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

3.1 Hazard Analysis

The need for an EOP exists because there is risk of a hazard impacting the district and the community. No school district in Texas is free from risk. Locale, industrial development, climate, and many more characteristics of a community determine the hazards faced by districts. To effectively plan for emergencies, the planning team must understand the hazards faced by the district and surrounding community. A high-quality multi-hazard EOP addresses the commonalities and unique considerations among the various hazards faced by a district, campuses, facilities, and the community.

Types of Hazards

Hazards are categorized as natural, technological, or human-caused. Natural hazards are events such as tornados and floods. Technological hazards involve accidents or failures of structures or systems. Technological hazard examples include dam failure, train derailment, and vehicle accident. Human-caused hazards are adversarial actions conducted intentionally to cause harm to life, information, operations, the environment, or property. Human-caused hazard examples include active shooter incidents and explosive device detonation.

Natural Hazards Technological Hazards Human-Caused Hazards
Pandemic or Disease Outbreak Hazardous Material Release Civil Disturbance
Hurricane Vehicle Accident Cyber Attack
Severe Storm Dam/Levee Failure Active Shooter
Earthquake Power Failure Bomb Threat/Use of Device
Tornado Train Derailment Sabotage
Flood Mass Violence
Wildfire Terrorism
Winter Storm

Identifying Hazards

Assessing risk begins with the identification of hazards that can affect the district. The planning team should also establish a list of hazards that they know exist within their community. This list can be expanded upon by local and county emergency managers, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, public health departments, and emergency medical services. Local community groups may also assist in expanding the list of potential hazards. These groups include the local chapter of the American Red Cross and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) members. An excellent resource for districts when determining potential hazards is the local office of emergency management’s Hazard Mitigation Plan and Annex. These documents are maintained by the city and county and include extensive research as to the hazards and risks facing the community.

Evaluating Risk

Once hazards have been identified by the district’s planning team, each hazard must be evaluated for risk. Risk is a multifaceted perception of a hazard that guides the prioritization of planning activities and capability development throughout the district.

  • The probability that a specific hazard will occur.
  • The effects that a specific hazard will have when it does occur, including severity of impact.
  • The amount of time the district will have to warn students, staff, and its community about the hazard.
  • The duration of the hazard.

Knowledge of the risk each hazard poses allows the planning team to address those hazards that are unique to the district or a specific campus or facility and identify the vulnerabilities of each facility and its occupants. Vulnerability is defined as the characteristics of the district that could make it more susceptible to an identified hazard. Vulnerabilities within a district may be related to structures, equipment, systems (such as information technology, communications or electrical), grounds, or surrounding areas.

Assessments

Assessments provide context to the hazards faced by the district, its campuses, facilities, and the community. Assessments, such as those identified below, demonstrate the likelihood of impact, the vulnerability of facilities or populations, and the abilities of the district when responding to the impact of a hazard. The most successful assessments are conducted by a diverse team. Support staff, first responders, students, parents, and individuals with access and functional needs should be included when possible and appropriate.

Assessments are strategic in nature, therefore, you must consider locality and isolation, as well as response time, based on the campus or asset rather than district wide. The most common types of assessment used when assessing risk and vulnerability are demonstrated in the following table:

Type of Assessments Purpose and Results
Site Assessment1 - Increased understanding of the potential impact of hazards on school facilities, grounds, and assets.

- Increased understanding of risk and vulnerabilities of facilities, grounds, and assets.

- Knowledge of which facilities are physically accessible to different groups of individuals (faculty, staff, parents, students, individuals with access and functional needs, first responders, etc.).

- Can assist with ensuring legal compliance.
Culture and Climate Assessment - Knowledge of students’, staffs’, parents/guardians’, and local response agencies’ perception of their safety.

- Identification of problematic behaviors that need to be addressed in order to improve the school climate and improve staff and student perception of their safety.
School Threat Assessment2 - Development of school threat assessment teams.

- Individuals exhibiting threatening behavior are identified before the threat develops into an incident.

- Students, staff, or other persons exhibiting threatening behavior are referred to assistive services when appropriate.
Capacity Assessment - Increased understanding of available resources.

- Information about staff capabilities is obtained.

- Assists the planning team with assigning roles and responsibilities more appropriately.

Information obtained from the various assessments allows the planning team to identify unique issues that must be addressed at specific locations or times and ensures that hazards are prioritized appropriately. The risk assessment worksheet below will assist the planning team in prioritizing hazards by determining which hazards have the highest probability of occurrence, greatest impact to life and property, least amount of warning time, and longest duration of impact.

Upon completion of the risk assessment worksheet, the planning team can easily recognize which hazards require immediate attention. A completed risk assessment helps the planning team evaluate whether the established goals are practical and reasonable. The planning team may recognize the need to alter or add additional goals for the team based on the data-driven results of the risk assessment.

Hazard Analysis Worksheet