High-Quality Multi-Hazard Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) Toolkit
3.2 Information Gathering
Emergency management involves the whole community. A district’s day-to-day operations occur within each department’s respective “silo”. Financial operations are minimally impacted by what lesson is being taught in the classroom. Transportation operations are rarely influenced by food service operations. While correlations exist between departmental operations, there is little reliance from a day-to-day perspective. During emergencies, however, the interconnected relationships between departments are the driving force behind successful response and recovery operations.
Failures during response and recovery operations are often a result of unrealistic expectations being placed on staff, faculty, and partners. While the EOP may state that a person will accomplish a certain task, that person may be unable to accomplish the task as assigned. During the planning process, the planning team evaluates existing plans, policies, and procedures to ensure that no conflicts between district policy, the law, or procedures exist. In addition, they should evaluate the capacity to carry out assigned tasks.
Emergency management plans must be integrated both vertically and horizontally. Vertical integration is defined as planning both up and down the various levels of government. The foundation for operations is at the district level and is supported by local, state, and federal governments. When assistance from local, state, or federal government is identified, the district needs to work with the appropriate agency to assure the issue is being addressed.
Horizontal integration ensures that a district’s EOP supports jurisdictional and neighboring districts’ plans. Horizontal integration is necessary when external resources are needed during a response. A district cannot include the use of a bomb squad in their EOP if this resource does not exist. The district cannot plan to utilize buses for evacuation of students without considering the existing policies and procedures of the district’s transportation department.
Evaluating Existing Plans
EOPs are not the only plans that affect long-term development and sustainability of the district. A district is impacted by other plans that affect the whole community. The district’s planning team should be familiar with the following plans* that directly affect emergency management:
- District Improvement Plan
- District Construction or Development Plans
- Visitor Management and Access Control Plans
- Jurisdictional Economic Development Plan
- Jurisdictional Emergency Management Plan
- Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Action Plan
- Jurisdictional Long-Term Recovery Plan
- Jurisdictional Debris Management Plan
*Note: Reach out to your local Office of Emergency Management for the jurisdictional plans listed above.
Evaluating District Policies and Procedures
District policies and procedures must be considered and integrated both horizontally and vertically. There may be a need for community notification, interaction with the media, utilization of buses and other transportation assets, or the need to purchase materials or equipment to support response and recovery operations. While an emergency may be ongoing, district personnel are still held accountable to the policies and procedures of the district. When developing roles and responsibilities, the planning team should consider those policies and procedures that affect the responsibilities being delegated. These policies and procedures include:
- Purchasing and Acquisition
- School Properties Disposal
- Contracted Services
- Safety Program/Risk Management
- Buildings, Grounds, and Equipment Maintenance
- Equipment and Supplies Management
- Food Services Management
- Internal and External Communications —This could be included in an appendix to the Communication Annex. The Communication Annex or appendix is a great location to include:
- How employees, including substitute teachers will have access to a communication device during emergencies.
- Measures to ensure district communication technology and infrastructure are adequate to allow for communication during an emergency.
- How the district will communicate with and provide immediate notification to parents, guardians, and other persons standing in parental relation during an emergency.
- Technology Resources
- Insurance and Annuities Management
- Facility Standards —This could be a good place to include:
- Policies for a facility being used as a polling place.
- Provisions for portable buildings. See Best Practices for Safety in Portable Buildings.
- Community and Governmental Relations