Communications

Proper communication is a key element to the success of a district's preparation and recovery from an event. This section of the guide is intended to provide you with suggestions related to communications between the key participants in the recovery effort.

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Before the Event

  1. Communicate roles and responsibilities to essential employees

    1. Notify essential employees and review their responsibilities

  2. Communicate district policy plan of action to essential employees

    1. Disseminate information about closing schedule
    2. Disseminate information about rendezvous points
    3. Disseminate information about schools as shelter
    4. Distribute satellite phones to essential employees
      For some extreme events such as a hurricane when essential employees may be dispersed by evacuation, satellite phones will help maintain essential communications among the leadership.

  3. Communicate the following to all employees:

    1. Disseminate information about closing schedule
    2. Disseminate information about schools as shelter
      Employees at a facility should be notified that their facility might be used as a shelter and they should prepare their spaces for use as such.
    3. Review and confirm emergency contact and payroll information

      1. Update list of cell phone numbers
      2. Remind employees it is their responsibility to remain in contact after emergency

    4. Update school district web site with announcements

      1. Closing schedule
      2. Schools as shelter

    5. Review with site administrators emergency lock down plans

  4. Communicate transportation plan to bus drivers.

  5. Communicate with constituents (includes parents, students, key partners)

    1. Disseminate information about closing schedule
    2. Disseminate information about schools as shelter
    3. Remind parents to update their emergency contact information with the district

      1. Update list of cell phone numbers

    4. Remind key partners to update their emergency contact information with the district
    5. Alert rendezvous partners of impending arrival of essential employees
    6. Update school district web site

      1. Closing schedule
      2. Schools as shelter

  6. Communications with media

    1. Disseminate information about closing schedule
    2. Disseminate information about schools as shelter
    3. Remind media of spokesperson contact info

  7. Communication with board members

    1. Disseminate information about closing schedule
    2. Disseminate information about schools as shelter
    3. Review emergency contact information

  8. Verify all emergency communications equipment is working properly and fully charged

    1. Ensure that adequate backup power is going to be available

      1. Batteries
      2. Generator fuel

  9. Establish a central point for accessing student and personnel records and post procedures to retrieve information on the web site.

  10. Communicate

  11. Best Practices

    1. Consider utilizing satellite phones for essential personnel communications
      Some vendors have contract options to provide a district with satellite phones in the case of an impending event such as a hurricane.
    2. Prepare regular back-ups for information systems that will be utilized for communications (web site)
    3. Consider redundant communications systems with the second at a remote location
      This includes a redundant web site so that in the event that a districts servers go down, the web site can be immediately redirected and brought back online from a remote location. The web site is critical for communications.
    4. Consider creating secure login area on the district web site for dissemination of sensitive information to employees only
    5. Establish call trees, automated call lists, contact sheets
      Several vendors provide services to place automated phone calls.
    6. Disseminate procedures for employees to find information before, during and after an emergency
    7. Verify that emergency communications devices are included and ready for use in the essential employees' emergency kit

During the Event

  1. Keep copies of disaster planning document readily available

  2. Maintain contact with essential employees

  3. Maintain periodic communications with key partners

    1. Communicate status of event

  4. If school is a shelter:

    1. Provide periodic updates to evacuees with latest information
    2. Verify that managers/volunteers understand the rules and their responsibilities

After the Event

  1. Communicate with essential employees

    1. Rendezvous with essential employees
    2. Review responsibilities required from each
    3. Disseminate information about possible re-opening schedule

  2. Communicate with all employees

    1. Establish communication network

      1. Web site
      2. Media outlets
      3. Phone trees
      4. Automated call lists

    2. Disseminate information about re-opening schedule
    3. Disseminate information emergency contact and payroll information

      1. Remind employees of responsibility to remain in contact after emergency

    4. Update school district web site about re-opening schedule
    5. Schedule meeting with site administrators regarding re-opening

  3. Communicate with constituents (includes parents, students, key partners)

    1. Disseminate information about re-opening schedule
    2. Disseminate information about closing schools as shelter
    3. Remind key partners of essential personnel contact info
    4. Update school district web site about re-opening schedule

  4. Communicate with media

    1. Disseminate information about re-opening schedule
    2. Disseminate information about closing schools as shelter

  5. Communicate with board members about re-opening schedule