High-Quality Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) Toolkit

1.2 Phases of Emergency Management

Emergency management is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as “the managerial function charged with creating the framework within which communities reduce vulnerability to hazards and cope with disasters.” Emergency management protects communities by coordinating and integrating all phases of emergency management.

eop phases diagram recovery prevention mitigation preparedness response

Below are links to FEMA Independent Study courses to help you better understand how emergency management supports the resiliency of both the district and community. While the FEMA trainings listed in this section are not required prior to developing an EOP, they are highly recommended as supplemental material, particularly for personnel who are new to emergency management planning.


sandbags piled against school doors

The prevention phase of emergency management consists of actions districts take to avoid an incident or to intervene to stop an incident from occurring. Prevention activities to protect life and property include, but are not limited to:

  • Cyberbullying prevention.
  • Pandemic influenza sanitation measures.
  • Building access control procedures.
  • Security systems and cameras.


barriers in front of school entry doors

The mitigation phase of emergency management focuses on activities that eliminate or reduce the loss of life and property from a disaster by avoiding or lessening the impact and providing value by creating safer communities. The effectiveness of mitigation is dependent on district and campus policy to sustain mitigation activities. Mitigation activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Attending School Threat Assessment training.
  • Retrofitting structures.
  • Updating/conducting risk assessments.
  • Conducting public education activities.
  • Purchasing insurance for persons and property.


adults siting around table with note taking materials in deep discussion

The preparedness phase of emergency management consists of actions districts conduct to increase their level of readiness to respond to emergencies and disasters. Actions involve a combination of planning, resources, training, exercising, and organizing to build, sustain, and improve operational capabilities. Preparedness is the process of identifying the personnel, training, and equipment needed for hazards and developing district plans. Preparedness activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing EOPs.
  • Revising policies and plans.
  • Conducting drills, trainings, and exercises. Districts and open-enrollment charters should include the mandatory school drills in the Basic Plan. The Texas Education Agency Commissioner’s rules include the following mandated drills:

    Drill Frequency
    Secure (Lockout) 1 per school year
    Lockdown 2 per school year (once per semester)
    Evacuate 1 per school year
    Shelter-in-place (for Hazmat) 1 per school year
    Shelter for Sever Weather 1 per school year
    Fire Evacuation* 4 per school year (twice per semester)
    *In addition, school districts and open-enrollment charter schools should consult with their local fire marshal and comply with their local fire marshal’s requirements and recommendations.

  • Conducting public education activities.
  • Inventorying resources.
  • Establishing mutual aid agreements.


young man in reflective vest points something out to law enforcement officer

The response phase of emergency management addresses short-term activities including, immediate actions to save lives, protect property, and meet basic human needs. Response also includes the execution of emergency operations plans. The focus of this phase is to meet the basic needs including the physical and psychological safety of the students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community until more permanent solutions can be identified.

Provisions shall be included in a district’s EOP for supporting the psychological safety of students, district personnel, and the community during the response phase following a disaster or emergency. Physical and psychological safety actions can be addressed in the Health and Medical Annex. Training staff, including substitute teachers, in Psychological First Aid will help reduce stress-related symptoms as well as physical and psychological needs of survivors.

Response activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing first aid
  • Evacuation
  • Sheltering
  • Reunification


construction workers putting up drywall

The recovery phase of emergency management begins immediately following the impact of a disaster and encompasses both short-term and long-term efforts for rebuilding and revitalization of the affected area. This phase is characterized by the activities undertaken by the district and community to establish a “new normal.” Provisions should be included in the EOP for supporting the psychological safety of students, personnel, and the community during the recovery phase following a disaster or emergency. The district’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) provides guidance for developing objectives and prioritizing essential services after a disruptive incident. Recovery activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementing the district’s COOP.
  • Rebuilding of facilities.
  • Restoration of district services.
  • Counseling programs.
  • Documentation of lessons learned.