Educational leaders have to be prepared for emergencies and know how to work with the emergency responders that will be coming to the school. As a paramedic with over 23 years of experience and experience planning and running major emergencies, and 10 years as an educator, I’ve seen school leaders who are well prepared for emergencies, and others that have had no training and no real idea what to do.
Districts need to work with the local fire, police and EMS agencies when planning for emergencies and should also work with state and regional emergency managers. Last year, we had the city’s emergency management director speak to the faculty about some basic emergency issues and the police discussed active shooter responses. This is a start.
All staff need to have some basic emergency training. All administrators need to have training beyond that. Incident Command, Emergency Planning, and more are all needed. CPR, AED and basic First Aid should be taught to every staff member in your district.
Here are some free resources for preparing your school and staff for emergencies.
US Department of Education – Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools - Emergency Planning page
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – Independent Study Program (free, online courses)
(this program is used by first responders (EMS, Fire, and Police also). I’ve taken over 25 courses on this program and found them to be very informative and well done. There are plenty of materials to download for future reference also.
Courses for educators and educational leaders:
- IS-100 SCa – Introduction to the Incident Command System for Schools - all educational leaders should take this course, especially building principals and assistant principals. All emergency responders in the US must take this course. ICS is how emergency incidents are run and school personnel should understand and use this system.
- IS-362.a – Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools - This course covers basic information about developing, implementing, and maintaining a school emergency operations plan (EOP).
ALICE – Active Shooter Response Program - what most police departments are advocating.
American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid, CPR, and AED – the class that best fits what educators need to know. Basic first aid, CPR and AED training.
- Classroom version - contact your local American Heart Association training center to schedule a course
- Mixed Online and practical session course - take part of course online and test online test and then have skills taught and checked by live instructor.
Free Resources for Emergency Preparedness - lots of resources for citizens, students, faculty and more, including home and school emergency preparedness and lesson plans.
Ready Classroom is a free resource from Discovery Education that has lesson resources for teaching emergency preparedness for teachers, students and families. It has teacher and administrator tools, lesson plans, family resources, dealing with pets in emergencies, and much more. There are checklists, planning resources, lesson plans, information about different emergencies and disasters, videos, links, and more. It’s a great way to teach emergency preparedness.
Incident Command for Educators - description and link. All building administrators need to take this.
Don’t wait for your school system to train you. You can take many of these courses and use many of these resources on your own and for free. Don’t wait for an emergency to happen. Get prepared now.
I am also willing to answer questions (since much of this is online material) for anyone. You can also contact your local emergency management director for assistance. Larger towns and cities have a full time emergency management director, some areas have regional or county ones, and in some places it’s the fire or police chief who act in that capacity.