[esd-dir] FW: Emergency Preparedness for School Officials
Steve.JOHNSON at ODE-EX1.ODE.STATE.OR.US
Thu Mar 20 07:29:38 PST 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2003
Contact: Gene J. Evans, Oregon Department of Education Communications
Director (503) 378-3600 ext. 2237
Salem -- Governor Ted Kulongoski announced yesterday that the state of
Oregon is taking all steps necessary to protect the public in case of an
emergency situation related to the commencement of hostilities between the
United States and Iraq.
"The looming military action has put everyone on edge, the Governor want to
assure Oregonians that we are closely monitoring activities in Oregon and at
this point see no immediate threat to the state," Deputy Chief of Staff
Stephen Schneider said.
The Governor's Security Council shares pertinent information relating to
homeland security. All participants agreed that while there is an increased
level of concern on the national level, there is no specific information
that directly affects Oregon. Members of the council include representatives
from the Oregon State Police, Oregon National Guard, Departments of Justice,
Oregon Emergency Management, Environmental Quality Human Services and
BEST LOCAL RESOURCE FOR SCHOOL OFFICIALS: The Office of Public Safety and
Security ( http://www.osp.state.or.us/opss/ ) was formed in October of 2001
by the Oregon State Police. The activities this office include active
investigations of international and domestic terrorism, coordination of
similar federal and local investigations, involvement in domestic
preparedness issues and intelligence matters. The office provides support
and coordination to as the Oregon point of contact for Secretary Ridge's
National Office of Homeland Security. Office personnel provide accurate,
timely briefings to the Superintendent and to the Governor's Office and
staff. The office is represented on the Governor's Security Council and
Oregon Emergency Management Domestic Preparedness Steering Committee.
OTHER RESOURCES FOR SCHOOL OFFICIALS: In an effort to provide school
leaders with more information about emergency preparedness, U.S. Secretary
of Education Rod Paige and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge
unveiled a new section on the U.S. Department of Education's Web site -
www.ed.gov/emergencyplan - designed to be a one-stop-shop to help school
officials plan for any emergency, including natural disasters, violent
incidents and terrorist acts.
"As a former superintendent of the nation's seventh largest school district,
I know the importance of emergency planning," Secretary Paige said. "The
midst of a crisis is not the time to start figuring out who ought to do
what. At that moment, everyone involved - from top to bottom - should know
the drill and know each other.
"The tide of events since September 11, 2001, demands that schools be better
prepared. We're here to help - to provide more information and resources and
to highlight programs we know work. This web resource will help our schools
strengthen and improve their emergency plans."
Paige unveiled the resource on the heels of Homeland Security Secretary
Ridge's introduction of the Ready Campaign, which includes a new website,
www.ready.gov, to "build a more prepared nation, one individual, one family,
one neighborhood, one community at a time."
"I asked Americans to do a few simple things to help protect their families
in the event of a terrorist attack against their community. These steps are
critically important whether at home, work or school," said Homeland
Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "I commend Secretary Paige and the Department
Education for taking the initiative to prepare our schools for any
emergency, from natural disasters to terrorism. Through initiatives like
this, we are achieving our goal of building a more prepared nation, one
individual, one family, one neighborhood, one community at a time."
The U.S. Department of Education has been working with the U.S. Department
of Homeland Security and other federal agencies on school preparedness. In
addition, the Department has been working with experts from around the
country to develop a model emergency response and crisis management plan.
Proposed plan content is excerpted below, and Oregon school officials are
encouraged to review local emergency response and crisis management plans
against these federal guidelines.
* If you don't have a school crisis plan in partnership with public
safety agencies, including law enforcement and fire, health, mental health
and local emergency preparedness agencies, develop one. Ensure that it
addresses traditional crises and emergencies such as fires, school shootings
and accidents, as well as biological, radiological, chemical and other
* If you do have a crisis plan, review it. Ensure that it addresses
issues related to terrorism, such as biological, radiological and chemical
* Train, practice and drill. Documents on a shelf don't work in a
* Ensure that your school district crisis plan addresses the unique
circumstances and needs of individual schools. Districts are encouraged to
develop a separate plan for each school building, including:
* Conduct an assessment of each school building. Identify those
factors that put the building, students and staff at greater risk, such as
proximity to rail tracks that regularly transport hazardous materials or
facilities that produce highly toxic material or propane gas tanks, and
develop a plan for reducing the risk. This can include plans to evacuate
students away from these areas in times of crisis and to reposition propane
tanks or other hazardous materials away from school buildings.
* Work with businesses and factories in close proximity to the school
to ensure that the school's crisis plan is coordinated with their crisis
* Ensure a process is in place for controlling access and egress to
the school. Require all persons who do not have authority to be in the
school to sign in.
* Review traffic patterns, and where possible, keep cars, buses, and
trucks away from school buildings.
* Review landscaping, and ensure buildings are not obscured by
overgrowth of bushes or shrubs where contraband can be placed or persons can
* Have site plans for each school facility readily available and
ensure they are shared with first responders and agencies responsible for
* Ensure there are multiple evacuation routes and rallying points.
Your first or second evacuation site options may be blocked or unavailable
at the time of the crisis.
* Practice responding to crisis on a regular basis.
* Ensure a process is established for communicating during a crisis.
* Inspect equipment to ensure it operates during crisis situations.
* Have a plan for discharging students. Remember that during a crisis
many parents and guardians may not be able to get to the school to pick up
their child. Make sure every student has a secondary contact person and
contact information readily available.
* Have a plan for communicating information to parents and for
quelling rumors. Cultivate relationships with the media ahead of time, and
identify a public information officer to communicate with the media and the
community during a crisis.
* Work with law enforcement officials and emergency preparedness
agencies on a strategy for sharing key parts of the school crisis plans.
* Develop a command structure for responding to a crisis. The roles
and responsibilities for educators, law enforcement and fire officials, and
other first responders in responding to different types of crisis need to be
developed, reviewed and approved.
* Return to the business of teaching and learning as soon as possible.
* Identify and approve a team of credentialed mental health workers to
provide mental health services to faculty and students after a crisis.
Understand that recovery takes place over time and that the services of this
team may be needed over an extended time period.
* Ensure the team is adequately trained.
* The plan needs to include notification of parents on actions that
the school intends to take to help students recover from the crisis.
Gene J. Evans, Communications Director
Oregon Department of Education
gene.evans at state.or.us
(503) 378-3600, ext. 2237
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