High-Quality Emergency Operations Planning (EOP)
5.2 Annexes and Appendices
To review Section 1.4, there are two general types of supporting documents that increase the quality of EOPs for schools:
- Annexes – annexes may be functional or hazard/threat-specific and focus on the functions and specific actions that are critical to successful emergency response or recovery operations. Annexes are the second layer of the EOP.
- Appendices – appendices contain the implementing instructions that clarify the content of the EOP and provide additional detail where appropriate. Appendices are typically found at the end of an annex and are considered to be the third layer of a high-quality EOP.
Functional annexes focus on the critical operational functions and the subsequent courses of action developed to carry them out. As the planning team assesses the district’s needs, it may determine that functional annexes are necessary to address the complexities of response or to address functions that are common to the response to or recovery from all threats and hazards.
While these functions should be described separately, it is vital for the planning team to understand that many district functions will occur consecutively while others occur concurrently. For example, security functions are carried out at the same time, or concurrently, as lockdown functions. However, family reunification functions are typically addressed after, or consecutively, student accountability functions are carried out. While functions build upon the capabilities provided by other functions and often create an overlap of capabilities, it is not necessary to repeat a course of action in one functional annex if it appears in a second functional annex.
The following functional annexes should be considered when writing a high-quality EOP:
- Lock Out
- Personnel, Student, and Visitor Accountability
- Communications and Warning
- Family Reunification
- Continuity of Operations
- Public Health, Medical, and Mental Health
For specific information on the most appropriate considerations for each annex, the planning team may refer to the Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans, published by the U.S. Department of Education.
Hazard- and threat-specific annexes describe the courses of action unique to a particular threat or hazard. Courses of action outlined in a functional annex are not required to be repeated in a hazard- or threat-specific annex. The development of this type of annex is based on the prioritization of threats and hazard, as discussed in Section 3.1. When developing these annexes, the planning team must also consider the local, state, and federal laws and regulations that pertain to the specific hazard or threat being addressed.
Often, addressing the unique needs of a specific threat or hazard requires implementing the courses of action described in a functional annex. For example, if response to an active shooter involves sheltering-in-place, then the planning team would indicate within the Active Shooter annex for the reader to “see Shelter-in-Place annex” where appropriate rather than repeat the courses of action within the threat-specific annex.
Appendices, or implementing instructions, provide additional detail to the EOP that empower those with defined responsibilities to carry out those responsibilities and expected courses of action. While there is no definitive list of appendices required for a high-quality EOP, the nature of a high-quality EOP is directive, informative, and empowering and therefore implementing instructions should be included in all cases where additional information could be beneficial. The following appendices are commonly found in high-quality EOPs:
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) – SOPs are step-by-step instructions compiled by a division, department, or administration to help personnel carry out complex routine operations. SOPs seek to achieve efficiency while ensuring uniformity and quality of performance. For example, many districts have a specific procedure for requesting funds and acquiring materials or assets.
- Maps – Maps provide a graphical representation of locations, hazard, and/or points of interest. Maps allow personnel to easily identify focal areas for conducting activities or points of concern due to hazards or threats. Maps effectively depict evacuation routes (including alternate routes), fire extinguisher locations, facility layouts, and other such information.
- Charts and Tables – Charts and tables enable personnel to quickly access important information. Commonly found charts and tables include telephone lists, lists or records or references, inventory logs, and the like.
- Forms – Forms provide a standardized approach to documentation and information tracking. Commonly used forms include purchase orders, purchase requisitions, medical treatment records, and personnel accountability records (i.e. attendance sheets and timesheets). The planning team may also create forms to support incident management. The mandate for schools to adopt the National Incident Management System (NIMS) further encourages the use of standardized Incident Command System (ICS) forms.
- Checklists – Checklists provide a list of things to be done or points to be considered and are commonly used to serve as a reminder to personnel as to the minimum requirements necessary to successfully achieve a goal. Common checklists found in high-quality EOPs include documentation standards for disaster recovery, procedural checklists for evacuation or facility re-entry, and other such topics.