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

6.1 Training on the Plan

A high-quality multi-hazard EOP will only serve its purpose if personnel, substitute teachers, and stakeholders throughout the district and community understand their roles and responsibilities. The EOP relies on the individuals affected by the impact of a hazard being able to respond appropriately based on the practices and processes identified within the EOP. For this to occur, these individuals must be trained on the EOP.

Creating a Safety-Oriented School Culture

Training on the EOP must be a priority throughout the district. It is the responsibility of district leadership to create an environment that promotes safety and the development of functions and abilities that ensure that students, staff, substitute teachers, and visitors are kept as safe as possible, even when a hazard occurs. Districts rely on the teaching staff to educate parents, students, and visitors about the correct response to emergencies.

Consider fire drills conducted on campuses. District personnel, including substitute teachers, should understand what their roles are when the building must be quickly evacuated. Teachers are responsible for evacuating their classrooms. Office staff are responsible for gathering pertinent records and evacuating their offices. Nursing staff are responsible for gathering medical records and medications.

Students are instructed on what actions to take by their teachers or other staff. They are given multiple opportunities to practice the necessary courses of action in a low-stress, no-fault environment. As a result of these drills, deaths resulting from fires in schools have plummeted.

Clearly, there is a need for both training and exercising the functions of the EOP. How can we reach our students, staff, substitute teachers, visitors, and response agencies to train them on the EOP and its components? Each annex of the EOP should address how all groups will be trained.

A Practical Approach to Emergency Management Training in Schools

Throughout this toolkit, several online training courses have been provided. These courses provide an overview of the various roles, responsibilities, and capabilities addressed by a comprehensive emergency management program. Some districts have chosen to establish personnel policies requiring employees to complete the FEMA NIMS and ICS online courses. This approach is effective and recommended as a best practice, but it does not replace the need for employees to be training on the district’s EOP.

Job aids are an effective tool to include in the EOP. Throughout the EOP, many roles and responsibilities are shared for certain groups. For instance, most teachers will share similar responsibilities during emergencies. These responsibilities can be used to create a job aid (such as a checklist or guidebook) that quickly informs the employee what they are expected to accomplish during an emergency.

    For more information on establishing an emergency management training program for districts, the TxSSC has created a separate toolkit linked below. (Note: The link below will open in a new tab.)

  • TxSSC Training, Drilling, and Exercising Toolkit