Emergency Response Management Plan - Introduction
Public Schools in California are mandated under Education Code 32280 to develop a comprehensive school safety plan that is updated annually to meet emerging needs and legislative requirements. The components of a school safety plan include polices and procedures to ensure a safe and orderly campus, specialized instructional programs that promote equity, tolerance, safety, health and well-being, and a stand alone emergency crisis response plan.
A school's emergency crisis response plan must align with the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) as required by the Petris Bill, California Government Code Section 8607 as well as the National Incident Management System (NIMS), established in the wake of 9/11 as part of the Homeland Security Act.
To assist schools in meeting the new requirements, the US Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, established the Emergency Response and Crisis Management Grant in 2004, which was awarded to the Santa Cruz County Office of Education in the fall of 2005. Through this grant the County Safe Schools Consortia was created.
The Safe Schools Consortia is comprised of local fire and law enforcement agencies, Office of Emergency Services Health Services Agency, the Red Cross, Emergency Communications Center (911), and representatives from the ten Santa Cruz County school districts and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE).
The ERCM Grant Management Team worked with all local schools to assess the vulnerability and needs of school sites and personnel to respond to a variety of natural and man-made threats that could impact our students, families and communities. In addition, the County Office of Emergency Services and the various County Emergency Management Council’s sub-committees assisted in the approval and development of uniform county response plans for large-scale events such as earthquakes, severe weather, flooding, flu outbreaks, and a variety of other hazardous conditions that could impact our county schools.
Through these collaborative efforts, the Safe Schools Consortia has established updated procedures in four critical areas of school emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
The coordinated countywide school emergency response procedures and protocols took over two years of research, identification of best practices, creation of new locally accepted practices/protocols and numerous reviews and revisions by consortia members from all disciplines – fire, police, Red Cross, schools, mental health, and health. The information contained within this manual is the culmination of these efforts.
Alan Lankein once wrote “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” It is a simple concept, but one that resonates profoundly in our time.
We at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education take great pride in providing services to our community. Our goal is to endow our students with every opportunity to reach their full potential. It is the firm conviction of the Safe Schools Consortia that we must maintain safe learning environments that meet the challenges of any emergency. Educators, parents, and students alike will then have the peace of mind necessary to succeed in the educational environment.
Jo Ann Allen, Manager