5 Critical Steps To Create an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) At Your School
Schools need to get these steps right to write an effective emergency operations plan (EOP), and they all occur before putting pen to paper.
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The process of creating and implementing a school emergency operations plan (EOP) can seem so daunting that it can be hard for school officials to know where to begin.
And, unfortunately, if officials start off on the wrong foot, the resulting plan could be missing some key elements. That’s why it’s so important to get the early stuff right with emergency planning so that officials can set themselves up for success.
For instance, if the team tasked with writing a school EOP doesn’t have executive buy-in, it doesn’t matter what kind of document they draw up, it will never be embraced enough or get the attention and resources it needs to be effective.
Similarly, if EOPs aren’t customized to each specific school building, there’s little chance you’ve crafted the most effective possible plan for everyone on campus.
One of the most common mistakes school officials make is rushing into the process of writing their EOP. This is an understandable mistake, particularly for the luckless employees tasked with creating emergency plans IN ADDITION to their regular workload. But there are simply too many necessary considerations prior to writing to be able to jump right into it.
An effective EOP puts every classroom and campus community member in a position to succeed, or at least stay as safe as possible. That includes students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency and other groups that require special consideration.
Additionally, the EOP must prepare the campus community for ALL threats and hazards, meaning the planning phase must be inclusive and comprehensive, taking into account all possible emergency times and settings (including off campus).
That said, the process of crafting a good EOP won’t look the same for every school. Best practices are flexible and should be followed while taking into account each school’s unique characteristics.
So before putting pen to paper to actually write the EOP, schools need to execute each of these five steps below. View the slideshow for more information on each step.
Create Your School’s EOP Planning Team
Set The School EOP Team Objectives
Identify Threats, Hazards and Risks
Prioritize Threats, Hazards and Risks
Develop EOP Goals and Objectives
The first two steps have to do with the EOP planning team. The next two steps relate to understanding your school or district’s situation and the challenges it faces. The final step gets school officials ready to start developing their plan.
The information in this article was taken from a 2013 joint report compiled by FEMA, the FBI, HHS, DHS and the Department of Education titled Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans.