Training, Drilling, and Exercising Toolkit
1.1 Training Stakeholders
All individuals that would have duties in a school incident or emergency event, need basic preparedness training, including students, parents, volunteers, school/district staff, school/district leaders, and substitute teachers. Even though they may not work full time on any one specific campus, auxiliary or support staff, such as custodial, food service, maintenance, transportation, and warehouse employees, should receive training as they need to be prepared to assist during an emergency incident. Would a district warehouse employee delivering a pallet of textbooks to a school or a district electrician repairing a faulty outlet in the front office be able to respond effectively if a lockdown were announced on the high school campus?
Considerations for Training Stakeholders
According to the “Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans”, published by the Readiness in Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center, training should include the following components:
Plan time to meet: at least annually, hold a meeting to review/refresh all campus and related auxiliary staff on the emergency operations plan. This could be integrated into already scheduled professional development at the start of the school year. Go through the plan to familiarize stakeholders with it. Additionally, during monthly staff meetings the campus safety committee or departments/grade level teams can take turns presenting sections of the campus emergency plan to their colleagues. Teachers should have class meetings with students to explain procedures and set expectations. After school program staff should also be included in this training opportunity.
- When to Train
- - Prior to beginning of school year or summer school session
- - During new employee orientation
- - During in-service or staff development
- - During safety committee meetings
- - During staff/department meetings
- - At the start of a semester (quick review/refresh)
- - Following a plan change, for any reason
- - On a recurring schedule
- - Scheduled refreshers
- - At PTO meetings
Visit evacuation sites (on and off-site): show faculty/staff members not only where evacuation sites are located, but also where specific areas, such as reunification areas, media areas, and triage areas will be located. This activity could easily be incorporated into a monthly staff meeting agenda with the use of district transportation to and from these locations. Aerial maps and/or virtual site tours might also be an option if a physical site visit in not possible.
Give stakeholders appropriate and relevant literature on the plan, policies, and procedures: it may also be helpful to provide all stakeholders with quick reference guides that remind them of key courses of action. Emergency response protocol information can be sent home to families; updated response charts/ID badge mini charts can be distributed at the beginning of the school year and with visitor badges to assist staff in both responding to and instructing their students on effective emergency response actions. Substitute teacher lesson plans should include emergency response information, as well.
Post key information/signage throughout the building: it is important that students, staff, and visitors are familiar with and have easy access to information such as campus maps with primary/secondary evacuation routes and shelter procedures/locations marked in every classroom; posters can be created to identify designated shelter areas to protect from severe weather or other protective actions.
Familiarize students and staff with community partners: bringing community partners (e.g., law enforcement officers, fire officials, and EMS personnel) into the school during staff/parent meetings and student assemblies to talk about the plan and response actions will make students and staff more comfortable working with these partners. First responders can also be invited to appreciation lunch events, during which time they can meet and greet campus students and staff and establish positive, critical relationships between stakeholders.
Train staff on the skills necessary to fulfill their roles: in addition to emergency response protocols, the types of training offered and what training a staff member is assigned should be directly in line with their roles and responsibilities in an emergency event. Administering a staff skills survey can assist with identifying skill strengths and deficits, as well as personal interest and abilities.
- Common Additional Staff Skills Training
- - First Aid/Triage
- - CPR/AED
- - Climate Issues: Bullying, Gangs, Violence
- - Threat Assessment
- - Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (CPI)
- - Prior audit/self-assessment experience
- - Staff Emergency Response
- - Reunification
- - Provision of personal assistance services for students with disabilities and others with access and functional needs
Training for Ensuring Access and Functional Needs During Emergency Incidents
The link below contains a variety of resources from the REMS TA Center, U.S. Department of Education, and many federal agency partners on the topic of ensuring access and functional needs during emergency incidents that may occur within K-12 schools.
In addition, FEMA IS-368 Including People With Disabilities and Others With Access and Functional Needs in Emergency Operations is a free online, self-paced course that focuses on awareness and understanding of the need for full inclusion of disaster survivors and staff who are people with disabilities and people with access and functional needs. The course provides an overview of disabilities and access and functional needs and explains how disaster staff can apply inclusive practices in their disaster assignments.
Training for emergency response is an ongoing, cyclical process. It is highly recommended that district/campus leadership develop and maintain a training timeline that documents, by job position, required emergency training completion for all faculty/staff. As staffing changes occur, the document should be updated to maintain accurate, ongoing records of training needs and timelines.