School Emergency Operations Plans

Getting Started Action Plan

This three-step action plan is for new schools to develop their school emergency operations plan or for existing schools to update their annual school emergency operations plan. School superintendents, administrators and school boards may find this information useful.

  1. Leadership. Identify and train leadership for your school emergency operations. Use and follow the Incident Command System (ICS), which is a national-standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach.
  2. Planning. Schedule a meeting with your local County Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) director. The director is your first contact for school emergency operations planning.
  3. Practice. Schedule emergency operations practice sessions by contacting your CEMA director, who will help you work with your local first responders to plan and schedule practices.   

Instructions

Make use of the federal model plan resources below. They were developed by top subject matter experts. Before you begin the planning process, study the FEMA document titled “Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans: Comprehensive Preparedness Guide.”

School emergency operations plans provide guidance to respond before, during and after a critical incident. In general, follow these basic steps:

  1. Begin by contacting your CEMA director
  2. Include your local first responders in your review; your CEMA will guide you on this
  3. Include all teachers and staff in your review process
  4. Use accurate, complete and timely (ACT) data
  5. Focus on quality over speed when developing your plan
  6. Receive school board approval for your school emergency operations plan
  7. Complete and/or update your plan by Aug. 15 each year (before school begins)
  8. Deliver a copy of your updated plan to your local CEMA and first responders

School emergency operations plans are written to cover all hazards. The three possible types of hazards are:

  1. Natural: Weather or geologic events such as flood, ice, snow or earthquake.
  2. Technological: Infrastructure, chemical, mechanical failure events such as bridge, train or plane failure.
  3. Human: Violent human acts such as a cyber event, shooter or terrorism.

Model Plans

The following federal resources are available to help schools develop and/or update their school Emergency Operations Plan.

Training & Practice

  • Emergency Management Institute. Supports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) goals by improving the competencies of the U.S. officials in Emergency Management at all levels of government to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate the potential effects of all types of disasters and emergencies.
  • Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS) for Schools. This online training promotes school safety by familiarizing school personnel with how ICS principles can be applied in school-based incidents and preparing them to interface with community response personnel. FEMA provides this training at no cost.
  • National Training and Education. A variety of resources provided by FEMA.
  • Plain Language Frequently Asked Questions (PDF). A key component of interoperable communications is the ability to communicate using common language. Agencies across the country are increasinly adopting "plain language" requirements.
  • Practice Sessions. The director of your CEMA will make appointments to schedule emergency management practice sessions and collaborate with local first responders.

Records

Confidential Records

Records that have been designated confidential by Maine statue include: “Records describing security plans, security procedures or risk assessments prepared specifically for the purpose of preventing or preparing for acts of terrorism, but only to extend that release of information contained the record could reasonably be expected to jeopardize the physical safety of government personnel or the public.” Source: Title 1, Section 402.

Records Management

Each school district has state and federal records management responsibilities. Records are the foundation of open government, supporting the principles of transparency, participation and collaboration. Well-managed records can be used to assess the impact of programs, to improve business processes and to share knowledge across state government. Records protect the rights and interests of people and hold officials accountable for their actions. Permanent records document our state’s history.