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

1.3 Six Planning Principles for High-Quality Plans

The Six Planning Principles provide the foundation for the emergency planning process. Applying these principles throughout the planning process is essential to developing a comprehensive, high-quality multi-hazard EOP for protecting lives, property and the environment.

The Six Planning Principles are:

6 planning principles: supported by leadership, uses assessments to customize, takes a multi-hazards approach, provides for whole community, considers all settings at all times, collaborative process

At the district and school levels, senior-level officials and leadership can help the planning process by demonstrating strong support for the planning team. Effective planning is built around comprehensive, ongoing assessment of the school community. Information gathered through assessment is used to customize plans to the campus level, taking into consideration the campus’ unique circumstances and resources.

The planning process must consider a wide range of possible hazards that may impact the district. Comprehensive emergency management planning considers all hazards throughout the planning process, addressing safety needs in all five phases of emergency management. The “whole community” includes students, staff, and visitors with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.

The district’s EOP must account for incidents that may occur during and outside the school day as well as on and off campus. Lessons learned from experience indicate that operational planning is best performed by a team. Close collaboration and ongoing communication between and among districts, campuses, and community partners ensures the coordination of efforts.

The Six Planning Principles support a sustainable, multi-hazard EOP that:

  • Is consistent.
  • Looks to district, school, and local partnerships and resources to fill needs first.
  • Embraces community partnerships to fill in gaps.
  • Balances guidelines and guarantees.
  • Complements emergency management at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Is reviewed, updated, and revised.

When the planning process is complete, the written plan must be adequate and feasible for all stakeholders. What is written in the EOP should provide all the needed guidance to address identified hazards and explain how the actions outlined will be achievable with the resources identified. All stakeholders tasked with roles or responsibilities should be aware of their assignments, agree to them as written, and have the capacity to carry them out.

You can learn more about the Six Planning Principles on the Department of Education’s Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools website and by watching the video below:

Video | 4:17

This video referenced the following guide developed by the Readiness in Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center. This document further discusses the planning process and provides several tools to assist in conducting planning effectively and efficiently.

Guide for Developing HQ School Emergency Operations Plans

The Role of Districts in Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans:

A Companion to the School Guide