The Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center has created an Emergency Management Virtual Toolkit for K-12 schools to disseminate consistent information, guidance, trainings, and tools on school emergency management.
See the Emergency Management Virtual Toolkit here.
The toolkit, which is divided into three sections—develop high-quality emergency operations plans (EOPs), engage youth and the community and connect with other emergency management practitioners—provides users with an opportunity to populate their own education agency’s website or emergency management webpage with the latest Federal school emergency management training and technical assistance resources and information for schools in their state or district.
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
Section 4 Situation Overview
Information Dissemination Worksheet
Injured and Missing Classroom Report Form
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 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.
Creating a School EOP with EOP Assist - This tutorial discusses how to use REMS TA Center’s software application to develop high-quality school emergency operations plans (EOP). The tutorial reviews how to generate a school EOP using EOP ASSIST with a special focus on the planning process and “MyEOP”. It is provided from the perspective of a school-level user.
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.
The NSSA is a grassroots effort to bring together school safety professionals who are responsible for the safety and security of the children and staff in all the schools across our great nation. It is a collaborative effort, and inclusive of the different stakeholder communities, to include State Education Agency (SEA) designated state level school safety centers and/or other agencies responsible for school safety at the state level, and our federal and national partners.
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
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:
School Emergency Response Planning Initiative Webinar – Recorded on September 22, 2015. The Iowa Department of Education is providing training and technical support to school districts to assist with the process of updating or developing emergency operations plans. The webinar provides information on the goals, outcomes, and timeline for the Training and Technical Assistance to School Districts for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans initiative, including information on project strategies, outcomes, and discuss the resources available to assist schools, districts, and communities with the planning process. Presentation Slides
Tips and Strategies for EOP Planning Webinar - Recorded on February 19, 2016. The Iowa Department of Education is providing training and technical support to public school districts and non-public schools to assist with the process of updating or developing high-quality emergency operation plans. This webinar session provides detailed information about the use of the Emergency Operation Planning Template in the planning process. Suggestions and strategies for incorporating the template into the planning process with your planning team are explained. Presentation Slides
Public Records and Emergency Planning – Recorded on February 26, 2016. This webinar session provided information about public records, law enforcement exception, student records, FERPA, employee records, and emergency planning records. Information concerning security procedures and disclosure to public is explained. Presentation Slides
Reunification Planning – Recorded on March 11, 2016. For this webinar, Sharon Hawa from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) discussed the importance of disaster reunification planning and the implications for children who become separated from their parents and guardians in the aftermath of a disaster. She also talked about the various disaster resources that NCMEC offers to support disaster-impacted states with the identification, location, and reunification of children with their families.
Team Building – Recorded on March 25, 2016. For this webinar, Tom Farley from Employee and Family Resources discussed effective team building to help with developing high-quality emergency operations plans. When working on a team, it is important to build a vision of an effective team based on members own values and experiences, review the natural stages of team development, examine the barriers to effective team communication, and learn practical communication skills that each team member can apply to improve team relationships. Presentation Slides, Team Effectiveness Analysis
School Resource Officer’s Role in Emergency Management – Recorded on June 3, 2016. The School Resource Officer (SRO) plays an important role in your school safety and emergency operations planning efforts. Chad Bentzinger and Mary Gannon presented information about understanding of SRO roles and responsibilities and provide information on how you can best utilize this important resource. They discussed 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. Presentation Slides and Handout.
School Emergency Communications – Recorded on June 10, 2016. Communications is much more than sending an email home to parents or a news release to the press. Phil Roeder and Amanda Lewis from the Des Moines Public Schools, Communications and Public Affairs, explain how school districts can become their own newsroom with the correct use of social media and become the go-to source for information in an emergency. This webinar will explain how to build a relationship with media partners in the community and discuss coverage issues. You will become knowledgeable about the inner workings of newsrooms and news crews, and learn how to respond to an unreasonable reporter without becoming the news.
EMS in Schools – Recorded on November 18, 2016. The mission of school districts is to provide excellence in education and provide safety to students by offering health services in the context of the student's school day. School nurses manage students' chronic health conditions and episodic cares related to injury and illness while students attend school. Emergency medical services also provide healthcare to students and serve the communities where they live. The collaborative efforts between emergency medical services and school health services demonstrate another facet to assist schools in preparing for, mitigating, responding to and recovering from natural and man-made threats and incidents.
Iowa Highway Patrol and School Safety - Recorded on March 24, 2017. Trooper Vince Kurtz, Public Resource Officer for the Iowa State Patrol District 6 Office in Spencer, explained how the Iowa State Patrol helps with school safety. His presentation explained the different services offered through the Iowa State Patrol. Contact information for your local Public Resource Officers was also provided to connect you with these free services from the Iowa Highway Patrol.
School Bus Safety - Recorded on April 28, 2017. Educators are all dedicated to helping the young people of their communities have access to education at school. And that access begins for many students with the ride to school on the school bus. Safety is a huge part of every school bus ride, and it includes having safe drivers and safe vehicles. Max Christensen at the Iowa Department of Education focused on all aspects of keeping students safe on the bus ride to and from school, and also on activity trips and field trips.
Available Resources for EOPs - Recorded on May 26, 2017. Join us for this last webinar of the season as we provide a review of the available resources for development of school emergency operations plans. We will provide an overview of workbooks, guides, templates, and other resources available free to assist you as you consider moving forward with planning. We will also hear from individuals who are working with school districts to complete emergency operations plans and get some insight into lessons learned. If you have already started planning or if you are considering establishing a comprehensive planning team over the summer of fall, be sure and listen in and get answers to the questions or concerns that may be interfering with your ability to move forward.