High-Quality Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) Toolkit
2.1 Forming a Planning Team
Lessons learned validate that EOP planning is best performed by a team. Establishing a planning team that is diverse and represents the interests of the whole community is essential to success.
The district’s planning team is a collaborative team made up of individuals representing a cross-section of the district’s community including representatives from its campuses, key stakeholders and community partners, and any departments or agencies that are likely to be involved in incident responses.
Collaboration is essential to all phases of the emergency management cycle. Including stakeholders and community partners in the planning process ensures collaboration during training, drilling, response, and recovery efforts.
In emergency management, pre-established partnerships and relationships are important for leveraging subject matter expertise and resources during a disaster. Nontraditional partners and resources may vary greatly between schools, districts, and support facilities. The district level planning team should be small enough to facilitate effective communication and collaboration yet large enough to demonstrate inclusion, diversity and community representation.
If you are developing your first EOP, mirroring your safety and security committee membership can be a successful approach. As an internal partner in the overall district emergency management program, the safety and security committee is tasked with the development and implementation of the district’s multi-hazard EOP.
Establishing Roles and Responsibilities within the Planning Team
Pre-planned roles and responsibilities for team members can prevent miscommunication and misunderstanding. This is especially true for districts whose boundaries cross jurisdictions of multiple EMS, fire, and law enforcement agencies. As stated in Texas Education Code 37.108, measures to ensure coordination with the Department of State Health Services and local emergency management agencies, law enforcement, health departments, and fire departments in the event of an emergency are required. Each representative must be able to speak with authority on policy and procedure, provide subject matter expertise, and provide accountability as it relates to their jurisdiction or agency. They must participate in the school emergency management planning process.
Scheduling Meetings for the Planning Team
The planning team should meet regularly but recognize the value of allowing for flexibility to ensure that members of the whole community are involved. Not all team members may need to attend all meetings.
Agreements with planning team members must be defined when discussing the preliminary expectations of each team member. This includes discussing items such as:
- Meeting schedules to review or update the district EOP.
- Collaborative training opportunities (exercises and meetings).
- Acknowledgement by all stakeholders that participation on the team may require flexibility of scheduling.
- Understanding that task forces or subcommittees can address the minutiae work.
- Identifying the parameters of involvement for each member.