Preparing for and recovering from a disaster is a human effort. Having the right people identified and involved is critical to the success of a district's recovery. This section of the guide is intended to provide you with suggestions related to who, when, and why to have various people engaged.

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Before the Event

  1. Identify key personnel to develop and support the emergency preparation plan. As you explore the best practices and task lists, you will find that all of these people can play an important role in planning for and recovering from an event:

    1. Administration Leadership

      1. Superintendent
      2. Assistant Superintendent
      3. Board Representative(s)
      4. Department of Finance
      5. Department of Operations
      6. Public Relations Director
      7. Food Service Department
      8. Transportation Director
      9. Technology Director
      10. Human Resources Director
      11. Maintenance / Construction / Grounds Director

    2. Key Partners to include:

      1. Local law enforcement officials
        Local law enforcement will be needed to provide security in the event a school is used as a shelter. In the case of an evacuation, law enforcement may be needed to assist in directing traffic. They can also provide patrols around unoccupied or damaged facilities after an event to minimize looting. Districts may also want to task law enforcement with crowd control during and after an event.
      2. Local fire officials
        Local fire officials can assist with identifying necessary fire lanes, coordinating access to sprinkler equipment, etc.
      3. Homeland security (DHS)
        The department of emergency preparedness is part of the department of homeland security. Discussions up front on roles and responsibilities will be useful when an event happens. An example of coordination needed would be if the DHS would like to use the district buses and drivers in the event of an evacuation or use schools as a shelter.
      4. Key industry / business / community partners
        Examples of local industry partners might include temporary power supply, refrigerated trucks, construction trades such as electricians and air conditioning contractors, plumbers, catering company, food service equipment, local bank.
      5. Local government officials
        County commission or council members, department of public works, permitting department.
      6. Local architects / engineers / program managers
        In a catastrophic event in which the facilities are damaged, it will be important to have quick access to professionals that can quickly respond to the rebuilding effort. Some districts will have ongoing projects with design and management teams already in place, but districts should consider creating a Memorandum of Understanding with their local professionals to address emergency response efforts.
      7. Insurance Carrier(s)
        Clear understanding of coverages and conditions necessary for claims should be determined before an event so that proper protocol is followed.

      Note: Dependency on other local organizations/agencies for assistance may be unreliable in certain catastrophic situations as most will be facing their own crisis/disaster recovery efforts.

    3. Create a facilities evaluation team for the district.
      The purpose of this evaluation team prior to an event is to determine the condition of a facility and determine if it is ready for an event. After an event, the facilities evaluation team is the first response team to look at damage and determine a course of action for each facility.

      1. Facilities Director
      2. FEMA Liaison
      3. Maintenance Director

    4. Identify someone as caretaker of curriculum documents at each school and at the central office.
      This person will be responsible for ensuring backups of curriculum information and removal and care for this information during an evacuation.

  2. Develop list of district personnel essential for disaster response
    This list is in addition to the key administrative personnel in charge of the district.

    1. Payroll Clerk
      In the case of an event that affects a district for an extended period, the Payroll clerk is essential to ensuring that administration and staff will continue to receive paychecks.
    2. Retirement Specialist
      In the case of an event that affects a district for an extended period, the retirement specialist is essential providing proper documentation to those employees seeking to retire.
    3. Insurance Specialist
      Immediate communications with the insurance carrier is critical to ensuring maximum benefits. The insurance specialist will be the most knowledgeable of policy location, content, and emergency contact persons.
    4. Purchasing Agent
      Typically, the purchasing agent will be critical to acquiring emergency items and securing adequate funding. They typically have the "checkbook".
    5. Finance Director
      In most cases, the finance director is responsible for access to accounts and can report to the administration the amount of funds available for use.
    6. Information Technology Manager
      In this age of computers, access to information and communications are key elements during and after an event. The IT manager is essential in restoring systems in a timely manner. This person typically has passwords and access to servers.
    7. Personnel Director
      The personnel director is critical in providing contact information and locating personnel that may be disbursed after an evacuation. The personnel director has access to critical and confidential information on all personnel.
    8. Facilities Director
      The facilities director will have access to building plans, and knowledge of systems as well as contact with professional service providers.

  3. Best Practices

    1. Designate one person to serve as spokesperson to media / press.
    2. Designate one person to serve as the district's FEMA liaison.
    3. Develop list of responsibilities for essential school district personnel
    4. Determine list of responsibilities for key partners
    5. Determine if your facilities will be used as shelters
    6. If used as a shelter, consider the following:

      1. Staffing
        Who will staff the facility? Will it be district personnel or another agency?
      2. Site Preparation
        Designate which areas of the school will be used as a shelter. Secure all sensitive information and valuable equipment in a lockable office.
      3. Security
        Arrange to have security provided by local law enforcement at the shelter.
      4. Chain of Custody (if not school personnel)
        If not school personnel manning the facility, create a procedure for handing over keys, access codes, alarm codes and passwords and then retrieving the same after closing the shelter.

