High-Quality Emergency Operations Planning (EOP)

2.2 Establishing Goals and Objectives

Goalsetting is a vital part of the emergency planning process. Setting effective and achievable goals ensures that the district or campus planning team has a mutually accepted direction in which all participating members can work together to accomplish the appropriate tasks. Objectives are the action-driven tasks which mark a path to the desired result established by the team’s goals.

Setting SMART Goals

Establishing SMART goals for emergency management helps to ensure that the goals established by the planning team are indeed achievable. Adapted from similar models used by business, education, and healthcare communities, the acronym SMART reflects the considerations that must be made for a goal to effectively lead the planning team to a desired outcome.

You may decide to use the Texas Unified School Safety and Security Standards as benchmarks for the goal setting process. These Standards provide criteria to assist the planning team in developing and implementing a comprehensive program consistent with those of other government, private and volunteer organizations.

Texas Unified School Safety & Security Standards Tookit

The planning team should develop district emergency management goals with a focus of mitigation and/or prevention. The outcomes must be realistic, school centric, valid and obtainable. The district’s multi-hazard EOP should reflect the overall missions of:

  • Reducing risk
  • Protecting lives and property
  • Sustaining operations

Clearly defining the district’s emergency management goals enables unity of effort and consistency of purpose across district departments and campuses. By establishing SMART goals based on district mitigation and prevention priorities, the district marks its expectations for success and moves its planning process (and its plan) to a higher quality.

How does the planning team set appropriate goals?

Step 1: Visualize the Impact of the Incident or Event

The planning team should discuss how a particular hazard or threat might affect the district, a campus and/or a facility. Use the hazard analysis and vulnerability assessment as the data source for this step. Threat and hazard analysis and vulnerability assessment are discussed in more detail in Section 3. After deliberately prioritizing possible occurrences and their impact on the district, the planning team should envision the probable development of each incident including:

  • The prevention and protection efforts that would be appropriate
  • The impact on people, property and sustainability of operations, including educational missions
  • Any specific consequences or outcomes of each incident at a particular intensity

Step 2: Develop multiple goals to address each threat and hazard.

One recommendation is to develop goals that address desired outcomes BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER the incident or event. When considering each threat or hazard, use the answers to the following questions (and any others that may be applicable) to generate SMART goals:

  • What is the overall risk to the district and what is needed to mitigate (reduce the impact)?
  • What do we need to do to protect our students, staff and visitors, if this incident should occur?
  • What is needed to protect our property from damage? How would we document damage and loss?
  • If this happens will we be able to maintain the educational process?
  • What is needed to sustain the educational process in this situation?

Section 4 of this toolkit will discuss the development of a concept of operations, in which the planning team determines how the school does and should respond to the impact of threats and hazards. The goals established in Step 2 will directly impact the concept of operations developed by the planning team and documented in the EOP.

Step 3: Identify critical actions needed to reach the goal(s).

While many of the critical actions will have been identified through goal setting processes, it is likely that additional needs, resources, ideas and issues may be identified that are specific to the goal and to the district’s capabilities. Reviewing these unique situations will help the team visualize gaps in resources needs and capabilities. Gap analysis will be discussed in more detail in Section 5 of this toolkit.

Pay special attention to the need for concurrent implementation of functions and actions that may need to be implemented simultaneously, thereby stretching resources (e.g., people, equipment, materials, etc.) beyond effectiveness.

Implementation of Functions and Actions Model

Step 4: Write objectives for each goal.

These important action steps should be written with focus on the desired results BEFORE the incident, the best outcome of mitigation and response actions DURING the incident, and actions leading to the desired outcome AFTER the incident. Many of the “functions” or actions will apply to more than one threat or hazard. These specific and repeated activities should be addressed separately in a functional annex.