    7. Consider enacting policy to cross train personnel to be two deep for all key functions.
    8. Designate areas of responsibility and authority for all key personnel.
    9. Create a schedule for periodic plan review and updates (yearly)
    10. Board should establish policy for how to continue operation during crisis and recovery period. See Legal for more information.

      1. Define what constitutes an emergency
      2. Set procedure to declare an emergency
        Board should understand what opportunities are available to them in emergency situations. For example; during an emergency, it may be possible to forego some procurement procedures to expedite acquisition of necessary supplies and services.
      3. Board resolution to designate authority of administrators
      4. Set spending limits or channels for emergency response and recovery efforts
      5. Insurance Policy in effect for temporary closure
      6. Payroll Policy in effect for temporary closure
        One item to consider is to enact direct deposit for payroll so that if personnel are disbursed as a result of an evacuation, payroll can be administered without trying to track down locations of personnel.

    11. Establish communication systems for before, during, and after event to various people who may need information.

      1. Dissemination of information to general public
        Dissemination to the general public should come from one source only. Various methods of communicating should be considered to reach the maximum audience. Press releases, web site, local news, local access television, local radio
      2. Dissemination of information to employees
        Employee notifications can be achieved through various sources including phone tree, automated call lists, web sites, email.
      3. Dissemination of information to students/parents
        Student and Parent notifications can be achieved through various sources including phone tree, automated call lists, web sites, email.
      4. Dissemination of information to key personnel and partners
        Key partner notifications can be achieved through various sources including phone tree, automated call lists, web sites, email.
      5. Establish communication codes to be used if necessary
        Example: send Johnny to "get chalk" from another teacher in the event of a gun in a classroom
      6. Create contact sheet for all employees to include cell phone numbers
      7. Dissemination of information to board members

    12. Establish procedure and time line for employees to contact school system after emergency
    13. Designate rendezvous points following emergency situations:

      1. Student pick-up
      2. Essential personnel
      3. Administrative staff
      4. School staff

    14. Explore possible partnerships with other school districts to "buddy" during recovery
      A neighboring district may be able to provide supplies or may accept students on a temporary basis.
    15. Establish location of temporary administrative offices (if local office is not available)
    16. Designate person to secure site and building for each facility
    17. If school is to be used as a shelter, the following should be determined in advance:

      1. Identify personnel in charge
      2. Identify security procedures
        Security procedures would include check in and check out of evacuees at location.
      3. Establish command center at location
      4. Establish location for medical triage
        This would include identifying personnel to provide medical services
      5. Establish location for temporary morgue
      6. Establish location for housing medically fragile individuals
        This would include identifying personnel to provide medical services

    18. If a district outsources custodial, transportation, food services, and/or maintenance services, include representatives from those companies in the planning process.
      It is important to understand the company policies regarding evacuations and emergency response to ensure that their plan does not adversely affect the district plan. An example might be that a transportation company has a policy to relocated buses within 72 hrs of an event which might conflict with a district policy of using those buses to evacuate within 48 hrs of an event.

During the Event

  1. Best Practices

    1. Verify that reports of emergency are accurate and that leadership has the correct verifiable information.
      Small events become emergencies through the rumor mill. Make sure the crisis has been verified before enacting emergency procedures.
    2. Contact and mobilize essential personnel to perform responsibilities
    3. Monitor news/weather sources
    4. If a school is to be used as a shelter

      1. Register all evacuees
      2. Determine any special needs
      3. Communicate plan to evacuees for:

        1. food distribution
        2. medical assistance
        3. building and individual security

      4. Establish ground rules for:

        1. sanitation
        2. limits of access by evacuees
        3. no weapons
        4. no alcohol
        5. curfews
        6. pets

      5. Disseminate information regularly about current situation
      6. Monitor structural integrity of facilities holding people
        In a storm event, the purpose is to make sure that if the facility begins to fail (i.e., roof system begins to fall)
      7. Solicit volunteers and assign duties
        Personnel should be careful not to assign duties that would create a liability to the district.

    5. School is not a shelter

      1. N/A because no one is there

    6. Coordinate with Law Enforcement

      1. Confirm and communicate roles and responsibilities Depending on the type of event (i.e., hostage situation), the campus (or parts of the campus) may temporarily fall under the jurisdiction of law enforcement. The district and school officials should understand the limits of law enforcement responsibilities. Evacuation of students, crowd control, traffic control, etc may very well be left to the school.

After the Event

  1. Best Practices

    1. Contact and mobilize essential personnel to perform responsibilities
    2. Establish contact with board members
    3. Contact and communicate situation and needs with key partners (as required)
    4. Communicate with Department of Education and other state governmental entities
    5. Communicate with contact at temporary administrative office location
    6. Establish re-open dates
    7. If school served as a shelter:

      1. Begin communication with authorities for closing shelter

        1. Police
        2. Medical
        3. Red Cross

    8. Mobilize custodial/maintenance staff for assessment, cleanup, and repair
    9. Establish dates for administration, teachers, and students to return
    10. Determine roles and responsibility transition from police to district